What Does Tofu Taste Like?

If you’re tofu-curious but haven’t yet taken the leap to try it, you may have a lot of questions. For example, what does tofu taste like? In fact, you may even feel a little intimidated by the idea of trying to cook with it. Today’s post will answer a lot of your tofu questions and get you cooking with tofu like a pro.

A photo shows a bowl of marinated tofu with steamed broccoli. The text reads, What does tofu taste like. Plus more tofu Q&As.

Some people look at tofu as international cuisine or health nut food. However, there are several advantages to adding tofu to your diet. It’s a high-protein, plant-based ingredient that you can use to substitute for meat products in your day-to-day diet. 

In fact, if you have people in your family who are picky eaters, the texture and flavor of tofu should be right up their alley! So, let’s talk about some of the roadblocks to adding more tofu to your diet, starting with flavor.

What Does Tofu Taste Like?

I can sing the praises of tofu all I want, but in the end, I know you have one basic question: does tofu taste good. Well, interestingly enough, tofu straight out of the container has a bland, mild flavor. That doesn’t sound enticing, of course, but it is a good thing because it allows you to add the flavors you want.

Because tofu is very absorbent, the finished tofu tastes like the flavors it was cooked with. So, add a flavorful, garlicky marinade to tofu, and it will take on the garlicky marinade flavor.  

A block of tofu sits on a cutting board next to a knife and several smaller cubes of tofu.

What is Tofu?

Tofu is made from soybeans that are combined with water. The fibrous parts of the beans are mostly strained and the remaining milky substance is then cooked with minerals that help form curds. This is very similar to how cheese is made. With tofu, the curds are pressed together to form blocks of varying levels of firmness.

Can You Eat Raw Tofu?

You can eat tofu straight from the container, but I don’t recommend it. That’s because the flavor is fairly bland. That said, I make recipes that add seasoning to plain, uncooked tofu, such as a vegan tofu salad (which very much resembles egg salad).

A bowl holds a batch of vegan egg salad. It sits besides stacked hamburger buns, a bowl of cherry tomatoes, and greens.

Is Tofu Healthy?

Because most of the bulk of the soybeans are strained in the production process, tofu is a relatively low calorie, high protein, and low carb product. Of course, it’s also relatively low in fiber. However, tofu is also fairly low in fat as well, but, many tofu cooking methods involve adding some fat.

Basically, tofu is a healthy ingredient to include in your diet. It’s also a great vegan low carb option! That means you can use tofu in your keto diet too!

A bowl holds marinade along with several cubes to tofu.

What Are the Different Types of Tofu? 

Another important question when it comes to eating something new is the texture. There are several tofu textures available in most stores. Describing the texture of tofu requires breaking it down a little. 

  • Extra Firm Tofu — This is plain tofu that you can buy in the produce section of many stores. It’s a go-to option for most people when it comes to tofu. It is packed in water and therefore needs to be pressed before cooking it, and we’ll go into that in a bit.
  • Flavored Tofu — Some brands have pre-marinated tofu. This tofu has already been pressed and it’s ready to add to your favorite recipes. I can usually find flavored tofus in health food stores like Sprouts and Natural Grocers.
  • Soft Tofu — You can also buy soft tofus, otherwise known as silken tofu. These are great for whipping and adding to desserts in place of eggs. 

Learn more about how to buy tofu here.

Can You Freeze Tofu?

If you freeze extra firm tofu in its container, you will be left with spongy tofu. That may be preferable for some recipes, but I don’t tend to like the spongy texture. However, I’ve found that if you press the tofu first, you can freeze it without much change in texture. 

For example, I make and freeze my vegan breakfast burritos and the texture of the tofu stays consistent after reheating.

Cubes of tofu are being fried in a skillet.

Does Tofu Go Bad?

Extra-firm and firm tofu should be stored in the fridge. When unopened, it can last for several months in the fridge. However, once opened, it should be prepared within 3–5 days.

Silken tofu oftentimes comes in an aseptic packaging that does not require refrigeration. It will usually keep for several months, but similar to firm tofu, once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within 3–5 days.

Cooking with Tofu 

if you’re new to plant-based cooking, working with tofu may seem a little awkward at first, but trust me, it’s a short learning curve. Next thing you know, you’ll be a pro!

Here are some of the reasons I love cooking with tofu:

No additional cooking is required, so you don’t have to be worried from a food safety perspective if your protein is undercooked

Once you have a few tasty marinades or seasonings, you’ll love the flavor and texture tofu adds

If you’re making a dish like vegan tofu salad, it’s actually way easier than making a typical egg salad recipe, because there’s no cooking the eggs!

How to Press Tofu

Most firm and extra-firm tofu blocks need to be pressed. That’s because they come packed in water. There are two ways to press tofu to prepare it for cooking:

Manual — Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel or several paper towels. Place that on a plate and add something heavy over the top of the tofu. I like using a heavy pan, or a plate with a can of beans on top. You can also stand over the sink and press the tofu in the towel. You’ll be surprised how much liquid you can get out of the tofu!

A stack of tofu has been wrapped in towels and a dish has been placed on top of it.

Tofu Press — I bought a tofu press a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It’s so easy to throw a block of tofu in the press and let it start pressing early in the day. That way it’s ready for cooking in no time!

A hand holds a knife and is cutting tofu. It's sitting next to a tofu presser gadget.

Is Tofu Vegan?

Tofu is made from soybeans and, thus, is a great plant-based, vegan protein option. Many vegetarians and vegans use tofu in a variety of vegan dishes, from lasagnas to soups, over noodles, and more.

Whether you’re vegan or not, or simply wishing to reduce animal protein in your diet, tofu is a great addition to your meal plans.

Tofu Breakfast Recipes

You can enjoy tofu for breakfast with these tasty recipes.

Tofu Stir Fry Recipes

Fry it and serve tofu with your favorite vegetables, like steamed broccoli. Tofu is a low-carb protein option you can use to make healthy weeknight meals in minutes!

  • Crispy Orange Tofu

    Enjoy this delicious Crispy Orange Tofu with Sticky Orange Sauce rather than calling out for takeout. Crispy tofu is served in a sweet glaze.

  • Kung Pao Tofu

    Take-out style vegan Kung Pao Tofu is infused with sweet-sour-salty vegan Kung Pao sauce with just a hint of heat and lots of big flavors!

  • Sesame Tofu

    This amazing Sesame Tofu recipe is easy to eat and delicious! Forget take-out, because this fried tofu with sesame sauce is the best ever.

Tofu Main Meal Recipes

Making tofu taste good involves pressing tofu and adding the right flavorings. Here are some great tofu recipes for main meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Tofu Dessert Recipes

Your first thought about tofu might be as a main meal. However, there are plenty of ways to use tofu for dessert recipes. It adds a silky, smooth texture to puddings, fillings, and more! Here are some favorite tofu dessert recipes:

Looking down on cooked tofu over noodles.

What Does Tofu Taste Like Featuring Marinated Tofu Recipe

If you're new to cooking with tofu, you have some basic questions, like what does tofu taste like! The good news is that tofu has a neutral flavor profile and it takes on the flavors of the things it's cooked with. Preparing a simple marinade is a great way of cooking and serving tofu. That's why you'll enjoy this recipe for marinated tofu. Serve marinated tofu on salads, with stir fries, or even on sandwiches.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 99kcal

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Remove the tofu from the package and press the tofu to remove excess liquid. 
  • Slice pressed tofu into ½-inch cubes. Pat cubes dry with paper towels. 
  • In a lidded rectangle dish (like a small pyrex), stir together the tamari, oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the tofu cubes and toss gently. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
  • To bake tofu: When the tofu is ready, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Cover a baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • To pan-fry tofu: When the tofu is ready, place a skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil (or sesame oil) and add marinated tofu. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and use tongs or a spatula to flip the tofu. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

Use a tofu press like the one in the post above to press tofu. Or if you don’t have a tofu press, wrap tofu in a kitchen towel and place it on a plate. Top it with something heavy and let it sit for a while to press the moisture out.
If you don’t have issues with gluten, feel free to sub soy sauce for the tamari.
Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 570mg | Potassium: 191mg | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.5mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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