Easy Grilled Tofu

Here’s how to make the best grilled tofu! It tastes simply irresistible when charred to perfection, then drenched in a sweet and savory marinade.

Grilled tofu

One of the best ways to cook tofu? On the grill. Yes, this grilled tofu tastes simply irresistible, charred to perfection and then painted with a sweet and savory marinade. Summer can be harder for designing plant-based meals when the grill is king. You can eat piles of grilled vegetables…but you need a protein to stay full. 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 darn delicious.

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
  • Mirin
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil or olive oil
  • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
Grilled tofu

Use firm or extra firm tofu (NOT soft!)

Here’s the biggest key to grilled tofu: use firm or extra firm tofu. If you see a package marked soft or silken tofu: step away! This is a soft version of tofu that is not intended for grilling. (Side note: Sometimes silken refers to soft tofu, but Alex and I have also seen a brand called Silken. Just look for Firm or Extra Firm anywhere on the package, and you’re good.)

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. (Want a tofu recipe where you don’t have to press it? Try our Pan Fried Tofu.)

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!
  • 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.
How to grill tofu

How to grill tofu

There are lots of ways to grill tofu, but here’s the easy way we’ve perfected. Many people say that tofu sticks to their grill. But if you get it coated with enough marinade, it easily releases from the grates once it’s browned. Here’s what to do:

  • Preheat a grill to medium high heat. That’s about 375 to 450 degrees.
  • Press the tofu, then cut it into slabs. See below!
  • Paint with the marinade. 
  • Grill on the grates for 5 minutes total, turning when it releases from the grates. 
  • Paint with additional marinade and serve!

More great ways to serve tofu? Try all our tofu recipes, especially Tofu Stir Fry, Pan Fried Tofu, and Tofu Scramble.

What is mirin?

Mirin is a type of Japanese rice wine that’s essential in this recipe. It brings a subtly sweet complexity that is hard to replicate! You should be able to find it in your local grocery next to the Japanese products. Look near the soy sauce!

Add hot sauce for complexity (not heat).

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-style flavors, it can really go with anything. Here are our favorite vegetarian grill recipes to go alongside:

This grilled tofu recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Grilled tofu

Easy Grilled Tofu


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (20 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)

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

Description

Here’s how to make the best grilled tofu! It tastes simply irresistible when charred to perfection, then drenched in a sweet and savory marinade.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks extra-firm or firm tofu (12 to 16 ounces each)*
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 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

Keywords: Grilled tofu, How to grill tofu

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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