This Korean tofu recipe is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce, and super easy to make.
Some people think tofu is boring. I could not disagree more. When cooked well, tofu has an amazing texture. It can hold so much flavor and is perfect in many Asian dishes. This Korean tofu recipe is one of my favorites. The tofu is marinated in a spicy, tangy sauce, and absorbs a ton of flavor from the gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar, and maple syrup. Then it’s coated in cornstarch and cooked until crispy. But don’t worry: it’s still soft and juicy on the inside!
This crispy tofu recipe is quick and easy to make. But it tastes like you ordered it at a restaurant. It’s that delicious! Plus, you can make it in the air fryer or in the oven.
What You’ll Need
Here are all the ingredients needed to make this Korean tofu dish. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts for each ingredient.
- Tofu – You want to use extra-firm tofu for this recipe.
- Low-sodium soy sauce – To make this recipe gluten-free, use low-sodium tamari.
- Gochujang – You can use a chili-garlic sauce instead, but gochujang is preferable.
- Rice vinegar
- Toasted sesame oil
- Maple syrup – Coconut sugar works as a substitute.
- Garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- Scallion – This is a garnish.
How to Make Korean Tofu
Here’s how to make this spicy tofu in the air fryer or oven. It’s very easy!
- Drain the tofu. Wrap the block of tofu in a dish towel, and place a heavy item on top of it. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes so the liquid can drain.
- Make the sauce. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, gochujang, sesame oil, garlic, and maple syrup to a bowl, and stir to combine.
- Cut the tofu. Chop the tofu into ½-inch thick pieces.
- Marinate the tofu. Add the tofu and the sauce to a container or a bag, and toss until the tofu is well coated. Seal the container or bag, and place the tofu in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Prep. Preheat the oven or air fryer to 400F. If using the oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the coating. Mix the cornstarch and salt together in a shallow dish.
- Coat the tofu. Remove a piece of tofu from the marinade and dip it in the cornstarch mixture. Press each side into the mixture, until the tofu is covered. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.
- Cook the tofu. Place the pieces of tofu on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or in an air fryer basket. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or in the air fryer for 10 minutes. Flip the tofu halfway through.
- Serve. Garnish the crispy Korean tofu with scallions. Serve it with the leftover marinade for dipping.
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making this spicy Korean tofu.
- Thoroughly drain the tofu. A lot of people don’t drain their tofu when they make it. Or they rush the draining process. Don’t do either of those things. Draining the tofu is extremely important. The more moisture you get out of the tofu, the more flavor it can absorb. However, if you’re using shrink-wrapped tofu, it doesn’t need to be drained.
- Make even cuts. Take your time when cutting the tofu. It’s important to make sure that all of the pieces of tofu are similar in size. That way they’ll cook at the same time.
- Marinate longer. This recipe calls for you to marinate the tofu for at least 30 minutes. But it will absorb even more flavor if you marinate it longer. For best results, marinate the tofu for a few hours, or even overnight.
- Don’t crowd the tofu. It’s very important to not crowd the tofu. When placing the tofu in the air fryer basket or on the baking sheet, make sure none of the pieces are touching. There needs to be space in between the pieces of tofu or else they won’t get crispy.
My favorite way to serve this tofu is on top of a bed of rice, such as my Cilantro Lime Rice. It’s also great on top of my recipe for Curry Cauliflower Rice and Quinoa.
How to Store and Reheat Korean Tofu
This recipe will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure to store the tofu in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350F air fryer for 5 minutes, or in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
I love to freeze this Korean tofu for an easy weekday meal. It will last in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw or defrost fully before reheating.
More Easy Baked Tofu Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, then check out some more of my favorite baked tofu dishes.
- Herb Crusted Baked Tofu
- Baked Coconut Tofu Tenders
- Meal Prep Chipotle Tofu Quinoa Bowls
- How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu
- 1 16- ounce block extra-firm tofu , drained*
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tablespoon gochujang or chile-garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 2 garlic cloves , grated
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 scallion , thinly sliced, for garnish
- Wrap the tofu in a clean dish towel and place something heavy, like a large skillet or cookbook, on top. Drain for 20-30 minutes. *If you’re using shrink-wrapped tofu, you can skip this step.
- Preheat the oven or airfryer to 400°F.
- Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, gochujang, sesame oil, maple syrup, and garlic in a medium bowl, zip-top bag, or container.
- Cut the tofu into ½-inch thick planks. Add the tofu to the soy sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight, tossing every so often.
- When ready to cook, place the cornstarch and salt in a shallow dish. Working one at a time, dip each tofu piece into the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere cornstarch on all sides. Reserve remaining marinade for serving. Spray all of the tofu with cooking spray.
- Arrange the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in the basket of the air fryer, leaving space between each piece. Bake for 20 minutes or airfry for 10, flipping halfway through.
- Serve garnished with scallions with remaining marinade for dipping.