The Simple Trick For Ultra Crispy Tofu

Tofu has an over 2000-year-old history and currently is the go-to meat alternative protein, according to Thrillist. The plant-based staple for vegans and vegetarians alike is derived from soybeans and put through a process similar to cheesemaking to attain its recognizable silken white block form. Since tofu arrives as a flavorless blank slate, many accuse the food of being bland. Cookbook author Andrea Nguyen counters, arguing that "it's a mighty little ingredient" (via Food and Wine). Truly, tofu is as good as you prepare it, meaning you must achieve the right flavor and texture to enjoy it — just as you would for any meat product. 

While perfectly crispy tofu may seem near impossible to achieve, it's actually relatively easy to do when equipped with a few simple tricks. Common strategies for getting crispy tofu include pressing it to remove moisture, and coating the diced pieces in starches like corn or potato starch, says Taste of Home. But many forget one crucial step that can be the difference between soggy, shapeless cubes, and satisfyingly golden, crunchy tofu. 

Crispy tofu needs high heat

High heat is key, no matter the cooking method, says Livestrong. Whether you're frying tofu in the pan, baking it in the oven, or using an air fryer, dial up the heat. Be careful, though, and check to see if the pan or baking sheet you use can withstand high temperatures.

Chef Olivia Roszkowski explains why heat is so good for tofu, saying that "Crisping occurs at a high temperature, at a medium to high flame, and in a pan that is not overcrowded." She advises that "If using a metal baking pan to bake, heat it in a hot oven for 10 minutes before arranging and baking the tofu."

If you're sautéeing, avoid accidentally steaming the tofu, which will not give you the crispy outer coating. Do this by keeping the lid off the pan, in addition to using high heat, instructs Oregon Live. Your final job is to enjoy the fruits — or the crispy tofu squares — of your labor.