How to Press Tofu (with & without a tofu press!)
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The KEY to delicious and crispy tofu is pressing it! It’s ridiculously easy to do and I’m going to show you how to do so with AND without a tofu press. You’ll be enjoying delicious tofu in NO TIME!
Hopefully you know by now that I have a DEEP love for tofu recipes! I’ve been posting more and more of them on the blog the past year and I figured that it would be really helpful to offer a step-by-step guide on how to properly press tofu.
Once I realized that my tofu obsession wasn’t going to let up at all, I finally invested in a tofu press. I bought a super simple one for about $20 off of amazon and it has been amazing (link to the one that I use is down below). I’m going to show you how easy they are to use and exactly how I do it.
BUT, I totally get that a lot of people don’t have or want an extra kitchen gadget laying around so I’m also going to show you the best way to press your tofu with simple items that you already have around the kitchen.
How to Press Tofu
I get this question quite often: How do I press tofu and do I REALLY need to do it!? I’m going to break it ALL down for you in this post so at the end, you’ll be a tofu pressing master and realize how important it is for delicious tasting tofu.
How long does it take to press tofu with a tofu press: typically WITH a press it takes about 15 minutes (although you could press it longer if desired).
How long does it take to press tofu without a tofu press: I find that it takes about 30 minutes using the skillet method in order to squeeze out enough liquid from the tofu.
How to use a tofu press:
If you’re wondering how to press tofu quickly, your best bet is a tofu press. I’ve found that they’re much quicker and more efficient then pressing it with random kitchen objects that you have.
Is a tofu press worth it? If you eat tofu regularly, then I definitely think so! I resisted buying one for the longest time but now that I’ve had one for the past 2 years, I love it so much! We eat tofu about once a week in our house and the tofu press has become essential for us. On top of that, they’re relatively inexpensive at just about $20 for a basic press.
THIS is the press that I have and I love it.
Whichever press you’re using, it’s very simple! Place the tofu inside of the press and use the screws (this will be a little different on each press) to tighten down the plates and press the tofu between them. I tighten them down so that the tofu is a bit of pressure but not too much. Every few minutes, I tighten it a little bit more. Overall, I end up pressing mine for about 15-20 minutes while I’m prepping the rest of the ingredients for my recipe.
When using a tofu press, I like to place the press directly into my clean sink so that the excess liquid can drain right into the sink. However, more often than not, our sink is full of dishes so I instead place the tofu press on a rimmed baking sheet to catch the excess liquid from the tofu.
How to press tofu WITHOUT a press:
I suspect that most of you have landed on this post because you do NOT have a press but still want to know how to press your tofu. Amiright!?
It’s super easy so let’s go over this.
Step 1: Open the package of tofu, dispose of the liquid, and gently remove the block of tofu.
Step 2: Wrap the tofu in a lint free towel (you can also wrap it in a few layers of paper towels) and place it on a rimmed plate or baking sheet
Step 3: Place a cast iron skillet (similarly heavy pan) on top of the tofu, balancing it so that it stays on top. Weigh the skillet down with a few heavy cans or other similarly weighted objects.
Step 4: Wait about 30 minutes for a decent amount of the liquid to be pressed out of the block of tofu. You want to get at least 1/4 cup of liquid out of the block of tofu but sometimes it can be upwards of 1/2 cup of excess liquid.
Step 5: Once the tofu has been pressed long enough, remove the skillet and weighted objects, unwrap the tofu, and use as desired. (I have lots of delicious recipes linked below for using pressed tofu!!)
What is the best way to press tofu?
The easiest way to press tofu is with a simple tofu press. However, a tofu press is not necessary and can still easily be done without it.
What happens if you don’t press tofu?
You can technically still cook and eat tofu that has not been pressed HOWEVER it will not absorb flavor as well and will definitely not have a very good texture. Especially if you’re trying to get it crispy at all.
Moral of the story, just press your tofu!
Do you need to press extra firm tofu?
Yes! This is a question I hear a lot. Just because the tofu has a firmer consistency, that does not mean that it’s not holding an excess of liquid inside.
You should always press your firm AND extra firm tofu. I typcially get nearly 1/2 cup of excess liquid out of my extra firm tofu.
Do you press tofu in the fridge?
It is not necessary to press tofu in the fridge. You can do it it you desire, for whatever reason, but it is not something that is necessary.
I always just press my tofu on the countertop or in the sink.
Should I press tofu before freezing?
No, you do NOT need to press tofu before freezing. IN FACT, you can freeze tofu by placing the entire, un-opened package into the freezer. Once ready to use, simply thaw the tofu and use as regular. You can press it at this point as desired but it’s not totally necessary.
In case you’re wondering why you would freeze tofu, I’ll briefly explain: when you freeze tofu, large ice crystals form in the tofu from the excess liquid freezing. When it thaws, it leaves these nice pockets that formed with the water froze. Those pockets greatly change the texture of the tofu and leave it much chewier and closer to the texture of chicken.
How long will pressed tofu store in the fridge?
I typically store pressed tofu in the fridge for up to 3 days but it can technically last up to about 5 days after it has been pressed.
My favorite tofu recipes:
See how to press tofu with AND without a tofu press here:
I’m going to show you how to press your tofu with and without the use of a tofu press!
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
Equipment: 1) a tofu press OR 2) A rimmed plate, lint free kitchen towel, heavy skillet or pot, something heavy to weigh it down such as cans
How to use a tofu press:
- Take your tofu out of the packaging and discard any excess liquid for the package. Place the tofu into the press so that it is even. Tighten the press down (the way to do this varies based on the kind you use) and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Tighten a little more (being careful that it’s not too tight or else the tofu might crack) and let press for 5 additional minutes. Once done, remove from the press and use in your favorite tofu recipes!
- For reference: I usually get about 1/2 cup of excess liquid out of a 15 ounce block of extra firm tofu.
How to press tofu without a press:
- Take your tofu out of the packaging and discard any excess liquid for the package.
- Wrap the block of tofu in a lint free towel (or you can use paper towels for this) and place it in the middle of a rimmed plate or baking sheet.
- Place a cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or equally large and heavy object on top of the tofu and make sure it’s balanced evenly (or else you tofu will press uneven).
- On top of the skillet, place several heavy objects to aid the press (see video for reference).
- Let sit for 30 minutes. You should end up with roughly 1/3-1/2 cup of excess liquid from your 15 ounce block of tofu.
- Remove objects, towel, and use the tofu in your favorite recipes!
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Tofu
- Method: pressing
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: hot to press tofu, tofu press, delicious tofu