Skip to content

How to Cook Tofu

There are plenty of ways to make tofu part of a fabulous meal. Learn the secrets to making a delicious dish with this protein-packed, nutritious ingredient.

Cubed, stir-fried tofu served with white rice
Tofu is perfect for stir-frying, sautéing, or braising.

What is Tofu?

Tofu is a soy-based food made by curdling soy milk and then forming it into a solid block. The process is quite similar to the traditional method of making cheese. Tofu comes in various textures from silken to extra firm. Tofu is a versatile protein ingredient that can transform into a scrumptious dinner, appetizer, or side dish in vegetarian recipes to serve vegans, and meat-eaters alike.

Some enjoy tofu raw, but there are plenty of options when it comes to cooking. Air-fryer, pan-fried, deep-fried, baked – the options are seriously endless. You can even blend it to use in puddings, sauces, or spreads.

Tofu cubes with tomatoes and herbs
Tofu is a versatile plant-based protein option for recipes.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Tofu soaks up flavor like a sponge, so while you might be hesitant to give it a try, tofu can make for a flavor burst in your meal if seasoned generously.
  • Simply put, tofu is protein-packed. It’s a phenomenal swap for other traditional protein sources like chicken or beef.
  • Tofu fits into many different diets including vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
  • There are pretty much endless methods to making tofu, so pick a recipe and give it a try! We definitely prefer cooked over raw, and it’s a great option for a quick dinner just like these Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less.
  • You can sauté or stir fry it with your favorite proteins and vegetables, or add it to your favorite soups.
Raw tofu cubed on a cutting board
Firm tofu should be pressed before using, to remove excess moisture.

Tips for Cooking Tofu

  • Press the Tofu. If you’re deep frying or pan-frying firm tofu, you’ll want to press it first, as it has a high water content. You can use a special tofu press or any pan at home to squeeze the extra water out of the tofu. If you’re in a pinch, you can even squeeze tofu cubes using paper towels in a colander to remove extra water content. Check out this tutorial on how to press tofu.
  • Soft and silken styles of tofu should not be pressed, as their texture is too delicate. Tofu used in soups need not be pressed.
  • Tofu soaks up seasonings like a sponge, so don’t hold out on the spices. In particular, don’t be shy with salt. Tofu tends to taste bland when under-salted.
  • Always stir Tofu carefully. Since tofu comes in different levels of firmness, you might find certain firmnesses hold up better for different recipes. If you’re using softer tofu, be sure to stir gently with a rubber spatula to prevent it from breaking.
a bowl of noodles, tofu, and vegetables in soup
Add cubed tofu to your favorite soups, udon, or ramen for protein and flavor.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is tofu made of?

Tofu is a soy-based product made by curdling soy milk and pressing it into a block. It’s completely plant-based and packed with protein. Some may deem tofu rather bland, but when seasoned properly, it’s actually an incredibly flavorful ingredient to add to your dishes.

What does tofu taste like?

By itself, tofu is pretty flavorless, but that’s what makes it the perfect building block for so many different meals. Learning to cook tofu can be a bit of a learning curve due to all the different levels of firmness tofu comes in, but once mastered, tofu recipes are often bursting with flavor. It tends to take on the flavors of the seasonings you choose.

Is Tofu good for you?

Yes, tofu has many health benefits. Tofu contains loads of protein which makes it a phenomenal alternative to other meat-based proteins. Tofu is a great option for those with dietary preferences or restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. You can easily find organic tofu these days as well.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

tofu cubes in tomatoes and sauce

How to Cook Tofu | Easy Tofu Recipe

5 from 63 ratings
This easy tofu recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Yet, it's packed with flavor. We love serving this over a bed of fluffy Jasmine rice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 16 oz firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tsp table salt, fine
  • 2 TB scallions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Put chopped tomatoes with juices into large skillet.  Add chopped garlic and sugar.  Cover and cook on medium-high until tomatoes are cooked down and juicy, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • While tomatoes are cooking, gently press tofu to remove excess water. Cut tofu into cubes. Add to skillet with the tomato mixture. 
  • Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and a few pinches of freshly cracked black pepper.  Cover and simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Gently stir several times while cooking, taking care not to break tofu.  If desired, taste and sprinkle in 1/2 tsp more salt, or to taste. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in sliced scallion. Serve over fluffy jasmine rice.

Equipment

Notes

  • See original article for more ways to cook tofu and other helpful tips. 
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ❤️

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 4g | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 595mg | Potassium: 331mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1055IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method: Sauté, Skillet, Stovetop

More to Cook and Eat

  • Spinach Tomato Quiche – Flaky crust, delicious filling, and mouth-watering juicy tomatoes on top. What’s not to love with this Spinach Tomato Quiche recipe that is perfect for any breakfast party or dinner alike?
  • Miso Baked Salmon – Just a handful of ingredients later and you’ll be devouring this amazing Miso Baked Salmon. Give it a try, but don’t say we didn’t warn you that you’ll be coming back to this recipe as a new favorite way to get healthy nutrients and a delicious meal.

Add a comment

Recipe Rating




19 comments

    • Claire
    • 5 stars

    Tofu has always been one of my favorite proteins to get at a restaurant, but I only recently started learning to cook it at home. And wow, does it feel like there’s a learning curve! Can’t wait to check out all your tips. I’m sure they’ll make it so much easier!

    • Loreto and Nicoletta
    • 5 stars

    We love tofu and it can be tricky getting it cooked right! You have provided great tips. We have tofu on the menu for next week, and it is a great ingredient that loves to be infused with flavors! Thanks for sharing! ❤️

    • Erin
    • 5 stars

    I had no idea that tofu was so easy to make! I’d been avoiding it for a while because I didn’t know what to do with it. This was so easy and tasty; thanks!

    • Monica
    • 5 stars

    This was so good! I am trying to incorporate more tofu into our diets again for another plant-based option (besides all the beans lol) and this recipe is a keeper for sure. So much flavor and using the tofu press really made a difference, I think!

    • Colleen
    • 5 stars

    We loved this quick and delicious tofu dinner recipe. I’ll definitely make it again. Thanks for sharing!

      • Amy Dong

      You’re so welcome, Colleen!

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    I never even thought of making my own tofu, this is a great idea! Such an easy guide, this seems really do-able 🙂 Thanks!

    • Oana
    • 5 stars

    I was always under the impression that it’s so hard to make tofu, but thanks to your detailed blog post with simple to follow photos, I am so going to give it a go! Not looking that hard anymore. Love the recipe you’ve included at the end

      • Amy Dong

      We hope you’ll love the recipe!

    • veenaazmanov
    • 5 stars

    Delicious combination with Jasmine Rice. Your recipe sounds quick and easy to make. Tofu sounds healthier too.

    • Kathryn
    • 5 stars

    Who knew tofu could be so delicious homemade?! I was always intimidated to make this at home but it was so easy! Added this to soup and it was perfect.

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    Thank you for this comprehensive guide on how to prepare tofu. I loved that you included a simple recipe at the end too.

    • Christine

    Love this simple, comforting dish!

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you found this and loved it, Christine!

    • Needle and Fork

    the tofu does look very delicious! would have never thought of having it with tomatoes..

    https://www.facebook.com/NeedleandFork

    • DinnerInVenice

    Maybe this will persuade my kids to try tofu!

      • chewoutloud

      If not, my boys love edamame, which is an awesome soy food, too 🙂

    • Conor Bofin

    Very nice photography. I have not eaten tofu in ages. You are getting me thinking….
    Best,
    Conor

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks! 🙂

Get our free email series: 5 Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less

Plus our newest recipes each week