Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Tofu

Grilled tofu over charcoal, close-up
IMAGEMORE Co., Ltd. / Getty Images
Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Marinate: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
386 Calories
8g Fat
70g Carbs
13g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 386
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 667mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 26%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 13g
Calcium 443mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tofu is a bit of blank canvas, absorbing the flavors around it. It's perfect for grilling and coating with a quick and easy homemade barbecue sauce and makes a delicious vegan main dish. It may even win over a few meat-eaters.

Tofu is healthy, low-fat, and easy to grill. To successfully grill tofu, make sure the grill grates are very clean and oiled before starting. Also, make sure to use extra-firm tofu and press out the excess moisture before marinating. This gives the tofu a meatier texture and helps prevent it from sticking to the grill.

This recipe for sweet and spicy barbecue tofu has a bit of sugar and orange juice for sweetness but gets a spicy kick from chili powder and red pepper. Feel free to use the sauce for other dishes, including barbecue tempeh or grilled chicken breasts.


  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu (well-pressed and sliced into 3/4-inch rectangles)
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3/4 cup orange juice concentrate (thawed)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare the tofu. Press the tofu for about 30 minutes to expel excess moisture. Cut the block into equal squares.

  3. Whisk together the barbecue sauce, orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, chili powder, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until well combined, about 3 minutes.

  4. Place the barbecue sauce mixture in a wide, flat dish. Add the tofu to the sauce, coating all sides well. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.

  5. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Oil the grates.

  6. Grill the marinated tofu for 4 or 5 minutes on each side, brushing with additional sauce after flipping.

  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper just before serving.


  • Use firm, or if possible, extra-firm tofu.
  • Always press your tofu very well before grilling. This removes a lot of the water that is naturally in tofu and will allow it to grill better. To press tofu, place the drained block on top of a stack of paper towels or a folded, clean tea towel. Top with more paper towels or another tea towel followed by a cutting board or sheet pan. Set a heavy object, like a large canned good or a bowl, in the middle of the cutting board or sheet pan. Let sit for about 30 minutes to allow the excess moisture to escape.
  • You may also want to freeze the pressed tofu and then slightly thaw before grilling. This will allow the tofu to absorb more of the marinade flavors and will give the tofu a chewier, hearty texture.

Recipe Tags: