Hot and Sour Broiled Tofu

Every now and then it’s good for me to eat some protein rather than cookies.

And although I prefer cookies to tofu, as tofu goes, this is a win.

I know many people say they don’t like tofu, but I think that has more to do with the preparation than the product.

I wrote a Tofu Tips Post to help demystify preparing it and cooking it, so your tofu turns out right, every time.

One secret to making restaurant-style tofu at home is to use extra firm tofu that’s been very well pressed to remove the water. Removing the water before marinating it is key to creating dense and chewy tofu. Mushy tofu is not something I ever enjoy.

I use my Tofu Press, but if you don’t have one, wrapping the tofu in layers and layers of paper towels like it’s a little Christmas present, then setting it on a baking tray with another heavy object on top of it will work.

Placing a heavy cast iron pan on it so it’ll release at least a cup of water is necessary.

I press overnight, or for up to 3 days in advance. Just like I have cookie dough and bread dough chilling in my fridge, I usually have tofu pressing, too. It’s quite the scene in my fridge.

For the marinade, hot pepper jelly is a key ingredient. I love it so much and have two recipes for homemade. Either can it or make it on the stove top, in about an hour.

Trader Joe’s version is great or it’s sold in the condiments or ethnic foods aisle of most grocery stores. If your store doesn’t carry hot pepper jelly, using sweet and sour sauce will work. You may wish to add some finely diced red peppers or cayenne to kick it up if you’re using sweet and sour sauce.

The tofu cooks very fast. After a quick 7 minute stint under the broiler, it’s ready. Make sure when you’re broiling it, to pay very, very close attention so you don’t char it.

Before broiling, blot any major pooling of marinade like you can see on the Silpat. If you don’t blot that, it’ll char into a black, gross mess before the tofu cooks through and your smoke detector will probably go off.

Your oven, marinade, and the moisture content will determine broiling time and even an extra minute can cause it to go from raw to burnt. Stand in the kitchen in front of the oven and watch it the entire time.

After 5 minutes, I open the oven door and rotate the pan every 30 seconds or so, finding the sweet spot under the broiler until all pieces are evenly golden.

The marinade of hot pepper jelly, honey (or agave to keep vegan), and apple cider vinegar thickens while it cooks, creating a glistening hot slick on the firm, chewy, and dense tofu.

The ginger, cayenne, and red pepper flavors marry and pack a punch with creeper heat. If you want in-your-face heat, double the cayenne pepper.

I love broiled tofu and could eat the whole block in a sitting. Since it’s vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein I wouldn’t feel bad.

It’s also great diced and tossed with extra marinade over quinoa, couscous, lentils, or in a brown rice side salad. Leftovers can be served chilled or warm, it’s great either way.

It’s hot, sweet, sour, tangy. All the elements I go for. It’s firm, dense, extra chewy, and not mushy.

It’ll make believers out of tofu naysayers.

Yield: 12 to 16 thin slices

Hot and Sour Broiled Tofu

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

This tofu will make a believer out of even people who say they don’t like tofu. The secret to making it is to start with well-pressed tofu. It’s firm, chewy, and full of intense flavor – sweet from the hot pepper jelly and honey/agave, while the cayenne, ginger, and hot peppers pieces add a kick. It’s addictive in the way spicier foods are – once you start, you want more, which is okay when it’s as healthy as this recipe.


  • one 16-ounce block extra-firm tofu; drained, pressed, and sliced
  • heaping 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly] (use homemade [hot pepper jelly
  • 1/2 cup h0ney (or agave to keep vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste


  1. Open tofu package, drain the water, and place tofu in a tofu press and press it for at least one hour, or overnight; refrigerate it if you’re pressing overnight. If you don’t have a tofu press, wrap the block of tofu in at least 8 paper towels, going round and round, like wrapping a present. Place the wrapped tofu on a rimmed baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu and set a heavy cookbook or cast iron pan on top. The weight from the heavy object will cause the tofu to release water and the paper towels will soak it up, and excess water will be contained in the baking sheet. If you notice the paper towels are drenched, unbundle the tofu, and re-wrap as necessary. The most water will release in the first 30 minutes, but there’s value to pressing for up to 24 hours for extra-extra chewy tofu. If you plan to press it longer than 3 to 4 hours, you may want to refrigerate it.
  2. Meanwhile, make the marinade by whisking together all ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Slice the pressed tofu into 12 to 16 thin slices and place slices in the marinade. Very gently spoon the marinade over the slices and turn them to coat evenly. They are fragile, so do this very tenderly and carefully. Allow slices to marinade for at least 15 minutes, or up to 12 hours. You can let them marinate for the day while you’re at work which makes for an almost work-free dinner that night; cover and refrigerate if you’re marinating for many hours.
  4. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. I use my Siplat although technically you’re not supposed to broil with it. Do not bake on an unlined baking tray unless you love doing really stubborn with blackened and baked-on bits; set aside.
  5. Turn broiler to high and position a rack on the top slot or second slot from the top of the oven. (I use the second slot)
  6. Place marinated slices on the prepared tray and make sure there are no puddles of marinade pooling on the tray. It will burn horribly. Wipe off excess with a paper towel if necessary. Reserve extra marinade in a small bowl for dipping after baking.
  7. Broil for about 7 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to turn golden and darken, with 9 minutes likely being the maximum. Watch your tofu the entire time, stand in front of the oven and do not leave the kitchen. The tofu can and will burn in a matter of one minute so keep a very, very watchful eye on it. I keep the door closed for the first 4-5 minutes. Then I open the door, rotate the tray, and stand in front of the oven with the door ajar, usually for about 2-3 more minutes. I rotate the tray a few times over those 2-3 minutes to find the sweet spot of my broiler’s heat.
  8. Allow tofu to cool on tray for about 5 minutes before serving.
  9. Tofu will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like this tofu both warm or served chilled. Serving Tip – Dice the tofu and combine with rice or quinoa and other diced vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, or corn. Toss with the extra marinade or with a simple balsamic and oil-based dressing; serve warm or chilled.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

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Do you make tofu? What flavors, marinades, sauces, spices, or cooking techniques do you use?