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Black Pepper Tofu

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You don’t need to be vegetarian to enjoy the intense flavor and perfect texture of Black Pepper Tofu! Crispy tofu is smothered in a thick savory sauce that features crushed black pepper, garlic, ginger, and much more. Meatless Monday just got so very exciting!

Tofu cubes are presented in a black pan with green onions.

Many people claim to hate tofu because they’ve just never had it prepared the right way before! Chances are, if you’re a tofu hater, your complaints are that it doesn’t taste like anything or that it’s too jiggly. Well, Black Pepper Tofu is good enough to convert even the staunchest of tofu naysayers!

The first step of this recipe is all about making the tofu crispy. Consistency is key when it comes to tofu! It’s cut into cubes, coated in cornstarch, and cooked in hot oil. It’s a simple method that ensures the tofu will have the best crispy edges, even when it gets tossed in the sauce.

Speaking of the sauce, it’s really the star of the show here. The flavor palate is both savory and sweet, and all of the ingredients combine to compliment the crushed black pepper in a beautiful way. If you feel like really showing off your skills in the kitchen, this is a great recipe to make!

A spoon is placed in a pan filled with tofu and green onions.

What You’ll Need:

  • Tofu – Use extra firm tofu so it holds its shape when cooked.
  • Cornstarch – It makes the tofu perfectly crispy and thickens the sauce.
  • Water – You can use veggie stock for even more flavor.
  • Oil – Any neutral flavored cooking oil will work.
  • Garlic – For the best flavor and aroma, use freshly minced garlic, not pre-minced.
  • Ginger – Freshly minced ginger also adds a ton of aroma and flavor to this dish.
  • Chilies – You can use any variety. I like green chilies.
  • Spring Onions – The BEST fresh garnish for this savory dish.
  • Sweet Soy Sauce – Can’t find any? Just combine equal parts brown sugar and soy sauce.
  • Maple Syrup – Try to only use pure maple syrup.
  • Soy Sauce – You can swap this out for tamari for a gluten free option.
  • Crushed Black Pepper – Any brand works.
A serving spoon is scooping up a portion of cooked tofu.

How to Make Black Pepper Tofu

For more detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Prepare the tofu. Drain the tofu of excess water, cut it into cubes, and coat it with cornstarch.

Cook the tofu. Prepare a pan with oil and preheat it over medium/hot heat. Once hot, cook the tofu in the oil until the cubes are golden and crispy on all sides. Set aside.

Cook the veggies. Add more oil and the garlic, ginger, the white parts of the spring onions, and chilies to the pan. Sauté until caramelized.

Make the sauce. Stir in the sauces, maple syrup, veggie stock, and cornstarch. Cook until slightly thickened.

Finish it off! Toss the tofu cubes back into the pan with the black pepper. Mix everything together.

Serve. Serve the Black Pepper Tofu with white rice and spring onions. Enjoy!

Black pepper tofu is placed on top of a bed of white rice.

Common Questions

I can’t seem to get my tofu as crispy as I’d like. I have an in-depth tofu guide that shares how to cook it and love it. Take a gander at that for some tips and tricks!

Is Black Pepper Tofu spicy? The black pepper certainly brings some heat to this dish, but it’s not overtly spicy. To enhance the heat, use more chilies and don’t remove the seeds.

How long will Black Pepper Tofu stay fresh? While this is a dish best served fresh, any leftover tofu you have will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2-3 days. I recommend reheating it right back in the pan – the microwave will kill the crispiness!

A fork is placed in a white bowl with tofu, rice, and spring onions.

With this many bold recipes, tofu can NEVER be boring!

Chilled Silken Tofu

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Spicy Chili Tofu Stir Fry

Black Pepper Tofu

Crispy and flavorful with a slight kick to it; this tofu dish is a meatless entree that will have you wanting more!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon cornstarch to coat/dust the tofu
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch to thicken the sauces
  • ¼ cup water or veggie stock
  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 chilies, use any variety – I used green chilies. If spicier version, use less and remove seeds
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


  • Drain the tofu and remove excess water.
  • Cut the tofu into cubes and coat the tofu cubes with cornstarch. Shake excess cornstarch and set the tofu aside.
  • To a pan, add 1 ½ tbsp oil and when it becomes hot, place the tofu cubes coated in cornstarch and cook them until they become golden and crispy. Flip the tofu and cook it until they are crispy from all sides. Set aside
  • To the same pan, add the remaining oil, garlic, ginger, white part of the spring onions, chilies and sauté until they become soft and caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Now add the sauces, maple syrup, veggie stock, corn starch and sauté until the mixture starts to slightly thicken.
  • Now add the tofu cubes, crushed black pepper and give everything a mix.
  • Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Now add the green part of the spring onions, mix and serve hot with rice.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 381 kcal | Carbohydrates: 47 g | Protein: 16 g | Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0.1 g | Sodium: 1224 mg | Potassium: 443 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 29 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: crispy tofu, easy tofu recipes
Recipe Rating


Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Julie... I sent this to my daughter and her roomie .. they live in Boston. Both eat tofu regularly and I thought they would like to see this . Can you sub chicken or shrimp for the tofu? It's right up my girl's alley ... she loves stir fry .

Julie Chiou

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

yes absolutely! thanks for sharing this recipe!


Friday 29th of July 2022

I love tofu for veggies only. Please give us more veggies tofu

Thanks Helen Holland [email protected]