If you’ve ever wanted to make your favorite takeout-style General Tso Tofu at home, look no further. This recipe tastes out of this world with spicy marinated tofu and a tangy, sweet sauce that you won’t be able to get enough of!
General Tso’s Tofu (a vegan version of General Tso’s Chicken) is one of my all-time favorite tofu recipes. This recipe is one of the most popular ones on my blog and for good reason – it’s delicious. A perfect recipe for anyone new to eating tofu, because it’s so flavorful.
It’s also quite spicy, probably too spicy for most kids. If you want to make this recipe kid-friendly, one way you could do it is to omit the red pepper flakes and add them at the end, only to the plates of the people who want the extra heat. Or add your favorite hot sauce.
How To Make General Tso’s Tofu
Here’s the gist of my General Tso Tofu Recipe. You can see the summarized recipe card if you keep scrolling.
Here are all the ingredients I used to make this dinner. I served my General Tso’s tofu with rice and steamed broccoli.
For this recipe, you will need:
- tofu (two blocks of firm or extra firm)
- soy sauce
- chili flakes
- beer (just a splash – totally optional but helps with the marination. You can also use vinegar or white wine)
- ginger powder
- vinegar (I use white vinegar, ACV and other light vinegars work fine)
- aji-no-moto (optional, read note below)
- corn starch
- vegetable oil
- rice and steamed veggies to serve it with
Take your time – To make this recipe, you’ll need a little over an hour. First you’ll prepare the tofu and sauce and let them marinate (separately) in the fridge. Adding chili flakes to the marinade and giving it enough time to marinate is what gives it the best spicy flavor.
Takeout flavor optional – In this recipe, aji-no-moto (MSG) is what gives the sauce that mouth-watering flavor that you get from the restaurant. I recommend using it if you have it (you can get it on Amazon or at a grocery store that sells Asian foods), but the recipe will still be good if you decide to leave it out. Some people can get adverse symptoms when they eat something containing a lot of MSG, so if you’re worried about it, just leave it out.
Alcohol helps the marinade – The purpose of alcohol is to help the chili flakes’ flavor penetrate the tofu. That’s why you don’t need very much. This isn’t one of those recipes where you make 4 pounds of marinating sauce and have to throw it all away. A little marinade will go a long way.
Step 1 – Drain The Tofu
To start, drain your tofu for about 30 minutes. There are different ways you can drain excess water from tofu – either by pressing it like I’m doing here, or by wrapping it in a paper towel and giving it a GENTLE squeeze. Or you can do both. Here’s what my setup looked like:
Once the tofu is drained for a bit, cut it into bite size pieces. These pieces are about 1″ on all sides. Sometimes I cut them to half that size so that I get more pieces. More pieces = more bites!
Step 2 – Marinate the tofu
Dice the garlic finely or use a pre-minced garlic. You don’t want any big bursts of garlic taste when you eat the final result.
How to make the tofu marinade – In a large bowl mix together the garlic, soy sauce, chili flakes, and beer (optional, can sub with wine or water). It’ll look something like this:
Then, add in your tofu chunks and stir them gently since uncooked tofu is delicate and breaks up easily. Make sure all surfaces of the tofu are coated in the marinade.
Next, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of ginger powder, and again gently stir the tofu to incorporate it.
Cover the bowl and let it rest for one hour in the fridge. I simply put a plate over the bowl, since I hate wasting plastic wrap. If you ever worked in a restaurant, you know how much plastic wrap goes to waste every single day… it’s scary. So I always try to use a plate to cover stuff now. A Tupperware container or pyrex with a lid works great, too.
In the meantime, you can prepare the sauce.
Step 3 – Prepare the sauce
This General Tso sauce itself is actually not spicy – only sweet and tangy. The spiciness comes from marinating your tofu with a red chili flakes in the previous step.
To make the General Tso Sauce, mix these ingredients together well:
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon aji-no-moto (msg) *optional!
- 1/2 cup water
Later, we will add 2 teaspoons of corn starch to thicken the sauce. For now, cover the sauce mixture and let it rest in fridge until you’re ready to cook the tofu. I usually let my sauce rest in the fridge for about an hour, since it gives the ingredients time to blend and “get to know one another.”
Step 4 – Bake the tofu
We’re going to be baking the tofu a little bit, so heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (which is about 200 C).
Take the tofu from the fridge and sprinkle 4 tablespoons of cornstarch over it. Cover and shake to coat evenly (or gently stir). The cornstarch is what will give the tofu a bit of a crust for sauce to get absorbed into for that intense flavor. However, it can be omitted if you don’t have it.
Spread the marinated tofu cubes onto a baking sheet (you can line it with parchment to reduce sticking, but on a well-seasoned baking sheet they shouldn’t stick very much) and bake for 20 minutes. They look something like this when they come out of the oven:
Step 5 – Sauté the tofu
Heat about 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu from the oven and stir to coat in the hot oil.
Step 6 – Add the sauce
Remove the sauce from the fridge and whisk in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, being sure to mix thoroughly so there are no lumps.
Pour sauce over the tofu in the frying pan and stir gently until the sauce is boiling. Turn off the heat and continue stirring another minute or so, to let the sauce cool down and thicken a bit more.
Step 7 – Serve & Enjoy
Garnish plated tofu with sesame seeds and serve with steamed broccoli and rice.
My husband and I LOVED this general tso tofu recipe. Just like with the original, General Tsos Chicken, we kept wanting to eat more even though it was quite filling.
Biting into each piece is a satisfying experience of sweet, tangy flavors combined with the heat of the red pepper, and the perfect tofu texture that’s not too soft and not too chewy.
If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments how it turned out or what you did differently. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Other Tofu Recipes You Might Like:
- Vegan Orange Chicken – Orange Tofu
- Vegan Palak Paneer – Palak Tofu
- Butter Tofu (Vegan Butter Chicken) Easy Instant Pot Recipe
- Chipotle Lime Tofu With Roasted Corn Side Dish
- Tofu Sofritas – Vegan Taco Meat
Vegan General Tso’s Tofu
- 2 13 oz blocks extra firm OR firm tofu $2.40
- 6 tsp minced garlic $0.06
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce $0.03
- 2 tsp chili flakes $0.01
- 2 Tbsp beer (can sub water)
- 1 tsp ginger powder $0.03
For The Sauce
- 4 Tbsp sugar $0.02
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar $0.01
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce $0.09
- 1 tsp aji-no-moto (optional) $0.02
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp corn starch $0.06
- 4 Tbsp corn starch $0.11
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.09
- sesame seeds (for garnish)
- cooked rice
- steamed veggies
- Drain tofu for 30 minutes by setting it in a colander. Set a plate with a heavy can on top for extra weight to help it drain.
- Marinate the tofu – In a large bowl, add the minced garlic, soy sauce, chili flakes, and beer.Cut drained tofu into bite-sized cubes and gently mix it into the garlic sauce until tofu is completely coated. Sprinkle with ginger powder and gently stir. Cover and let rest in fridge for 1 hour.
- General Tso's Tofu Sauce – In the meantime, make the sauce. Mix all the sauce ingredients together EXCEPT the cornstarch. Cover and let rest in fridge until you're ready to cook the tofu.
- Bake the tofu – Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit (200°C). Sprinkle 4 Tbsp cornstarch over the tofu and shake to coat evenly (or gently stir). Spread marinated tofu cubes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Sauté the tofu – Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu from the oven and stir to coat in the hot oil.
- Add the sauce – Remove sauce from fridge and whisk in 2 tsp cornstarch. Pour into the skillet and stir gently until sauce is boiling, then turn off heat.
- Serve & Enjoy – Garnish plated tofu with sesame seeds and serve with steamed veggies and rice.
- Aji-No-Moto is MSG, which is sometimes added to recipes to add the flavor umami. It’s what makes takeout so mouth-watering! If you prefer not to use it, just leave it out. The difference is subtle, but I always use it at home in this dish.
- To make a low-sodium version, replace soy sauce with coconut aminos. You can buy it on Amazon here.
- This is not a health foods recipe, it’s a veganized version of American Chinese takeout. You are the expert when it comes to making substitutions based on your dietary needs! 🙂
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