Brown Sugar BBQ Tofu

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This recipe pairs crispy tofu with a deliciously sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. It’s absolutely delicious, especially when paired with a grain or veggie.

Crispy Tofu

Our favorite way to prepare tofu is by coating it in cornstarch and lightly frying to crisp perfection. First, you’ll freeze and defrost the tofu (if desired – this yields a “meatier” texture), then you’ll slice and press the tofu, and finally, you’ll coat it in cornstarch and pan-fry it.

Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

This sauce is perfectly sweet, sticky, and smoky. It requires the following ingredients:

  • BBQ sauce
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • cornstarch + water (this is your cornstarch slurry – it’ll thicken the sauce)

How to serve this dish

Once you combine the crispy tofu with the brown sugar BBQ sauce, you’ll end up with a mouthwatering dish that is delicious on its own or paired with a vegetable or grain. You could also throw it in between a bun to create a BBQ sandwich, put it on top of pizza, or serve it as an appetizer dipped into vegan ranch!

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Brown Sugar BBQ Tofu

This recipe pairs crispy tofu with a deliciously sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. It’s absolutely delicious, especially when paired with a grain or veggie.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Press Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings


Crispy Tofu

  • 1 (14-16 oz [396-453 g]) block extra firm tofu (frozen and defrosted [if desired], pressed, and chopped into cubes)*
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cooking oil of choice


  • 1 1/2 tbsp (11 g) cornstarch + 1 1/2 tbsp (22 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (128 g) BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (22 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste


Make the crispy tofu

  • Cut the pressed tofu into small cubes.
  • Place into a large mixing bowl and add the cornstarch.
  • Gently shake around so that all the pieces are coated in cornstarch (alternatively you can coat each piece separately).
  • Heat the oil on a non-stick large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Place each piece of tofu in the pan.
  • Allow them to crisp on the bottom side, and then flip them around and allow to crisp on every side.

Meanwhile, make the sauce:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium-high, add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook, whisking often, until the sauce begins to boil. Whisk in the cornstarch. Cook until the sauce is thick and sticky.
  • Add the tofu to the sauce and stir until well coated. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve! This is delicious with steamed broccoli, rice, or served in a veggie bowl.


For a more “meaty” texture, freeze the tofu overnight, then defrost it before pressing. You can freeze and defrost the tofu twice for the best texture. Be sure to press out the water before using. Head to this blog post for tutorial on how to press tofu.
    • Dylan Stills
    • June 8, 2022

    Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegan. It usually contains fish oil of some sort.

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