6 Easy Ways To Cook With Tofu And Love It

Learn how you can add tofu and all of its wonderful benefits to your diet. It can be intimidating to know the best kind to buy, which type to use – soft, silk, firm, extra firm, should you press tofu, and how to cook it, but soon you will be a tofu pro with these six easy ways to cook tofu.

image of fried tofu on a black plate sprinkled with sesame seedsPin

Here is everything you need to know about incorporating tofu into your meal plans, from buying the right type, pressing it and cooking a delicious meal. You will learn the benefits of adding tofu to your diet and just how nutritious it can be.


What Is Tofu Made From?

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curds into a solid white block. These blocks can vary in texture from silken, soft, firm or extra-firm.

Is It Good For You?

Tofu is made from soy and a significant portion of the world’s soybeans are currently grown in the United States, most of which are genetically modified.

GMO’s are controversial and may leave you wondering if tofu is really good for you. No need to miss the benefits of this bean curd, simply opt for non-gmo, organic brands.

Tofu is high in protein, contains all of the essential amino acids, calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals. In one 3.5 ounce serving you receive 8 grams of protein, 20% of the RDI of calcium, 9% of the RDI of iron and other nutrients, yet its only 70 calories.

Soybeans contain isoflavones that function as phytoestrogens that can attach to and activate estrogen receptors in your body. There are some that believe eating too much soy can increase estrogen production. You can read more about it HERE.

Soy isoflavones can reduce blood vessel inflammation and improve elasticity causing improved blood flow. Soy foods like tofu have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Reduced bone loss, reduced risk of osteoporosis, increased brain function, reduction of menopausal symptoms, improved skin elasticity, lower cholesterol levels, and weight loss are a few other potential benefits of eating tofu.

Is Eating Too Much Tofu Bad For You?

Researchers agree that infants should not be exposed to soy isoflavones because it could disrupt the development of reproductive organs. However, recent studies concluded that soy isoflavones pose no concerns for adults, even those with thyroid issues, breast or uterine cancers.

If you are a man, high amounts of isoflavones can interfere with androgen function and production, so over-consumption is not recommended. However, you will still benefit from small amounts of tofu.

If you have a family history of breast, uterine cancer, or thyroid issues and have concerns, discuss eating soy with your healthcare provider.

image of two plates of tofu, one a solid block and one is cubedPin


There are a few different varieties of tofu, including silken, soft, firm and extra-firm. They vary in texture due to the amount of water that has been pressed out; less water equals a firmer texture.

You can find tofu packed in tubs of water in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. You will also find vacuum-sealed packages of tofu on the shelves, typically in the ethnic aisles of the grocery store. It doesn’t really make a difference whether you purchase refrigerated or shelf stable.

Silken- is great for creamy foods like smoothies, puddings, sauces, dips, salad dressings, desserts and plant-based cheeses.

Soft- is amazing in soups, but you won’t use it as often as silken or extra-firm.

Firm- is great in stir-fry, tofu scramble, and crumbled in dishes like tacos. It absorbs flavors well.

Extra-firm- is the best for stir-fry, or sliced for pan-frying. It holds its shape and is great for grilling, baking and broiling.

Pressing Tofu

It isn’t necessary to press silken or soft tofu because you want the extra water for the soft texture.

You will want to press firm and extra-firm tofu because it does contain quite a bit of liquid and not pressing it can result in a soggy meal. It takes at least 20 minutes of pressing time to remove the liquid.

Place the tofu between layers of clean kitchen towels or paper towels on a plate and cover with another plate. Place a dumbbell, heavy skillet, or books on top of the plate to weigh it down and press out the water,

You could also use a tofu press to simplify the process. The press will keep the liquid contained so its less mess. You can refrigerate it, so the pressing could take place well in advance to cooking.

image of two containers filled with chocolate tofu pudding, sprinkled with blueberries and heart sprinklesPin


Tofu is very mild tasting and has almost no flavor, so marinating will help it to absorb whatever flavors you want. Firm and extra-firm are the best types to marinade since they hold their shape.

It’s best to press and drain the tofu before marinating to allow for better absorption. Next, soak the tofu in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. Soaking overnight will increase the intensity of the flavor.

Tip- freezing pressed tofu will give it a chewier texture and allow it to absorb the marinade even better! Be sure to press it, then place in a freezer bag or resealable plastic bag, remove as much air as possible, seal and freeze. Thaw it before using. Frozen tofu can take on a yellowish color, but it is normal. You can freeze tofu for up to 5 months.

Marinades- Add 1/4 cup of water to this Cilantro Dipping Sauce for a delicious, herby marinade. Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce makes a great marinade as well, just add 1/4 cup water and tofu.

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Cook With Tofu

The most common ways of cooking firm or extra-firm tofu are frying, baking, broiling, grilling or scrambling it.

Fried- In order to achieve a crispy and delicious fried tofu dish, its best to press, freeze, marinate and then dredge it in cornstarch until well-coated. Be sure to fry each side approximately 5 minutes over medium-high heat and serve immediately.

Try it air-fried in this vegan lo mein.

Baked- Baking tofu will give it a wonderful creamy middle and crispy outside and its best enjoyed in power bowls, salads, tacos, or pasta dishes. Cut the tofu into cubes or slices, dredge in cornstarch until well-coated and arrange on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the tofu so it can cook evenly on the other side. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Broiled- It’s best to press, freeze and marinate tofu before broiling. Once you’re ready to cook, preheat the broiler. Place the tofu on a lightly oiled baking sheet and coat the top with the marinade. Broil it 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the tofu so it can cook evenly on the other side. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until browned and crisp. Enjoy it immediately, in a salad, power bowl or a sandwich.

Grilled- Tofu tends to stick so you will want to oil your barbecue grill. Use large pieces of tofu because smaller pieces will break or fall through the grill grates. You can always skewer it, but larger pieces are easier as well. Preheat the grill and place tofu on it. Grill for 6-7 minutes on each side, brushing with barbecue sauce. Tofu is already cooked, so you don’t have to worry about under-cooking it. Enjoy immediately.

Scrambling- Extra-firm tofu has the right texture to mimic scrambled eggs. Place tofu in a bowl and with a potato masher or fork break the tofu up into curds. In a skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for 14-16 ounces of tofu. Add the broken tofu and cook until it becomes dry, approximately 5-7 minutes. Season with nutritional yeast, a pinch of turmeric for a yellow “eggy” color, salt and pepper. You can also saute vegetables with the tofu for an incredible tofu scramble hash, add it to a breakfast burrito or on top of avocado toast. Serve immediately.

Blended- tofu is already cooked, so you can be add it directly to smoothies, puddings or even make ice cream. Simply add silken or soft tofu to a blender with your choice of fruit, plant-based milk and a little sweetener like maple syrup for a delicious treat. Add less milk for a pudding or ice cream and more for a smoothie. Be sure to refrigerate or freeze if you have leftovers.

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All You Need To Know To Cook With Tofu

Now you have all of the tofu knowledge you need to make delicious and nutritious plant-based meals. Get cooking!

image of a pin for pinterest for easy ways to cook with tofu. The pin shows a bowl of fried tofu sprinkled with sesame seeds on a bamboo mat with chopsticks.Pin

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  1. Woot! Thanks so much for sharing this. I have NEVER been able to enjoy tofu. It’s always been so gross to me. Can’t wait to try these.

  2. This is going to make tofu so much more accessible to so many people. I love tofu, but I’ve found that it’s often prepared incorrectly.

  3. This was a really interesting read. I love that you included the health facts associtated with it, as well!

  4. I’m so glad you posted this. Tofu gets such a bad wrap by so many. The simple fact is that most people simply don’t know how to make it.

  5. I’m so glad you wrote this! Tofu is one of those foods that many people don’t like because they’ve never had it cooked well. It’s almost an art to cook tofu.

  6. We love grilled tofu. It tastes so yummy! Every time we would think of something to grill, tofu is always the first one that comes to mind. Thanks for the nutrition information and for letting me know about the downside of eating too much tofu.

  7. I love tofu! I especially like baked tofus and these new recipes about tofu made me think a new experiment! Thank you for sharing this!

  8. When I cut all meat and dairy out of my diet years ago, I had the hardest time getting used to the taste of tofu. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that it’s all about the sauce you use!

  9. I’m definitely not a big tofu eater, but a lot of these recipes look so tasty! I’ll have to give them a try.

  10. I love Tofu, but I can’t have too much of it. However, I would love to try frying them one day!

  11. I love tofu in all of its (non-gmo) forms. However, family history has me being careful on how much of it I eat.

  12. Amazing recipes! We love tofu so much, not only the taste but also its nutritional content. Thanks for sharing these.

  13. I love Tofu so much! We have an air fryer and I find myself turning to it quite often to cook the best tofu. But you’ve given me some other ideas here.

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