The Best Crispy Fried Tofu
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The Best Crispy Fried Tofu

Sweet potato starch and tofu become a formidable duo in this crispy fried tofu recipe.

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Coating tofu in sweet potato starch makes for the best crispy fried tofu that holds up to any sauce you can dream up.

how to fry tofu

Sweet potato starch is the secret to perfect, crispy tofu every time

Sweet potato starch has become my go-to for frying just about anything. While I’ve made delicious tofu in the past with other types of flour–like cassava flour in this black pepper tofu recipe–nothing gives you the crispiest tofu bites like sweet potato starch.

What is sweet potato starch?

Similar to potato starch or cornstarch, sweet potato starch is derived from its namesake: sweet potatoes! It’s a very fine powder made from pulverizing sweet potatoes, and it’s more granular than potato starch. It’s commonly used as the coating for Taiwanese fried chicken, creating an extra crispy and bubbly outside coating.

The crispy bubbly coating created by sweet potato starch is actually why I love using it for tofu. It creates the perfect little crunchy tofu bites. My husband went so far as to say that this is the best tofu I’ve ever made, so you know it’s good.

How to make the best crispy fried tofu

Fortunately, you only need a few ingredients for this recipe.

What you need

  • Tofu: Use extra firm tofu and press it for at least 30 minutes to remove as much water as possible.
  • Sweet potato starch: If you don’t have sweet potato starch, you can use potato starch or cornstarch, but I strongly recommend grabbing a bag of sweet potato starch to give it a try. You won’t regret it!
  • Salt: I season the tofu simply with just salt, but you can get creative with your favorite spices.
  • Neutral oil: Use an oil that has a high smoke point like avocado oil or sunflower seed oil.

How to make it

  • Step 1: Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. You can add more if you like it saltier.
  • Step 2: Add the sweet potato starch. Toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat the tofu, being careful not to break it up too much.
  • Step 3: Fry! Preheat neutral oil in a wide pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Once it shimmers, I recommend adjusting the heat to medium. You won’t the oil to be very hot, so preheat it for at least 5 minutes prior to frying. Add the tofu using tongs, one piece at a time. Fry in an even layer–and in batches if needed–for 3–4 minutes per side. The tofu should release easily from the bottom of the skillet before you attempt to flip it. I recommend using tongs to release the tofu, not a flipper!
  • Step 4: Finish it up. Transfer the tofu to a paper towel-lined plate and finish with flaky sea salt. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
fried tofu

That’s it! Before you know it, you’ll be popping the crispiest tofu bites in your mouth with wild abandon. Trust me!

The Best Crispy Fried Tofu

The Best Crispy Fried Tofu

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Servings: 4
Calories: 225kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup sweet potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • Flaky sea salt for serving

Instructions

Prepare the tofu:

  • Place the cubed tofu in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  • Pour the sweet potato starch on top and gently coat it with the flour using a rubber spatula. Try to avoid breaking the tofu too much. You can also shake the bowl around to ensure the tofu is coated.

Fry the tofu:

  • Heat the neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Turn the heat to medium once the oil shimmers. Be sure to allow the oil to preheat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tofu in an even layer–frying in batches if needed–and cook without moving for 3–4 minutes per side. Turn only once the tofu releases easily from the bottom of the skillet. If your oil was nice and hot when you added the tofu, it shouldn’t stick. Cook until all the tofu is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

To serve:

  • Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt on top and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 586mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g
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