Elevate your tofu game with this quick, affordable, and easy Tofu Steak recipe. It takes less than an hour with only 20 minutes of active prep time!
Marinated in a smoky blend of soy sauce, maple syrup, and spices, our delicious tofu steak is grilled to perfection for a crispy exterior and tender inside. No grill pan? No problem! Baking, frying, and air-frying options are available too.
This grilled tofu steak recipe is perfect during summer, but we honestly love it all year round! Generally, tofu is an amazing plant-based protein source and we eat it almost every day, that is why you find so many tofu recipes on this blog!
To make this marinated tofu steak at home you need the following ingredients:
- Extra-firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu forms the base of this recipe, providing a sturdy texture that crisps beautifully while absorbing the smoky and savory flavors of the marinade.
- Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika is a key ingredient that adds a smoky, slightly spicy flavor to the tofu. It enhances the depth of flavor and mimics the charred taste you'd get from grilling over an open flame.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce provides a rich, savory, and umami flavor to the marinade.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the savory and smoky flavors. It also helps create a caramelized exterior!
- Optional: Use your favorite store-bought steak seasoning mix to give it an extra splash of flavor! Make sure the seasonings in it complement the marinade.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Are you looking for substitutions or quicker alternatives? We got you!
- Tofu: Instead of extra firm tofu, you can use super firm or firm tofu as well. Do not use silken tofu, as it is too soft and would easily fall apart! If you're looking to explore different textures or flavors, try using different types of plant-based proteins. Some alternative ideas include chickpea tofu, tempeh, seitan, textured vegetable protein, and even vegetables like portobello mushrooms or eggplant!
- Soy Sauce: Tamari or coconut aminos can be used as alternatives to soy sauce, especially if you're looking for a gluten-free option.
- Maple Syrup: Agave nectar or brown rice syrup are great alternatives!
- Vegetable Oil: Substitute with olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil or any other cooking oil you prefer. We like to use vegetable oil, as it is neutral in taste.
- Smoked Paprika: Regular paprika or a touch of cayenne pepper can be used if you don't have smoked paprika. Keep in mind that this might alter the smoky flavor profile. Another alternative is using liquid smoke.
Remember, substitutions will bring their own unique flavors and textures to this grilled tofu steak recipe!
There are many delicious flavor variations to explore with this recipe! Here are a few ideas:
- Japanese Tofu Steak: A Japanese-style tofu steak marinade could feature ingredients like mirin (sweet rice wine), soy sauce, sake (Japanese rice wine), grated ginger, and minced garlic. Additional elements might include sesame oil for depth, a touch of brown sugar for balance, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a nutty crunch. Serve with a drizzle of teriyaki glaze or a dash of yuzu juice for a refreshing citrus note.
- Spicy: Add a kick to the marinade with red pepper flakes, Sriracha, or chili paste like gochujang for a spicy and bold twist.
- Lemon Herb: Swap the smoky paprika for lemon zest and add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley for a bright and herby flavor.
- Teriyaki: Create a teriyaki-inspired marinade by incorporating ingredients like mirin, sake, or pineapple juice, along with soy sauce and ginger, for a sweet and savory taste.
- Miso Tofu: Mix miso paste into the marinade for a deep umami flavor. You can also add a touch of mirin or sake for sweetness.
- Curry: Make a marinade with curry powder or curry paste and pair it with coconut milk for a creamy and fragrant twist.
- Balsamic Glazed Tofu: Replace soy sauce with balsamic vinegar and add a touch of Dijon mustard for a tangy flavor.
- BBQ Tofu Steak: Create a BBQ-inspired marinade using tomato paste, molasses, liquid smoke, and a touch of brown sugar. Another option is using your favorite barbecue sauce as a marinade or glaze.
If you end up whipping up a fantastic variation, don't forget to drop a comment at the bottom of the blog post!
To make tofu steak you need a few kitchen items! A tofu press is helpful for pressing excess moisture out of the tofu before marinating.
The recipe grills the tofu steaks and you can use an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan for this. A grill pan with ridges will help create those desired grill marks on the tofu. For tofu steak, we love using a non-stick grill pan the best! If you're using an outdoor grill, a cooking brush can be handy for oiling the grill grates to prevent sticking.
A knife and cutting board, a whisk, tongs or a spatula, a shallow dish or resealable bag, and measuring spoons are useful tools to make this recipe!
Equipment for Alternative Cooking Methods
Baking or frying the tofu is possible with this recipe too! If you choose to bake the tofu in the oven instead of grilling, you'll need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Additionally, oven mitts or pot holders are necessary for handling the hot baking sheet. If you decide to fry the tofu, use a skillet, pan, or air-fryer.
👩🏽🍳 How To Make Tofu Steak
Let's chat about how to make tofu steak! Before you even start we need to prepare our tofu for cooking.
Begin by draining and pressing the tofu for at least 15 minutes to remove excess moisture. For the best results, allow it to be pressed the night before in a tofu press in the fridge. Alternatively, press your tofu by placing it between paper towels, and topped with heavy objects.
1. Cut the tofu into slices that are approximately 1 inch thick.
2. In a shallow dish or small measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, maple syrup, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Optionally, add dashes of your favorite store-bought steak seasoning to the marinade!
3. Place the tofu slices in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the tofu, ensuring that all sides are evenly coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
4. When you are ready preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, 350°F to 400°F (which is 175°C to 200°C). Place the marinated slices onto the hot grill or grill pan. Grill each side for 5-6 minutes, or until the tofu turns golden brown and distinct grill marks form.
If you do not have access to a grill or grill pan, use one of our alternative methods listed below to prepare the tofu steak.
Alternative Cooking Methods
- Tofu Steak in Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the marinated tofu slices on the sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway, until both sides are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let rest briefly before serving.
- Pan-frying Tofu Steak: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to the skillet, if desired, and carefully place the marinated tofu slices in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the tofu is golden brown and crispy
- Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease the air fryer basket or tray. We like to spray it with cooking oil as a quick and easy method. Place the marinated tofu slices in a single layer and air fry for 12-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time, until they're crispy and golden.
✨ Sprinkle's Expert Tips ✨
- Use a tofu press: Pressing your tofu with a tofu press is a game changer! It contributes to achieving a better texture and optimizes the tofu's ability to absorb all the flavors from our marinade without any hassle or mess!
- Let it marinate: Give the tofu lots of time to marinate. Allow at least 15 minutes, and for even more flavor, marinate it overnight in the fridge. The longer it marinades, the more flavorful it will be!
- Preheat the grill: Ensure your grill or grill pan is properly preheated before placing the tofu on it. This helps in achieving those sought-after grill marks and preventing sticking.
- Use little to no oil: Tofu is mostly water and it crisps and browns very well without the usage of oil. If you use oil during the cooking process use just a little and make sure it has a high heat/smoke point.
- Be patient: Cooking tofu well requires a bit of practice and patience. Check out our tofu tips guide! It is packed with tips and tricks to elevate your tofu game. Follow the recipe steps carefully and avoid rushing the process for the best results. If this is your first time cooking with tofu, I hope you enjoy the process, and feel free to share any questions or concerns with me in the comment section at the end of this blog post!
🥘 Serving Ideas
- Japanese Tofu Steak: If you are trying out a Japanese-style tofu steak pair it with steamed rice, sautéed vegetables, and a sprinkle of chopped scallions.
- Potatoes: Create a dynamic plate by pairing it with your favorite potato dish! We love to pair it with these roasted baby potatoes and cherry tomatoes. And our tangy and hearty vegan German potato salad makes for a satisfying combination! Another classic serving idea is enjoying it with vegan french fries and dollops of your favorite vegan condiments.
- Tangy Roasted Baby Corn: Elevate your meal with tangy roasted baby corn that complements the savory flavors of the tofu.
- Vegan Salads: Serve your tofu steak on a bed of fresh, vibrant vegan salads featuring leafy greens, colorful veggies, and a variety of dressings.
- Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms: Add depth and earthiness to your dish by serving it alongside balsamic-sautéed mushrooms.
- Vegan BBQ Platter: Make it a star at your vegan BBQ by serving it with grilled veggies, plant-based sausages, and all the classic BBQ fixings.
- Grilled Tteokbokki: Pair it with grilled tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes) for a fusion dish that delights the palate.
- Side to Pasta Dishes: Accompany your favorite vegan pasta dishes with your grilled tofu steaks for a protein-packed and flavorful addition to your meal.
- Rice and Grains: Serve your grilled marinated tofu steak with flavored rice, such as lemon rice or coconut-lime rice. Other grain-based serving ideas include quinoa, couscous, barley, quinoa, or bulgur.
💭 Recipe FAQ
As the name explains it is made with tofu. Tofu is made from soybeans, a healthy plant-based protein source. In addition to that, the tofu is seasoned with a marinade to give it flavor and color.
Tofu, when pressed and cooked well, often mimics the texture of meat, resembling tender cuts like chicken or pork. This versatile texture suits both meat and plant-based dishes, appealing to those seeking meat-like experiences without animal products. Yet, remember tofu is neutral in taste. For flavor, rely on marinades and seasonings!
Cooking tofu to perfection involves different methods, influenced by factors such as tofu type and desired texture. For extra-firm tofu, begin with pressing and marinating for flavor absorption. Use oil-free or low-oil marinades to maintain texture balance. Opt for grilling, baking, or frying to achieve a crispy exterior and soft interior, creating a delightful contrast in textures.
Absolutely, tofu steak is great to make in advance. You can either marinate a big batch and cook it when you are ready, or cook it and store it in the fridge. When you're ready to enjoy it, gently reheat it in a pan, oven, or microwave.
Pressing firm and extra firm tofu is important to remove excess moisture. Tofu is full of water and excess water affects the texture and taste of it. If you do not press it, the excess water can prevent it from crisping up and absorbing flavors during marinating and cooking. By pressing tofu, you achieve a firmer texture, enhance its ability to absorb marinades, and ensure even cooking, resulting in a more flavorful and satisfying tofu dish.
When grilling, resist the urge to flip the tofu too soon. Allow it to develop grill marks and a golden crust before turning.
🥣 Storage and Reheating Instructions
Fridge: To store any leftover cooked tofu steak, allow it to cool to room temperature before wrapping it in plastic wrap or placing it in an airtight container. It can be safely stored for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing: If you choose to freeze your leftover tofu steak, wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container labeled with the date. Keep in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. When you are ready to use the frozen tofu steak, thaw it in the fridge before reheating. Please note that freezing tofu alters its texture! Reheat by grilling, baking, or pan-searing, understanding that the texture might differ from freshly cooked.
Easy Tofu Steak
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu (1 block)
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ tablespoons oil such as vegetable or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and black pepper to taste
- steak seasoning to taste
- oil to brush onto your grill
- Begin by draining and pressing the tofu to remove excess moisture. For the best results, allow it to be pressed the night before in the fridge. We recommend using a tofu press for this step. Alternatively, press your tofu by placing it between paper towels, and topped with heavy objects.
Preparing the tofu steak
- Cut the tofu into slices that are approximately 1 inch thick.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, maple syrup, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Optional: Add dashes of your favorite store-bought steak seasoning!
- Place the tofu slices in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the tofu, ensuring that all sides are evenly coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes. For best flavor results let it soak longer, or even overnight in the fridge.
- Once the tofu has marinated, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, 350°F to 400°F (which is 175°C to 200°C).
- Place the slices onto the prepared, hot grill or grill pan. Grill each side for 5-6 minutes, or until the tofu turns golden brown and distinct grill marks form. If you do not have access to a grill or grill pan, use one of our alternative methods listed below to prepare the tofu steak.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the marinated tofu slices on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip the tofu halfway through the baking time, ensuring both sides become golden brown and crispy.
- Once done, remove the tofu from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
Pan Frying Method:
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the marinated tofu slices in the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the tofu is golden brown and crispy.
Air Frying Method:
- Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease the air fryer basket or tray. We like to spray it with cooking oil as a quick and easy method.
- Place the marinated tofu slices in a single layer and air fry for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time, until they're crispy and golden.
- Serve the grilled tofu steak while it's hot, and if desired, garnish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds and your desired sides. Enjoy!
The provided nutritional information is an estimate. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For food safety see guidelines at USDA.gov.