To the 50% of you who are about to skip over this post . . . STOP!!! Give me 5 minutes and an open mind, and I just might be able to change your entire perception of the world (or at least your meat alternative perception). Meet Perfect Instant Pot Tofu.
Are you a Tofu lover or hater? Whichever it is, I'm dying for you to try this new method for Perfect Instant Pot Tofu. It's soft, juicy, flavorful, and crispy – everything a good bite of Tofu should be!
Now that I hopefully still have some readers with me, YOU MUST TRY THIS TOFU!
My meat hating children and meat loving husband alike will all eat and love this Pressure Cooker Perfect Tofu, which still completely blows my mind.
And if I'm being honest, my sons recently stopped eating it because my daughter told them it tasted like something I won't mention on my blog, simply so they would stop eating it and she could have more for herself. Smart Chica.
I've tried every method of cooking tofu out there. I've also tried to like Tofu at every restaurant out there, but it always ends up soft, mushy, chewy, and flavorless. Even the deep-fried versions have all been bad, and heaven knows I'm not gonna waste my calories on a soggy piece of fried blah.
IN THIS INSTANT POT TOFU POST, YOU'LL LEARN:
- Why browning the tofu is important
- The (not-so-secret) Peanut sauce
- How to make crispy tofu
- Marinating the tofu
- What to serve with tofu
- Recommended tools for this recipe
- Skip to full recipe
(click on any of the above to go to that section)
During my search for the perfect, crispy tofu, I discovered this freezer method by Erin at Well Plated. Her directions instructed to freeze the tofu, then once frozen, boil it on the stovetop until it thawed. The theory being that it somehow altered the tofu to be the best possible texture.
Well, I loved loved loved how it came out! But I really really hated getting a pot out and boiling some water, and then watching it. See how lazy the Pressure Cooker makes you!
I threw that solid piece of tofu ice into the pressure cooker, and I'll be dipped, my finished product blew me away even more!
So here it is my friends! Pressure Cooker PERFECT Tofu! I beg each and every one of you Tofu lovers and haters to give this a try. Because when I have a child and a husband fighting over the last nugget of Tofu, you know it's legit good!
BROWNING THE TOFU
You'll notice below, you still need to coat the tofu in cornstarch and brown it to get Perfect Tofu. You can absolutely do this in 2 batches in the pressure cooker on the brown function, or because I want to eat when I want to eat, I go ahead and pull out my 12-inch skillet and do the whole batch on the stovetop. It's gotta get used every now and again, right?
Do it! Live on the edge, buy a block of extra firm tofu, and just see how incredible this meat substitute beauty can be!
DON'T FORGET THE PEANUT SAUCE
Do not, under any circumstance, neglect to make the peanut sauce. If by some slim chance I still don't convince you that you like Tofu, you can at least blissfully drink the sauce.
HOW TO MAKE CRISPY TOFU
To get the crispy exterior on tofu, you have 4 options:
- Pan Fry: This is my favorite method and the directions I include in the recipe below. Simply heat ghee or canola oil in a large saute pan, and cook each side of the tofu until golden brown.
- Oven Roast: This method is easier than the pan fry method, but the tofu doesn’t get quite as crispy. Bake cubes of tofu on a sheet pan at 425°F for about 20 minutes until browned, flipping halfway through for even browning.
- Air Fryer: Lightly coat cubes of tofu with olive oil and air fry at 400°F for about 10 minutes.
- Deep Fry: If you happen to own a deep fryer, drop the cubes of tofu into the hot oil until browned all over. Set tofu on a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
Extra Tip for Crispy Tofu: Coat the cubes of tofu lightly in cornstarch. This will assist in creating a crispy outer crust for any of the four methods above. This method is also detailed in the recipe card.
MARINATING THE TOFU
The beauty of tofu is that it has little flavor on its own, making it a perfect canvas for infusing it with your desired flavor. To marinate tofu, simply place it in the liquid marinade of your choice for 15 minutes.
Any marinade you use for meat will also work for tofu. Options include Asian Marinade, Balsamic Marinade, Coconut Curry Marinade, etc. Find lots of tofu marinade ideas here.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH TOFU
- Vegetables: Tofu is a great protein to serve alongside vegetables. Roasted vegetables, Lemon Kale, Glazed Carrots, Vegetable Medley, etc.
- Risotto: Cubes of crispy tofu go great with creamy risotto. Try it with Lemon Risotto, Sweet Corn Risotto, or even this Basic Instant Pot Risotto.
- Salads: I love to substitute meat with tofu in salads! Try it with this Caribbean Salad or this Poached Pear Salad.
- Grain Bowls: My favorite dish to serve with tofu is Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice. Tofu also makes a great addition to any grain including Instant Pot Brown Rice or White Rice.
- Lentils: For a protein-loaded meal, serve tofu with a side of Instant Pot Lentils.
Enjoy! And please oh please, report back! I'm dying to know if I convince anyone!
RECOMMENDED TOOLS TO BUY AND MAKE INSTANT POT TOFU:Print
Pressure Cooker Perfect Tofu
Juicy, flavorful, crispy Pressure Cooker Perfect Tofu that will have you saying the words, “I love Tofu more than chocolate”
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 3–4 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: American
For the Tofu
- 1 (15 oz) block of Extra Firm Tofu
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or canola oil and coconut oil also work well, I just really like the flavor of ghee)
- Peanut Sauce for dipping
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I use the all natural, unsweetened variety that you have to stir)
- 1/3 cup lite coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional for some heat)
- water or more lite coconut milk to thin if needed
- extra chopped peanuts on top (optional)
- Open tofu package, drain and discard liquid. Cut the tofu in half so you have a top and bottom piece. Stack them on top of each other, then slice into 4 equal pieces (see picture above for reference)
- Layer the pieces back together into a square block, place inside a freezer safe ziplock bag, then place in the freezer for at least 3 hours (can also store in freezer for several weeks).
- To cook tofu, remove it from the ziplock bag and place inside the pressure cooker pot. Add warm water to just BARELY cover the tofu.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes.
- While tofu is cooking, to a small bowl add all of the peanut sauce ingredients and whisk to combine, adding more coconut milk or water for a thinner consistency.
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Scoop tofu from the water with a slotted spoon, keeping it together as much as possible, and place on top of several layers of paper towel. Lightly press on top of the tofu with more paper towels. Cut the tofu down the middle 1 or 2 times, depending on how big you want your tofu bites. (I like to do just 1 cut though the center so I don't have so many pieces to turn in the skillet)
- Place pieces of tofu into a medium size bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to distribute. Sprkinle with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, toss to coat. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of cornstarch, toss to coat. Sprinkle with a final tablespoon of cornstarch and again toss to coat.
- Heat a large skillet (about 12 inches) on medium high heat. Add ghee, canola oil, or coconut oil. When oil is shimmering and hot, add tofu and brown on all 4 sides, 2-3 minutes. If pan is going dry, add more ghee or oil. This step can also be done in 2 batches inside the pressure cooker pot using the brown or saute function.
- When tofu is browned all over, use a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined plate. Eat immediately with a side of peanut sauce for dipping. The longer they sit, they tend to loose the delicious crispy exterior.
- Leftover tofu can be stored in the refrigerator. Although not as crispy as when they are first prepared, you can throw them in a skillet to re-crisp them a bit
- Extra peanut sauce can be frozen in an ice cube tray, then place cubes in a labeled freezer safe ziplock bag.
Keywords: vegan recipe, healthy snack, peanut sauce