Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (2024)

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posted by Jessica Hylton on Jun 15, 2020 (last updated Dec 11, 2020) 312 comments »

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5 (from 307 ratings)

This Sweet and Sour Tofu is one of my favourite comfort foods ever of my favourite takeout! The tofu is crisp with a perfect texture and the sweet and sour sauce is unbelievably delicious! It comes together quickly and tastes amazing as meal prep too!

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (1)

I’ve been making this sweet and sour sauce since the beginning of ‘Jessiker Bakes’. The first version of JITK, and where I started experimenting with savoury dishes. 10 years later (the sauce was always vegan) I’ve modified it a bit, made the entire dish vegan, and I am finally re-sharing it! I can’t count how many times I’ve made this but it is our #1 go to COMFORT meal.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (2)

None of my local Asian restaurants make sweet and sour tofu. Which is a bummer, but also motivation to make my own. Let me tell you – it is INCREDIBLE! The first time I made it for a blog recipe, Gav and I finished it all that night. I say that with pride. It embodies all the flavours you would expect from a sweet and sour sauce – sweet, tangy, umami filled and so rich in colour and flavour. It comes with my favourite usual add-ins of bell peppers, onions and pineapples, and of course, crispy tofu.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (3)

How to Make Tofu Crispy

After years of making tofu, I’m proud to say we know how to make it perfectly crispy. The short answer is: cornstarch. I go into full detail in my How to Cook Tofu 101 blog post, and I highly recommend that you read it. Cornstarch crisps up the tofu while wicking out any excess liquid. It’s also gluten free so works well for that.

My second tip is to always, always press your tofu. I also say it in my how to cook tofu 101 blog post, it’s not tofu’s job to have flavour. It’s up to us to season it, in fact, I’m glad it barely has a flavour. It takes on anything you want it to. Removing the liquid from tofu allows it space to absorb all the flavour you want it to have. Those two, plus a nice hot pan to crisp it up in will create perfect tofu for this dish and beyond!

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Can’t have tofu?

If you’re allergic to soy, this recipe works perfectly on cauliflower too! Just bread it and crisp it up like in my orange cauliflower dish, then finish it like I do in this recipe in the pan. You could also do this on mushrooms or tempeh.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (5)

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Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (6)

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (7)

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan)

This Sweet and Sour Tofu is one of my favourite comfort foods ever of my favourite takeout! The tofu is crisp with a perfect texture and the sweet and sour is unbelievably delicious! It comes together quickly and takes amazing as meal prep too!

5 (from 307 ratings)

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Crispy Tofu

  • 1 16 ounce block of firm or extra firm tofu, pressed, and torn into 1 to 2 inch pieces*
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten free if needed, or liquid aminos or tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar, I use cane sugar, you can use brown or any granulated
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar, preferably rice or white
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten free if needed, or liquid aminos or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped/cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish
  • chopped scallion, for garnish


Crispy Tofu

  • In a medium-sized bowl place the pressed and torn tofu pieces. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Add in the garlic powder, sea salt, ground black pepper and cornstarch and toss to thoroughly combine, ensuring all the tofu pieces are covered with the seasonings and the cornstarch.

  • Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When hot, add the tofu and toss to crisp up on all sides until the tofu is cooked and crisped on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes.Feel free to do this in batches if desired. Remove tofu pieces and set aside.

Sweet and Sour Sauce + Putting it All Together

  • In the same pan, lower the heat to over medium-high heat, and add in the onions, pineapples and bell peppers.

  • Saute until the onions are translucent and the pineapples are slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water, soy sauce, and garlic powder for the sweet and sour sauce and stir together until fully combined.

  • Pour in the sauce over the veggies. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened up. Add back in the crisped up tofu, and stir to combine. Taste test and add more sugar or soy sauce if you desire. Remove from heat until needed.

  • Remove from heat and top with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve and enjoy!


I love enjoying this with some noodles or some hot rice, or fried cauliflower rice. It makes extra gravy on purpose!

*To tear tofu:

Take your pressed tofu and slice it in half length wise (so you end up with two large slices the same length and width as the original). Tear the tofu into 1 to 2 inch cubes. I like to use a ruler to help me measure the first tear, then use that as a guide, but it doesn't have to be exactly 1 to 2 inches.

You can also cube the tofu, but tearing it into pieces creates more edges for sauce and crispiness!

Calories: 391kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 868mg, Potassium: 392mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 1008IU, Vitamin C: 49mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Cuisine: Asian

Course: Dinner

Author: Jessica Hylton

Asian Dairy Free Dinner Egg Free Fall Gluten Free Lunch Recipes Spring Summer Vegan Vegetarian Winter

originally published on Jun 15, 2020 (last updated Dec 11, 2020)

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312 comments on “Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan)”

  1. Paulette Reply

    I tied it and every time I do I get so much compliments.
    Thank u 💓

  2. Shannon Reply

    I make this using Heinz No Sugar Added ketchup and have had great results every time! I love this recipe so much. Sometimes I air fry the tofu at 400F for 7 to 8 minutes in lieu of pan frying.

  3. Ben Reply

    Lovely recipe,Instead of the sugar i use the juice the pineapples came in the tin, and if need more sweetness then add in some exotic juice.Add in more peppers to bulk up the meal a little.I made this recipe twice now,Just read the comments and Someone suggested airfryring the tofu,next time.

  4. Ellie Reply

    this recipe is AMAZING I had never done crispy tofu before, it turned out perfect! I trippled the amounts & did mix of tofu & Quorn pieces. and made 11 portions which I’ll eat for the rest of the week, kept in fridge. the sauce turned out perfect. only thing I did different was keep the veg, tofu and sauce all separate. I also reduced the sugar by at least half. with the pineapple I used, it’s plenty sweet.

    I just reduced the sauce on its own at end to thicken up I didn’t want to continue cooking the veg within the sauce for all that time.

    I will be making this again!

    • Jessica Hylton Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing Ellie! Yay!!

  5. June Reply

    We are vegan but my husband has never enjoyed tofu. However, after making this recipe it’s top of his list of favourites. Very easy to make and really tasty. Chef’s kiss!

  6. Sasha Reply

    just saw this tonight and showed my husband, he said babe that look so good o would eat right now, and that what I did 9:30pm….
    Thanks we are 21 days in trying vegan no meat…the kids loved it.

    • Jessica Hylton Reply

      Aww so happy to hear this Sasha yay!!

  7. Steve Reply


  8. Barbara Reply

    My kids walked into the kitchen and asked if I had cooked real chicken. That’s how crispy the tofu looked. I’ve been cooking tofu for almost 5 years and had yet to find a recipe that yielded great texture. It always ended up soft. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! The sauce was very good and easy to make. My family loved it, even the picky child who doesn’t like any sauces. I saved some plain fried tofu in case she didn’t like the sauce, and ended up eating some with salt, like you’d eat popcorn chicken.

  9. Sally S Reply

    Absolutely delicious! Made the recipe exactly as written the first time, then added another bell pepper the second time I made it. 100% recommend. You can’t go wrong with this!

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Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe (Vegan) (2024)
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