Ahh tofu. Loved by many, hated by more.

Tofu is a fantastic protein source and is rich in iron, copper, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked as a food choice at home. Ever notice {if you’ve dared to order it} that tofu tastes delicious in a restaurant dish, but bland, squishy, and gross at home?

It’s all about the prep method. Think of tofu as a base for whatever dish you’re making- it’s up to you to make it work!

how to cook tofu

I used to be a firm believer that you could skip the first step in tofu preparation: pressing the tofu. But I will admit, I’m wrong. {You won’t here me say that often!} Pressing the water out of the tofu makes a huge difference. Sure, it’s fine to skip if you’re just whipping up a side of tofu for a quick dinner, but once you’ve seen how much better it cooks when you press it, you won’t go back.

Tofu comes packed in water. It needs to be drained and then pressed to remove most of the water from the tofu to make room for other flavors to be absorbed. If there’s too much water,  your tofu will remain bland no matter how long you marinate or cook it.

Note: If you’re cooking tofu for stir fries, etc., be sure to use the “firm” or “extra firm” varieties instead of the soft or silken, which are better for blended use.

how to prepare tofu

To press tofu, wrap in paper towels and place something heavy on top. I wrap the tofu block in a layer of paper towels then surround it with a dish towel so I’m not wasting too many paper towels. Rest a heavy dish, cookie sheet with cans, or stack of cookbooks on top. Let rest for at least 30 minutes; more is just fine.

Once tofu has been pressed, slice into strips, cubes, or triangles. Spread on a paper towel for a little extra water absorption.

how to make tofu

Next up: cooking. Yup, we’re skipping the flavoring. For now.

Dry cooking the tofu helps remove a little more moisture and create a crispy outer crust on the tofu. The trick is to use a hot non stick pan- if you have a cast iron pan, this would be a great time to use it. Do not add oil or spray to the pan.

cooking tofu

Optional: toss tofu in cornstarch before cooking to help get a crispy coating. {I compared cornstarched & non-cornstarched versions side by side, and I still can’t decide which I prefer. So it’s up to you!}

cook tofu

Spread tofu evenly throughout pan. Let cook untouched for a few minutes, until tofu starts to brown. Flip tofu and cook other side until brown.

cooking with tofu

Now it’s time to flavor your tofu. You can use any kind of marinade or dry rub you like, but leave out the oil- oil & water don’t mix and it’ll make it hard for the tofu to absorb the marinade.

ways to cook tofu

Add the tofu back to the hot pan until warm enough to eat. If you’re using a marinade with sugar, cook until the sugar caramelizes and thickens.

tofu recipes

I’m a big fan of Asian-based marinades for tofu, but sometimes I like to mix it up. Like this Mexican style marinade:

Chipotle Marinade

by Heather Neal

Keywords: entree vegetarian vegan Mexican Southwest


  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp adobo sauce {from canned adobo peppers}
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash of cinnamon


Combine all ingredients.

Pour over tofu, chicken, or other meat. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes, or use as sauce when cooking.

Powered by Recipage

Want to learn more about tofu? Visit Nasoya’s Tofu U to learn all you ever wanted to know!

tofu brands

Bonus: Win some tofu! One lucky winner will get 5 coupons for Nasoya products plus a T-shirt! I used Nasoya’s Sprouted Tofu Plus {thanks to a coupon} for this dish and loved it- it held up well & tasted great.

nasoya coupons and shirt

To enter, take the Nasoya Tofu U pledge! Leave a comment letting me know you did so.

For a bonus entry, leave a comment letting me know you’re favorite way to prepare tofu or what dish you’d like to make.

Ends tomorrow!