sweet and sour tofu over rice

Learn how to make tofu taste delicious with this crispy sweet and sour tofu recipe thats healthy and better than take out! The perfect easy high protein vegan meal ready in just 20 minutes.

sweet and sour sauce with tofu bell pepper and onion over rice in blue bowl

Sweet n’ sour chicken used to be my fav dish to order at Chinese restaurants. The balance of flavours and textures over some steamed rice…. mmm so good!! Funny enough my favourite part of the dish were the onions (yes, seriously)… something about crispy yet still cooked onions covered in sticky sweet n’ sour sauce was so satisfying to eat.

If you’ve never had a sweet n’ sour dish before, prepare to blow your taste buds away!

sweet and sour tofu recipe ingredients on a marble top

How to Make Sweet and Sour Tofu

This recipe is one of the easiest ways to make tofu taste bomb.com! All you need is 6 simple ingredients: a block of tofu, bell peppers, an onion and sweet and sour sauce.

Healthy Sweet and Sour Sauce

I used to buy store bought sweet and sour sauce but I’ve been enjoying making my own homemade sauces cause I know exactly what goes in and I can ensure there aren’t any weird chemicals, food colouring or unnecessary added sugar. My sweet and sour sauce recipe is made sweetened with pineapple juice and dates but I promise, you won’t be able to tell just by tasting it. For convenience, you can of course use store bought sweet and sour sauce for this recipe.

Tofu Prep + Making Tofu Extra Crispy

If you’ve ever had sweet and sour chicken at a Chinese restaurant before, it’s CRISPY. Most places deep fry their tofu or chicken so I figured I could air fry the tofu to achieve that same level of crispiness because lets be honest, crispy tofu is ideal in all situations (maybe except in desserts and mapo tofu??).

Start with a frozen and thawed block of extra firm tofu. Freezing the tofu is the easiest way to “press” the liquid out but also it makes the best texture! In a pinch, you can also press the tofu using a tofu press or placing it between two heavy objects.

Then, we coat it in some corn starch. The corn starch makes the tofu extra crispy and keeps it crispy even when adding the sauce.

Once the tofu is fryin’ up, it’s time to prep the veggies. If air frying, you can start prepping and cooking the veggies as soon as the tofu is in there.

Baking the tofu does take more time so I’d wait until the tofu has 10 minutes left before cooking the onions.

tofu bell pepper stir fry in a large pan

The onions cook for about 3 minutes over high heat first. And then goes in the bell peppers for another 3-4 minutes. By now the tofu should be out of the air fryer and ready to go into the pan. Add in the sauce, toss until everything is well coated and then it’s ready to be served! The onions and bell peppers should be cooked but still have a nice crunch to them.

Mmmm. Perfectly crispy tofu covered in the yummiest sticky sauce– SO GOOD. You’ll typically see bell peppers and onions in this classic dish but you can also throw in some chunks of pineapple or other veggies! So good served with rice but you can pair it with any grain of your choice and even noodles! Orrr straight off the frying pan on it’s own. Yeeep, it’s that good.

close up shot of air fried tofu in a bowl

More delicious tofu recipes to try!


pinteest graphic for sweet and sour tofu recipe

If you recreate this Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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tofu bell pepper stir fry in a large pan

Sweet and Sour Tofu

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Learn how to make tofu taste delicious with this crispy sweet and sour tofu recipe thats healthy and better than take out in under 20 minutes! (Vegan + gluten free)


Units Scale
  • 14 oz block of extra firm tofu, frozen and then thawed* (336g)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup sweet and sour sauce (250g // store bought or homemade)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped (220g)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped (200g)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (180g)
  • rice to serve


  1. Once the tofu has fully thawed, remove from the package and drain excess liquid. Then cut into 3/4 inch cubes. If you have fresh tofu that hasn’t been frozen, press for 15 minutes using a tofu press or by placing it between two clean towels and placing a heavy object on top. Then dust corn starch over the tofu until lightly coated. 
    • Air fryer method: Air fry at 400 F for 5 minutes. Shake the air fryer basket and then air fry for another 3-4 minutes until lightly golden. 
    • Oven method: Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Flip the pieces of tofu and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the edges are crispy. 
  2. While the tofu is baking, chop the bell peppers and onions into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces. Prepare the sweet and sour sauce if you don’t have any on hand. 
  3. Heat a large pan or woke over high heat and fry the onions for In a large pan or wok over high heat, fry the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add in the bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the tofu and the sweet and sour sauce and toss until everything is well coated in the sauce. Remove pan from heat and serve over rice.


  • Helpful Equipment: large pan, wok, air fryer, baking tray
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: entree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, asian


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 251
  • Sugar: 18.6
  • Sodium: 342mg
  • Fat: 8.3
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7.2
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32.4
  • Fiber: 4.2
  • Protein: 15.2
  • Cholesterol: 0

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. I made this for dinner last night and my husband and I LOVED it! The sweet and sour sauce recipe came together quickly and easily and was absolutely delicious. Would definitely make again!

  2. Turned out pretty good! I would make again. The sauce is really good and quick to make. I had to air fry the tofu longer than suggested and added pineapple to the final dish as well. Overall, good dish!

  3. I made this and was quite delighted with how the tofu turned out! I used my air fryer to crisp it up. Also made my own sauce but had to sub in OJ instead of Pineapple juice. Was still very tasty! Next time I make it, will add celery to the vegetables!

  4. Really great!! Super super easy and the homemade sauce really brought it all together. I’m not sure if it was the pan I used though, but my tofu didn’t get very crispy. I would make it again though!!