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crispy tofu cubes on a plate with a side of sweet chili sauce

Crispy Salt & Pepper Tofu

  • Author: Asian Caucasian
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Chinese


This Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu vegetarian appetizer is crispy on the outside and silky on the inside. Perfect for entertaining!



For the Tofu

  • 1 block (14 oz when drained) extra firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Canola oil for frying

For dipping:

Garnish with sliced green onions.


  1. Drain the tofu block and tightly wrap with paper towels or a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Place on a cutting board and cut the tofu into one-inch cubes.
  2. Place the cornstarch into a shallow dish (like a pie pan). Mix into the corn starch the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Lightly toss the tofu cubes into the cornstarch to coat all sides. Heat a wok or heavy skillet on medium high heat using 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the tofu cubes and brown the tofu on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes, until crispy. Remove the tofu cubes from the pan and let drain on a paper towel.
  3.  Place on a serving plate, garnish with slices of green onion, and serve with sweet chili sauce for dipping.


  • You really don’t need to use a lot of oil in the pan to fry these up. As long as you have thoroughly dried the tofu, the cubes should brown up nicely with the corn starch coating!
  • I don’t like a lot of oily foods, so once the tofu is nicely golden place them on a paper towel to drain off the oil.
  • Sweet chili sauce is great for dipping, but you can use any Asian dipping sauce that you’d like!

Keywords: salt and pepper tofu, Chinese appetizer, tofu, vegetarian, appetizer