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Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu

by Kelly
Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu that has amazing flavour and a BIG texture contrast!

This Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu has amazing flavor and a BIG texture contrast! Crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside! Out of all the recipes out there, this is honestly the BEST salt and pepper tofu I have ever had, and it literally disappeared in seconds from our dining table! The crispy skin is delightfully savory with a hint of heat, while the inside just melts in your mouth.

For this crispy salt and pepper tofu, I use regular soft tofu (also known as Chinese Tofu) instead of firm/pressed tofu that is used by most other recipes. Not as solid as firm/pressed tofu, and not as soft as silken tofu, the texture strikes the perfect balance between being easily handled by hand, and being silky smooth when eaten. This regular soft tofu readily soaks up the flavorful coating, resulting in a delightful and unique contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender interior.

The selection of spices plays a pivotal role in elevating the crispy salt and pepper tofu to a whole new level of flavor. Let’s dive deeper into the intriguing quartet of spices—garlic salt, paprika powder, onion powder, and black pepper:

Garlic salt, a combination of garlic powder and salt, is a powerhouse of savory flavor. Its inclusion in the coating mixture infuses the tofu with a rich and robust garlic essence that dances on your palate. This spice provides a comforting and familiar umami note that harmonizes beautifully with the natural creaminess of tofu. As the tofu fries to perfection, the garlic salt becomes a savory anchor, ensuring that every bite is filled with a satisfying depth of flavor.

Paprika powder, derived from dried and ground bell peppers or chili peppers, is the secret ingredient that adds both color and complexity to the dish. While it’s known for its vibrant red hue, paprika’s true magic lies in its ability to deliver a subtle sweetness and a gentle, smoky heat. In crispy salt and pepper tofu, paprika powder imparts a captivating depth of flavor that complements the garlic salt. It’s the subtle sweetness and the mild spiciness that take this dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Onion powder, made from dried and ground onions, brings a delicate yet essential layer of flavor to the coating mixture. It contributes an alluring hint of oniony sweetness and a mild pungency that lingers in the background. While it doesn’t overpower the other spices, it adds depth and complexity to the overall taste profile of the tofu. This unassuming spice plays a supporting role, allowing the garlic salt and paprika powder to shine while ensuring a well-rounded and balanced flavor profile.

Black pepper, often referred to as the “king of spices,” adds the finishing touch to the crispy salt and pepper tofu. Its distinctive pungency and mild heat are the perfect counterpoints to the other spices in the mixture. The black pepper not only enhances the overall flavor but also provides a gentle kick that keeps your taste buds engaged. Its aromatic qualities ensure that every bite of tofu is not only crispy but also full of personality, making each mouthful a memorable one.

This medley of seasonings infuses the tofu with a burst of savory, slightly spicy, and subtly sweet notes. Each bite is an explosion of flavor, a harmonious blend that keeps you coming back for more.

To achieve the coveted crispiness, the tofu is coated multiple times in the flavorful mixture. This not only adds layers of flavor but also creates a satisfying crunch when deep fried. The two-step frying process is crucial for achieving the ideal texture. The first fry sets the stage, while the second fry takes it to the next level, creating deep golden perfection. So let’s get to it!

Watch How To Make It

Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu

This Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu has amazing flavor and a BIG texture contrast, and is honestly the BEST salt and pepper tofu I have ever had! Crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: crispy, dinner, lunch, tofu
Servings: 2


  • 300 g soft tofu
  • spring onion garnish
  • chili garnish


  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Some black pepper


  • Add the coating ingredients into a bowl, mix well then set it aside.
  • Pat dry the soft tofu and cut them into cubes.
    Pro Tip: Use regular soft tofu (sometimes also called Chinese Tofu). They are not firm, pressed or silken tofu. Regular soft tofu’s firmness is between a pressed / firm tofu and a silken tofu.
  • Coat the tofu with the coating ingredients, and repeat a few times until a nice layer of dry powder coats each tofu. Shake off any excess flour, then spread it out on a plate.
    Pro Tip: The soft tofu will slowly absorb the coating powder to form the layer of coat that will crisp up beautifully. Coating each tofu individually will have the best result, giving the tofu time to absorb the powder between each round of coating, to eventually achieve a nice thick layer of coating.
  • Heat up oil over high heat in a deep frying pot. Dip a kitchen chopstick into the oil, and if a flurry of bubbles surrounds the chopstick (meaning the oil is hot enough), carefully drop the tofu in and let it fry until it turns golden, then set it aside.
    Pro Tip: If you have a thermometer, the ideal frying temperature is between 160°C to 170°C. Remove the tofu from the oil if you hear a water “pop” sound, which indicates that the tofu has popped and is overcooked.
  • Increase the oil temperature, fry the tofu again for 30 seconds until deep golden and crisp, then transfer onto a serving bowl. Garnish with spring onion and chili then serve!

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