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This easy, tofu marinade recipe gives you 3 different ways to amp up the flavor of your next tofu dish! If you’re in a spicy mood, you may want to go with the Mexican option. For some classic Asian flavors you have a choice between teriyaki and savory umami. Check them out below!

3 tofu marinades in small bowls with spoons.

Simply whip up the marinade of your choice, slice the tofu and marinate it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Tofu Marinade Ingredients

1. Mexican Marinade

Mexican tofu marinade in a small bowl with a spoon, tofu in the background.
  • canola oil
  • lime juice
  • spicy chili sauce
  • Mexican blend seasoning
  • sugar
  • fresh cilantro

2. Teriyaki Marinade

Teriyaki tofu marinade in a small bowl with a spoon, tofu in the background.
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • orange juice
  • brown sugar or honey
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • sesame seeds

3. Umami Marinade

Umami tofu marinade in a small bowl with a spoon, tofu in the background.

If you are following a vegan diet, no need to worry as all three marinades are vegan-friendly. Some people question whether or not nori flakes are vegan because oyster shells are used to attach nori seedlings to nets early in the process.

Seaweed is placed in the category of sea vegetables and during production, animal by-products are not involved. Sources like PETA view nori seaweed as a healthy, vegan food product. If you are still concerned, you may want to ask the manufacturer what their processes are or simply omit the nori flakes.

Tip for Crispy Tofu

Organic Raw Soy Tofu on a Wooden Background

If you want your tofu to be extra crispy and really absorb that marinade, there is a trick to removing some of the moisture before slicing:

  1. Remove the tofu from the water it is packed in.
  2. On a cutting board, place the tofu between a few pieces of paper towel and place a baking sheet on top.
  3. Place something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, on top of the baking sheet to apply pressure (you don’t want it to be too heavy or the tofu will crumble).
  4. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes to remove some of the excess liquid.
  5. Keep an eye on the paper towels and if they are soaked, replace them with fresh ones.
  6. Continue to slice, marinate and cook as desired.

There are also tofu presses available.

What to Do With Leftover Tofu Marinade

3 tofu marinades in small bowls with spoons, tofu on the side.

If you have leftover marinade, it needs to be discarded or cooked. After marinating, it may contain harmful bacteria. If you choose to cook the marinade, make sure you boil it for 5 minutes.

Keep in mind that boiling it may change the flavor and/or thicken it. You may want to reserve some of the marinade before adding the protein if you plan on using it as a sauce or for another use. Marinade that hasn’t been used can be refrigerated or frozen.

You can also cook it with the tofu: After browning your tofu in the pan, you can add some of the leftover marinade to the pan and stir fry it with the tofu for extra flavor.

3 tofu marinades in small bowls with spoons.

Which tofu marinade did you like best? Let us know in the comments and please share the recipe!

3 tofu marinades in small bowls with spoons.

Tofu Marinade 3 Ways

Joss D
This easy, tofu marinade recipe gives you 3 different ways to amp up the flavor of your next tofu dish!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Japanese, Mexican
Servings 16 tablespoons
Calories 66 kcal


Mexican Marinade:

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons spicy chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican blend seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cup fresh cilantro - chopped
  • Salt - to taste

Teriyaki Marinade:

  • cup soy sauce
  • cup sesame oil
  • cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon ginger - grated
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds - optional

Umami Marinade:


  • Whisk all of the ingredients (for the marinade of your choice) together.
  • Cut the tofu into strips, cubes, slices, or as needed. Let the tofu marinate in the sauce (in the refrigerator) for at least 30 minutes.


  • Nutrition information is for the first marinade (Mexican) per tablespoon.
  • For extra flavorful/crispy tofu, see how to remove some moisture before marinating (above in post).


Calories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 51mgPotassium: 13mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 66IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

Keyword tofu
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