Spicy Gochujang Tofu (Korean Inspired)

Crispy oven-baked tofu coated in a spicy, sweet and savory sauce inspired by Korean cuisine. One of my favorite ways to enjoy tofu.

This Gochujang Tofu recipe is one of Eric’s favorite meals that I make! Whenever we’re unsure of what to cook for dinner, this recipe is a go-to for us. We usually have an extra block or two of tofu on-hand, and we always have the ingredients for the sauce in the pantry.

Gochujang Korean tofu is the perfect dish for anyone who loves spicy food that’s packed with umami flavor. It’s like the takeout tofu dish I never knew I needed. (But homemade!)

gochujang tofu in a bowl with rice, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds

Ingredients for Korean Gochujang Tofu Sauce

My Gochujang Sauce recipe was originally inspired by a recipe I saw on Joshua Weissman’s YouTube channel a few years ago. He made Korean fried chicken tossed in a sweet, savory and spicy Gochujang Sauce.

A few simple substitutions make the sauce vegan-friendly and more easily accessible to the average home cook. I also adjusted the ratios to make the perfect amount of sauce to coat one block of tofu, plus a little extra for your rice or steamed veggies you might serve with it.

  • Gochujang paste. This is a type of fermented Korean red chili paste that lends the perfect amount of heat to the recipe! Nowadays I can find gochujang at many chain grocery stores in the Asian/International section, but if you can’t find it there, you can always check your nearest Asian grocer or purchase it online.
  • Ketchup, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. This combo makes the sauce sweet and a little tart. You can reduce or omit the brown sugar if you don’t enjoy much sweetness in your savory dishes, but I highly recommend using at least a little sugar to balance out the flavor profile.
  • Soy sauce. For salt and umami. Feel free to substitute in a gluten-free alternative, such as tamari, if necessary.
  • Mirin. This is a Japanese rice wine that will add a little extra sweetness and umami to your sauce. It has a very unique and complex flavor that adds a lot to this dish, so I recommend adding it if you can! I can usually find mirin A) at my local Asian market, B) at regular grocery chains in the Asian/International section, or C) at health food stores such as Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, however, you can simply omit it from the recipe.
  • Garlic. Measure this with your heart! I usually add a good 4-5 cloves.
  • Sesame oil. This adds a nice toasted, nutty flavor to the sauce and makes it taste more like authentic Korean cooking.
  • Scallions and sesame seeds. Optional but highly recommended toppings! Sliced green onions (spring onion) add so much flavor and freshness to this Gochujang Tofu. They also make the dish look more visually appealing! Toasted sesame seeds add some extra toasted flavor and a nice texture to the dish.

How to Make Gochujang Tofu

Make the Crispy Tofu

Crispy baked tofu is my go-to way to enjoy this delicious Korean-inspired Gochujang Sauce. But just know that the sauce goes phenomenally with so many things! Noodles, homemade bibimbap, glazed roasted eggplant, and stir fry are equally great options. Here’s how to make the tofu:

  1. Press a block of firm or extra-firm tofu. This will remove the excess water and improve the texture of the tofu. There are a few ways to do this! Either you can wrap the block of tofu in a clean kitchen towel and weigh it down with something heavy like a cutting board for about 30 minutes, or you can purchase a tool like the EZ Tofu Press or Tofuture if you’re like me and eat tofu multiple times a week.
  2. Cut the pressed tofu into roughly 1″ cubes, or you can tear it into irregular pieces. Tearing it is actually my preference because it gives the tofu a craggy surface that gets extra crispy when baked! Crispier tofu = more deliciousness. Ripping the tofu also creates more surface area for the sauce to cling to.
  3. Add the tofu bites to a large bowl and toss with oil and seasoning. Then toss with corn starch and toss to coat. Tofu tends to be a bit delicate, so it helps to use a flexible rubber spatula to toss it gently in the ingredients so it doesn’t crumble.
  4. Bake the tofu in a preheated 425°F oven on a lined baking sheet, till it’s deliciously crispy and golden brown. Give it a flip about 15 minutes into the cook time so it crisps up evenly.

Prepare the Spicy Gochujang Tofu Sauce

This spicy sauce comes together ridiculously fast! All you have to do is mince a little garlic, then combine all the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring it up to heat over medium-high heat, then reduce to low once it starts to bubble. Simmer it for a few minutes, stirring constantly, to cook out the raw flavor of the garlic.

The sauce will thicken slightly as you heat it. You can add an extra tablespoon or so of water if needed to thin out the sauce to your preferred consistency.

After a few minutes, toss your crispy baked tofu into the pan and stir to coat. It’s ready to enjoy! I love to serve it with a big helping of steamed white rice. Sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds are a delicious and beautiful garnish for your Gochujang Tofu.

Serving Suggestions for Spicy Gochujang Tofu

Our favorite way to enjoy this Korean-inspired dish is to make rice bowls. All you have to do is whip up a batch of white or brown rice and some fresh vegetables! We usually serve this with steamed broccoli, but other good side veggies we like are green beans or zucchini.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Find Gochujang?

The most surefire way to find gochujang is to visit your local Asian market! This is a very popular ingredient in Korean dishes.

Gochujang can also be purchased nowadays at many grocery chains such as Kroger or Safeway. Check the International section, where you would typically find things like soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha. It oftentimes comes in a red plastic tub so it’ll be hard to miss.

Otherwise, you can buy gochujang online. Gochujang is a pivotal ingredient in this recipe so unfortunately there are no good substitutions.

Where to Find Mirin?

Just like gochujang, the guaranteed place to find it is your local Asian market. Check where they stock various types of vinegars and cooking wines.

I have also had good luck purchasing it my regular grocery stores (like Kroger or Safeway) and at Whole Foods in the International section, usually alongside rice vinegar.

And of course, you can always purchase it online.

Mirin Substitutions?

If you don’t have any mirin in your pantry, you can simply double the amount of rice vinegar. Your Gochujang tofu will still taste delicious, just a little less flavorful. If you happen to have some sake, dry sherry or sweet marsala wine in your pantry, you can try substituting in one of those, though I haven’t personally tried this.

Do I have to use extra firm tofu?

Yes. Softer tofu varieties such as silken tofu won’t hold up to the coating and will fall apart in the process.

Storage and Reheating

You can store your gochujang tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

When you’re ready to reheat it, you can pop it in the microwave, though it won’t be crispy anymore once it’s reheated. If you have an air fryer, reheating it in there will get it nice and crispy again!

More Tofu Recipes

gochujang tofu in a bowl with rice, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds

Spicy Gochujang Tofu (Korean Inspired)

Crispy oven-baked tofu coated in a spicy, sweet and savory sauce inspired by Korean cuisine. One of my favorite ways to enjoy tofu.
4.9 from 46 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Sarah Sullivan

Equipment

  • small nonstick skillet
  • baking tray
  • silicone baking mat or parchment
  • mixing bowl
  • rubber spatula

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or other neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch salt and pepper

Gochujang Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons water or as needed

Optional Garnishes

  • Sliced scallions
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

Baked Tofu

  • Drain your tofu and either A) cut into approximately 1" cubes or B) tear into irregular pieces for crispy tofu nuggets. Lay tofu pieces on one half of a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Fold over the other half of the towel and gently press to remove excess liquid. Leave the tofu to drain for at least 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  • Transfer the pressed tofu to a mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle in salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Try to be gentle so that the tofu cubes or nuggets stay intact. I find using a big flexible rubber spatula helps.
  • Sprinkle the cornstarch over the seasoned tofu and once again toss until tofu is evenly coated and there's no dry cornstarch left at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Arrange the tofu on your prepared baking sheet so that the pieces aren't touching. Bake for 15 minutes and give the pieces a flip. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the tofu is as crispy as you like it! The time will vary a little depending on how thoroughly you pressed your tofu.
  • While your tofu bakes, measure ingredients for the gochujang sauce.

Gochujang Sauce

  • You can measure all the ingredients for your sauce directly into a nonstick skillet. Whisk together.
  • Heat the sauce over medium-high until it begins to bubble. Then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for about 3-5 minutes, until sugar has dissolved fully and sauce has thickened slightly. Add an extra tablespoon or so of water as needed to thin out the sauce to your preferred consistency.
  • When your tofu is done baking, transfer it to your saucepan and stir to coat. Alternatively, you can serve the crispy tofu with the gochujang sauce on the side.

To Serve

  • I love to serve this Gochujang Tofu with steamed white rice. Garnish with fresh sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Video

Notes

Mirin: A type of sweet Japanese cooking wine. You can find it in the International section of many grocery chains, where you would locate soy sauce. Otherwise, check your local Asian grocer. If you cannot find it, increase the rice vinegar to 2 TBSPs.
Gochujang: A type of fermented Korean red pepper paste. You can find it in the International section of many grocery chains, or at your local Asian grocer. There is no good substitution for this ingredient, so if you can’t find it in person, you can order it online.
Leftovers: These keep up to 5 days in the fridge. Reheat on the stove over medium heat. The tofu is best enjoyed the day it’s prepared as it won’t stay crispy as leftovers. If you expect to have leftover tofu and want to be able to re-crisp it up, store it separate from the sauce and you can re-crisp it in the oven or air-fryer at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Other Uses for the Gochujang Sauce: It’s also great as a sauce for noodles or homemade bibimbap.
Did you make this recipe?We’d love for you to leave a review on the website! You can also share a photo on IG and tag @sarahsvegankitchen_ or #sarahsvegankitchen.

35 Comments

  1. Pingback: Crispy Baked Tofu - Sarah's Vegan Kitchen

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious Sarah! Because I’m a weenie when it comes to spice I halved the gochujang and it was perfect. The best baked tofu I’ve had! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe. I made it twice one with frozen extra firm tofu and fresh medium firm tofu. The frozen extra firm tofu works best and I also adjusted the gochujang 1 TBSP the second time because it was too spicy the first time.

  4. 5 stars
    I am chronically ill and some days I do NOT feel up to cooking. Tonight was was one of those nights when I wanted something easy but satisfying. I always have a block of tofu in the freezer so I pulled it out earlier in the day, pressed it and the rest was a breeze!
    Thank you for keeping us all inspired to eat healthy, try new things and enjoy cooking ~ Even when we might feel awful! Good food feeds the soul as well as the body.
    PS- You Rock!!😁

  5. 5 stars
    A nearly-identical taste to the HMart Chili Tofu that I love so much!
    I added 2 TBSP of Gochujang instead of 3 TBSP, and it definitely helped with the heat. I haven’t been having the best food time (see: disordered eating), but following these easy recipes has been incredibly useful. I also made the famous roasted garlic vegetable soup for my omnivore sibling when he was sick and he loved it!

    Thanks for making this content free and available to the internet!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so delicious and my first time ever trying gochujang. Much spicer than i anticipated but certainly a dish ill continue to make.

    • Lisa Rubino

      5 stars
      Sarah this was super easy and very delicious. I scaled back to 1 1/2 TBSP of gochujang instead of 3 and it had plenty of heat. I think the next time I make this, I’m going to do 1 TBSP. I think that would be perfect. It was very flavorful. Thank u for this receipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious! I had tofu in the freezer and all the ingredients, so I had to try this. Really delicious! Super easy to follow, and it was a quick, flavorful meal!

  8. Quick question: The video says to toss the tofu with, among other things, garlic powder and onion powder. The printed recipe omits those. Which is right?

    • Lisa Rubino

      Hi Sarah, I’m so eager to try out this receipe but, like Bob, I’m wondering how much onion and garlic powder to use? You mention these items in the video but it’s omitted from the written receipe. Thank you so much for your vegan receipes!

  9. 5 stars
    This was so easy and yummy!! Will be adding to my rotation, thank you!!

  10. 5 stars
    Fabulous! I used just one tbsp of gochujang for a little spice. Increased the ketchup. Used apple cider vinegar but should have used half the amount. Served with brown rice and a beet salad that built on the sweetness of the tofu. Sesame seeds really make the dish. Thank you, your recipe is brilliant.

  11. 5 stars
    Run and make this dish!
    Super easy and so delicious. I used potato starch as a substitute for cornstarch. Served with rice and steamed broccoli . Will be my go to for sure

  12. 5 stars
    Super easy and delicious but unlike others I added 1tbsp sriracha to the sauce for extra heat!

  13. 5 stars
    My 17 year old son made this one night. He was very eager for me to try it. I mostly hate tofu (texture is too much like eggs). Oh my gosh was it delicious! I kept stealing bites from his bowl. He was happily annoyed. The only thing he omitted was the Mirin. I can’t wait to make it myself. Thanks for the awesome recipe 😀

  14. 5 stars
    i was excited to see that i had all the ingrediants already in my fridge. the tofu turned out great. easy to make and delish. thank you for the recipe!

  15. 5 stars
    This was the absolute best preparation for tofu I’ve tried. I used the tear up method to get the craggy edges…..it was so incredibly crispy and chewy. I’ll be using this method with every sauce recipe from here on out. Thank you!

  16. 5 stars
    Better than takeout thank you 🙏 !

  17. 5 stars
    Just made this and it was amazing! All I changed was tomato paste for ketchup. The sauce was so good, thank you!

  18. 5 stars
    This recipe is EXCELLENT! I seriously constantly crave it and have made it a dozen times at this point.
    My partner is a little whimpy when it comes to spice so I scale back the gongujang to 2 tbsp and up the ketchup.

  19. 5 stars
    Loved it! Came out great. I used the air fryer.

  20. 5 stars
    This is SO ridiculously yummy!!!! So quick & easy yummmm

  21. 5 stars
    Second recipe I made from this blog this week 🙂 another amazing one! I love the method of tearing up the tofu and baking it; it’s given me the best results for crispy tofu and will be my go-to way from now on. The sauce was also delicious; loved mixing the tofu up with my rice and veggies for a lil bibimbap.

  22. 5 stars
    I accidentally found your youtube video showing “Tofu Recipes I’m Currently Obsessed With” and I’m so glad I did. I made the Gochujang Tofu recipe (exactly as written), right away, and had it for dinner. It was delicious and so easy to make. I am so excited to try your other recipes & I’ve subscribed as well.

  23. Yasmin Bemath

    5 stars
    Love, love, love this recipe. Soooo easy to make and tastes delicious.

  24. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times so just wanted to leave a review that this is so easy and delicious! The texture of the baked tofu is so satisfying.

    I was out of ketchup this week so I subbed for 2TB tomato paste and increased the sugar by 1 TB.

  25. 5 stars
    Best tofu recipe ever.

  26. Hello, could you please specify what is the amount of tofu needed? There are very different packages in the store so I’m a bit confused. Thanks!

  27. 1 star
    Burnt after 15 minutes in the oven. The timing on this one is way off

  28. I’ve tried many spicy vegan dishes would you say short grain white rice or basmati rice with this tofu dish.

  29. 5 stars
    So, so, so good.

  30. whitney walker

    5 stars
    Where is the nutrition info on this dish and others? I need sodium and calories specifically but fat would be good too.

  31. 5 stars
    This is now one of my go-to recipes. Delicious & easy to prepare!

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