soy sauce marinade for tofu in a glass bowl with a whisk

Quick and Simple Tofu Marinade With Soy Sauce

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This quick and simple tofu marinade has a soy sauce base that brings powerful flavor to virtually any tofu dish. I promise that your next batch of tofu will be anything but bland. The recipe itself is extremely basic, but it really packs a punch! It has become my go to marinade pretty much any time I cook tofu, and it is made with only 5 pantry staples (at least in my kitchen). So tasty!

What Makes This Marinade so Simple?

It is only five ingredients and all you need is a small bowl and a whisk (or even just a fork). There is no chopping required. We don’t need to get out the garlic press or our microplane zester. Preparing the tofu itself can take some time so I wanted this marinade to be as easy as possible. Just measure, mix, and prepare yourself for some seriously delicious tofu.

Tips for Using this Tofu Marinade

  1. Press your tofu! If you want to get the most out of this marinade, you will want to press your tofu first. Make sure to press the tofu for at least 30 minutes before applying the marinade. If you are unsure about this step, check out this guide on how to press tofu. Alternatively, you can reach for a tofu press. < This affiliate link is the one I use in my own kitchen.
  2. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you are really in a time crunch, you can get by with 15 minutes, but I recommend giving it the full half hour to get the most bang for your buck.
  3. Coat marinated tofu with cornstarch after marinating to make your tofu extra crispy with cooking. The cornstarch gets applied directly to the marinade. I like to add it to a fine mesh strainer and dust the tofu with cornstarch like you would dust powdered sugar on a dessert.

The One Ingredient You May Not Have…

If you don’t keep ginger paste around, you can easily substitute fresh ginger or ground ginger (see variations section below). However, I highly recommend keeping some ginger paste on hand! It is such an easy way to add a little zing to so many of your dishes. I keep it in the refrigerator next to my jar of pesto and tube of tomato paste (some other items I frequently use for a quick flavor boost when cooking). I most often reach for the ginger paste when I am making a quick stir-fry or any other Asian inspired meal.

Variations to This Recipe

You can use alternatives for all 5 ingredients in this recipe if there is anything you don’t have on hand. The substitutions below will all work well!

  • Fresh ginger or ground ginger for the ginger paste – Just reduce the quantity to 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar
  • Substitute a flavorless oil like grapeseed or canola oil for the sesame oil.
  • Maple syrup for the honey
  • Tamari for the soy sauce (will make this marinade gluten-free)

You can also make these additions to further customize the marinade.

  • Add a tablespoon of sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or gochujang paste for some heat.
  • Add 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 garlic clove (minced) for even more flavor.


What is the best tofu for marinating?

I agree with this Guide for Cooking Tofu for Beginners. Firm and extra firm tofu is best for marinating because it will keep its shape and not break down during the process. I normally pan-fry my tofu so I generally reach for the extra firm variety.

How Long Should I Marinate Tofu?

For the best flavor, tofu should be marinated for at least 30 minutes. Marinate on one side for 15 minutes, then gently toss the tofu around in the marinade and let it marinate on a different side for the remaining time. You can marinate it for as little as 15 minutes and still get decent results. Tofu should not be marinated for more than 24 hours for optimal flavor.

How do I Cook Marinated Tofu?

Marinated tofu can be pan-fried, stir-fried, air-fried, baked, or grilled. Whatever you prefer.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned for more tips on preparing tofu and tofu recipes in the near future. Please leave me a rating and a comment if you decide to make this marinade! I would absolutely love to hear how it went for you. Also feel free to share your favorite ways to eat tofu. I would love to get some more ideas.

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soy sauce marinade for tofu in a glass bowl with a whisk

Quick and Simple Tofu Marinade (5 Ingredients)

  • Author: Katelyn
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup 1x


This simple tofu marinade is made with only 5 ingredients and makes the most flavorful tofu! You are going to love the versatility of this marinade. The balance of salty and sweet makes it the perfect choice for virtually any tofu dish!


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons honey 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon ginger paste


  1. Add all 5 ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine! 


  • This recipe makes enough marinade to season 1 block of tofu. For larger batches, simply double or triple the quantities as needed. 
  • Feel free to play around with any of the quantities until you land on the perfect marinade for your taste. This is the combination that I love the best, but the recipe is super flexible so get creative if you would like to mix things up!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Marinades
  • Method: Marinating
  • Cuisine: Asian Inspired

Keywords: marinade, tofu, soy sauce, ginger paste

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  1. Love this recipe especially since I usually have all those ingredients in my fridge. Maybe I can even get my husband to love tofu with this one 🙂

  2. Pingback: Lemon and Garlic Tahini Dressing - Tastes Just Like A Memory

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