Craving takeout? This easy General Tso’s Tofu recipe is ready in less than 45 minutes and tastes just like it’s from a restaurant! With a quick homemade sauce and ultra-crispy baked (or air fried) tofu, we can’t get enough of this easy weeknight meal!
In today’s edition of “Recipes That Make Tofu Actually Taste Good”…General Tso’s Tofu!
This delicious tofu recipes quickly satisfies your cravings for Chinese takeout (and the leftovers the next day are as crave worthy as takeout leftovers – if you know you know). It’s:
- Ready in under 45 minutes
- Packed with flavor
- Perfect for weeknight dinners or meal prepping
General Tso’s Tofu Ingredients
There are two components to this recipe – the crispy tofu and the General Tso’s sauce. All together, you should be out of the kitchen within 45 minutes.
- Extra Firm Tofu: This forms the heart of the dish, providing a protein-rich base. Pressing it removes excess moisture, ensuring it crisps up beautifully when cooked.
- Soy Sauce: Adds a savory, umami depth to both the tofu and the sauce, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Oil: Coats the tofu, facilitating even browning and lending a crisp texture.
- Cornstarch: Creates a light, crispy coating on the tofu. It’s a crucial element for achieving that delightful crunch!
- Rice Vinegar: For the General Tso’s sauce, it introduces a tangy note that balances the sweetness and saltiness.
- Brown Sugar: Provides the characteristic sweetness of General Tso’s sauce, harmonizing with the savory elements.
- Hoisin Sauce: Offers a complex, sweet-savory flavor, elevating the overall taste of the sauce.
- Fresh Ginger: Infuses a bright, aromatic kick, adding depth and freshness to the sauce.
- Garlic: Contributes a robust, pungent flavor that complements the other ingredients in the sauce.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Give the sauce a little heat!
Opt for extra-firm tofu in this recipe. It holds its shape and crisps up nicely when baked. Look for vacuum-sealed varieties rather than water-packed ones, as they tend to have a denser texture, making them ideal for achieving that perfect crunchy exterior.
How to make General Tso’s Tofu
Making this general tso tofu is incredibly simple. You’ll just:
- Press the tofu
- Tear it into chunks
- Bake or air fry the tofu until crispy
- Stir together the sauce on the stove
This large nonstick sheet pan is one of my everyday favorites!
Is General Tso’s Sauce Chinese?
General Tso’s sauce is believed to have originated from Chinese-American cuisine. It is named after a Qing dynasty military leader, General Tso Tsung-tang, but it’s important to note that the dish and the sauce are not traditional Chinese dishes. They were created in the United States and have become popular in American Chinese restaurants. The exact origin of the sauce is a subject of some debate, but it’s generally associated with Hunan or Taiwanese-style cuisine.
Air Fry It
To make this General Tso’s Tofu in the air fryer, prepare the tofu as instructed, then simply air fry it at 375F for 10 to 15 minutes (like we do in our famous air fryer tofu recipe).
Meal Prep Tips
This tofu is great as a protein in meal prepping. Simply make the recipe as instructed, and portion into meal prep containers (you may want to double the recipe to make 4 to 5 good sized servings). When ready to eat, microwave until hot and serve.
Is there a substitute for hoisin sauce?
If you don’t have hoisin sauce, you can use a mixture of soy sauce and a touch of honey as an alternative.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce, and ensure that the cornstarch you use is certified gluten-free.
Can I freeze General Tso’s Tofu?
Freezing tofu is actually a great way to improve its texture! We recommend freezing it before you assemble it in this recipe though, as the sauce will now thaw well.
How can I make it more authentic?
For a more authentic touch, you can add Szechuan peppercorns for a numbing sensation or use Chinese black vinegar instead of rice vinegar.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat in a pan or microwave until heated through.
Serve It With
This general tso tofu pairs well with steamed rice and a side of stir-fried or steamed vegetables. You can also serve it over a bed of quinoa or alongside a fresh salad for a balanced meal. Check out all of our Chiniese recipes for serving inspiration, but some of our favorites are:
- 1 14 to 16-oz package extra firm tofu 396 to 453 g
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce 15 mL
- 1 Tbsp oil 15 mL
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
General Tso's Sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce 60 mL
- ¼ cup rice vinegar 60 mL
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water 236 mL
- Press: Press tofu for at least 15 minutes, using either a tofu press or by wrapping it in a clean towel and setting a heavy pan on top of it, letting the moisture drain.
- Prep: Tear tofu roughly into bite-sized chunks. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Bake Tofu: In a medium bowl, toss torn tofu with soy sauce and oil. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat. Arrange in a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu over halfway through cooking, until golden brown and crispy.
- Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and water together. Set aside. In a medium pot set over medium/high heat, whisk together all Sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch and water. Once the mixture steaming, slowly stream in the cornstarch mixture while whisking the pot. Once fully incorporated, continue whisking until mixture thickens.
- Serve: Gently fold in the crispy tofu. Serve hot with rice and your favorite vegetable!