Sweet and Sour Tofu

This Sweet and Sour Tofu is an easy vegan dinner done in under 1 hour. It features crispy baked tofu coated in vegan sweet and sour sauce.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

So, I have to be honest with you… I am SO bored with food right now. Does anyone else feel that way? Food is purely sustenance at this point. Also, I couldn’t be less motivated to cook. Yes, a food blogger who dreads cooking and is totally bored with eating… it’s real.

Obviously, we still have to eat even if we’re totally burnt out on cooking. This is where recipes like this sweet and sour tofu come in. Of course, we all need recipes that are quick, nutritious, and tasty, and this sweet and sour tofu recipe definitely fits the bill! I was inspired by Chinese flavors to make this crispy tofu with sweet and sour sauce – it’s sticky, savory, and sweet – just how I like it!

Check this article out for the history of sweet and sour sauce!

side view of cubed tofu with sesame seeds with broccoli and rice

Ingredients in Sweet and Sour Tofu

Overall, this sweet and sour tofu recipe is very similar to our sweet and sour chickpeas recipe. If you’re gonna learn how to make sweet and sour sauce, you might as well have a few different ways you can use it!

The ingredients to make this homemade sweet and sour tofu are actually pretty simple and you likely have many of them on hand already! The only special ingredient to give our sauce that sweet and tangy flavor is pineapple juice! Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Tofu. To make the best crispy baked tofu, make sure to buy extra firm tofu and take the time to drain and press it before slicing into it.
  • Pineapple juice. This gives the sauce for this sweet and sour tofu its classic tang.
  • Rice vinegar. I like to use unseasoned rice vinegar so that I can decide how much sugar and salt I want to add to the recipe, but you can totally use seasoned if you prefer!
  • Sugar. If you’re using seasoned rice vinegar, you may not need to add as much sugar.
  • Tomato paste. This will add a layer of umami and acidity to our vegan sweet and sour sauce.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce. Here’s a trick: buy regular soy sauce and dilute it with water. Then, you have your own low-sodium soy sauce! You also get twice as much, which means you also get it for half the price! Winning on all fronts.
  • Garlic powder. I prefer to use garlic powder in the sweet and sour sauce to keep it super smooth, but you could also grate a few fresh garlic cloves for a more intense flavor.
  • Tapioca or corn starch. This helps our vegan sweet and sour sauce thicken.

close-up of a plate of sweet and sour tofu with broccoli and rice

How to Make Vegan Sweet and Sour Sauce

Once you nail this vegan sweet and sour sauce, you’re gonna want to put it on everything. I love it on tofu and chickpeas, but you could also use it on tempeh, cauliflower or vegan chicken tenders if you’re looking to mix it up. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make at home, and you’ll wonder why you ever felt like you had to buy a bottle at the store!

Here’s how to make the vegan sweet and sour sauce:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add your pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, and water. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
  2. Make a starch slurry by adding your starch and 1 tablespoon of cold water to a small bowl and whisking them together until smooth.
  3. Pour the slurry into the saucepan and stir into the sweet and sour sauce until evenly combined.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes covered, or until your sauce has thickened.

three plates of tofu in red sauce with broccoli and white rice

How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu

What’s better than a batch of crispy baked tofu? Not much! We want to get our tofu nice and crispy in the oven so that it stands up to that delicious, sticky sweet and sour sauce we made.

Before you even think about baking your tofu, take a moment to drain and properly press the tofu. I like to wrap my block of tofu in a clean dish towel, put it on a plate in my sink and then put a cast iron skillet on top and let it sit for 10 minutes. The longer you press the tofu the better. This helps squeeze out extra moisture to ensure the tofu crisps up in the oven.

Another tip to help you get super crispy baked tofu – dust a bit of corn starch on top of the tofu when it’s on the baking sheet and toss. This will really help get the edges crispy!

I like to bake tofu at a lower temperature so that it cooks through all the way without burning the outsides. For this sweet and sour tofu recipe, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350ºF. Let it bake for 15-20 minutes, giving it a flip halfway through.

Once your tofu is baked, add it to your sauce pan and give it a stir to coat it in your vegan sweet and sour sauce! Now all that’s left to do is serve it with rice and the veggie of your choice!

More Tofu Recipes

Tofu is such a versatile source of plant-based protein. It soaks up any flavor you apply to it and works in so many different cooking techniques. Whether you’re trying to bake it, fry it, turn it into a sauce or use it in a cheesecake (yes, cheesecake), I’ve got a whole bunch of tofu recipes for you to try!

How to make:

Sweet and Sour Tofu

This Sweet and Sour Tofu is an easy vegan dinner done in under 1 hour. It features crispy baked tofu coated in vegan sweet and sour sauce.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hour
6 servings 1x


  • 2 14-ounce blocks tofu, drained and pressed*
  • 8 ounces pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca or corn starch


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Place tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, and water. Whisk until smooth.
  4. To a small bowl, add starch and 1 tablespoon cold water. Whisk to form a starch slurry. Pour into saucepan. Whisk to combine all ingredients.
  5. When sauce begins to bubble, cover and reduce heat to low; cook for 15-20 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
  6. Add baked tofu to sauce. Toss to coat.


*Use a tofu press, or wrap the tofu in paper towels and place in the sink with a heavy object on top. Press for 10-15 minutes.