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Sticky Lemon Tofu (Date Sweetened)

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x


This Sticky Lemon Tofu is sweet, sour and sticky- just like take out lemon chicken. You’ll never know its naturally sweetened with dates!


  • 1 block of medium firm OR firm tofu (450g)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Optional: 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Sticky Lemon Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth/water (80ml)
  • 1 cup dates (148g)
  • 1/3 c cup lemon juice (80ml)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper (+ more to taste)
  • Toppings: sesame seeds & green onion tops


  1.     First prepare your tofu. After squeezing out as much liquid from the tofu cut into 3/4-1 inch cubes. Place into a container along with corn starch and garlic powder (if using). Gently shake the container until the tofu is coated with the corn starch. Place into lined air fryer at 400 for 12 minutes. Shake the basket and flip the tofu and air fry for another 12-15 minutes (or until crispy). I used medium firm tofu, so if using firm tofu you may need to reduce the time by 1-3 minutes.
  2. For the sticky lemon sauce, add all the ingredients into the blender except the corn starch and water. I recommend straining the sauce at this point but if you’re in a pinch this step is not crucial. Add the sauce in a small non-stick pan over medium high and bring to a simmer. While waiting, mix the corn starch and water to make a slurry. Once the sauce begins to simmer, reduce to medium low and whisk in the slurry. Continue whisking and simmering for 1 more minute, until thick. Add in the lemon zest. Taste and adjust by adding in more salt. Once nice and thick reduce the temp to the lowest temperature until the tofu is finished.
  3. Once the tofu is nice and crispy, toss in the thickened sauce until all pieces are evenly coated. Immediately serve with your grain of choice, pair it with some of your favorite vegetables and top with sesame seeds and/or green onion tops!


  • I used medium first tofu in this recipe as I like the inside of my tofu to be light and puffed. Firm tofu can also be used but adjust air frying/baking times accordingly.
  • For baking the tofu: Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the tray and flipping the tofu around the half way mark.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins

Keywords: Sticky Lemon Tofu