Want to learn more about the shelf life of tofu?
You're in the right place!
Below we'll explore...
- How long tofu lasts.
- How to properly store tofu.
- And how to know if it's gone bad.
How Long Does Tofu Last?
Before Opening (Packaged with Water)
Most tofu labels will have a "Use By Date" which should be adhered to. The tofu found in the refrigerated section in the supermarket will usually be dated 1-3 months in the future. If the tofu has not been properly refrigerated, it may even go bad before the Use By Date.
Even though it's not technically an expiration date, you're still better safe than sorry.
The Soy Foods Association of North America advises treating tofu as if it were a dairy product.
Keep reading to learn the tell-tale sign that your tofu has gone bad.
Once removed from the packaging, tofu can usually last 3-7 days in the refrigerator if you store it correctly (see below on how to do so). But be mindful of the expiration date of the block that was opened and discard it if that date has passed.
If you freeze your tofu after opening, it can last up to 6 months.
You know your tofu has gone bad when it starts to develop a sour feet-like odor.
Here's a video of me opening a block of tofu that I purposely let go bad.
Aseptic Packaging (No Water)
If you order tofu online or at an Asian grocery store, you may be able to find it in aseptic packaging. This version of tofu is not found in the refrigerated section - it is shelf stable.
This kind of tofu will also have a use by date, but you'll usually find it to be 6-9 months in the future.
This form is tofu is much less common in the US.
How to Store Left Over Tofu
If you open a block of tofu and don't use the whole thing, you can store it in the refrigerator with water.
Here's how to keep it fresh the longest...
- Use a Tupperware big enough to hold the remaining block of tofu and enough water to cover it. You can also use a Ziploc bag.
- For every day that you don't use the tofu, pour out the old water and refill it with fresh water.
- If the tofu smells when you go to reuse it, be sure to discard it instead.
Can You Freeze Tofu?
Yes! You can freeze tofu for approximately 6 months - assuming that tofu has not already expired.
In fact, freezing it is a great way to change the texture of tofu. The ice crystals form holes which allow marinades and sauces to be more easily absorbed.
It's a great alternative to using a tofu press!
How Can You Tell if Tofu is Bad?
There are two tell-tale signs that your tofu has gone bad...
- Pressure will be built up in the package of tofu -- it almost looks like the seal is going to explode off.
- The tofu will have a bad odor.
Bad tofu smells a bit like sour feet. Last time I opened up a bad package of tofu, I literally had to cough because it smelled so bad.
Good tofu should smell neutral and a bit "beany", but not offensive in the slightest.