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 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.

Vegan Sesame Tofu
You’ll love this delicious Vegan Sesame Tofu served over rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles. It has a sticky sauce, but is a nice low-carb option for vegans!
Vegan Sesame Tofu Recipe
A chopstick holds a single bite over a bowl of sesame tofu.
Marinated Tofu
You'll love this deliciously easy vegan recipe for marinated tofu. Serve tofu on salads, with stir fries, or even on sandwiches.
Marinated Tofu Recipe
Looking down on cooked tofu over noodles.
Miso-Glazed Tofu
Make this crispy, marinated tofu to add more plant based protein to your diet! This low carb recipe is perfect for vegan keto diets, or anyone looking for a nutritious tofu recipe! 
Miso-Glazed Tofu Recipe
A bowl of cooked tofu with steamed broccoli.
Air Fried Tofu
Make this crispy, protein-rich, air fried tofu and eat it plain or add it to your favorite vegan dishes. Serve this crispy tofu with a simple sauce over rice and steamed veggies.
Air Fried Tofu Recipe
A hand holds chopsticks with a piece of air fryer tofu in it with dipping sauce on it. The full plate of tofu is behind it.
Crispy Orange Tofu
Enjoy this easy and delicious Crispy Orange Tofu with Sticky Orange Sauce rather than calling out for takeout. You’ll enjoy the food and how you feel too!
Crispy Orange Tofu Recipe
Crispy Orange Tofu sits in a white plate with chopsticks nearby and green onion at the top.
Veggie Lettuce Wraps
You're going to love these Veggie Lettuce Wraps served with Almond Butter Hoisin Sauce. This 30-minute dish is made with lots of healthy and flavorful ingredients too.
Veggie Lettuce Wraps Recipe
Veggie Lettuce Wraps
Tofu Scramble
This super easy, healthy Tofu Scramble can be ready with less than 10 ingredients and about 10 minutes.
Tofu Scramble Recipe
A piece of toast with a pat of melty vegan margarine sits behind a serving of tofu scramble.
Vegan Breakfast Burrito
These Vegan Breakfast Burritos are a perfect meal prep recipe. Make a batch (or two) of these burritos, then freeze them for quick, weekday reheating!
Vegan Breakfast Burrito Recipe
Two halves of a breakfast burrito on a plate with a bowl of salsa behind it.
Vegan Potato Salad
I took my mom’s recipe for potato salad and made my own vegan version of it. This is a sweet, creamy, eggless, red potato salad with lots of summertime flavors for everyone, vegan or not!
Vegan Potato Salad Recipe
A bowl of vegan potato salad with cherry tomatoes on the salad and behind it.

Tofu for 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:

Vegan Chocolate Pie
You’ll love this sultry Vegan Chocolate Pie with Pecan Crust made with less than 10 ingredients and ready before you know it!
Vegan Chocolate Pie Recipe
Vegan Chocolate Pie with Pecan Crust
Vegan Banana Cream Pie
Every slice of this vegan Banana Cream Pie has layers of vanilla pudding, fresh bananas, coconut whipped cream, and a crispy cookie crust!
Vegan Banana Cream Pie Recipe
Banana Cream Pie on a plate
Vegan Lemon Bars
These Vegan Lemon Bars are a delicious, healthy, egg-free treat for the whole family to enjoy!
Vegan Lemon Bars Recipe
A stack of several lemon bars with two lemons behind it.
Vegan New York Cheesecake
Take a bite out of this delicious and decadent Vegan New York Cheesecake drizzled with a sweet blueberry sauce. It's made with minimal ingredients, but tons of flavor!
Vegan New York Cheesecake Recipe
Vegan New York-Style Cheesecake
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
This vegan pumpkin cheesecake is an indulgent dessert with a graham cracker crust and creamy pumpkin filling. It's perfect for your holiday baking.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
A slice of vegan pumpkin cheesecake have whipped cream on top
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