Crispy Five-Spice Tofu

Food & Dining

I love experimenting with different coatings and flavors when preparing tofu.

Tofu is, in my humble opinion, the best, most versatile vegan staple!

  • It’s very macro-friendly because of its high-protein and low-fat content.
  • It comes in a variety of textures, from silken to extra-firm.
  • The possibilities for recipes range from sauces and desserts, to meat replacements and even scrambled eggs!

This recipe was a successful and delicious experiment. I used my usual way of preparing extra crispy tofu but changed it up by adding the bold and exotic flavor of five-spice powder.

In case you didn’t know, the five spices are:


Fennel seeds

Star anise

Sichuan peppercorns


I did not make my own five-spice mixture, I was able to find it at Whole Foods. It’s a little pricey, but very potent, so I find it lasts a long time in the spice cabinet.

Now, to make the crispiest tofu, there’s a few steps you need to follow:

  1. Freeze it first! This is an absolute game-changer. I learned this valuable info from Vegan Guru Mary. As soon as you buy your block of tofu, chuck it into the freezer until it’s completely frozen. Then, thaw it out in the fridge. And repeat. The cooked result will be a denser and meatier texture that will make you forget you’re eating tofu.
  2. Press it! Even after freezing, you’ll need to press excess water out of the tofu. I simply put the block onto a paper towel lined plate, top it with another plate and carefully rest something heavy on top. Let it press for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cornstarch! Another pro-tip. Coating your tofu in a light dusting of cornstarch really crisps it up. Whether baked or pan-fried, and even without the use of oil, you’ll end up with really crispy results.

Here’s how I made my Crispy Five-Spice Tofu!!

  1. After pressing excess water from your twice frozen tofu block. Cut up into desired size. Or for a more meaty aesthetic, you can tear it into chunks.
  1. Place tofu pieces in a bowl and add mixture of cornstarch, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes & gently toss to combine.
  2. Pan-fry tofu pieces in oil of choice until super crispy. I usually fry each side two or three times to make sure it’s completely golden brown. Remove from pan onto a kitchen towel or paper towel to drain excess oil. Or you could bake these off, flipping until deep golden brown.

I often meal prep tofu this way with various spices and flavors. It’s best when enjoyed right after eating, or when reheated in the oven.

Would you try this recipe? Share your versions with me on Instagram, @inthekitchenwithkris.