Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeVVegan
5 from 34 votes
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Crispy Tofu gets tossed with peanuts, veggies, chiles, and a spicy savory sauce in this Kung Pao Tofu! A vegan twist on a takeout classic.

We’ve been on a takeout-but-make-it-at-home kick recently, and this Vegan Kung Pao Tofu recipe is an all-time favorite. This Chinese-inspired dish is packed with chunks of crispy tofu, a sweet and spicy sauce, peanuts, red chilies, and lots of fresh veggies! It feels like an indulgent and delicious takeout meal, but is surprisingly wholesome and balanced thanks to colorful veggies and protein-packed peanuts and tofu.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Kung Pao Sauce?
  2. Ingredients for Kung Pao Tofu
  3. How To Make Kung Pao Tofu
  4. Serving Suggestions + How to Store
  5. Vegan Kung Pao Tofu Recipe
Kung pao tofu in bowl over white rice and topped with green onion

What is Kung Pao Sauce?

Kung Pao Sauce originates from the Sichuan province of China but has become popular in Western culture, and thus now has many many variations – one of the most popular being Kung Pao Chicken. My version lies somewhere in the middle and takes inspiration from both the traditional Chinese and Chinese-American fusion recipes (what you would commonly enjoy in takeout). If you are looking for a traditional Kung Pao sauce I recommend this recipe by China Sichuan Food!

Ingredients for Kung Pao Tofu

The main ingredients for this recipe can be found in most grocery stores, but there are a few specialty items. You should be able to find both hoisin sauce and rice vinegar in the Asian section, plus the dried chilies could be in either the Asian section or the Mexican section.

ingredients for kung pao tofu arranged on marble countertop
  • Extra Firm Tofu: Tofu is our plant-based protein swap for this recipe. Make sure to press your tofu well so it crisps up in the oven!
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to coat the crispy tofu and to thicken the stir fry sauce. You can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca flour for a similar effect!
  • Cooking Oil: To coat the tofu and sauté our aromatics! I used avocado oil, but peanut oil or another high-heat cooking oil will work well.
  • Tamari or Soy Sauce: adds salt and flavor to the tofu and stir fry. I prefer to use low-sodium soy sauce to control the sodium levels. I also like to use a little Dark Soy Sauce to color the stir fry sauce, but if you don’t have it on hand you can omit it.
  • Aromatics: Green onion, ginger, and garlic add a lovely base flavor to this tofu recipe 
  • Bell Peppers: add lovely color and some healthy veggies to the recipe
  • Dried Chilies: Dried red chili peppers are what make this recipe spicy, but if you prefer a milder heat you can remove their seeds. You can find dried peppers in the international aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Sichuan Peppercorns: sichuan pepper has a unique pepper flavor and tongue-tingling spice. I purchase my peppercorns from my local Asian market, but you can also find them online! 
  • Hoisin Sauce: this spiced Chinese adds a subtle sweetness to the stir fry
  • Rice Vinegar: adds a subtle tang to the sauce
  • Peanuts: a classic Kung Pao stir fry ingredient! I recommend using roasted and salt-free peanuts. They add the perfect soft-but-crunchy texture to this stir fry!

How To Make Kung Pao Tofu

side-by-side photos of baked crispy tofu and the veggies and peanuts in sauté pan

This recipe comes together in only a few simple steps – and with a little multitasking you can have this mouthwatering dish ready in just over half an hour! The tofu bakes for 30 minutes total, which gives you the *perfect* amount of down time to chop your veggies and prepare the sauce.

  1. Bake the tofu until crispy and prepare the stir-fry sauce
  2. In the meantime, prep the veggies and toast the peppercorns
  3. Sauté the aromatics, then add in the veggies, chilies, and peanuts
  4. Add the sauce ingredients and cornstarch slurry, then toss with the baked tofu
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!
Kung Pao Tofu stir fry in sauté pan with wooden spoon

Serving Suggestions + How to Store

I love to serve this Kung Pao Tofu over a large scoop of fluffy jasmine rice, but it’s also great on its own or over noodles. Or, make this Instant Pot Garlic Rice for an extra garlicky kick! 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop – I recommend adding a small splash of water to the sauce to thin it out a bit. 

You can also freeze this Kung Pao Tofu, but keep in mind that the tofu will not be as crispy as when you make it fresh. It will keep well in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Piece of tofu with bite taken out of it held with chopsticks over bowl of stir fry

Recipe FAQs:

Can I pan-fry the tofu?

You can, but I’d really recommend baking it for the best chewy, crispy, and fuss-free texture.

Can I add more vegetables?

This recipe is already pretty veggie-packed, but I do think adding some sliced mushrooms would make this recipe even more delicious!

Is Kung Pao Tofu spicy?

The good news is that this recipe’s spice level can be totally customizable. The dried chilies are pretty mild if you don’t cut them in half and release the seeds. I wouldn’t recommend eating them if you’re sensitive to heat, but you can still add in a few whole peppers without it being too spicy.

Kung pao tofu stir fry with tofu, bell peppers, and peanuts in large pan

If you’re looking for more takeout-inspired recipes using tofu, you’ll also love this Vegan Orange Tofu, this Saucy Gochujang Tofu, and this 30-Min Vegan Teriyaki Tofu! 

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Kung Pao Tofu stir fry in bowl

Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

5 from 34 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 People
Crispy Tofu gets tossed with peanuts, veggies, chiles, and a sweet spicy and savory sauce for a plant-based twist on a classic takeout dish!


For the Tofu:

For the Stir Fry and Sauce:


  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Tear the tofu into bite-sized chunks for a more meat-like shape and texture, or cut into small cubes. 
  • Tofu: Add the tofu to a medium bowl and add in the oil and tamari. Toss with a spatula until evenly coated, then sprinkle the cornstarch on top and toss again. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread out the tofu pieces so they aren’t touching. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through.
  • Toast the Peppercorns (Optional): Bring a large sauté pan or wok to medium heat. Add the whole peppercorns and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the pan, crush using a mortar and pestle, and set aside.
  • Stir-Fry Sauce: In a large glass measuring cup or jar add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce (if using), water, and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved, then set aside.
  • Aromatics & Veggies: Add the avocado oil to the same pan over medium heat. Once warm, add the white parts of the green onion, garlic, and ginger; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in the green and red bell peppers, peanuts, chiles, and crushed peppercorns. Mix well and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Make it Saucy: Give the stir fry sauce a final whisk, then add to the pan with the veggies. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  • Serve & Store: Turn the heat to low, then stir in the baked tofu and sesame oil. Serve the Kung Pao Tofu and vegetables over rice (or as desired), then top with the reserved green onions and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  • Pressed Tofu: use a tofu press to remove the excess liquid from your tofu, or wrap the tofu in a clean towel or paper towels, place a heavy object on top, and let sit for at least 30 minutes
  • Peanut Free: use cashews for a fun twist!
  • Gluten-Free: use gluten-free hoisin sauce and gf soy sauce or tamari


Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 15gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0.2mgSodium: 958mgPotassium: 474mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1132IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: kung pao tofu, vegan tofu recipe, vegan tofu recipes
Course: Main
Method: Oven, Stovetop
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. 5 stars
    I did not add the Chiles or rice vinegar… it didn’t say how much vinegar or where to add it. I used 1 tbs. of (Costco) Kirklan No Salt Seasoning, in place of the Chiles, to the tofu. It tasted really good but the helpings are on the small side if you don’t put it over rice.

  2. 5 stars
    This was just as delicious as some of the other non takeout, or fakeout as we call it at our house, recipes on this blog. It’s super easy to make and comes together quickly. This technique for making tofu is so perfect to use. It gives it such a hearty, filling texture with the perfect amount of chewy and crispy. Loved it!

      1. The last ingredient listed is a teaspoon of toasted Sesame oil, but I don’t see it anywhere in the directions. Does it go in the sauce?

      2. Hi, Allie! Yes, the toasted sesame oil goes in the sauce. Add it at the end when you stir in the baked tofu.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this one, it was a nice variation from the usual General Tso’s Tofu that I make. I used carrots instead of bell peppers because I can’t have those, and it worked perfectly. The sauce is epic!! Will be making it again

  4. 5 stars
    I loveeed this recipe, the tofu came out amazing and the sauce is so tasty!! Will definitely be making this again.

  5. 5 stars
    Big fan of this recipe! Ginger really brings the sauce flavor to the next level. Enjoyed this so much more than take out.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was really yummy and super easy. I love how the chilis added a bit of spice and how there’s plenty of veggies with the peppers included.

  7. 5 stars
    Love From My Bowl’s tofu recipes! This one is no different. I did the tofu in the air fryer and it came out great, then tossed with everything else in the pan. Delicious.

  8. 5 stars
    so so tasty!! another banger of a recipe from caitlin. if you were a fellow lover of kung pao chicken at panda express like me, then you need to try this out ASAP! it’s way better, and vegan! (: highly recommend freezing the tofu for this recipe, the texture is divine!

  9. 5 stars
    Soo delicious, truly better than takeout! The tofu came out so perfectly crispy and the sauce was so yummy.