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This spicy chili tofu stir fry recipe is an easy vegetarian dinner that is absolutely packed with flavor! Crispy tofu and tender veggies are covered in a sweet and spicy sauce, then served over a bed of fluffy rice.

A serving of spicy tofu stir fry sits on a bed of white rice in a small bowl. Chopsticks sit on the side of the bowl.
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Meatless Mondays are about to get a LOT more delicious. Spicy chili tofu stir fry is the ultimate vegetarian dinner with a kick! I’ve been trying to cut down on how much meat I eat lately, and I’ll be the first to say it – it’s really hard! I have to get really creative and some vegetarian dishes I’ve made just haven’t hit the spot lately… but this chili tofu stir fry is flavor-packed, ultra-filling, and 100% tasty!

It’s cooked in “lava sauce,” which if you don’t know, just means the BEST sauce ever. It’s made with 3 simple, flavorful ingredients that I just can’t get enough of. (Remember last week when I shared with you all my garlic chili crisp oil? The one based off of Trader Joe’s chili onion crunch? Well, I created a sauce with that, and it looks like lava – hence the name of this dish!)

Besides just having lava sauce, the stir fry itself is also incredibly nutritious and satisfying. With fresh vegetables to bulk up the dish, I never feel bad about going back for seconds!

If you’re in the mood for more easy-to-make tofu recipes, be sure to try pan-fried sesame garlic tofu and sweet and sour tofu as well!

Why You’ll Love This Tofu Stir Fry Recipe

This spicy tofu stir fry is calling your name! Here’s why I think you’ll love it so much:

  • Crispy tofu. Coating the tofu in cornstarch ensures that it comes out nice and crispy on all sides.
  • Sweet and spicy flavor. This lava sauce is made with savory soy sauce, sweet brown sugar, and spicy chili crunch sauce. Your taste buds will be hooked from the first bite!
  • Adaptable. There are so many ways to change up this recipe! You can substitute the tofu for another protein, switch out the current veggies for new ones, etc.
Ingredients for spicy chili tofu stir fry.

What You’ll Need

Let’s talk tofu stir fry ingredients! Be sure to check out the recipe card below to find the exact measurements.

For the Lava Sauce

  • Low sodium soy sauce – Regular soy sauce will work too.
  • Light brown sugar – This adds subtle sweetness that balances out the spiciness a little.
  • Chili crunch sauce – You can use the one from Trader Joe’s, or another brand if you like.

For the Tofu Stir Fry

  • Extra-firm tofu – Firm and extra-firm tofu are great for this recipe because both will hold up well when cooking in the pan.
  • Cornstarch – Arrowroot powder will also work.
  • Veggies – I like to add in roasted red peppers and broccolini. Broccolini is high in both vitamins A and C, and it’s also rich in fiber. Between that and the great amount of protein in tofu (I actually get the extra firm high protein tofu from Trader Joe’s), this spicy stir fry is one of my favorite diet-friendly dinners!
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic provides the best flavor.
  • Ginger – The same goes for freshly grated ginger!
A piece of crispy tofu is being lifted from the bowl by a pair of dark brown chopsticks.

How to Make Spicy Chili Tofu Stir Fry

Follow these easy steps to make the best tofu stir fry. The full set of directions can also be found in the recipe card!

  • Make the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for lava sauce, set aside.
  • Press the tofu. Put 2 paper towels on a plate, then place the entire block of tofu (drained from its packaging liquid) onto the plate. Place 2 more paper towels on top of the tofu, then put a heavy item on top of those. Make sure it is not so heavy that it would completely crush the tofu, but heavy enough that it can squeeze out liquid. Leave the tofu for 30 minutes and halfway through, change out the paper towels.
  • Prepare the tofu. Once the tofu has drained, slice it in half, then slice it into cubes, and place it into a large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on top, and gently toss with your hands to ensure all of the tofu pieces are covered.
  • Cook the tofu. In a large skillet, add avocado oil or vegetable oil and heat it on medium-high. Add the tofu to the skillet and let it cook until crispy. Do not touch it or flip it for 3-4 minutes to ensure crispiness, then repeat on all sides.
  • Add the veggies and sauce. Remove the tofu from the skillet, put it on a plate, and set it aside. Using the same skillet at medium heat, add the red peppers, broccolini, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the broccolini has softened (about 5-7 minutes). Add the sauce, bring it to a low simmer, then add the tofu back in. Stir to coat everything and remove the skillet from heat.
Spicy chili tofu stir fry is being cooked in a large skillet.

Tips for Success

I have a few tips and tricks to share with you that will make this tofu stir fry recipe even easier to cook:

  • Don’t skip pressing the tofu. If you don’t squeeze out all of the liquid, the tofu won’t get super crispy.
  • An alternative, eco-friendly way to press the tofu. Place a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Then, place the tofu on the wire rack, put a heavy object on top, and let it drain for 30 minutes.
  • Use a wok. A wok is the best tool to make stir fry in because the sides are so tall, which makes tossing the ingredients a lot easier. A non-stick skillet will work just fine, but if you have a wok, go ahead and use it!
Two bowls of white rice and tofu stir fry are placed on a white surface and are ready to be eaten.

Substitutions & Recipe Variations

Want to tweak the recipe a little? No problem! Here are a few recommendations:

  • Add a different protein. You could try making this recipe with beef or chicken if you’re not a huge tofu fan.
  • Change up the veggies. Broccoli, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and any other fresh veggies you might have on hand are all good choices.
  • Adjust the heat. If you want to turn up the heat in your lava sauce, all you need to do is mix in some crushed red pepper flakes! You can also just add some more chili crunch sauce, too. Either way you do it, you’ll definitely make your chili tofu stir fry even spicier. If you really want to break a sweat, you could always chop up some Serrano or Scotch Bonnet peppers and toss them in your stir fry too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of tofu is best for stir fry?

Extra-firm tofu is best for stir fry because it has less liquid than the other kinds, though firm tofu should also work well. If there is too much liquid in the tofu, it will not crisp up in the pan.

How do I stir fry tofu without it falling apart?

The first step is to use extra-firm tofu, as mentioned above. Then, while you’re cooking the tofu, make sure to let it cook on each side for 3-4 minutes without touching it. If you try to flip it too early, it may break apart.

Why didn’t my tofu get crispy?

It could be that the tofu wasn’t pressed for long enough, and there was too much liquid in it. Another strategy might be to coat the tofu with a little more cornstarch next time.

A bowl of rice and stir fry sits next to a small bowl of chili crunch sauce on a white countertop.

Serving Suggestions

There are lots of ways to serve tofu stir fry! These are some of my favorite add-ons:

  • Rice. I usually make this dinner with white rice, but brown rice is a great option as well.
  • Noodles. If rice isn’t your thing, try your stir fry with egg noodles, udon noodles, etc.
  • Salad. A simple salad like this smashed Asian cucumber salad is a nice refreshing side dish for this meal!

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Have leftovers? No worries, save them for later – it’s super easy.

  • To store. This spicy tofu stir fry will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container!
  • To reheat. When you’re ready to reheat it, the microwave works just fine. However, if you want the tofu to stay slightly crispy, try using the skillet over medium-high heat to reheat it.

Can I Freeze Tofu Stir Fry?

Yes! Tofu stir fry can be frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. The veggies will be a little softer after you thaw and reheat everything, but they’ll still taste great!

More Easy Tofu Recipes

These tofu dishes are perfect if you’re looking for more easy vegetarian dinners!

4.31 from 13 votes

Spicy Tofu Stir Fry

Spicy chili tofu stir fry is the ultimate vegetarian dinner with a kick. It is packed with veggies and deliciously crispy tofu!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 

For the lava sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili crunch sauce

For the tofu and veggies:

  • 1 package of super firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 small bunch of broccolini, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
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Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for lava sauce, set aside.
  • Place two paper towels on a plate then place the entire block of tofu (drained from its packaging liquid) onto the plate. Place two more paper towels on top of the tofu then put a heavy item on top. Not TOO heavy that it would completely crush the tofu but heavy enough that it can squeeze out liquid. Leave for 30 minutes and halfway through, change out the paper towels.
  • ALTERNATIVELY and more eco-friendly: place a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Place tofu on top and then put a heavy object on top and let drain for 30 minutes.
  • Once the tofu has drained, slice in half then into cubes and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on top and gently toss with your hands to ensure all tofu pieces are covered.
  • In a large skillet, add avocado oil or vegetable oil and heat to medium-high. Add the tofu to the skillet and let cook until crispy. Do not touch it or flip for 3-4 minutes to ensure crispiness then repeat on all sides.
  • Remove tofu from skillet and put on a plate and set aside. Using the same skillet at medium heat, add red peppers, broccolini, garlic, and ginger. Cook until broccolini has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sauce, bring to low simmer, then add tofu back in. Stir to coat everything and remove from heat.
  • Serve on top of white rice.

Notes

  • To store. This spicy tofu stir fry will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just be sure to keep it in an airtight container!
  • To reheat. When you’re ready to reheat it, the microwave works just fine. However, if you want the tofu to stay slightly crispy, try using the skillet over medium-high heat to reheat it.
  • To freeze. Tofu stir fry can be frozen in an airtight container for 2-3 months. The veggies will be a little softer after you thaw and reheat everything, but they’ll still taste great!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2341mg, Potassium: 426mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g

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.

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.

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6 Comments

  1. This was great! I made a few minor changes: I used fresh red bell pepper instead of roasted, I use more ginger, and I added a small amount of water to dilute the sauce so it would run into my rice. I’ve never heard of chili crunch and it’s amazing, it gives the dish an unami flavor that most homemade teriyaki sauce dishes are missing. My chili crunch was too milder but I added a pinch of red pepper flakes to spice it up. I’ll be adding this to my line up. Bonus points that it’s vegan!

  2. Thank you, this was beautiful although we wanted more sauce with the rice as the soy etc were sucked up by the other ingredients!

    1. do feel free to adjust to your taste! hard to give measurements to that because if i give a higher amount, that may be too spicy for others. taste is very personal! glad you enjoyed though