Kitchen Smarts: How to Make Tofu Taste Great

Think tofu's bland? This technique will change your mind.

Published Mar. 13, 2019.

Tofu can get a bad rap from people who aren't familiar with it. But with its versatility and ability to soak up flavors, tofu can be the worthy star of a dish for non-meat eaters and carnivores alike. Not convinced? If you're a tofu skeptic, learning how to shallow-fry your tofu to golden perfection will change your mind.

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In this video, part of the “Kitchen Smarts” series on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel, America’s Test Kitchen's Elle Simone demonstrates how to fry tofu to make it stand out. With a little bit of time and a few simple ingredients you are just a few steps away from the perfect tofu right at your fingertips.  Here are some of our findings:

  • Opt for firm tofu: Firm tofu holds its shape best under high heat, and soaking the slices in a hot water brine tightens the proteins on the outside of the tofu, helping it keep its shape. It also helps reduce the moisture on the tofu's surface and retains it on the inside for perfect browning.
  • Lightly coat with cornstarch: Once you slice the tofu into small cubes, give it a light coating of cornstarch, essential for the perfect crispy exterior. Don't overcoat, otherwise it will not have the golden crust we are trying to achieve.
  • Don't undercook: America's Test Kitchen recommends shallow-frying the tofu for 4 to 5 minutes. If the tofu is undercooked it will be soft, bland, and not optimal for proving the tofu-haters wrong. 

Watch the Video

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For a comprehensive guide to tofu, browse our Guide to Eating and Shopping for Tofu

What’s your favorite thing to pair your tofu with? Let us know in the comments!

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