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How to Press Tofu

Sharon Palmer

Learn how to press tofu in order to create flavorful, healthful dishes with these handy step-by-step directions, plus lots of tips for using tofu in recipes.

Have you ever wondered if you should be pressing your tofu before cooking with it? You may find it helpful for many recipes. In fact, you might have seen recipes calling for “pressed tofu” and wondered what that was all about. Tofu, a wholesome nutrient-rich food with a long history of use in Asia, comes packed in a pool of liquid (learn how tofu is made on my field trip to a tofu producer here). So, why press the liquid off? When tofu is pressed of this extra liquid, it acts like a sponge, absorbing whatever flavors it’s immersed in, which can dictate its taste, as well as texture in dishes. By removing this liquid, you allow tofu to absorb the spices, marinades, and flavors of the ingredients it’s paired with. I particularly love it in stir-fries, curries, baked tofu, and roasted dishes. Also, it crumbles better for recipes like scrambles or fillings.

How to Press Tofu
Tofu with a tofu press.

One easy way to press tofu is to simply wrap it in several sheets of paper towels, sandwich it in between two plates, and then anchor it down with something heavy (like a book) for 15 minutes or so. Sometimes it’s easy to consider pressing tofu to be a bothersome task. Fortunately, with the increased interest in tofu, tofu presses are now available, which makes pressing tofu a bit easier. I have a couple of different types of tofu presses at home, such as this TofuXpress and EZ Tofu Press. They work fairly similarly—you just put the tofu in the device, apply pressure through the device’s crank, let it sit for several minutes to let the liquid drain off, and remove the tofu. Check out my step-by-step guide for pressing tofu below.

Step-by-Step Guide for Pressing Tofu Using a Tofu Press:

In this instructional blog, I’m using a TofuXpress, but you can try another type of tofu press for similar results.

How to Press Tofu
Unwrap a container of firm or extra-firm tofu.
How to Press Tofu
Remove from the package and drain off any visible liquid.
How to Press Tofu
Place the tofu in the container of the tofu press.
How to Press Tofu
Make sure that the metal coil is attached to the crank and the top of the tofu press, as pictured above to the left.
How to Press Tofu
Place the top of the lid over the tofu, inside the tofu press, and then rotate the top crank so that it latches into the two slots on either sides of the tofu press.
How to Press Tofu
When the top is latched in, it looks like this (above). You will see liquid start to collect on the top.
How to Press Tofu
Let the tofu in the tofu press sit for up to 15 minutes, as liquid is pressed out of the tofu and collects on the top. Pour off the liquid.
How to Press Tofu
Open the top of the tofu press and remove the lid and crank.
You will find your pressed block of tofu in the tofu press, ready to use.
Remove, and use it in your favorite recipes! You can also store it in the fridge so it’s ready for your recipe later on.
Tofu, ready to cook with!

Bonus tip: I like to do this while I’m getting all of the other ingredients ready for a dish, such as a stir-fry or curry. By the time I’ve sautéed the onions and chopped my veggies, the tofu is ready to go.

Check out some of my favorite recipes featuring tofu:

Curried Tofu Papaya Wraps
Easy Vegetable Tofu Bibimbap Skillet
Bitter Melon Tofu Stir-Fry
Chinese Long Beans with Tofu and Jasmine Rice
Grilled Spicy Asian Tofu
Savory Baked Tofu

Note: This blog has not been sponsored.

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