This vegan honey garlic recipe – made with tofu instead of chicken – will dazzle your tastebuds with its salty/sweet flavors and delight your mouth with the crispy tofu edges and tender meaty inside. It’s a fantastic simple meal prep – with many options for how to prep it, including freezer options! Serve it over brown rice or alongside mashed potatoes, add stir-fried or roasted veggies for an easy make-ahead work night dinner.
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Get excited and gather ‘round for the latest addition to our tofu cutlet series: Vegan Honey Garlic Tofu! It’s a fantastic savory and sweet combination, and it might just be your new favorite way to eat tofu!
This vegan and vegetarian garlic recipe is one for all the fans of salty-sweet combos out there. Plus, this one comes with a punch of fresh and roasted garlic to captivate even the most skeptical aspiring tofu eater. You’ve never had tofu taste like this!
But I bet you’ll have a hard time not eating them straight out of the bowl after coating with that enchanting vegan honey soy glaze!
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Honey Soy Tofu
- Super versatile. Serve this crispy honey soy tofu with anything from mashed potatoes to vegan mac and cheese to a veggie/rice stir fry! It’s such a versatile ingredient!
- Make ahead option. There are several options to make these salty-sweet tofu cutlets ahead of time to save you time and money! Either freeze them in the marinade, after you’ve baked them, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Tantalizing salty-sweet flavor. You’ll love the well-balanced flavors in these vegan honey soy chicken cutlets. There’s salty, sweet, umami, some kick from the garlic, and herbs thrown in for good measure.
- Baked instead of fried. All the flavor with none of the hot oil mess of pan-fried tofu.
Ingredients in Plant-Based Spicy Honey Garlic Tofu
You’ll need 10 plant-based, simple ingredients to make vegan garlic honey tofu, starting with a block of extra firm tofu that you’ll freeze (in the package!), defrost, and press. We call this the Tofu Freezer Trick, and you can read a full guide on it here. We’ve included summarized instructions in the recipe card below!
For the honey soy tofu marinade / glaze, you’ll need:
- Agave – This is a common vegan substitute for honey.
- Olive oil – This will be the base for our marinade. An oil-based marinade helps the cutlets crisp up in the oven and creates the best texture because it’s not adding excess water to the tofu. (We’re trying to remove that through this process, so it’s not a squishy tofu block!)
- Vegan chicken bouillon powder – We used our homemade vegan bouillon powder to create the perfect chicken flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – This adds a little zing to our marinade
- Fresh Garlic – Feel free to load it up with as much garlic as you want. It is honey garlic tofu after all!
- Soy sauce – Just a little to complement the sweetness in the agave.
- Herbs and spices: fresh or dried thyme, garlic powder, ground black pepper
Is honey vegan?
Vegans don’t use animal products because we don’t view animals as just a commodity to be used for what we can take from them.
Honey is not vegan because it comes from an animal used as a commodity. When honey is harvested, many worker bees can be killed or have their wings torn off or severely damaged. Also, many beekeepers will remove the queen bee’s wings or excise her from the hive altogether. Lastly, the honey is the bees’ food and after it is harvested it is replaced with a nutritionally inferior sugar syrup substitute.
In this recipe, we use agave as a vegan honey substitute. There are also brands of vegan “honey” you can buy that are made from apples and are delicious.
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
For the olive oil: You can use avocado oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil to replace the olive oil. Although, it will have a different flavor. Do not use coconut oil because it hardens when chilled. I do not recommend making this tofu recipe with water or broth because that will only add excess liquid to the tofu, and we’re trying to cook out any excess moisture so we can get a meaty texture!
For the agave: You can use vegan “honey” made from apples or pure maple syrup, though that may make it a little sweeter than agave would.
Bouillon Options: You can sub 1 ground-up vegan chicken bouillon cube or half as much bouillon paste.
For the garlic: If you don’t have garlic, minced shallots, red onion, or yellow onion could work for a different vibe. Or substitute 1/2 tsp minced garlic for each clove or 1/8 tsp garlic powder for each clove.
For the soy sauce: Sub tamari for a gluten-free option!
For the thyme: Feel free to play around with the herbs you use. Oregano would be a nice vibe!
The type of tofu you choose is important, and depending on the brand, firm tofu could work, but it could become too chewy in the freezing process.
We haven’t tried this recipe with super firm tofu, mostly because it usually comes in vacuum-sealed packaging and not in water. Freezing the tofu in the water is what makes it so porous, so I don’t know if this would work either!
Chickpea tofu may work for a soy-free version, but I don’t know enough about it to say for sure.
How to Make Crispy Honee Garlic Tofu Cutlets
Crispy baked honee garlic tofu is an easy recipe that’s perfect for beginners! The recipe takes a little planning in advance but very little active time.
Step 1: Marinate the tofu.
Place your extra-firm tofu on a cutting board and slice it into 8 equal “cutlets”. I do this by slicing it in half, then slicing those halves in half, then cutting each of those slices in half.
Pour the marinade over your tofu cutlets, making sure they are all nice and coated. Place them in your fridge for at least an hour or overnight. Overnight will give it an extra flavor boost.
Step 2: Bake the tofu.
When you’re ready to bake your tofu slices, preheat your oven to 350F and line a large sheet pan with tin foil. Place the cutlets on this baking sheet, about an inch or so apart. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Depending on the thickness / brand of tofu you’re using, you may want to flip and cook them another 10 – 20 minutes until they are golden brown and meaty. We end up cooking ours an extra 10 most times.
Step 3: Glaze the tofu.
When finished cooking, place your cooked cutlets in a bowl and drizzle on the honey soy glaze. Toss gently to coat.
Alternatively, you can just brush each cutlet with the glaze before serving.
Vegan Honey Garlic Tofu Bites
As an alternative to tofu cutlets, you can rip or dice the tofu into smaller tofu pieces and make crispy oven baked honey garlic tofu bites!
The cook time will be less (about 10 minutes at least), so keep an eye on it. But it’s a great option for kids or adding them to bowls and salads!
Vegan Air Fryer Honey Garlic Tofu
You can make this Vegan Sweet Garlic Tofu in the air fryer if you want! If you want try the air fryer method, I would follow the instructions in our Sweet Sriracha Tofu recipe and use the marinade in this recipe (combined with the glaze as well) as the sauce for the perfect crispy air fryer tofu.
How to Serve Plant-Based Honey Soy Garlic Tofu
For best results, let your cutlets cool slightly before slicing them up for all your salads or stir fry or bowls throughout the week. They will firm a bit as they cool and can be served either hot or cold!
Here are some of the ways we like to serve this salty-sweet tofu:
- Honey garlic coated tofu with crunchy broccoli – Roasted or steamed! Jasmine rice is a great addition here too.
- Honey soy tofu noodles – With a stir fried veggie mix or done simply with green onions and sesame seeds!
- All on their own – alongside buttery vegan mashed potatoes and sesame roasted Brussels sprouts. BRB, gotta go make that now!
How to Store Vegan Honey Garlic Tofu
You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze them for up to 8 weeks!
In the freezer: Let sweet garlic tofu cool completely before transferring to the freezer in an air-tight freezer-safe bag or container, separated by a square of parchment paper to keep them from freezing together.
Reheating: Reheat in the oven or air fryer until warmed through at 350F for maximum crispness. If they’re crispy enough, the microwave is a fine way to heat them. Toss in more agave-soy glaze after reheating for best (and sauciest) results!
More Tofu Chicken Recipes
If you’re excited to try this sticky garlicky honey soy tofu, let us know in the comments!
And let us know when you make it and how you served it too. We love to celebrate your wins, and I have a feeling this is going to be a big one! This easy honey garlic tofu recipe is sure to convert the biggest tofu skeptic!
Leave a star rating and review in the comments below when you make it. This helps more people like you find our recipes, and we usually reply within a day or two!
Until then, get that tofu freezing. We’ll talk to you again soon!
For the honey soy garlic tofu marinade:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp veggie bouillon powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For the honey soy glaze:
- First, freeze and defrost your tofu. Place the whole container (do not open it) in the freezer overnight. In the morning, remove it from the freezer and set it in a shallow dish on your counter to thaw. This will take several hours.
- When the tofu is thawed, squeeze it gently over the sink and press it with a tofu press or on paper towels to remove any excess liquid.
- Place your tofu on a cutting board and slice it into 8 equal “cutlets”. I do this by slicing it in half, then slicing those halves in half, then cutting each of those slices in half. Pour the marinade over your tofu cutlets, making sure they are all nice and coated. Place them in your fridge for at least an hour or overnight.*
- When you’re ready to bake your cutlets, preheat your oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Place the cutlets on this baking sheet, about an inch or so apart. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Depending on the thickness / brand of tofu you’re using, you may want to flip and cook them another 10 - 20 minutes until they are browned and meaty. We end up cooking ours an extra 10 most times.
- While the tofu cooks, add the glaze ingredients to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk with a fork until combined. When finished cooking, Place your cooked cutlets in a bowl and drizzle on the honey soy glaze. Toss gently to coat. Alternatively, you can just brush each cutlet with the pineapple glaze before serving.
- Finally, let your cutlets cool slightly before slicing them up for all your salads or bowls or stir fries throughout the week. They will firm a bit as they cool. You can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge or freeze them for up to 8 weeks!
Serving Size:2 cutlets
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 460mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.