If you’ve wondered what the secret is to making tofu taste good, this is it! My Tofu Marinade is perfect for grilling, baking, and stir-fries. This easy recipe will add a punch of flavour to all of your favourite meals!
Making tofu taste good is easy when you have the right sauce. Let this simple Tofu Marinade soak into tofu, tempeh, or vegetables to bump up the flavour!
This tofu marinade recipe is easy, quick, and has simple ingredients. It might sound familiar and that's because it's the marinade/glaze that I used on my Baked Tofu. Just like with that recipe there’s no need to press your tofu or spend hours marinating unless you want to! It’s a time-saving solution when your dinners or lunches need an extra zing.
What ingredients do I need?
(For detailed measurements and instructions, see the printable recipe card).
All you need is one bowl and a few staple ingredients for this recipe. Once the marinade is mixed together, it’s ready to be used with your favourite plant-based meals.
Here are the ingredients you need to make an easy tofu marinade:
- Tomato ketchup - Ketchup has the perfect texture to help the glaze stick to every piece of tofu.
- Maple syrup - The pride of Canada and a natural sweetener for the tofu marinade.
- Soy sauce - You can use tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Sriracha - For a bit of heat! Any hot sauce or chili sauce will add a bit of a zing to the glaze.
- Sesame oil - This will add depths of flavour to the marinade. Feel free to remove it if you want to make the recipe oil-free.
- Garlic - Because a savoury meal isn’t complete without garlic!
- Black pepper - To add a touch of spice and balance.
How to make easy tofu marinade
You won’t be stressing over this recipe! If anything, it’s the saving grace to bland or dull meals. As a bonus, it’s incredibly easy and can be whipped together in no time.
Here’s how to make tofu marinade:
Step 1 - Add all of the marinade ingredients to a small bowl.
Step 2 - Mix it up with a whisk or fork until everything is combined.
Step 3 - Give the glaze a taste and adjust the flavours based on your preferences. Add hot sauce for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, or soy sauce for saltiness.
Step 4 - Pour the marinade over tofu pieces until each piece is well coated. The marinade will soak into the tofu whether it’s baked, grilled, or pan-fried.
- Use one clean hand to move the tofu around so each piece is covered in sauce. You run the risk of breaking off small pieces when handling the tofu with tongs or another tool.
- Line a metal baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper before baking tofu with a marinade. This will help prevent the glaze from burning.
- Yes, the marinade has a strong flavour, but no, you don’t have to be concerned! As the marinade bakes into the tofu, seitan, burgers, or vegetables, the flavour will be toned down.
- You can press all of the excess moisture out of the tofu before adding it to the marinade if you want. Use a tofu press or wrap it in a clean dish towel and place something heavy on top. Whatever you do, don’t press the tofu AFTER it’s been marinated or else all of the delicious flavours will be lost.
How to use it
- You have to try my baked marinated tofu! It’s a delicious source of protein that can be added to salads, stir fry, or sandwiches.
- On the tofu in my Tofu Bowls recipe.
- The marinade pairs well with tempeh, seitan, vegetables, chickpeas and as an alternative to Buffalo sauce on cauliflower wings.
- Serve marinated tofu alongside a salad for substance. It would be delicious next to my Tomato Chickpea Salad, Peanut Crunch Salad in a Jar, or Vegan Broccoli Salad.
- It’ll be your best friend come grilling season! Brush the marinade on veggie burgers, vegan sausages, kabobs and seitan before and during cooking for shine and extra flavour.
- The leftover sauce could be used for drizzling over grain bowls or as a stir fry sauce.
What kind of tofu do I use with the marinade?
Extra-firm tofu is best for this recipe. It has the best texture and soaks up the flavours well. It's also sturdier and won't fall apart while you're coating it in the marinade.
For more tips about the different kinds of tofu and how to prepare and use them see my tofu guide here.
How long do I leave the marinade on?
You can leave the tofu to soak in the marinade for up to 3 days or for as little as 10 minutes. Coat the tofu in the glaze and either cook right away, or allow it to marinate in the fridge for as long as you need.
Can you marinate tofu for too long?
Tofu is only good for 4 or 5 days after it’s been removed from the package. Left out any longer and it will start to deteriorate. I recommend only leaving the tofu sitting in the marinade for no more than 3 days.
Ways you can adapt this recipe
- Vegan Peanut Sauce: You can easily adapt this recipe so it fits with your favourite Asian-inspired meals, like my Peanut Noodles. Add a spoonful of nut butter, a little citrus juice and zest, chili flakes, remove the sriracha, and add more or no garlic to create a peanut sauce marinade.
- Make It Healthier: You can make this recipe healthier by switching the ketchup with tomato paste, or by using low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos.
- Oil-Free Marinade: Omit the tablespoon of sesame oil or sub in vegetable broth to make this marinade recipe oil-free. Just know that you’ll be missing out on the slight sesame flavour!
- Make It Gluten-Free: Replace the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free tofu marinade instead.
- Adapt For Grilling: Use BBQ sauce instead of ketchup to create a smokey tofu marinade for grilling.
Storage, freezing and reheating tips
Make sure the marinade is at room temperature before you store away leftovers. Keep them in an airtight jar or container in the fridge and use within one week.
Tofu marinade can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge and give it a good stir before using.
Hungry for more?
If you tried this recipe, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
- ⅓ cup / 80 mls tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari , see notes if gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon sriracha , or Sambal Oelek, or any other hot sauce or chili paste
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (omit to make oil-free)
- 1 clove garlic minced or grated very finely
- 1 big pinch freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl mix up all of the marinade ingredients. If you taste it don't be alarmed at how strong it is. Once it's on the tofu and cooked it's all ok, I promise!
- Pour the marinade over the tofu (or tempeh, seitan, vegetables) and make sure it is coated well. I find it best to use one clean hand to do this. When using tongs or other implements you end up breaking little pieces of tofu off no matter how careful you are.
- Leave to marinade. It's tasty enough to cook immediately if you are in a hurry, or you can leave it to seep in for anything from 30 minutes to 3 days. Just be sure to store in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator if you are leaving it for more than an hour.
- Cook as per your needs, saving any leftover marinade to brush on halfway through the cooking time and again before serving. You can pan fry, bake or grill. If baking be sure to line the baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat to stop any sticking.
Nutritional information is provided for convenience & as a courtesy. The data is a computer generated estimate so should be used as a guide only.