How to BBQ Grilled Tofu Easy Recipe

grilled tofu steaks on plate

If you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying vegetarian option for your next BBQ gathering, this easy recipe for BBQ grilled tofu is sure to impress. With its smoky flavors and tender texture, this dish will leave even meat-lovers craving more. The secret lies in the marinade that infuses the tofu with a burst of tangy and savory goodness.

So, let’s fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy this mouthwatering grilled tofu recipe. If you are looking for other delicious plant-based items to BBQ, you can check out my full vegan grilling recipe collection here.

Ingredients & Substitutions For This Grilled Tofu Recipe

The star of this recipe is extra firm tofu. It’s important to choose extra firm tofu to ensure it holds up well on the grill without crumbling. However, if you’re unable to find extra firm tofu or prefer a softer texture, you can opt for firm tofu instead. Just keep in mind that it might require a bit more care when grilling.

BBQ sauce adds that classic tangy and smoky flavor to the tofu. Feel free to experiment with different varieties of BBQ sauce, such as hickory, mesquite, or even a spicy chipotle-infused sauce. If you’re looking to reduce the sugar content or prefer a homemade alternative, you can make your own BBQ sauce using a combination of tomato sauce, vinegar, sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, and a blend of spices.

Soy sauce or tamari adds depth and umami to the marinade. For a gluten-free option, ensure you use tamari, which is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. If you have dietary restrictions or prefer a different flavor profile, you can substitute soy sauce with coconut aminos or liquid aminos. These alternatives provide a similar savory taste without the soy component.

Spices are vital for elevating our BBQ grilled tofu marinade. We blend three key spices to create a flavor symphony. Substitute regular paprika if smoked is unavailable, while garlic powder adds aroma and robustness. For heat, opt for hot chili powder or cayenne pepper, or omit for a milder version. These spices work magic, transforming the tofu into an unforgettable culinary delight.

Helpful Tools

  • Grill or Grill Pan: A grill is the go-to tool for achieving those beautiful grill marks and smoky flavors. Whether you prefer a gas grill, charcoal grill, or electric grill, ensure it’s preheated and clean before grilling your tofu. If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, a grill pan can be a suitable alternative for stovetop cooking.
  • Tongs or Spatula: Tongs or a spatula are essential for flipping and maneuvering the tofu on the grill. They provide better control and help prevent the tofu from sticking or breaking apart. Opt for long-handled tongs or a spatula to keep your hands safely away from the heat.
  • Basting Brush: A basting brush is useful for applying the BBQ marinade onto the tofu during grilling. It helps ensure an even distribution of flavors and enhances the appearance of the grilled tofu. Look for a heat-resistant silicone brush or a brush with natural bristles for effective basting.
  • Tofu Press or Paper Towels: Draining and pressing the tofu is essential to remove excess moisture and enhance its texture. A tofu press is a convenient tool designed specifically for this purpose, exerting pressure to squeeze out the water. If you don’t have a tofu press, you can wrap the tofu block in paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth and place a heavy object on top to extract the moisture.

How to Make This BBQ Grilled Tofu Recipe

Start by draining and pressing the extra firm tofu to remove excess moisture. This step helps the tofu absorb the flavors of the marinade better and prevents it from becoming too soft. You can use a tofu press or wrap the tofu block in paper towels and place a weight on top for about 30 minutes.

BBQ Tofu Marinade

Next, Make the BBQ tofu Marinade. In a bowl, combine BBQ sauce, soy sauce or tamari, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and hot chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional). Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Adjust the seasonings according to your preference.

tofu marinating in glass jar

Place the pressed tofu in a heatproof container or a zip-top bag. Then, pour the BBQ marinade over the tofu, ensuring it is evenly coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. For a more intense flavor, you can marinate it for longer, even overnight in the refrigerator.

Grilling The Tofu

Preheat your grill to medium heat. If using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are evenly heated and covered with white ash before cooking. If using a gas grill, preheat for about 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. Make sure the grill grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.

Easy BBQ Grilled Tofu on Grill

Finally, once the grill is hot, carefully place the marinated tofu on the grill grates. Allow it to cook for a few minutes on each side, until grill marks appear and the tofu is heated through. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the tofu gently, ensuring it remains intact.

If desired, you can baste the tofu with additional BBQ marinade during grilling. Use a basting brush to apply a thin layer of marinade on each side of the tofu. This adds extra flavor and helps keep the tofu moist.

vegan tofu steaks with sauce

Once the tofu is grilled to your desired level of doneness, carefully remove it from the grill. Transfer the tofu to a serving plate or cutting board. Allow it to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing.

Tips & Tricks

  • Using extra firm tofu is crucial for grilling. It holds its shape better and has a firmer texture, making it easier to handle on the grill. Ensure you drain and press the tofu adequately to remove excess moisture and enhance its ability to absorb flavors.
  • Allow the tofu to marinate for a sufficient amount of time to ensure it absorbs the flavors deeply. Thirty minutes is the minimum recommended time, but if you have the luxury, marinating it for longer, such as a few hours or overnight, will result in more intense flavors.
  • Preheating the grill is essential to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking. Make sure the grill grates are clean and lightly oiled before placing the tofu on them. This helps create those beautiful grill marks and makes flipping the tofu easier.
  • When it’s time to flip the tofu on the grill, do it gently and with care. Tofu can be delicate, so use a spatula or tongs to flip it, ensuring it stays intact. Being too rough can cause the tofu to break apart or lose its shape.
  • If you want to intensify the flavors, consider basting the tofu with additional marinade while grilling. This step adds extra moisture and enhances the taste. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive basting can lead to flare-ups and charring.
  • Keep a close eye on the tofu while grilling to prevent overcooking. Grilling times may vary depending on the thickness of the tofu slices or cubes. Aim for grill marks on both sides and a slightly crisp exterior, while ensuring the interior remains tender and moist.

FAQ: BBQ Grilled Tofu

Can I use a different type of tofu for this recipe?

While extra firm tofu is recommended for grilling, you can use firm tofu as a substitute. Just keep in mind that firm tofu may have a slightly softer texture and may require shorter grilling time.

Can I grill the tofu indoors?

Yes, if you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan or even a non-stick skillet on the stovetop. Simply preheat the pan over medium heat and follow the same grilling instructions.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

While the tofu is best when grilled and served immediately, you can marinate it in advance. Prepare the tofu and marinate it, then store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before grilling. Allow the tofu to come to room temperature before grilling for optimal results.

What are some side dishes that pair well with BBQ tofu?

BBQ grilled tofu pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Consider serving it with grilled vegetables, corn on the cob, coleslaw, potato salad, or a fresh green salad. The options are endless, so get creative and enjoy a well-rounded meal.

Can I use this marinade for other proteins or vegetables?

Absolutely! The BBQ marinade works well with various proteins like tempeh, seitan, or even grilled vegetables. Feel free to experiment and explore different options to suit your taste and dietary preferences.

grilled tofu steaks on plate

How to BBQ Grilled Tofu Easy Recipe

Impress your BBQ gathering with this mouthwatering BBQ Grilled Tofu recipe. The smoky flavors and tender texture will leave everyone craving more. Get ready to fire up the grill and enjoy!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Main, Main Course, Vegan Basics
Cuisine American


BBQ Marinade

  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • hot chili powder or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)


  • Using a large, flat storage container, whisk together the BBQ sauce, soy sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder and hot chili powder.
  • Cut the extra firm tofu into 6 or 7 equal slices. Gently poke holes into the tofu using a fork. Be careful not to put the fork all the way through. (If the holes are too deep the tofu could fall apart.)
  • Place the tofu into the marinade, and flip tofu to cover both sides in the sauce. Close using the container lid, and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge. (Do not marinate for more than 24 hours or the tofu can start to soften)
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Lightly grease the grill grates to avoid sticking. Place the tofu onto the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until char marks appear and the tofu releases from the grates.
  • Remove from the grill, and brush with the remaining BBQ sauce marinade. Serve and enjoy!


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


This BBQ grilled tofu recipe offers a fantastic way to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying plant-based dish. With the right marinade, proper grilling techniques, and a few helpful tips, you can create a deliciously smoky and savory tofu that will impress both vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Whether you’re hosting a cookout or simply craving a healthy and tasty meal, this recipe is a must-try. Fire up the grill and savor the mouthwatering flavors of this BBQ tofu!

12 thoughts on “How to BBQ Grilled Tofu Easy Recipe

  1. Laura T. says:

    5 stars
    YUM I also cooked these this weekend with my family and loved the flavor I marinated my tofu steaks for about 24 hours and came out perfect 🤩

  2. Lauren T. says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe thank you just in time for my BBQ last weekend, everyone loved them 🥰

  3. Christy says:

    5 stars
    These turned out really nice, loved the flavor of the marinade

  4. Jack says:

    5 stars
    This bbq grilled tofu was delicious nice side to for my plant based relatives. Thank you, everyone seemed to enjoy them. And the effort from me to provide a vegan option for them.

    • spicyveganfood says:

      I’m delighted to hear that the BBQ grilled tofu was a hit, especially as a thoughtful plant-based option for your relatives! It’s wonderful that everyone enjoyed it.

  5. Latoya says:

    5 stars
    Yum this was actually better than expected. Loved the crispy texture from the BBQ. I will make this again.

    • spicyveganfood says:

      I’m thrilled to hear it exceeded your expectations! The crispy texture from the BBQ sounds delicious. Looking forward to having you make it again.

  6. Hannah says:

    5 stars
    Loved this grilled tofu the marinade was delicious. I will be using it again.

    • spicyveganfood says:

      Glad you enjoyed the grilled tofu and the marinade! Thank you so much for the feedback.

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