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This tofu fried rice recipe is bursting with flavor! Tender tofu takes center stage with fluffy rice, colorful veggies, and a savory sauce in this hearty vegan dinner.

Tofu Fried Rice
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There’s just something about the cozy comfort of ginger-scented fried rice that’s nearly impossible for us to turn down. Here’s a rendition that makes it into a vegan meal: try tofu fried rice! Chewy cubes of tofu nestle into fluffy, veggie-packed rice bursting with savory, garlicky flavor. Top it with a drizzle of hot sauce and serve it warm, and it’s absolutely packed with flavor. Here’s how to make this tasty vegan recipe!

Ingredients for tofu fried rice

Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice, eggs, seafood or meat, and vegetables that’s popular in many Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Indonesian, and more. It’s traditional for fried rice to be cooked with eggs, but this tofu fried rice recipe is vegan. It packs in the savory flavor with seasonings and uses turmeric to add a golden color to the rice. The best part? Chewy cubes of tofu, which are seasoned to savory perfection. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Tofu: Use extra firm tofu for the best result here.
  • Rice: Medium or long grain rice is best, because short grain rice can become clumpy. Basmati ricewhite rice, or brown rice work well; we prefer the flavor of white rice.
  • Olive oil and toasted sesame oil: For cooking the tofu and flavoring the rice.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic veggies form the base.
  • Fresh ginger: Fresh ginger root brings the signature flavor to fried rice; do not omit it!
  • Carrots, peas, and green cabbage: Carrots and peas are classic. Green cabbage adds a nice contrasting texture to the other vegetables and soft rice.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce is essential the final flavoring.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric adds a golden color to the rice, a nice substitute for the egg!
Tofu Fried Rice

Start with day old rice

The most basic adage for fried rice: start with day old rice. It’s not required (we’ve got a work-around), but it’s best for this recipe. What’s important about using day old rice?

  • Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. If you use fresh rice in the skillet, it clumps together and turns out soggy.
  • Leftover rice is drier. When you cook it, the grains stay separate and form that signature texture. For the best fried rice, make it using leftovers (stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator) or boil a pot the night before.
How to Cook Rice

Workaround for cooking the rice day of

Often when we’re craving fried rice, we don’t think ahead enough to have rice made up the night before. So we’ve created a work-around for the rice which works well! If you want to make fried rice the same day, here’s our shortcut:

  • Make the rice. Once it’s finished steaming, proceed to the next step.
  • Spread on a tray and freeze 15 minutes: Spread the freshly cooked rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray in an even layer. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

Ways to serve it!

Tofu fried rice works on its own or with a few simple sides to make a more filling meal. Here are a few side dishes we’d pair:

Tofu Fried Rice

More tofu recipes

This tofu fried rice recipe is one of our top recipes with tofu! Here are a few more tofu recipes you’ll love:

This tofu fried rice recipe is…

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

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Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu Fried Rice

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This tofu fried rice recipe is bursting with flavor! Tender tofu takes center stage with fluffy rice, colorful veggies, and a savory sauce in this hearty vegan dinner.


  • 14-ounces firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons smoked soy sauce or soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), divided
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (about 1/2 cabbage)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups cooked white rice or brown rice, at least one day old
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced


  1. Prep the onion, carrots, cabbage, garlic and ginger as noted above. 
  2. Cut the tofu into 3/4-inch wide cubes and pat dry with a towel. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a cold non-stick pan. Add the tofu cubes and a few pinches kosher salt.
  3. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until the tofu is lightly browned on the bottom.
  4. Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting. Flip the tofu with a spatula. Return the heat to medium-high and cook additional 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Remove from heat and drizzle with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onion and carrots for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until tender.
  6. Add the peas, rice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt, and turmeric. Heat for a 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until all rice is coated.
  7. Stir in the tofu and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Garnish with sliced green onion and serve hot.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Rice
  • 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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Lisa says:

    Yum! An easy and great way to do the tofu instead of frying it is to toss the tofu cubes in a bit of oil, season it as you wish and then toss one to two TBSP’s of cornstarch on it. Spread the tofu out on a sheet pan and then bake at 400 for about 20-30 min depending on how chewy you like your tofu. This way you can do the tofu and rice at the same time and then just toss the tofu in with the prepped rice when it’s done!

  2. Shikha P says:

    Just made this for some meal prep for the week, it’s delicious. I used different vegetables on hand and it came out great. Thanks for the easy recipe!

  3. Melissa says:

    Love the addition of the tofu. Such a flavorful and hearty vegetarian rice!