This One Trick Will Change the Way You Think About Tofu

Want to try tofu but not sure how to start? This simple technique will make sure you're never faced with soggy tofu again.

Stir Fried Tofu in a bowl with sesame and greens. Homemade healthy vegan asian meal - fried tofuShutterstock/Oksana Mizina

Let’s face it: Tofu can be incredibly bland. The good thing is that the protein can take on whatever flavors you want to incorporate into your favorite tofu recipe—you just need to prepare it before getting started. Follow these simple tricks and you’ll never be left with water-logged, bland tofu again.

Get rid of the water

The biggest tip for getting better tofu: Get rid of as much moisture as possible! Since it is packed in water, the first thing you need to do is drain it as much as possible. Once removed from the container, wrap it in paper towels (about three or four sheets should work). For best results, follow our Test Kitchen’s expert tips for how to prepare tofu.

Add weight

Once you have it wrapped in paper towel, place it on a plate. Find something heavy, such as a can of beans or tomatoes or even a heavy sauce pan. Place a second plate on top of the tofu and put your heavy item on top. This will help press even more moisture out of the tofu.

Wait

Place the weighted tofu in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to cook, unwrap the paper towels from the tofu (the paper towels will be wet) and toss them in the trash.

Get ready to cook

Now it’s time to get your tofu ready for cooking. Try dicing your tofu for this stir-fry. Or cut it into strips. When you’re ready, add oil to a hot pan and sear the tofu on all sides. Add your sauce or spices—now that the tofu has much of its moisture removed, it will take on more flavor.

Once your tofu is cut, you can also marinate it to add flavor. Try a marinade in this recipe for Thai tofu lettuce wraps.

Want it extra crispy?

If you’re looking for an extra crispy crust on your tofu, try tossing it in a little cornstarch before cooking. You don’t need too much, just enough to coat the tofu pieces. Discard any extra. When the tofu is coated, toss it in a hot pan with a little oil, like we do here. This trick is very similar to velveting chicken, the restaurant-style tip for amazing stir-frys.

In the end, getting perfect tofu just takes a bit of prep. After that, it’s smooth sailing for your next veggie-based dish.

Give this technique a try with these tofu recipes.
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Rachel Brougham
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