I've already posted (in my opinion!) the best fried tofu recipe, so it was time to share the best baked tofu recipe with you too! That's why I'm excited to bring you my sweet and smoky baked tofu recipe. It's almost comically easy to make, so full of flavor, and the perfect thing to go with just about any meal!
Why Do I Love This Recipe?
This tofu recipe really lives up to its "sweet and smoky" name. Thanks to REAL maple syrup, it gets a hint of sweetness. And a mix of liquid smoke and smoked paprika give it the smoky flavor I can't get enough of. It's actually got a taste similar to bacon (SIMILAR, people! Not exact! ;))
Now you might be wondering "what IS liquid smoke?" And it's a good question! It's basically a recreation of the smoky flavor you get from "smoking" meat or food without having to do any work. Think of vanilla extract..it's a liquid vanilla flavor, and liquid smoke is essentially the same thing but with a smoky flavor rather than vanilla!
So, on top of the smoky and sweet flavor, I love the versatility of this tofu recipe. You can eat these pieces on their own (I keep a batch in the fridge and will just grab a piece to snack on sometimes!). You can also serve it as a protein source with your meals the same way you would use chicken, fish, etc.
If you want to get right to the ingredients and instructions, here's a button to take you there! But I do recommend reading the next section (especially if you're new to cooking with tofu) before you get started.Jump to Recipe
Preparing the Tofu for Baking - Don't Skip This!
Before we bake our tofu, we have to get it ready. For this recipe, that involves cutting it, pressing it, and marinating it.
Cutting the Tofu
In a lot of tofu recipes, you'll find the pieces are cut into tiny squares, including my spicy honey garlic tofu recipe. See?
There are advantages to cutting it into small pieces like this. It's easy to mix in with other things, it can get even more of a coating, and it can cook faster.
But for THIS tofu recipe, slabs (instead of chunks) is the way to go! When you cut tofu into slabs, it gets the effect of a chicken breast or a salmon filet. It can be placed on top of rice, quinoa, or whatever else you'd like. I find it also makes the tofu have a different texture than when it's in smaller pieces. When you're basting the tofu as it bakes, it's also easier to apply the mixture to 8 slabs rather than 30 pieces! Neither are bad - just different!
If you decide to use this recipe but chop your tofu into pieces rather than slabs, go ahead! Just keep an eye on cooking time because it likely won't take as long.
Pressing the Tofu
Once we've cut the tofu, it's time to press it. If you have a tofu presser, go ahead and use that. For me, I find wrapping the tofu in paper towels or a tea towel and placing a heavy item on top (like a cast iron skillet) for at least half an hour is enough. Have a look at this post from The Spruce Eats where everything you need to know about how to press tofu is outline.
Marinading the Tofu
After it's pressed, you'll place it in a shallow bowl with the marinade. I would let it marinade at least an hour, or in the fridge over night if you have time. Once it's done marinating, just make sure you don't get rid of the remaining marinade! You're going to keep it, reduce it, and use it to baste the tofu while it bakes. More on that in the instructions though.
What to Serve with Baked Tofu
Like I mentioned, I do sometimes eat pieces of this tofu on its own. Straight out of the fridge, not even heated up! But one of my other favorite ways to serve it is on quinoa with mushrooms and broccoli (like the pictures show). But you can use any vegetables you want!
Smoked tofu can also be served with rice, pasta, or as a protein on the side of any meal.
Ingredients for this Baked Tofu Recipe
- One (14- to 16- ounce) block extra- firm tofu
- ¾ cup REAL maple syrup
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup soya sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free tofu recipe)
- 2 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
You'll mix all of these ingredients (except for the tofu) in a shallow bowl until they're combined. Then, you'll place your slabs of tofu in with the mixture to marinate.
Once your tofu has marinated for at least an hour (or even overnight if you have time), it's time to turn your oven to 400F. Then, you'll line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You'll place each slab of tofu on the parchment paper so they're spaced out and not touching.
You'll bake them like this for 15 minutes. While it bakes, you'll take the remaining marinade and reduce it so you can use it to baste the tofu while it baked! This is the best part!
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty of the recipe!
Sweet and Smoky Baked Tofu
- Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.
- Slice the tofu into 8 slabs (cut in quarters length-wise, then cut each quarter in half - see pictures for example) and submerge them in the marinade. Cover and let the tofu marinade for at least one hour OR overnight in the fridge.
- When you're ready to bake your tofu, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the tofu on the baking tray, with some space between each piece so they aren’t touching. Reserve the marinade. Place tofu in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the tofu is baking, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Heat over over medium heat and simmer until it's reduced by two thirds. It will be thick and syrupy when it's ready.
- Once the tofu has baked for 15 minutes, baste the top and sides of the tofu with the reduced sauce. Flip the tofu and baste the other side. Return the tofu to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and baste, flip again, and baste. Bake for another 10 minutes. (Total cooking time of 35 minutes). Serve with the extra sauce poured on top or as is.
Hope you love it!
XO - C
This was terrific! Ate it in a sandwich first with slaw, pickles and tomato, but plan to do another meal with potato cakes and roasted asparagus. Flexible and tasty, I’ll definitely keep this in my repertoire! Thank you!
Chelsea Kram – XO&So: Vegetarian Comfort Food
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it, thanks so much for letting me know. XO