How Do You Quickly Drain Tofu? (In Three Simple Steps)

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How Do You Quickly Drain Tofu?

Most tofu in the United States is packaged in sealed containers with water in it. When you first pop open the top, you naturally drain the excess water.

Then you get to work draining the tofu. Draining the tofu is just something we’ve always been told to do.

But it can be a real struggle, especially if all you have is your own two hands and some towels. Pressing the tofu dry and squeezing it can take seemingly forever.

So how do you quickly drain tofu? The good news is, it’s pretty easy to do. With the right gadgets, you can do it in as few as three steps.

Read to the end of this post, and we’ll show you how.

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How Do You Quickly Drain Tofu?

Open the package of tofu and empty and liquid from the package.

The first step involves getting rid of the liquid in the package, assuming that’s the kind of packaging you have. Cut a slit in the top along the side carefully.

With the slit in place, hold the package over your sink or anywhere you’re okay with it draining. The liquid will drip right out.

Once you’re sure the liquid is drained, remove the seal on top of the package. You’re now ready to drain the actual tofu block.

Place the tofu between the boards on the press.

For this step, we’re assuming you have a tofu press like the ones in our list of the best tofu press options. If you don’t have one, we’ll discuss how you can drain your tofu properly without a press later on.

Assuming you have a press, you’ll place your tofu inside it. There will be one of two ways to do so: between two boards, or in a compartment on the bottom.

Twist the screws on top until the upper plate rests firmly on top of the tofu.

Depending on the type of tofu press you have, there will be one or two screws on top. If there are two screws on either size, you will turn them both until the upper board presses down onto the tofu.

With one screw or handle, you’ll simply turn it until the top lowers onto the block. It’s possible you even have a press with a lid that gets snapped into place and adjusted with a rubber band.

Regardless, your goal is just to set your press so that it is applying steady pressure to the tofu. Depending on your type of press, it should be drained in as few as five minutes and as many as fifteen minutes.

Don’t have a tofu press? Here’s how you drain it without one.

using dumbells as a tofu press

A tofu press is something that quite a few people have never even heard of. If you don’t have one, it’s okay – you can still drain your tofu, but it won’t be as easy.

One option is to wrap the block in absorbent towels and squeeze it. However, this way is a bit of a struggle, and takes a long time.

The other method involves laying the block of tofu between two plates and mimicking a press by putting weights on the top plate. It doesn’t necessarily have to be two plates, though – you can lay the tofu in a tray and put a skillet on it.

Feel free to get creative. What matters is that you have the tofu resting in something level that can capture escaping water, and that it has even weight on top of it. It’s not as simple as a press, because you need to balance the weights you put on top, but it’s much easier than the squeeze method.

Read Also: Can You Press Tofu Overnight or in Advance?

Are You Supposed to Drain Tofu?

You might be wondering now if tofu absolutely needs to be drained or pressed. Technically no – you could eat it straight out of the package if you wanted to.

The problem with that is it won’t have much of a flavor to speak of. And if you were to cook with the undrained tofu, you’d find that it can’t absorb flavor because of all the moisture in it.

Draining the tofu helps you get the best flavors and textures out of it.

Wrap Up

Draining your tofu is essential to making sure you get the most out of it. When you thoroughly drain it, it becomes more able to absorb the flavors of other foods you cook it in, because it’s not full of liquid anymore.

Fortunately, draining it quickly is easy, especially if you have a tofu press. If you don’t have one, you can still drain your tofu by applying even pressure to it, but it won’t be as easy. 

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