Meatless Monday Challenge

30-Minute Sticky Orange Tofu

on January 14, 2021
last updated June 30, 2023
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This Sticky Orange Tofu is fried to a crispy golden brown and topped with a sweet, sticky sauce, making it the perfect light and nutritious accompaniment to rice or noodles.
30-Minute Sticky Orange Tofu

Looking for a meatless protein option to serve over your favorite rice or noodles? This Sticky Orange Tofu is packed with fresh flavor and fried to crispy golden brown perfection.

Plus, this protein-packed and over the top delicious tofu dinner dish comes together in just about 30 minutes, making it as easy as it is tasty. You’ll quickly fall in love with the zesty, salty, sticky sauce’s unique flavor!

Overhead shot of two plates of orange tofu with white rice

As an environmental scientist, I’m always looking for delicious meat alternatives to help me improve my ecological footprint, and this Sticky Orange Tofu is a great substitute for chicken.

Tofu is a protein-rich food made from condensing soy milk. It’s a great addition to any meal because of its ability to take on any flavor.

Green tip: Industrial meat production has a huge impact on the environment, especially because of the amount of land it takes to sustain and its high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your meat consumption is one great way to improve your ecological footprint.

Orange Tofu Ingredients

Here’s everything you need for the crispy tofu:

  • Extra-firm tofu. Extra-firm tofu most readily gets crispy.
  • Olive oil. To fry your tofu in.
  • Cornstarch. To soak up excess moisture from the tofu to help it in the crisping process.
Crispy tofu ingredients including extra-firm tofu, olive oil, and cornstarch

Here’s everything you need for the sticky orange sauce:

  • Cornstarch in water. This makes a slurry that acts as a thickening agent in your sauce.
  • Garlic. To add an earthy and savory flavor to your sauce.
  • Juice from an orange. To add a subtly sweet, zesty flavor to your sauce. The star of this dish!
  • Tamari. Or soy sauce. To add salt and umami.
  • Rice vinegar. To add acid to your sauce.
  • Honey. To bring out the natural sweetness of the orange and help to balance all of the other flavors. You can use Agave nectar in its place to make this recipe vegan.
  • Ground ginger. For a little kick of spice and heat.
Sticky Orange Sauce ingredients including Tamari, ground ginger, fresh orange, water, garlic, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and honey

Sticky Orange Tofu Tips and Tricks

Not All Tofu Is Created Equal

If you’re new to tofu, you may be confused by all the seemingly similar options. Extra-firm is my favorite type for getting a crispy finish. You can also use firm in a pinch, but you may have a little more trouble handling it.

Green tip: Organic farms rely on biodiversity to generate rich soil, avoiding the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which means no toxic runoff. Consider organic tofu for this recipe.

A Good Press

Spongy tofu happens. But don’t fear! This tofu pressing method will dry out your tofu enough to avoid that soggy mess.

If you cook tofu often, it might be worth your while to pick up a tofu press.

Not a gadget person (or like to be thrifty like me!)? Drain your tofu and place it between two clean kitchen towels. Choose something heavy to place on top. I usually use a book! Let it sit for at least 5 minutes to allow the towels to absorb the water and dry the tofu out.

Pressing tofu to release excess moisture

Cut & Coat Your Tofu

Once your tofu is pressed, slice it in half lengthwise, so you’re left with two, thinner rectangular pieces of tofu.

Block of tofu sliced in half lengthwise

Then, you can slice your tofu into thin, triangular pieces as pictured, or into cubes—whichever you prefer!

However, you slice it, make sure to coat your tofu evenly in olive oil. I like to use a pastry brush to ensure I get every surface coated oil.

Using a pastry brush to evenly apply oil to tofu

Sprinkle Cornstarch on Top

Once you’ve coated your tofu in olive oil, sprinkle the cornstarch on top. Though cornstarch has a funny texture and can sometimes be hard to “sprinkle”, just do your best to get a small amount of cornstarch on each side of every piece of tofu.

The cornstarch will help to soak up any excess liquid that may not have been pressed out of the tofu, helping you to get that golden brown.

Sprinkling cornstarch over tofu to get it crispy

Fry Your Tofu

Get your pan hot over high heat before carefully placing your tofu directly on the pan. No need for any extra oil, the oil and cornstarch coating on the tofu will be enough to get it golden brown.

Fry for about 5 minutes on each side over high heat, until crispy.

Frying tofu until golden brown

Meanwhile, Make Your Sticky Orange Sauce

Make Your Cornstarch Slurry

In order to get that thick and sticky sauce, you’ll need a thickener. In this case, we are using a cornstarch “slurry” to get the perfect consistency for our sauce.

Start your sauce by stirring 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into 2 teaspoons of water and set aside for later use.

Adding cornstarch to water to make a slurry

Use a Fresh Orange

This sauce recipe calls for 1/4 cup of orange juice, which is typically the amount of juice you extract from 1/2 of a fresh orange.

Use a freshly squeezed orange rather than buying orange juice. Any additives like sugar and preservatives will change the flavor of the sauce.

Fresh citrus goes a long way in making this zesty and subtly sweet sauce just right.

Juicing orange to make sticky orange sauce for tofu

Boil Your Sauce

Bring the garlic, orange juice, Tamari, rice vinegar, honey, and ground ginger to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Once the sauce starts to boil, add your cornstarch slurry that you made earlier. As you continue to heat, the cornstarch slurry will thicken your sauce.

Continue to stir occasionally, monitoring the consistency of the sauce. Once it’s thick and sticky, remove it from heat.

Making sticky orange sauce

Toss the Tofu in the Sauce

Add your crispy tofu to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the tofu and toss to coat.

It’s best to not add the sauce until you are ready to eat it. The longer the tofu sits in the sauce, the more likely it is to start to get soggy.

So, when you’re ready to eat, toss it in the sauce and then serve immediately.

Pouring sticky orange sauce over tofu to toss and coat

Properly Storing and Reheating Orange Tofu

This Orange Tofu will last up to one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also opt to freeze it for up to 3 months.

To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the orange-glazed tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat (use a reusable mat to reduce your waste!) for about 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

You can also air fry it at 375°F for 3-5 minutes.

Green tip: Did you know that 50% of food waste happens at home? Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing and reheating your leftovers to enjoy!

Serving Your Sticky Orange Tofu

This Sticky Orang Tofu is super flavorful, and pairs really well with white rice or lo mein.

It’s also delicious with these Vegetarian Spring Rolls or this Mushroom Fried Rice.

Crispy tofu coated in orange sauce plated with white rice

Orange Tofu Frequently Asked Questions

What is orange tofu made of?

Orange tofu is made up of crispy orange tofu glazed in a sticky, orange-infused sauce. The sauce typically uses a blend of Tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a blend of other spices and flavor-enhancers.

How do you know when tofu is cooked?

Tofu is safe to eat raw, so there’s nothing to fear in terms of eating undercooked tofu. That being said, tofu tastes best when it’s nice and crispy.

You’ll know your tofu is cooked when it has a golden-brown and crispy outer layer.

Want to sharpen your kitchen skills?

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Why You Should Make This 30-Minute Sticky Orange Tofu

  • It’s salty and sweet. The fresh juice from the orange shines and partners beautifully with the salty Tamari.
  • It’s quick. A thirty-minute meal! Enough said.
  • It’s the perfect introduction to tofu. The most common reasons people don’t like tofu are its spongy texture and its boring blandness. With this Sticky Orange Tofu, you’ll get none of that!

If you’re loving this Sticky Orange Tofu and want more delicious tofu dishes, check out this 5-Ingredient Buffalo Tofu and Crispy BBQ Tofu Sandwich.

30-Minute Sticky Orange Tofu

Healthy Sticky Orange Tofu

5 from 3 votes
Marley Goldin
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This Sticky Orange Tofu is fried to a crispy golden brown and topped with a sweet, sticky sauce, making it the perfect light and nutritious accompaniment to rice or noodles.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings


Crispy Tofu

  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sticky Orange Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (juice of ½ orange = approx. ¼ cup juice)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
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Crispy Tofu

  • Drain and press your tofu. Either use a tofu press or place it between two clean kitchen towels and place something heavy (I use a wooden box!) on top of your tofu and press for at least 5 minutes.
  • Once most of the liquid is drained from your tofu, cut it in half lengthwise. Then, you can choose to either cube the tofu or cut it into triangles as pictured.
  • Coat your tofu pieces in olive oil (I like to use a pastry brush for even coating), then sprinkle cornstarch on both sides.
  • Get a large frying pan hot before carefully placing your tofu flat on the pan to fry. Allow your tofu to cook until golden brown on both sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side).

Sticky Orange Sauce

  • In the meantime, stir 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into 2 teaspoons of water to form a slurry and set aside.
  • Dice your garlic and add it to a small saucepan over medium heat with orange juice, tamari, vinegar, honey, and ground ginger. Bring your sauce up to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally (cornstarch will start to thicken sauce once it reaches 295°F).
  • When you're ready to serve, add the crispy tofu to a large mixing bowl and pour the sauce overtop. Toss to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional) and serve hot.

Pro Tips

  • Don’t rush your tofu pressing process.
  • Make sure to get your pan hot before adding your tofu.
  • Only add your sauce just before serving to make sure you keep your tofu crispy.
  • Find more delicious meat-free recipes in this collection of my best meatless meals!
  • For more tofu-based recipes, check out this round-up of my best tofu recipes.

Share This Recipe

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Diet Vegan
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Easy, Healthy, Sticky Orange Tofu
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