This crispy Shredded Tofu recipe is not only easy to make but also versatile for a variety of dishes! With just 9 ingredients and the choice of either pan-frying or baking, this shredded tofu recipe guarantees a healthy and protein-packed addition to your meals.
In this blog post, we are showing you how to shred tofu with a cheese grater, which makes the most amazing tender and crisp crumble.
The combination of texture and flavorings makes it taste like vegan ground meat, such as beef, turkey or pulled pork. Plus it is entirely plant-based, gluten-free, eggless, and dairy-free!
In just 45 minutes, you'll create flavorful, nutrient-dense vegan shreds that are perfect for your meal prep and a variety of vegan meals.
For example, in your next Buddha bowl, or with this delightful copycat Café Rio Salad. Another option is to use this tofu technique to make chipotle sofritas or use it for the perfect topping on your loaded vegan fries.
Whether you're seeking a meat substitute or a scrumptious standalone, this recipe will become your go-to solution for quick, flavorful, and nourishing goodness.
To make shredded tofu at home you need the following ingredients:
- Extra-firm Tofu: Our main ingredient provides a protein-rich base. Extra-firm tofu has a great texture for shredding! You’ll want to press it beforehand so that it can absorb the flavors and seasonings.
- Seasonings: This recipe uses a mixture of smoked paprika, onion powder, ground mustard, cumin, black pepper, soy sauce, and chili powder. This is a pulled pork-inspired seasoning, but feel free to get creative with how to season the tofu. For more flavor ideas read our substitution and variation sections below.
- Oil for frying: Use a little bit of oil to crisp up the shredded tofu during pan-frying, as well as enhance its texture and taste. Any oil you like that is suited for frying works! We have oil-free methods mentioned in our step-by-step guide below as well.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Are you looking for substitutions or quicker alternatives? We got you!
- Chickpea Tofu: You may want to omit the soy. Try replacing regular tofu with chickpea tofu, which is made from chickpea flour. It offers a similar texture and can absorb flavors well.
- Seitan: Use seitan, a high-protein wheat gluten product, as a substitute. It has a chewy texture and can work well when shredded and seasoned.
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein): TVP, also referred to as "Soy Granules" or "Soy Curls" is a versatile soy-based product that can mimic the texture of ground meat when rehydrated and seasoned. Use it as a tofu replacement for a different protein source.
- Smoked Paprika: Replace with regular paprika or a dash of liquid smoke for a smoky flavor.
- Ground Mustard: Skip or replace with a small amount of Dijon mustard for a tangy twist.
- Cumin: Consider using coriander or a touch of ground fennel for a different earthy note.
- Black Pepper: Omit or replace with white pepper for a milder flavor.
- Chili Powder: Adjust the heat level by using a pinch of cayenne pepper or omitting it altogether.
- Soy Sauce or Tamari: For a gluten-free option, use tamari. Coconut aminos can also be used as a soy-free and gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.
Enjoy exploring different variations and discovering your favorite twist on our shredded tofu recipe. Remember, substitutions will bring their own unique flavors and textures to the grated tofu!
There are many delicious flavor variations to explore with shredded tofu! Here are a few ideas to play around with to zing up the flavor:
- Asian-inspired: Mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar for an Asian-style marinade.
- Mediterranean: Incorporate Mediterranean flavors by combining 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Tofu Bulgogi: Indulge in the savory-sweet flavors of Tofu Bulgogi by shredding and marinating firm tofu in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice wine, garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds, then pan-frying or grilling until caramelized and garnishing with chopped green onions for a delicious Korean-inspired treat.
- Curry: Infuse your grated tofu with the warmth of 1 tablespoon curry powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, 2 tablespoons coconut milk for creaminess, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.
- Lemon-Herb Tofu: Combine lemon zest, fresh chopped herbs like parsley and chives, and a touch of garlic powder for a bright and refreshing flavor.
- Chipotle Sofritas: Capture the bold flavors of Chipotle with our smoky and spicy Chipotle Sofritas blend, to create a rich and smoky marinade that infuses the tofu with a satisfying heat and depth of flavor.
Feel free to mix and match these flavor variations and play with the recipe. Experimenting with different ingredients and flavors is part of the fun! If you end up whipping up a fantastic variation, don't forget to drop a comment at the bottom of the blog post! I'm all ears and absolutely thrilled to hear about your culinary adventures.
This recipe requires minimal equipment! All you need is a cheese grater to shred the tofu, or alternatively use a kitchen mandolin or a food processor. You need a bowl to mix the freshly shredded tofu with the seasonings, and a frying pan. Or alternatively a baking sheet, or air-fryer.
We do recommend using a tofu press for pressing your tofu, as it significantly simplifies the process. If you don't have a tofu press, place the tofu between layers of paper towels or a kitchen towel, then add weight on top using heavy objects like plates and books.
👩🏽🍳 How To Make
Let's chat about how to make easy shredded tofu at home:
1. Drain and press the tofu. We recommend using a tofu press for this step, as it simplifies and streamlines the process. Press the tofu for a minimum of 30 minutes. Ideally, place it in your tofu press the night before and let it press overnight in the fridge.
2. Shred the pressed tofu using a cheese grater. Place the grater on its side while grating to prevent the tofu from falling out. This technique facilitates transferring the grated tofu to a bowl quickly. Alternatively, you can also use your food processor or a kitchen mandolin to shred your tofu.
3. Transfer the shredded tofu to a big bowl, add the listed seasonings, and mix thoroughly with your hands until the seasonings cover all of the tofu. Cover the bowl and allow the tofu to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes. For maximum flavor absorption, marinate the tofu overnight in the fridge.
4. Pan-frying: Heat oil in a big pan or skillet, preferably using non-stick. Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu until it turns crisp and brown. The longer you fry it, the crispier the tofu will become.
Alternative Cooking Methods
- Baking Method: Preheat your oven to 355°F (180°C). Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread out the tofu. Bake for 30 mins, stir halfway. The tofu should be crisp and browned at the end.
- Air-Fryer Method: Preheat your air fryer to 355°F (180°C). Evenly spread marinated tofu in the basket, on an air-fryer liner or parchment paper for easier cleanup and to prevent sticking or the tofu from falling through the basket. Air-fry tofu for around 15 minutes, shaking halfway through. Adjust the time for desired crispiness and do not overcrowd your air-fryer. Optional: Spray tofu with cooking oil before air-frying for extra crunch.
🍱 How to Meal Prep Shredded Tofu
For convenient meal prep, shred and marinate the tofu according to your preferred flavors. Portion the shredded tofu into airtight containers, label them with the type and date, and store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
For optimal texture and flavor, we recommend frying the tofu shortly before eating, rather than during the initial meal prep. This helps maintain its crispiness and prevents it from becoming overly soggy or losing its texture during storage.
However, frying the tofu ahead of time can save you time during your busy week and still provide you with a flavorful and convenient protein option. Just be mindful of reheating methods to help maintain the crispy texture of the fried tofu. Both ways work, so decide how you want to do this yourself and keep the other components you are prepping in mind.
✨ Sprinkle's Expert Tips ✨
- Press the Tofu Well: Properly press the tofu to remove excess moisture. We really love using a tofu press, as it is easy, efficient and thorough!
- Press, Freeze, and Thaw: For a chewy and even meatier texture, freeze the tofu after pressing it. Thaw it in the fridge before proceeding with shredding and marinating it. Freezing changes the tofu's texture, making it more porous and allowing it to soak up marinades even more effectively.
- Make a Big Batch for Meal Prep: Shred and marinate a larger batch of tofu to have on hand for meal prep throughout the week. This saves time and allows you to quickly incorporate delicious protein into your dishes.
- Pair with Complimentary Sauces: Serve shredded tofu with sauces and vegan condiments that complement its flavor, such as peanut sauce, teriyaki, BBQ, tahini dressing, or chimichurri.
- Think About Textural Contrast: Consider adding crunchy elements like nuts, seeds, or crispy vegetables when incorporating shredded tofu into dishes.
🥘 Serving Ideas
No matter if you call it shredded tofu, pulled tofu, grated tofu, or minced tofu - it is versatile! Eat your seasoned shredded tofu on its own, or use it as tofu ground beef, or as a ground turkey substitute in your meals. Here are some of our favorite serving ideas:
- Add it to pasta sauces, such as tofu bolognese, for a protein boost and added texture.
- Enhance salads or Buddha bowls by using the shredded tofu as a protein-packed topping. We love a good shredded tofu bowl! Furthermore, we love to put it on our copycat Café Rio Salad and into our vegan taco pasta salad!
- Amp up your tacos, vegan enchiladas, or quesadillas by incorporating shredded tofu as a delectable meat alternative.
- Mix the grated tofu into a hearty casserole dish, like vegan lasagna.
- Elevate your curries like this vegan aloo gobi and chickpea tikka masala, or add the shredded tofu to your chili.
- Enjoy it as a satisfying filling on your sandwiches!
- Get creative by using the shredded tofu as a filling for dumplings or pierogi.
- Infuse soups and stews like this Mediterranean vegetable stew, or goulash.
- Shredded tofu is also great as a filling for wraps, burritos, or Döner.
- Use the grated tofu as a topping for nachos or loaded vegan fries, or on top of roasted potatoes.
- Incorporate the shredded tofu into breakfast burritos and breakfast bowls.
- Mix the shredded tofu into fried rice or stir-fry for a wholesome and satisfying dinner option.
- Stuff peppers or zucchini with the shredded tofu and rice mixture.
💭 Recipe FAQ
The great part about tofu is that it crisps wonderfully, even without oil! For best crisp results use the air-fryer method.
Yes, you can! Use the grating or shredding disc that typically comes with the machine.
You probably didn't press it thoroughly or didn't cook it long enough. Ensuring your tofu is well-pressed to remove excess moisture is key to achieving crispiness. Additionally, make sure your pan or baking sheet is hot before cooking and avoid overcrowding the pan. If needed, try increasing the temperature.
Shredding and grating tofu are quite similar. Shredding creates longer, thin strips while grating results in smaller, finer pieces. The choice depends on your texture preference.
Extra-firm tofu is the go-to for crispy results. It has less water content and holds up well when cooked. However, if you can only get firm tofu, make sure to press it thoroughly for at least 8 hours in the fridge and it will get crispy too!
Silken tofu, sometimes referred to as Japanese-style tofu, is way softer than regular tofu and will fall apart. Therefore, silken and extra-firm tofu should not be interchanged in this recipe.
Overall tofu is healthier than meat! Tofu is high in nutrients, including fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein, and zinc, without the cholesterol and saturated fat found in meat!
Do you have more general questions about tofu? Make sure to check out our tofu tips guide!
🥣 Storage & Reheating Instructions
Fridge: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in a pan or in the oven to crisp it up before serving. However, it also tastes great when cold!
Freezing: Store in a freezer-friendly bag or container and label it with the date of freezing. Place it in the freezer, where it will remain fresh for up to three months. To defrost, leave it in the fridge overnight or briefly re-fry it in a pan, reheat it in the oven, or even microwave.
🌱 More Recipes with Tofu
Easy Shredded Tofu
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu (1 block)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder (use more if you want it spicier)
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
- oil for frying, such as avocado oil or cooking spray
- Drain and press the tofu. We recommend using a tofu press for this step, as it simplifies and streamlines the process. Press the tofu for a minimum of 30 minutes. Ideally, place it in your tofu press the night before and let it press overnight in the fridge.
- If you don't have a tofu press, place the tofu between paper towels or a kitchen towel, and then weigh it down with heavy objects like plates and books.
Shredding and Seasoning Tofu
- Shred the pressed tofu using a cheese grater. Place the grater on its side while grating to prevent the tofu from falling out. This technique facilitates transferring the grated tofu to a bowl quickly. Be cautious not to cut yourself. For small chunks that break off and are too small to grate, use a kitchen knife to chop them. Alternatively, you can also use your food processor or a kitchen mandolin to shred your tofu.
- Transfer the shredded tofu to a big bowl, add the listed seasonings, and mix thoroughly with your hands until the seasonings cover all of the tofu. Cover the bowl and allow the tofu to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes. For maximum flavor absorption, marinate the tofu overnight in the fridge.
- Heat oil in a big pan or skillet, preferably using non-stick. Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu until it turns crisp and brown. The longer you fry it, the crispier the tofu will become.
- Preheat your oven to 355°F (which is 180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and/or grease it with heat-resistant oil. Spread the tofu evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, pausing halfway through to stir the tofu. The tofu should be browned. For even crispier shreds, extend the baking time; for a more tender texture, reduce the baking time slightly.
- Preheat your air fryer to 355°F (which is 180°C). Spread the marinated tofu evenly in the air fryer basket. We recommend using an air-fryer liner or parchment paper, as it helps with cleanup and prevents any potential sticking or mess in the air fryer basket. Just be mindful of the air circulation in your air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding. Cook the tofu in the air fryer for about 15 minutes, shaking the basket or stirring the tofu halfway through to ensure even cooking. Adjust the cooking time for your preferred level of crispiness.
The provided nutritional information is an estimate. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For food safety see guidelines at USDA.gov.