The Best Ever General Tso Tofu (Vegan Recipe)

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.

Ingredients

Here are all the ingredients I used to make this dinner. I served my General Tso’s tofu with rice and steamed broccoli.

general tso tofu vegan ingredients
These are the ingredients I used to make the recipe in the photos (which was a half batch).

For this recipe, you will need:

  • tofu (two blocks of firm or extra firm)
  • garlic
  • 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
  • sugar
  • vinegar (I use white vinegar, ACV and other light vinegars work fine)
  • aji-no-moto (optional, read note below)
  • water
  • corn starch
  • vegetable oil
  • rice and steamed veggies to serve it with

Cooking Tips

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:

pressing water out of tofu using a heavy jar of salt to weigh down on the tofu.

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!

tofu cut into cubes.

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.

chopping garlic for vegan general tso tofu recipe

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:

A marinade liquid containing soy sauce, chili flakes, and garlic.

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.

Cubes of tofu in a bowl with spices.

Next, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of ginger powder, and again gently stir the tofu to incorporate it.

A bowl of tofu with ingredients being added in for marination.

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.

a bowl in the fridge containing the tofu to be marinated.

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:

the marinated tofu after being baked.

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.

cooking sauce in the pan.

Step 7 – Serve & Enjoy

Garnish plated tofu with sesame seeds and serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

vegan general tso tofu with broccoli and rice on a plate, as seen from above.

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.

vegan general tso tofu with broccoli and rice on a plate.

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 General Tso’s Tofu

A vegan take on the beloved American-Chinese takeout classic, General Tso's Chicken.
4.82 from 16 votes
Cost: $3.01 recipe / $0.38 serving
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Additional Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 228 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 13 oz blocks extra firm OR firm tofu $2.40

Tofu Marinade

  • 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

For Cooking

  • 4 Tbsp corn starch $0.11
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.09

Other Ingredients

  • sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • cooked rice
  • steamed veggies

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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! 🙂
Course: Vegan Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American, Chinese

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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28 thoughts on “The Best Ever General Tso Tofu (Vegan Recipe)”

  1. Hi thank you for sharing your recipe it is absolutely delicious, I am not a vegan but I love tofu. I did not bake the tofu I just fry it in small amount of sun flower oil , put some red bell pepper and sauce mixtures its so good!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I recently started experimenting with vegan and vegetarian meals. This was delicious! Hubby & kids (ages 8&11) loved it too. I will definitely be making this again!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    First time making and it was seriously good! Will make again. Chilled in freezer for 15 mins vs fridge for an hour cuz I was hungry.

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Turned out so good! I used water instead of beer & coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. It was delicious. Definitely would make again!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I cooked broccoli in the pan with the tofu when it was browning. I made double the sauce and mixed in a blend of brown rice and quinoa in at the end – one pot and it was super delicious!! I also didn’t use beer – I added some nutritional yeast and a little water.

    Reply
  6. 4 stars
    I didn’t add in the msg stuff cause that didn’t seem necessary. I also didn’t soak the tofu in the garlic mixture for an hour (cause I wanted to start cooking early). Cooked it for the 20 mins then flipped them and cooked for another 10 mins (I like it crisp). Doubled the sauce recipe as well (cause I like it saucy). Overall good taste/flavor.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    So flavorful. Tired this pin for the first time last night and it was so amazing. Me and my husband give this recipe a 10 out of 10! I was really craving Asian food and this hit the spot. Cooked brown rice and steamed broccoli to go with. Thank you for this tasty recipe!

    Reply
  8. 5 stars
    Very good. Didn’t have aji no moto, so just used a little salt. Used rice wine vinegar, white cooking wine instead of beer, and sugar substitute ( 1/2 monk fruit, 1/2 Splenda).

    Reply
  9. 5 stars
    So good! We’ve been making this recipe every week! I never use that one ingredient in the sauce cause I have no idea what it is, but it’s still so delicious!!

    Reply
  10. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! One question — the recipe calls for beer, and you mention it in the post, but it’s not listed in the ingredient list. How much do you use for the marinade?

    Reply
    • Hi, thanks for catching that! I’m not sure how it got out of the ingredients but I have now put it back. It’s a very small amount of beer (or cooking wine is perfect too if you have that) that should evaporate away during cooking. The alcohol helps the more flavorful components of the marinade permeate the tofu.

      Reply
    • I haven’t tried meal prepping this particular recipe but based on my experience meal prepping other recipes I’d think tofu and rice, kept in separate air-tight containers, should be good for about five days in the fridge. If you also want to meal preps steamed broccoli, it should be good for about three days kept in its own tightly sealed container in the fridge. I hope that helps!

      Reply

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