Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, this Mapo Tofu recipe is so incredibly delicious, your entire family will be sure to love it. 


I’ve been working on lots of new vegetarian recipes for not only my non meat eating son and now husband as well, but also for all the vegetarian families at One Potato too! While we enjoy plenty of chicken, fish and beef dishes at home, I’m constantly trying to offer a variety of vegetarian meals that provide plenty of protein and diversity.

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Thus I introduce you to a dish you may have never tried, but must give a shot. Mapo Tofu! I’m not sure if it’s more fun to eat or say, but this easy to prepare tofu dish is crazy tasty and a great choice for kids and adults alike.


The sauce itself is bursting with flavor made from honey, sesame oil, fresh ginger and black bean sauce. If you’ve never tried black bean sauce found at most groceries, you have to give it a try. It has a rich umami flavor that adds a depth of flavor to the entire dish. I keep this Chinese inspired Mapo Tofu recipe pretty straightforward, but feel free to make a nutritious side like Sautéed Baby Bok Choy or steamed brown rice to brighten it up and round it out.


When Kenya tried this dish for the first time, he said it was his favorite thing I’ve ever made. I’m not sure about you, but that was music to this momma’s ears! And I think the hubs may have asked for it every week since. Needless to say, it’s become a family favorite around here.


What’s your favorite vegetarian dish to make? I know once you make this dish, it’ll be one of your favorites as well. Trust me, vegetarian food never tasted to good!


Mapo Tofu

Whether you're a vegetarian or not, this Mapo Tofu recipe is so incredibly delicious, your entire family will be sure to love it. 
3.30 from 10 votes
Servings: 4
Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup (about 10) dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 1 pound medium or firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 scallions, chopped


  • Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with the 1 cup warm water, and soak for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Drain the mushrooms, squeeze out excess water, and reserve the liquid. Discard any tough mushroom stems and finely chop the caps.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the mushroom soaking liquid, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to coat the bottom of the wok. Add the mushrooms and black bean sauce to the wok and stir fry until the mushrooms are crisp.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute. Pour the sauce into the wok, and reduce to simmer.
  • Gently add the cubed tofu to the wok and simmer for 3 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb some of the sauce.
  • Create a well in the center, stir together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and cook for 1 minute, until thick. Top with the scallions and serve.
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About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. Thank you for the recipe. May I ask, what is the reasoning behind putting the mushrooms in water. Wouldn’t that make them soggy?

  2. I think it is very delicious ,but I thought the Chinese Mapo Tofu is a mixture of chilli and buzz pepper.Which is amazingly spicy. Don’t know if you would like this taste. Thanks Kate.

  3. I’ve just discovered a new way for me with tofu and that’s to cut the tofu into cubes, toss it in cornstarch or rice flour and then fry them in oil in a very hot skillet. Turn four times every 3 minutes or so and you get a nice crunchy texture on the tofu, and then toss them in a sauce. Nice to have crunchy bits on the tofu. Will enjoy trying this new sauce on them!

  4. If I want to make this vegan, could I substitute agave for the honey? Or do you have another suggestion? I’ve also not been able to find black bean sauce, but I used hoisin instead in this recipe before – it turned out well. 🙂

  5. This is amazing. Made it tonight and my son ate all the tofu! Where can I find those kid friendly chopsticks?

  6. I think it would be great with chopped or ground chicken, quickly sauteed before adding to the sauce!

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