This ultra simple and quick hoisin tofu makes for the best weeknight dinner recipe. It is very flavorful, so easy to make, high in plant-based protein and super satisfying. Made using only a few ingredients and it's 100% vegan.
I am so obsessed with any kind of saucy Asian tofu recipe.
I already have a few of them my website because I make them often, at least once a week. One of my all time favorite is this tofu stir-fry with bok choy or this gochujang tofu, which has a little spicy twist to it. Or I'll make this sweet and sour tofu often too during the weeknights: it so quick and a little sweet too, which my kids adore.
A saucy sweet and savory Asian sauce is what any tofu skeptic needs to love tofu more!
Anyway, I am obviously always looking for more of those type of recipes, so I made a super simple hoisin tofu dinner the other day that we all absolutely loved. So I made it again to share here with you guys!
And I am not kidding when I say it is super simple. This recipe definitely was made for those weeknight dinners when you need something fast and tasty to feed your family.
The sauce highlights hoisin, which is an Asian condiment you can find anywhere, but also includes garlic, soy sauce, a little sesame oil, sweetener and a touch of sriracha (optional). Even though it is super straightforward, the sauce is SO good and has that perfect balance of tangy vs sweet vs umami that's so addictive.
Plus it really is done super quickly: you can start by roasting cubes of tofu in the pan (10 min), which will give you plenty of time to whisk a few ingredients to make the Asian hoisin sauce. Once the tofu is done to your taste, then simply pour the sauce in the pan and let it thicken (1-2 minutes). So technically, this super flavorful hoisin tofu recipe should be ready within 15-20 minutes!
This is a high-protein vegan recipe, thanks to the firm tofu, that's satisfying and will keep you full for a while. Also makes for a great recipe to serve to anyone, whether they are vegan or not, they will love it!
Serve over noodles or rice with a side of veggies for a filling, fully plant-based and super delicious dinner. I hope you give it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Quick and easy recipe perfect for the whole family
- Versatile ways to serve it: over rice bowls, in sandwiches, with noodles, etc.
- So straightforward + simple yet bold in flavors, thanks to the hoisin
- Makes for an amazing weeknight dinner
- Crispy glazed outside and soft tender middle
- Make more to have yummy leftovers, they store well!
- Loaded with plant-based protein
- 100% vegan and can be made gluten-free
What is hoisin sauce
Hoisin is a thick and dark Cantonese sauce used in marinades, to make dipping sauce, used in stir-fries and much more. It tastes sweet and salty at the same time and has a very unique flavor.
It is made out of fermented soybeans, garlic, spices, starches, sugar and vinegar. There are many different kinds of hoisin sauces: some are already made for dipping (usually sweeter) and some are used as a condiment to add to marinades (usually more savory and less sweet).
You can find hoisin in most grocery stores in the Asian section.
Ingredients you'll need
- Tofu: use extra-firm tofu for best chewy and crispy result.
- Hoisin sauce: I used the hoisin sauce from the brand 365 that I got at Whole Foods, but simply use one that you can find.
- Garlic: garlic is incorporated in the sauce and won't cook for very long, so I used only 1 clove. If you really love the taste of garlic, then simply add more!
- Soy sauce: adds more umami and salty flavor.
- Maple syrup: preferred sweetener for this recipe, it adds such an amazing caramelized flavor that pairs well with the hoisin. You will have to adjust how much to add depending on how sweet your hoisin sauce already is.
- Sesame oil: you can omit it if you want to make this recipe oil-free, but I love sesame oil in Asian sauces for the nutty flavor it brings. A little goes a long way, so you won't need very much!
- Sriracha: optional. Omit if making this recipe for kids or if you are sensitive to spicy food.
How to make hoisin tofu
I would recommend to start by prepping the other ingredients you want to serve the hoisin tofu with, especially if serving over brown rice and roasting/steaming veggies. The hoisin tofu will be ready under 20 minutes!
Roast the tofu
Drain and pat dry the tofu well. You can roll it in a clean hand towel or a few layers of paper towels and then gently press on it to remove the extra moisture. Then, slice the tofu to your desired shape, I like to cube it for this recipe.
Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil and then add the tofu. Cook for about 8-10 minutes flipping once in a while. The tofu is done roasting when crispy and golden brown on most sides.
Add the sauce and serve
While the tofu is roasting, then whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl (hoisin, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, sesame oil, sriracha (if using)).
When the tofu is done to your liking, then turn down the heat. Once the pan isn’t as hot anymore, then pour the hoisin sauce over the pan. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce is thick to your liking (turn the heat back up if needed, lowering the heat prevents large splatters).
- For a crispier tofu, then you will can use more oil. You can also coat the tofu in cornstarch first (check out this tofu bok choy stir fry recipe to see how I do this), although will get softer fairly quick after combined with the sauce. Drying the tofu really well and using a cast-iron pan can also help crisp it better.
- To make a quick dinner recipe, then you can use frozen brown rice (that thaws and warms up within a few minutes) and frozen veggies, such as broccoli, beans, carrot, cauliflower, etc. Simply roast/steam the vegetables while the tofu is cooking.
For a tasty dinner, simply serve this hoisin stir fry over rice or noodles with a side of veggies. As seen in the pictures, I chose ramen and broccoli and it was great. Udon, quinoa, vermicelli, barley would all be perfect too.
Other vegetables that would pair well are bok choy, cauliflower, shiitake mushroom and Chinese broccoli.
You can top with chives or green onions and also, for a nice crunch, top with toasted cashews or peanuts.
You can also serve this saucy tofu different ways, such as:
- Peanut butter: hoisin sauce works amazingly with peanut butter, as seen in my hoisin peanut butter sauce. So, feel-free to top a bowl of vegan peanut noodles for a good match in flavors and to add more protein to your meal.
- Salads: top Asian style salads to make it more filling, such as this Asian carrot cucumber salad or this edamame crunch salad.
- Wraps: Use this recipe to fill up lettuce or tortilla wraps! Add some crunchy purple cabbage, peanuts and sliced cucumber. Delicious!
- Bowls: Similarly to this teriyaki baked tofu bowl, add this saucy hoisin tofu over buddha bowls or grain bowls with rice and crunchy romaine. Also include some veggies, edamame, green onions and drizzle extra sriracha over, if desired.
- Rolls: Use it as your protein to include in summer rolls. Simply slice the tofu in sticks instead of cubes for rolling purposes.
- Sandwiches: You can also slice the tofu in a cutlet shape instead and use this recipe to make sandwiches!
Variations to the recipe
This recipe is highly customizable and you should make sure to taste the sauce to adjust ingredients to your taste before adding it to the pan. Don't forget that hoisin sauces vary widely in flavor and some sauces are super sweet and others not that much. Because of that, you will likely have to adjust the amount of maple syrup.
Also, I included some sriracha sauce to my recipe, which added flavor with a very mild spicy taste that was mostly undetectable. But, you can omit all together, especially if serving for kids, or simply add more if looking for a spicier sauce.
You can also include some fresh grated ginger, which would work well with the flavor profile of this recipe
This hoisin tofu stores pretty well, although the initial crispy texture will be lost overtime as the tofu will absorb more of the sauce while resting. But, it will still be delicious!
Keep in an air-tight in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and simply reheat using the microwave. If you prefer to reheat on the stove, then you might need to add a splash of water to the pan so it does not dry out.
Yes, store bought hoisin sauces are usually naturally vegan, although I recommend to always check the ingredient list.
You can bake the tofu in the oven, although you will still have to make the sauce on the stove. To make it that way, then bake the cubes of tofu on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven (400º) for about 25 minutes or until golden brown, flipping half way through. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients in a small pot and heat up on medium-high heat until thicker. Then, simply combine the baked tofu with the warm sauce and serve.
Simply omit the sesame oil in the sauce recipe and roast the tofu without oil in a non-stick pan. The tofu won't get as crispy, but it will work and be just as delicious!
I didn't press the tofu this time, especially since I didn't marinate it. But, be sure to pat dry as well as you can to remove the extra moisture, it will crisp better that way!
No, hoisin sauces are often thickened with a wheat product, making them not gluten-free. That being said, there are some GF hoisin sauces you can find, such as this hoisin from the brand San-J. If making this recipe gluten-free, then be sure to also use a GF tamari sauce.
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I hope you like this hoisin tofu recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Easy Hoisin Tofu
- 14-16 oz extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup - or more to taste (this depends on how sweet your hoisin sauce is)
- 1 large clove of garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce - optional (omit if sensitive to heat)
- Drain and pat dry the block of tofu as well as you can using a clean towel.
- Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil (I use an oil spray) and then, add the cubed tofu. Cook on medium-high heat flipping once in a while until golden brown on most sides, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together (hoisin, maple syrup, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha, if using). Then, taste the sauce and see if it needs more sweetener (some brands of hoisin aren't that sweet while others are super sweet already).
- When the tofu looks done to your liking, then turn down the heat. Wait a minute and then, pour the sauce over (if the pan is too hot, it will splatter a lot!). Stir constantly and keep cooking (you can turn the heat back up) until the sauce thickens to a glaze and coats the tofu nicely, which should only take 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve over rice or noodles with a side of veggies.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat using the microwave or on the stove (add a splash of water if necessary).
- You can also serve this hoisin tofu recipe over buddha bowls, salads and in sandwiches. Check out the blog post for more details!