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Here’s how to make grilled tofu! It tastes irresistible when infused with smoky flavor and drenched in a sweet and savory marinade.

Grilled tofu
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One of the best ways to cook tofu? On the grill. This grilled tofu is so satisfying, charred to perfection and brushed with a sweet and savory marinade. Summer grilling is a little harder for mixing up plant-based meals: you can eat piles of grilled vegetables, but you need a protein to stay full.

So, grilled tofu is a healthy grilled dinner idea that’s full of plant-based protein! You might even convert the meat eaters when they take a taste—it’s absolutely delicious. Here’s our family favorite recipe: let us know in the comments below if you give it a try.

“WOW, delicious! I’m a meat eater but loved it.” -John

Ingredients for grilled tofu

We love easy meals around here. So for this grilled tofu, we kept things super basic. It’s got a zesty marinade with just a few ingredients that bring big flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Extra-firm or firm tofu: Firm or extra firm is key; avoid packages marked soft or silken tofu. This is a soft version of tofu that is not intended for grilling. (Sometimes silken refers to soft tofu, but we’ve also seen a brand on the shelves called Silken. Just look for Firm or Extra Firm anywhere on the package!)
  • Mirin: Mirin is a type of Japanese rice wine. It brings a subtly sweet complexity that in this recipe that’s hard to replicate, so we recommend seeking it out. You should be able to find it in your local grocery near the soy sauce.
  • Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar adds an extra tang to the marinade.
  • Soy sauce: Use full sodium soy sauce for the best flavor, or substitute tamari for gluten-free.
  • Sesame oil or olive oil: Olive oil or standard sesame oil are our top choices here. Avoid toasted sesame oil since that is intended for flavoring in small quantities.
  • Sriracha hot sauce: Add a hint of hot sauce for a kick, if desired!
Grilled tofu

How to grill tofu (step by step)

You don’t need anything special for grilled tofu: you can just place it right on the grill grates! Here are the basic steps. For exact steps and quantities, go to the full recipe below.

Step 1: Slice the tofu and press it.

Step 1: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Slice the tofu in half slice lengthwise. Place in a large bowl and microwave 2 minutes. Drain excess liquid, then place on a towel with another towel on top. Top with a cutting board and heavy object and press 15 minutes.

Step 2: Mix the sauce and brush it on.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil. Cut each slab into 3 large slices, or 12 slices total. Brush all sides of the slices with the sauce and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Step 3: Grill the tofu.

Step 3: Place the tofu slabs onto the grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until lightly browned with grill marks, and the tofu releases from the grates. Remove from the grill. Transfer to a serving plate and brush on remaining sauce, pouring any leftover over the top.

How to press tofu—the fast way

You will have to press the tofu for this grilled tofu recipe. Why? Pressing removes the extra liquid from the tofu. Trust us! Otherwise it ends up mushy and watery on the grill. Alex and I have a special way to press tofu that makes it faster than most. Some recipes suggest to press it for 1 hour, but our method takes just over 15 minutes. Here’s what to do:

  • Cut the tofu in half and microwave it for 2 minutes. This releases most of the liquid, which you’ll drain after cooking.
  • Place it between towels, then top with a cutting board and heavy object. The cutting board distributes the weight. Do this for 15 minutes, and most of the water should be extracted.

Want a tofu recipe where you don’t have to press it? Try our pan fried tofu, crispy tofu, and baked tofu, which don’t require pressing!

Customize the hot sauce as desired

Add a hint of hot sauce to this recipe if you’d like! The Sriracha hot sauce is just 1 teaspoon, so it adds complexity to the flavor without adding heat. If you love spicy food, you could always increase the Sriracha up to 1 tablespoon! But as written, this recipe is not spicy. You can also omit the Sriracha if you prefer.

Grilled tofu

Ways to serve grilled tofu

Once you’ve got your grilled tofu, how to accessorize it? Alex and I like to serve it up with a big platter of vegetables! While it’s got Asian-inspired flavors, it can really go with anything. Here are our favorite grill recipes or vegetarian grill recipes to pair:

Dietary notes

This grilled tofu recipe is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

Won’t tofu just fall apart on the grill?

Not if you prep it correctly! Pressing tofu removes excess moisture, allowing it to hold its shape and achieve a nice sear on the grill.

What’s the best way to marinate tofu for grilling?

Marinades are your friend! Use flavorful combinations with soy sauce, citrus juices, herbs, spices, or your favorite Asian-inspired sauces. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight for deeper flavor.

My tofu isn’t getting crispy on the grill. What am I doing wrong?

Here are some tips for achieving grill-worthy crispness:
Medium high heat: Sear the tofu over medium high heat to create a crust.
Press the tofu: Pressing the tofu before grilling it is key to achieving a desirable texture.

How can I tell when my tofu is done grilling?

Look for a golden brown sear on both sides. There’s no need to measure with a digital read thermometer like with meat or fish.

What are some delicious ways to serve grilled tofu?

The possibilities are endless! Here are some ideas:
Veggie skewers: Add grilled mango and veggie skewers or grilled veggie kabobs.
Tofu salad:
 Top your salad with grilled tofu slices for a protein and flavor boost.
Tofu tacos: Marinate and grill tofu for flavorful and protein-packed tacos. (Cut into smaller pieces after grilling.)

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Grilled tofu

Easy Grilled Tofu


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Here’s how to make grilled tofu! It tastes irresistible when infused with smoky flavor and drenched in a sweet and savory marinade.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 blocks extra-firm or firm tofu (12 to 16 ounces each)*
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Remove the tofu from the package and drain the liquid. Cut each tofu package into half lengthwise and place it in a large bowl. Microwave it on high for 2 minutes; this helps to extract liquid.
  3. Drain off excess liquid released in the microwave. Place the pieces on a towel and place another folded towel on top. Top with a cutting board and a heavy object. Allow to press for 15 minutes until the water is drained.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil.
  5. Cut each slab into 3 large slices, or 12 slices total. Brush all sides of the slices with the sauce (reserving the remainder for after grilling), and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
  6. Place the tofu slabs onto the grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until lightly browned with grill marks, and the tofu releases from the grates. Remove from the grill. Transfer to a serving plate and brush on remaining sauce, pouring any leftover over the top. Taste and if necessary, add a few more pinches kosher salt.

Notes

*Do not use soft or silken tofu! This type will not hold up on the grill.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. John Towler says:

    WOW delicious am meat eater but loved it. The price of meat lately may eat more often. Thanks good stuff