What to Put on Tofu: Detailed Guide to Flavorful Toppings

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Tofu is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be used in many different types of dishes. However, some people struggle with finding the right flavorings and seasonings to use on tofu. In this article, we’ll provide tips on how to season and flavor tofu to enhance its taste and texture. We’ll cover everything from marinades to spice rubs, and provide some delicious recipes that showcase the many ways you can put your own spin on this beloved food. Whether you prefer sweet, spicy, or savory flavors, we’ve got you covered.

what to put on tofu

Types of Tofu

Tofu, a popular plant-based protein source, comes in various textures and firmness levels. In this section, we will discuss three common types of tofu: silken tofu, firm tofu, and extra-firm tofu. Each subtype has distinct characteristics and can be used in different culinary applications.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu, the softest type of tofu, has a smooth and delicate texture similar to custard. It is made by coagulating soy milk without the need for pressing, which preserves its creamy consistency. Silken tofu works well in a variety of dishes, such as:

  • Smoothies and shakes: Blend silken tofu with fruits, vegetables, or dairy-free milk for a protein-rich and creamy beverage.
  • Soups: Add small cubes of silken tofu to broths and soups for a tender bite and protein boost.
  • Desserts: Incorporate silken tofu into puddings, mousses, and cheesecakes for a plant-based alternative.

It’s essential to handle silken tofu gently to avoid breaking or crumbling.

Firm Tofu

Firm tofu offers a more substantial texture compared to silken tofu. It maintains its shape better, making it suitable for various cooking methods. Some ways to use firm tofu include:

  • Stir-fries: Cube or slice firm tofu and gently stir-fry it with vegetables and sauce for a quick and nutritious meal.
  • Scrambles: Crumble firm tofu and cook like scrambled eggs for a savory plant-based breakfast.
  • Sandwiches: Grill or pan-fry firm tofu slices and use as a filling in sandwiches or wraps.

Firm tofu benefits from marinades, as it can readily absorb flavors and enhance the dish’s overall taste.

Extra Firm Tofu

Extra firm tofu has the densest and most robust texture among the tofu types. It can withstand higher heat and longer cooking times, perfect for:

  • Grilling: Marinate extra firm tofu and grill the pieces for a smoky, charred outer layer.
  • Baking: Cut extra firm tofu into cubes or slabs and bake them in the oven for a crispy texture and golden-brown crust.
  • Stir-fries: Just like firm tofu, extra firm tofu can also be used in stir-fries, imbuing the dish with a satisfying chewiness.

For the best results, press extra firm tofu before cooking to remove excess moisture, which will help it crisp up and absorb more flavors.

Remember, each type of tofu can enhance your dishes in distinct ways, so experiment with these varieties and discover your favorite ways to use them.

Preparing Tofu for Cooking

When it comes to preparing tofu for cooking, there are two key steps to enhance its flavor and texture: pressing and marinating. This will help to ensure a delicious and satisfying dish.

Pressing Tofu

Pressing tofu is an essential step that helps to remove excess water. This process allows the tofu to better absorb marinades and seasonings, giving it a more flavorful taste. To press tofu, you can use a specialised tofu press, a heavy object, or even a plate with weights.

  1. Start by slicing the tofu block into even pieces. This will help with the pressing process and provide a more uniform texture.
  2. If you have a tofu press, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, place the tofu slices on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, and cover with another clean layer.
  3. Place a heavy object, such as a cast-iron skillet or a sheet pan with canned goods on top, over the wrapped tofu to apply pressure.
  4. Leave the tofu to press for about 30 minutes, checking and changing the towel if it becomes too saturated with water.

Marinating Tofu

Marinating tofu is a surefire way to infuse flavor into the pressed tofu slices. Consider experimenting with different sauces and spices to create diverse tastes. Here is a basic method for marinating tofu:

  1. In a shallow container or sealable plastic bag, mix together a marinade that suits your taste preferences. A simple example is a combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, scallions, garlic, sesame oil, chili flakes, and five-spice powder1.
  2. Add the pressed tofu to the marinade and ensure all the slices are coated.
  3. Seal the container or bag and let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even better, overnight in the refrigerator. The longer it marinates, the deeper the flavors will be absorbed.

After pressing and marinating your tofu, it’s ready for cooking. Whether you choose to pan-fry, bake, or grill it, your tofu will be packed with delicious flavors and boast a pleasing texture, making it the perfect addition to your meal.


  1. Allrecipes

Methods of Cooking Tofu

Tofu is a versatile, protein-packed ingredient that can be incorporated into numerous dishes. In this section, we’ll explore three popular methods for cooking tofu: stir-frying, baking, and air frying.


Stir-frying is a quick and simple method for cooking tofu. Start by selecting extra-firm tofu, as it holds up better during the frying process. Before cooking, it is essential to press the tofu to remove excess moisture, which helps achieve optimal crispiness. To do so, wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and place a heavy object, such as a book or pan, on top. Let it sit for about 15-30 minutes.

Heat a generous amount of oil (preferably vegetable or canola oil) in a wok or large skillet over medium to high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu cubes, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. Cook each side for a few minutes until they turn golden brown and crispy. Be sure to season the tofu with your desired seasoning, such as soy sauce or garlic.


Baking tofu is another delicious method that yields crisp results without the need for excessive oil. Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (177°C). Press the tofu as instructed in the stir-frying section, and then cut it into cubes, slices, or slabs, depending on your preference.

Create a marinade using your choice of seasonings and sauces. Some popular options include soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Marinate the tofu pieces for at least 30 minutes to infuse them with flavor.

Place the marinated tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between each piece. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the tofu reaches your desired crispiness, flipping the pieces halfway through the cooking time.

Air Frying

Air frying has gained popularity as a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. To cook tofu in an air fryer, begin by pressing and cutting the tofu into your preferred shapes. Season the tofu with your favorite spices, such as paprika, garlic powder, or cumin.

Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and lightly coat the tofu pieces with a thin layer of oil. Place the tofu in the air fryer basket, ensuring that the pieces do not touch or overlap. Cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through, until it reaches a satisfying crispiness.

Each of these methods provides a distinct twist on cooking tofu, making it a delightful and exciting addition to various dishes, from stir-fries to salads.

Adding Flavor and Texture to Tofu

Spices and Seasonings

To give tofu that extra burst of flavor, consider using a variety of spices and seasonings. These can range from basic salt and pepper to more complex mixtures, such as curry powder, smoked paprika, or cumin. You can also create your own blend of spices to match your taste preferences. To ensure the tofu absorbs the flavors well, be sure to press and drain the tofu before marinating or seasoning it. This will allow the tofu to soak up the spices more effectively, resulting in a tasty and well-seasoned dish.

Cornstarch and Arrowroot Powder

For a crispy texture, consider using cornstarch or arrowroot powder on your tofu. Simply coat the tofu in a light layer of either cornstarch or arrowroot powder, ensuring all sides are covered evenly. This will result in a crispy outer coating that is perfect for pan-frying or baked tofu dishes1. Remember, you only need a small amount of oil to achieve this perfect crispy texture.

Oils and Sauces

When cooking tofu, the choice of oil and sauce can make a significant impact on the final result. Some popular oils to use when cooking tofu are sesame oil, safflower oil, or coconut oil. These oils not only help to cook the tofu but also contribute to its flavor2.

For a more robust flavor profile, incorporating sauces like tamari or teriyaki can create delicious, savory tofu dishes. To achieve this, marinate the pressed and drained tofu in your preferred sauce for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the tofu to absorb the flavors well and results in a more intense taste.

In summary, enhancing the flavor and texture of tofu can be achieved through the use of various spices, seasonings, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and oils and sauces. Experimenting with different combinations can help you discover your perfect tofu dish.


  1. Oh My Veggies – How To Make Tofu Taste Good
  2. Organic Authority – How to Cook Tofu 6 Different Ways: Flavor and Season Like a Pro

Diverse Tofu Recipes

Tofu is a versatile and healthy ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Its subtle flavor and ability to absorb other flavors make it a favorite among vegans and omnivores alike. In this section, we will explore diverse tofu recipes, with a focus on Asian Tofu Dishes, Tofu Scramble, and BBQ Tofu.

Asian Tofu Dishes

Asian cuisine is known for using tofu creatively in many delectable dishes. One popular option is tofu Pad Thai, a classic dish which combines rice noodles, tofu, vegetables, and a tangy sauce to create a satisfying meal. Various recipes use different ingredients, but common components include:

  • Cubed, firm tofu
  • Rice noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Lime wedges
  • Green onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Tamarind paste

Another enjoyable Asian tofu dish is Asian Tofu Noodle Soup, which features ginger, garlic, and sherry to enhance the flavors of a vegetable and noodle-based soup.

Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is a popular and healthy alternative to scrambled eggs, often enjoyed as a protein-packed breakfast option. In a masala-spiced tofu scramble recipe, tofu is combined with roasted cauliflower, onion, and kale for a flavorful and satisfying meal. To make tofu scramble, follow these steps:

  1. Crumble firm tofu in a bowl.
  2. Sauté onions, garlic, and desired vegetables in a pan with a little oil.
  3. Mix the crumbled tofu with turmeric, nutritional yeast, and preferred spices, then add to the vegetables.
  4. Cook until tofu is evenly heated and serves with toast, avocado, or your favorite breakfast side.

BBQ Tofu

BBQ tofu is a tasty and simple way to enjoy tofu as a main dish or side. By marinating and grilling tofu, you can achieve a smoky and satisfying texture ideal for summer cookouts. To make BBQ tofu, follow these simple steps:

  1. Cut firm tofu into slices or cubes, then press to remove excess moisture.
  2. Marinate tofu in your favorite BBQ sauce for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan and apply a little oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Grill tofu for a few minutes on each side until grill marks appear and the tofu is heated through.

These diverse tofu recipes can be easily adapted to suit individual tastes and preferences, making tofu an excellent addition to your culinary repertoire.