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7 Easy Tofu Marinades With Incredible Flavor

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Tofu marinades will add incredible flavor to your meal. These marinades are easy to make and include fresh healthy ingredients. You can marinate your tofu in as little as 30 minutes with these seven simple recipes. See just how easy it is to marinate tofu, including tips and tricks you don’t want to miss below.

tofu marinades in plastic ziploc bags with six different flavors. Each bag includes sauce with different colors.

Tofu Marinades

Tofu marinades are one of the easiest ways to add flavor to your tofu. These seven marinade flavors will give you variety that you can use for your recipes.

They’re easy to make and use fresh ingredients – most of which you may already have in your pantry.

In this post, I’ll also walk you through how to get the most crispy tofu with golden brown sides. If you’re new to cooking with tofu, be sure to read the tips and tricks so that you don’t miss the main steps for cooking the perfect tofu.

side angle of the chopped tofu and marinade inside ziploc bags.

Tofu Marinades – Tips and Tricks

  • Press The Tofu First – It’s important to press the tofu before marinating. This will release the excess liquid from the tofu before it soaks up the marinade. Pressing tofu is very easy and I’ll explain it in more detail below.
  • Prepping The Marinade – I like to dump all the marinade ingredients into a mason jar, seal the lid and shake it up. Then I pour the marinade into a plastic bag with chopped tofu. This makes clean up so much easier.
  • Marinating Time – The longer you marinate, the more flavor the tofu will have. You can safely marinate up to 24 hours. I like to marinade overnight and make my tofu the next day. I find that this gives maximum flavor to the recipe. However, if you’re short on time you can marinate a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Storage Tips – Cooked tofu can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. This makes it an easy meal prep lunch option.
  • Cooking Tips – There are a couple tricks to making tofu crispy. First, it’s important to use “extra firm” tofu. Any other option will result in less crispy, more crumbly results. Second, don’t skip pressing the tofu as this will help to release a lot of excess moisture. Third, if you’re baking or using an air fryer you’ll want to toss the tofu halfway through cooking – this will help to cook the tofu evenly and give those crispy results. You can cook your tofu in a frying pan, air fryer or bake in the oven. I’ll explain how to do each of these below.
Three tofu marinades in ziploc bags including basil balsamic, cilantro lime and barbecue.

Tofu Marinade FAQs

How Long Should I Marinate Tofu?

The tofu should marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer you let it marinate in the fridge, the more flavor it will have. Personally, I like to let my tofu marinate overnight in the fridge.

Is It Safe To Marinade Tofu Overnight?

Yes! Actually, I find I get the best flavor when I prep the marinades the night before I plan to cook the tofu.

Can Tofu Marinate Too Long?

It is possible for the tofu to soak up too much flavor. It will depend on personal tastes and how long you soak it for. I recommend trying a few different time variations. You could start with 4 hours, then try marinating overnight to see what you prefer.

Do You Press Tofu Before Marinating?

Yes. This is an important step to remove the excess liquid before you marinate the tofu. If the tofu is already holding on to too much liquid, there won’t be any room for the marinade to soak up.

Can You Marinate And Freeze Tofu?

Yes. This is one of the ways I like to prep tofu. Press the tofu first, chop it into 1-inch cubes and add it to a freezer bag. The tofu can be frozen with or without the marinade added. Personally I like to add the marinade as it will soak up while defrosting.

Close up of tofu marinade bags stacked on top of eachother.

How To Cook Marinated Tofu

Tofu is an easy vegetarian protein source that can be paired with rice, quinoa, or pasta. It can be added to salads, in wraps or grain bowls. Tofu can be cooked in a frying pan, air fryer or baked in the oven.

Here are instructions on each way to cook tofu:

How To Cook Tofu In A Frying Pan

One of the easiest ways to cook tofu is in a frying pan. Here’s a quick overview of how to do it:

  1. Add a bit of cooking oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the pressed and cubed tofu to the pan. Cook until all sides turn golden brown and crispy. This will take about 8-12 minutes in total.
  3. Remove from heat and serve with rice, quinoa, pasta or anything else you’d like.

How To Cook Tofu In An Air Fryer

If you have an air fryer, then you’ll definitely want to try cooking your tofu in it. You’ll get wonderfully crispy results. If you don’t have an air fryer yet, I recommend getting this air fryer.

Here’s how to cook tofu in an air fryer:

  1. Lightly coat the air fryer with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat the air fryer for two minutes at 400°F. Add the marinated tofu to the tray and cook for 16-20 minutes, flipping and tossing halfway through.
  3. Keep an eye on the tofu in the last couple of minutes so that they don’t burn. The tofu will look crispy on the edges when it’s ready.

How To Bake Tofu

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until tofu is crispy on the edges. Toss and flip the tofu with a spatula halfway through.
Cooked basil balsamic marinated tofu in a frying pan with a wood spatula

How Do You Know When Tofu Is Cooked?

Cooking tofu will take about 10-12 minutes in a frying pan, and 16-20 minutes in an air fryer or baked in the oven.

During this time the marinade will reduce and the edges of the tofu will turn crispy and golden brown on the outside – That’s when you know it’s ready to eat!

Close up of cooked tofu on a bed of white rice with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

More Marinade Recipes

  • Chicken Marinades – These six marinade recipes will take boring chicken and zest them up with flavor.
  • Salmon Marinades – These marinade recipes will give your salmon amazing taste without overpowering the fish.
  • Pork Chop Marinades – Instead of buying the store-bought marinades that are high in refined sugar, salt, and added preservatives, you can make your own for a fraction of the price instead.
  • Stir Fry Sauces – These homemade sauces are an easy way to add incredible flavor to your vegetables, grains and meats

7 Healthy Tofu Marinade Recipes

Tofu marinades will add incredible flavor to your meal. These marinades are easy to make and include fresh healthy ingredients. You can marinate your tofu in as little as 30 minutes with these seven simple recipes.
4.06 from 50 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


Cilantro Lime Marinade:

  • 14-16 oz extra firm tofu
  • cup avocado oil - sesame oil, olive oil etc.
  • ¼ cup lime juice - or 2 limes, juiced
  • cup cilantro - chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Basil Balsamic Marinade:

Garlic Soy Sauce Marinade:

Fajita Marinade:

Barbecue Marinade:

Honey Mustard Marinade:

Sweet and Sour Marinade:


How To Press The Tofu:

  • Remove the tofu from the package and drain any excess liquid. Place the tofu on 3-4 paper towels. Then add another 3-4 paper towels on top. You can also wrap the tofu in a clean dish towel for this process.
  • Place a clean heavy frying pan or pot on top of the tofu for 30 minutes. This will "press the tofu" and squeeze out any excess moisture.
    If your pan isn't too heavy you can add canned beans on top to create more weight.
    Replace the paper towels halfway through if they become too wet.
  • Once tofu is pressed, use a knife to cut it into 1-inch cubes. Place in a ziploc bag or glass container.

Marinate The Tofu:

  • In a bowl or jar, combine the marinade ingredients and mix together.
  • Pour the marinade into a bag with chopped tofu. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes or longer.
    Note: These marinades create the best flavor when tofu can be soaked for at least 2-4 hours – I prefer to marinate overnight.
    Cubed tofu in a bag with marinade.

How To Cook Tofu In A Frying Pan:

  • Heat a frying pan with a bit of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Pan should be hot before adding in the tofu and sauce. Cook until the tofu is browned on each side, about 8-10 minutes.
    The sauce will reduce during this time and the tofu will get crispy.
    Cooked tofu in a frying pan.

How To Air Fry Tofu:

  • Lightly coat the inside of the air fryer tray or basket with avocado oil spray or other cooking spray.
    Add the chopped tofu to the tray. Cook at 400°F for 16-20 minutes, tossing them halfway through. Tofu will be done when brown and crispy on the sides.

How To Bake Tofu:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet.
    Bake for 16-20 minutes or until tofu is crispy on the edges. Toss and flip the tofu with a spatula halfway through.

Storage Instructions:

  • Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight glass container. You can reheat the tofu leftovers in the frying pan or microwave.
    A glass dish with half white rice and other half cooked cubed tofu.

Recipe Notes:

  • These marinade servings will work for one 14-16 oz block of extra firm tofu. You can always cook more tofu – just double the marinade recipe.
  • It’s important to use “extra firm” tofu to get the crispiest results. 

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving.

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 28th of October 2023

I just prepared the garlic soy marinate and added to our dinner salad, it was excellent and delicious. Can’t wait to try the other recipes.

R. O

Wednesday 10th of May 2023

Can this be frozen in the marinade and cook once defrosted?


Saturday 3rd of June 2023

Yes that should be okay.


Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Do I drain excess marinade off of the tofu, or just add it to the pan to cook off/reduce?


Wednesday 14th of December 2022

You can do both! Either will work.


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Thanks for sharing I don't know what to marinade tofu in so it has flavour ?


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

only tried the sweet & sour so far and it was great!