How to Barbecue Tofu (Plus a Delicious Tofu Marinade Recipe!)


Tofu is fuss-free and makes it easy for you to get in a vegan meat alternative for protein this summer. But not sure how to barbecue tofu? All you need are these 7 tips and you are minutes away from a juicy tofu “steak” with that yummy grill taste. 

Whether you’ve tried to grill tofu before or not, it’s worth brushing up on some essential skills of the plant-based diet. Tofu’s versatility, nutritional profile and ability to absorb just about any kind of flavor make it convenient and delicious. However, you can’t treat tofu like an actual piece of meat, which is how many people go about grilling it. Tofu can go from having so much potential to turning out soggy, mushy, bland or burnt. Here is what you need to know about grilling tofu and a basic marinade recipe to inspire your next barbecue cookout. Trust me, the resulting crisp-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside result is worth the read!

How to Barbecue Tofu

1. Use Firm, Non-Silken Tofu

Tofu comes in many forms, which is why it is so easy to incorporate in the diet. But, you don’t want to buy the wrong kind of tofu for the wrong purpose. Opt for the heartier texture or a firm, non-silken tofu.

2. Cut Tofu Wide

To avoid tofu breaking apart on the grill or becoming dry too fast, cut slabs thick and large. Tofu cut in chunks and put onto skewers often end up too dry overcooked. Thin slices of tofu lose their moisture fast and also become dry and hardened when grilled. The key is to cut tofu about 1/3-inch thick, so when it grills, the center cooks more slowly and the barbecue tofu ends up being cooked to tender perfection.

3. Dry Tofu Well

Remove excess moisture from tofu prior to grilling. After slicing the tofu, lay the slices out on paper towels and then cover with another sheet of paper towels and lightly press atop them. The paper towels will absorb liquid from the tofu so that it can cook more efficiently.

4. Marinade Tofu

Tofu is only as good as what you season it with. This recipe for barbecue tofu marinade is simple but delicious.

BarbecueTofu Recipe with Hoisin Marinade

Good for 1 block of firm, non-silken tofu


  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use the sauce to coat tofu slices and let sit for a few hours before grilling.

5. Clean and Oil Grill

Because tofu is low in fat, it sticks to grills when being cooked. Prior to putting tofu on the grill, clean the grill meticulously and then coat with non-stick cooking spray or rub the grates with oil.

6. Cook with Low, Indirect Heat

Place tofu on the cooler side of the grill and cover it. This will dry the exterior other slices and make it much easier for them to brown to a crisp while keeping the center tender.

7. Re-Use Marinade

After cooking, use extra marinade to coat the slices! Why waste it?

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Grilled Tofu image via Shutterstock