kung pao tofu recipe

Spicy Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao Tofu?

Yes! It turns out that we may love it more than Kung Pao Chicken. Imagine tofu fried with a little sesame oil and then dipped in spicy Kung Pao sauce.

The spice aisle in most grocery stores stocks dried chilies which give this simple tofu stir fry its spicy heat. Our vegetarian Kung Pao recipe is simple and easy to make. 


  • SERVES: 6
  • PREP TIME: 30 min
  • COOK TIME: 25 min
  • CALORIES: 427

How to make Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao tofu can be made from scratch so you don’t have to wait for take-out. This plant-based recipe is great for saving time and money. Here’s how to make Kung Pao Tofu stir fry.


  • 2 blocks (14-16 oz) extra-firm tofu
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1red bell pepper, large diced
  • 1green bell pepper, large diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into 3″ pieces
  • 1 cup cashews (or peanuts)
  • 1 Tbsp minced or grated, fresh ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 whole dried red chili peppers (cut a few in half if you like spice)

Kung Pao Sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Place kung pao sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside until later.

How to make:


  1. Place paper towels on a plate. Place the whole block of tofu, drained from the packaging liquid, onto the paper towels. Add more paper towels to the top of the tofu. Next, place a heavier item on top. The object should not be so heavy that it crushes the tofu. However, it should be heavy enough to extract the liquid. Drain the tofu and change the paper towels halfway through.
  2. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar together in a bowl to make the Kung Pao Sauce, mix well, and place in a bowl.
  3. After draining the tofu, cut it into 1-inch cubes. Place them in a large bowl. Toss the tofu with cornstarch until well coated.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large skillet on high heat. To avoid overcrowding the pan cook in small batches. Cook until brown on all sides, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer the tofu out of the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels. 
  5. In the same skillet heat one tablespoon of sesame oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot stir-fry the bell peppers for 4 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the cashews, green onions, dried chili peppers, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, then add the Kung Pao sauce and the fried Tofu. 
  6. Bring all ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve and enjoy! Serve over your favorite rice for extra goodness.