This vegan orange ‘chicken’ tofu recipe is inspired by the classic Americanized-Chinese take out dish- orange chicken. This vegetarian and vegan-friendly adaptation is made with just a few fresh ingredients and is so dang good you’ll want to whip it up nearly every night.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner (that happens to also be gluten-free), this orange glazed tofu is for you. Made with fresh orange juice, orange peels, and lots of garlic and ginger, this flavorful tofu dish delights both plant-based eaters and omnivores alike.
what you’ll need to make the recipe
the orange sauce
To make this orange glazed tofu, we’ll first need to make the thick, sticky, and sweet orange sauce! To make this sauce you’ll need to gather to following ingredients:
how to make the orange tofu
This orange tofu comes together with just a few simple steps.
- Mix the ingredients (except the cornstarch) for the orange sauce together in a small pot.
- Simmer the orange sauce for 20 minutes to thicken.
- Prep the tofu by coating it in cornstarch.
- Pan-fry the tofu until crispy and golden on all sides.
- Toss the panfried tofu in the thickened orange sauce.
tofu cooking methods
In this recipe, I’m pan frying the tofu since it is the fastest method. The key to pan frying the tofu is to be sure your pan is hot enough and to be patient. You’ll want each side of the tofu to get golden brown before flipping it.
This tofu can also be made by air frying. I recommend air frying it at 400F for about 10-15 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you air fry the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the orange sauce.
This tofu can also be made by baking but it takes more time. I recommend baking it at 425F for about 25 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you bake the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the orange sauce.
If you’d like super crispy tofu, you can also deep fry it! Heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat (about 375F if using a thermometer). Fry the tofu in batches to help keep the oil temperature from dropping. It should take about 4 minutes to fry the tofu until it is golden brown.
tofu tips & tricks
The cornstarch helps make the tofu exterior crispy. I don’t recommend omitting it, however it can technically be made without the cornstarch. Please note, the cornstarch is absolutely necessary in the orange sauce. Without it, the sauce will not be thick.
To make this an orange tofu stir fry, I recommend adding bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, or even cauliflower. You can serve this tofu alongside white rice (I prefer Jasmine) or with rice noodles.
The orange peel adds a significant amount of orange flavor to the sauce. I don’t recommend omitting it.
Yes! This tofu can also be made in the air fryer. I recommend air frying it at 400F for about 10-15 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you air fry the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the orange sauce.
This vegan orange ‘chicken’ tofu recipe is mild. If you’d like to make spicy orange tofu, adjust the amount of Sambal Oelek used in the orange sauce to your liking.
more tofu recipes to try
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 ½ tsp grated ginger (one 1” knob)
- 1 cup orange juice (juice of 4 oranges)
- 2 ribbons of orange peel
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tsp Sambal Oelek , or sub sriracha
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 block extra firm tofu , pressed & drained (see notes)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt & pepper
Cooking & Serving
- Vegetable oil
- Green Onion
To Make the Orange Sauce:
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together except the cornstarch in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and heat on medium for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes remove the orange peel (see notes). Simmer the sauce on low for another 15 minutes for a total of 20 minutes.
- The sauce should reduce down in volume. Transfer 2 tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch to form a slurry.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and heat for 1-2 more minutes. The sauce should thicken immediately. Remove from heat and set aside.
To Make the Tofu:
- Cut the block of tofu into ½” cubes. Mix the cornstarch, salt & pepper together in a shallow bowl. Add the tofu in and gently toss them to coat in the starch.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok with 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once the pan has been heated add the tofu and stir fry the cubes until golden brown and crispy on all sides. (Heat each side for about 1-2 minutes, then flip until all sides have been pan-fried).
- Reduce the heat to low and add the orange sauce. Stir the tofu well until all the cubes are coated. The sauce will bubble up a lot if the pan is too hot. Continue to stir the tofu and sauce for 1 minute so the sauce carmelizes a bit. Remove from the heat and serve warm with green onions, cilantro and rice.
- The orange sauce makes about 1 cup.
- If you’d like to have a more ‘chicken’ like texture, freeze the tofu once and then thaw the tofu prior to cutting it into cubes.
- Leaving the orange peel in the sauce for more than 5 minutes will give the sauce a bitter taste.
This recipe is a vegan adaptation of Panada Express's Orange Chicken.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 8gProtein: 9g
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