Can you freeze tofu? You bet! Freezing tofu improves its texture, makes it tastier when you cook it and keeps it fresh for longer. Let’s look at how to freeze tofu and thaw it properly.
Let’s answer the most important question first: can you freeze tofu? Yes — not only is freezing tofu possible, but it improves its texture. Tofu that’s been frozen is chewier, more toothsome and feels more substantial. It’s also easier to cook, as it stays together better and absorbs sauces and marinades well. Freezing tofu keeps it fresh for up to six months — so you can grab a few packages if it’s on sale and not worry about it going bad.
Learning how to freeze tofu saves money and makes it easier to help the environment by reducing food waste. Knowing how to freeze tofu is especially helpful if:
- the expiration date on your tofu is coming up, and you don’t have time to use it
- you have an open package of tofu that you’re not ready to finish
Does Frozen Tofu Always Have a Different Texture?
Yes, freezing tofu will always change the texture. That’s good news! Tofu contains a large amount of water, so when you freeze it, the water droplets expand — creating enlarged pores inside the block. Once thawed, this improves tofu’s ability to soak up marinades and sauces when you cook it.
Whether freezing tofu makes it firmer or softer depends on what type you use.
- Regular and firm tofu gets even firmer, which is great if you’re planning on breading the slices, using them in a stir-fry or making vegan feta cheese.
- Freezing silken tofu has the opposite effect: it becomes softer, which makes it easier to use in dishes like vegan Bolognese, vegan cheesecakes or vegan chocolate mousse.
- Some brands of tofu might turn slightly yellow when put in the freezer, but the discoloration usually disappears again once the tofu is back at room temperature.
Did you know you can make silken tofu at home? Check out our article on silken tofu for our DIY recipe and tips. Our guide How Is Tofu Made? From Bean to Block will fill you in on the larger-scale processes.
4 Hacks for Freezing Tofu and Thawing It
- Press the tofu. Before freezing, it’s a good idea to press the tofu to remove excess water. You can do this by placing it between two clean kitchen towels and applying a bit of weight on top. Let it press for 15-30 minutes. Read How to Press Tofu Step-by-Step for Easier Cooking for more information.
- Before freezing tofu, cut it into smaller portions (cubes are great for stir-fries) so you can thaw out only as much as you want to cook.
- Pack the tofu in an airtight container. If it is still in its original vacuum packing from the supermarket, you can put it directly into the freezer. It’s important that the tofu doesn’t come into contact with air so it doesn’t dry out or develop freezer burn.
- Freeze tofu for at least half a day to make sure it’s solidly frozen all the way through. Then you can thaw it out to enjoy the texture change.
The best way to thaw tofu is to transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you want to cook it. This method will get you the best texture.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also thaw tofu quickly in a bowl of warm water or in the microwave using the defrost function. If you choose the warm water method, change the water frequently to speed up the process.
Which Tofu Is Best?
Because soy agriculture is such a huge industry, it has caused widespread deforestation and damaged the livelihood of small farmers and Indigenous people all over the world, especially in countries like Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. To promote the sourcing of ethical soy, we recommend buying (and freezing) only organic tofu.
According to the Cornucopia Institute, brands like Eden Foods, FarmSoy and Tofurkey “go above and beyond to ensure that the soy products they market are responsibly sourced…” while brands like Kirkland, Lightlife, and Silk provide “little to no information on their practices.”
Tip: If you’re a vegan and you’re sick of tofu, check out our recipes for stinky tofu (it’s better than it sounds), homemade tempeh or soy-free chickpea tofu. Or, learn what seitan is made of and how to prepare it.
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