Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Press Tofu: A Primer

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While I was writing a post involving marinated tofu for the blog, I googled "how to press tofu" with the intent of linking to it for the recipe. During my search, I came across a TofuXpress, which I own and find useful for transforming the texture and density of tofu, but using this does not produce the same result as incorporating in some kind of absorbent material (towels) to get out virtually all of the moisture.

And although many of the links I found involved a weight and towels, I couldn't find a "how to" that followed my method. So I thought, "Why not make my own?" Now, this isn't rocket science, but properly pressed tofu is an essential step when marinating, as it maximizes the tofu's ability to fully absorb the flavor of the marinade.
Step One: Grab four thick handtowels and place the block of tofu on a cutting board like so:

Step Two: Cut your tofu in half, and then the halves into halves and then those halves into halves to make eight equal-sized pieces.

Step Three: Lay the pieces out like so, using two of the four towels:

Step Four: Place the two remaining towels over the top of the tofu, like so:

Step Five: Place, one by one, large, heavy coffee table books, until you've added about 10 pounds of books. Let the tofu press for at least one hour before removing the weights:

Step Six: Cut the pressed tofu as desired and place in marinade, flipping over halfway through the marinade timing:


  1. This is a perfect how-to, really great! I have the problem of not having so many towels to use and then just throw them in the washing machine, since I don't wash clothes very often. But pressed tofu really is something different from non-pressed so I guess it's worth it in the end.

  2. this is great but i also find baking it works too:

    1. freeze and defrost tofu
    2. cut into chunky pieces
    3. lay out and press between a couple of paper towels for a minute
    4. place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet
    5. bake for an hour at about 200F
    6. place in a marinade

  3. Thanks vegantester! I've heard of the freezing/pressing method before but the baking step is new to me. I'm going to try your method the next time I marinate my tofu!

  4. an extra tip: the baking time and temp really depends on how 'properly' you want to do it and how dry/chewy you like it. i sometimes over-bake it and it gets a little too dry.

    one other thing i discovered recently is that the texture is even better when you 'rest' the tofu after cooking - just like meat!


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