How to Cook Tofu: A Comprehensive Guide


Greetings, Asensio! Tofu is a versatile and protein-packed food that can be incorporated into various dishes, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. However, many people are intimidated by cooking tofu because it can be bland or fall apart easily. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to cook tofu perfectly. Whether you want to sauté it, grill it, or bake it, we’ve got you covered. So let’s get started!

What is Tofu?

Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s first understand what tofu is. Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a soybean-based food that is made by curdling fresh soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid blocks. It is low in calories, high in protein, and contains all nine essential amino acids. Tofu is also a rich source of iron, calcium, and other minerals.

Types of Tofu

There are several types of tofu available in the market, each with a different texture and flavor profile. The most common types are:

Type of Tofu Texture Uses
Soft or Silken Tofu Smooth and custard-like Soups, smoothies, puddings
Firm Tofu Dense and meaty Stir-fries, curries
Extra Firm Tofu Very dense and chewy Grilling, baking, frying

How to Choose and Store Tofu

When buying tofu, look for a firm and smooth texture with no cracks or bruises. It should be refrigerated and not left at room temperature for long periods. If unopened, tofu can last up to a week in the refrigerator. Once opened, it should be stored in water in an airtight container and consumed within 3-4 days.

How to Press Tofu

Pressing tofu removes excess water and allows it to absorb marinades and spices better. To press tofu, place it on a plate lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Cover with another layer of towels and place a heavy object on top, such as a cast-iron skillet or a stack of books. Let it sit for 30 minutes, or until most of the water has been released.

How to Sauté Tofu

Sautéing is a quick and easy way to cook tofu, and it’s perfect for adding to stir-fries, salads, or bowls. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the tofu to remove excess water.
  2. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil.
  4. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on all sides.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, or any desired spices.

How to Grill Tofu

Grilling gives tofu a smoky and charred flavor that pairs well with vegetables and grains. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the tofu to remove excess water.
  2. Cut it into slices or slabs.
  3. Marinate the tofu in your desired sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Grill the tofu for 2-3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear.

How to Bake Tofu

Baking tofu gives it a crispy exterior and tender interior, making it a satisfying protein source for salads or sandwiches. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Press the tofu to remove excess water.
  3. Cut it into cubes or strips.
  4. Toss the tofu in a mixture of cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
  5. Spread the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

How to Store Leftover Tofu

If you have leftover cooked tofu, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop, or add it cold to salads or bowls.


Q: Can I freeze tofu?

A: Yes, you can freeze tofu. It will change the texture and become spongier, which makes it perfect for adding to smoothies or scrambles. To freeze tofu, drain the water, and place it in a freezer-safe container or a zip-top bag. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

Q: Do I need to press silken tofu?

A: No, you don’t need to press silken tofu. It has a delicate texture, and pressing it will make it crumble or break apart.

Q: Can I eat raw tofu?

A: Yes, you can eat raw tofu, but it is best to cook or press it before consuming it. Raw tofu has a slightly bitter taste and a chewy texture, which some people may find unappetizing.

Q: What are some vegan recipes using tofu?

A: Tofu can be used in various vegan recipes, such as Vegan Tofu Scramble, Tofu Stir Fry, Vegan Tofu Lasagna, Tofu and Vegetable Curry, and Tofu Steaks.

Q: Is tofu gluten-free?

A: Yes, tofu is gluten-free. It is made from soybeans, which do not contain gluten. However, some tofu products may be processed in facilities that also handle wheat, so it is essential to check the label before purchasing.

Q: How can I make tofu taste like meat?

A: Tofu can be made to taste like meat by using spices and marinades. For example, marinating tofu in soy sauce, liquid smoke, and garlic can give it a smoky and savory flavor that resembles meat. Adding nutritional yeast or mushroom powder can also enhance the umami taste.

Q: How much protein does tofu contain?

A: Tofu is a rich source of protein and contains about 10-20 grams per 100 grams, depending on the type.

Q: Can I use tofu in desserts?

A: Yes, you can use tofu in desserts, such as cheesecake, mousse, or pudding. Silken tofu is best for these recipes as it has a creamy texture and can be blended smoothly.

Q: Why does tofu come in water?

A: Tofu is packaged in water to keep it fresh and moist. The water also prevents bacteria from growing and helps to preserve its texture.

Q: Can I make my tofu at home?

A: Yes, you can make your tofu at home with just soybeans, water, and a coagulant like vinegar or lemon juice. There are many tutorials available online that can guide you through the process.

Q: Is tofu good for weight loss?

A: Tofu is a low-calorie, high-protein food that can help with weight loss when consumed as part of a balanced diet. It is also rich in fiber, which can keep you feeling full for longer periods.

Q: What are some health benefits of tofu?

A: Tofu has several health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving bone health, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and other essential minerals.

Q: Can I use tofu instead of meat?

A: Yes, tofu can be substituted for meat in many recipes. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in curries, stews, sandwiches, and more.

Q: Does tofu have a unique taste?

A: Tofu has a mild and neutral taste that can be enhanced with seasonings and spices. Some people describe it as slightly nutty or slightly sweet.

Q: How many calories does tofu have?

A: Tofu is low in calories and has about 70-100 calories per 100 grams, depending on the type.


Congratulations, Asensio! You have now learned how to cook tofu like a pro. Whether you prefer it grilled, sautéed, or baked, you can now incorporate this versatile ingredient into your meals. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and spice combinations to find your perfect tofu recipe. So go ahead, hit the kitchen, and enjoy the benefits of this amazing plant-based protein!


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. If you have any health concerns or dietary restrictions, please consult a healthcare professional before incorporating tofu into your diet.