Introduction: How to Make Tofu

Picture of How to Make Tofu

Tofu is great in so many recipes and easy to make. Along the way you will also make soy milk and have some okara left over. Okara is basically just bean pulp but it is great in breads, burgers, or cookies.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

Picture of What You Will Need.

You'll need water, 3 cups of dry soy beans and 2 TBSP of Epsom Salt. As an alternative to the Epsom Salt, you may use 75ml of lemon juice. Most of the nicer grocery stores will have the soy beans and you can find Epsom Salt at the pharmacy. 

Food processor or blender, 2 large pots, 1 colander, 1 strainer, and a mesh bag. Instead of the mesh bag you could also use a few layers of cheesecloth. 

*Also note this recipe works doubled.

Step 2: Soak and Blend

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Soak 3 cups of dry soy beans over night in the refrigerator. 

RInse the soaked beans and discard any discolored ones if you spot any.

Blend a little at a time with enough water to cover the beans. 

Add the processed beans to your largest pot with 12 cups of water.

Step 3: Stir and Simmer

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Stir frequently and simmer for about 20 minutes. This will foam up a bit so be careful not to let it boil over. 

Step 4: Strain Out Milk

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Strain into your second pot. Use a spoon to press out as much of the milk as you can. The liquid is soy milk. The solids are okara.

I usually take out a jar or two of soy milk at this point and continue making the rest into tofu.

Step 5: Coagulate

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Heat the soy milk back up to around 180 degrees (fahrenheit).

Dissolve 2 TBSP of Epsom Salt in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water.
(Alternatively you could use 75ml of lemon juice.)

Remove from heat and gently stir together.

In about 5 to 10 minutes the curds will separate.

Step 6: Add to Mold

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Your colander with a mesh bag or cloth makes an excellent mold. Skim out curds and pour into mold.

Press down with a small plate and heavy object.

Leave for about 20 minutes.

Step 7: Finished

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That's it! You are left with a nice slab of tofu, some soy milk and quite a bit of okara. It gets easier every time.


brucebne (author)2017-08-28

Hey Mike. I appreciate your instructions. I've had a few goes at making tofu, yours was the second. It turned out good - feels and tastes right. However, I'd appreciate you giving more specific measures for the MgSO4.

I live in Australia where a tablespoon is 20mls. The US uses 15 mls, and there's a lot of variance in TBLSPN shape and volume these days.

Further, when you are talking a light crystalline solid like MgSO4, some people are going to do a heaped as opposed to level TBLSPN.

Some sellers of coagulants recommend 2.2g MgSO4 / 100g of dry beans, which is a lot less than what you have recommended.

Any clarity you can add to your coagulant measures would be appreciated, and where you sourced it from.


mikeinternet (author)brucebne2017-09-06


Thanks for checking it out and giving it a try. As far as conversions go I'm afraid I won't be much help beyond doing a google conversion. That is interesting, I didn't know that about Australian tablespoons. I can confirm that our tablespoons are labeled as 15ml.

I would say that I've had batches that might need a little extra coagulate to get going. In which case I just add a little more or a little lemon juice. My overall recommendation would be to keep an eye on it and play it by ear if it is not working, also be sure the temperature isn't too low.

My apologies for not being more precise.

Glad to know that you had a good experience your first go at it. Let me know if there is anything else I can try to help with.

SoizicC (author)2016-03-27

It did not work out for me at all. It never curdled. So, I kept the okara and pour the disaster in my plants. Next time, I will try gypsum instead of Epsum salt.

matthew01n (author)SoizicC2017-06-12

That milk is still soy milk idk why you would waste it. Use it to make yogurt sour cream or just use it in cereal. Lots of possibilities.

mikeinternet (author)SoizicC2016-03-27

Sorry to hear that. The only time I ever had a problem when I was getting this down was when I did not heat the soy milk up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Might be something to double check next time.

ValtersZ3 (author)2017-06-07

Could you please specify how big are the cups you use for the soybean measurements?

mikeinternet (author)ValtersZ32017-06-08

Sure thing. That would be 3 "cups" as in the unit of measure, cups.

1 cup is equal to 236.5 Milliliters.

semcam87 made it! (author)2017-06-06

I made this yesterday and it turned out perfectly! I used one of my new bricks of tofu for breakfast scramble, and I froze and then dried the remaining 3 (I had doubled the recipe) to make my own TVP. I'm going to try the okara cookies, but first I decided to make crackers with it. I mixed it with an equal or slightly greater amount of flour (GF mix) - about a cup of each, until it's about the consistency of pizza dough, about 1 TBS oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 3 TBS honey to make crackers. I just rolled them really thin, then placed in my dehydrator with my TVP. With a second batch I tried using some lemon olive oil that I got at Wegmans instead and added about 2 TBS basil. I was impatient so I cooked it in the oven. I have to say, I loved the flavor of both, but the lemon/basil was best although the dehydrator did a better job crisping for a better texture, so my lemon basil crackers are now in the dehydrator too so they can crisp up more. They both taste similar to wheat thins, and the possibilities of different flavor combinations are endless. I also made a batch of okara "crab" cakes using this recipe. I haven't cooked it yet, but the mix even before cooking is pretty good, so I'm fairly confident that dinner will be a success! ;-) Thanks for posting this very helpful tutorial on how to make tofu!

mikeinternet (author)semcam872017-06-06

So good to hear.

I think I may try your cracker idea myself!

semcam87 (author)semcam872017-06-06

Sorry, I forgot to post the link to the okara "crab" cake recipe. It's:

GerovieD (author)2017-01-23

Hi. Thanks for the recipe. Mine worked well following your recipe. However, I only managed to get about 2 cups worth. Maybe, I'll use up all the soya milk next time. I kept some soya milk to make some soft tofu pudding my kids love.

mikeinternet (author)GerovieD2017-01-24

Great to hear. When saving soy milk remember it is essentially water and soy bean "juice". You can play around with the water to soy bean ratio.

The soy milk that you use to make tofu will leave behind any extra water.

Munchie33 (author)2016-11-23

This worked perfectly for me! Thanks so much for uploading this!

I don't have a cooking thermometer, so I just heated up the soy milk until it looked like it was almost boiling and just starting to get frothy. That seemed to work.

I couldn't find Epsom salt where I live, so I added 75mL lemon juice (no water) to my soy milk (about 2L, made from 250g soybeans, because my cooking pots aren't big enough for more). It curdled within seconds! It went all cloudy like miso soup, and then the cloudy bits began to stick together into bigger and bigger clumps. After five minutes, I fished them out with a strainer.

Also, for the okara, I've been making these great, chewy dumplings (kind of like gnocchi) out of it. Here's the recipe for anyone who is interested. It's very approximate and you can vary it a lot. You can leave out pretty much any ingredient and it still tastes nice, except you absolutely need the starch or it just crumbles into a mess.

2 cups okara

1 tsp soy sauce (just a splash)

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs coffee creamer or milk powder (I used a sachet of Ovaltine)

1 or 2 tbs mushroom stock (chicken stock also works well)

3 tbs cooking wine (mirin is really good)

1 cup potato/corn starch

half a cup of sweet corn

Mix everything together. Heat some cooking oil in a frying pan. Add spoonful-sized dollops, each about the size of a big grape, to the hot frying pan. Fry for 2 or 3 minutes, then gently turn each dumpling over and fry for another 2 or 3 minutes on the other side. They should turn a lovely golden-brown. Serve like any other kind of fried dumplings would be served.

mikeinternet (author)Munchie332016-11-23

So glad to hear! Thanks for the recipe.

sivashankari (author)2016-08-24

I boiled the soymilk, then add lemon juice to it.I mix it gently...I don't get curd like layer it's not dissolve..plz tell me wat to do.....I have prepared the soymilk....I tried it for 7 time...but I don't get tofu

Can you confirm you are heating the soy milk to the proper temperature? Other than that I would suggest the Epsom salt.

Hope that helps.

NickiH7 (author)2016-04-25

How many servings does this make? Or about how many cups?

mikeinternet (author)NickiH72016-04-25

I have not measure that exactly. You'll see soaking soy beans will bulk them up quite a bit. I would say you get about 6 cups of tofu. I also set aside a few cups of soymilk. Also you get the okara pulp.

ChristopherR87 (author)2016-04-07

Nice tutorial! The mention on protein alternatives is very important and insightful. A few simple questions.

1. How long do dry Soy Beans last? (The Epson Salt, obviously, lasts a long time.)

2. How long does the Tofu, Milk and Okara last?

3. Epson Salt is a diuretic. Does it remain in the product, or as another mentioned with using vinegar, does it remain in the water?

And most importantly:

4. What does the Okara taste like and what are it's uses?

Yes. I'm a nube.

Thanks, I feel protein is a bit sensationalized but this is certainly an excellent source! I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Dry soy beans will last a very long time. I've never heard of them going bad actually and have read that they are safe 8-10 years or more in a sealed container.

The tofu, milk and okara on the other hand should be used as soon as possible. After a week the taste a bit off to me.

I believe there will be some amount of coagulant in the tofu. All I can say is that I have never detected a taste either from epsom salt or lemon juice.

I would describe okara as tasteless. It is all texture. I have used it in burger recipes, just replace whatever mashed up bean the recipe calls for with okara and maybe add a little extra spices and you are good. It can also thicken up soups. And with the recipe below it will make cookies that stay chewy.

Okara Cookies
-2 cups flour (Up to a 1/2 cup wheat)
-1 Tsp baking soda
-1/2 Tsp salt
-1 cup sugar
-2 cup okara
-1TBsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Chips? Almonds? Peanut butter? Craisins?

Mix everything together, dry first then okara and vanilla. If needed add water a little at a time until doughy. Add chips or what have you. Shape into cookies and bake 20minutes at 375 degrees.

Hope that helps!

husejn (author)2012-01-22

would this recipe work with other types of beans?

mikeinternet (author)husejn2012-01-26

Honestly I have not tried it myself. I always thought bean curd and tofu were pretty much the same thing. although I have seen both written on the same menu before.

It would be great for people with soy bean allergies.

I know black beans will work (just got through eating some), I imagine any bean will . great instructable

BethV (author)jason.renn.92016-01-12

Do you happen to have a ratio or recipe you can share? I just failed the other day trying to make black bean curd. I'm trying to figure out what went wrong, but it really could've been anything; the recipe I used was fairly specific, but didn't have any step by step pics or troubleshooting tips. I know this was an old comment, but it would be awesome if you could share some pointers.

trask (author)mikeinternet2013-10-05

I've seen it done with garbanzo beans.

mikeinternet (author)trask2013-10-06

We will need to give that a try. Thanks!

TheCoffeeDude (author)2015-12-23

I'm really looking forward to trying this. :)


EleanorG (author)2015-12-03

There are different textures for tofu how do I make a soft tofu and how long does it last. is it possible to freeze it. thank you e

mikeinternet (author)EleanorG2015-12-04

Soft or firm tofu is dependent on how long it is pressed in the mold at the end. The longer the firmer.

Yes you can freeze it but it will drastically change the consistency. Many people will freeze tofu specifically to get this texture. It is a little bread like.

EleanorG (author)2015-12-01

thank you so much I want to make this for the buddhist centre as they find it too dear to buy Blessings on you and yours. Ellemae

mikeinternet (author)EleanorG2015-12-01

Thank you! Glad to help.

charmagnel (author)2015-11-24

I want to use lemon as coagulant. Can you please tell me the amount of lemon juice that should be use in 1000 ml of soy milk? And also how to make the lemon juice. Should I add water to the lemon juice? Or a pure squeezed lemon juice?

mikeinternet (author)charmagnel2015-11-24

I would add maybe 50 to 75ml of lemon juice. Adding it to a few cups of water is not necessary but also not harmful. Any extra water will be separated from the curds. If it doesn't If it doesn't start to coagulate I would add more lemon juice. You can use bottled or fresh lemon juice.

ErikP12 (author)2015-11-12

When it says warm up to 180 degrees is that C or F ? 180C is very hot.....

mikeinternet (author)ErikP122015-11-12

My apologies. Yes that is 180 fahrenheit. I updated the directions, thanks.

TeocaV (author)2015-10-15

is it possible to make tofu out of soy milk from the supermarket ?

mikeinternet (author)TeocaV2015-10-19

I don't see a reason why it would not work. But keep in mind that store bought soy milk almost always has more ingredients than soy beans and water. I can't be certain how it will work with the added sugar, flavoring and preservatives.

I'd like to point out that blending and straining the beans is probably the easiest part. Also store bought soy milk is going to be much more expensive than pre-made tofu. Of course I understand if you just want to try this for fun and are having trouble getting a hold of the beans.

RACL1 (author)2015-08-14

RossP2 (author)2015-06-16

How many pounds of Tofu does this make?

mikeinternet (author)RossP22015-06-17

I have not actually weighed the tofu yield. My rough estimate would be about 2 pounds.

MassDave (author)2015-04-23

Great instructions! It all worked exactly as stated. I'll definitely do this again.

mikeinternet (author)MassDave2015-04-23

Glad it went well!

kim braman (author)2015-03-25

What can be done with the okara? Can the soy milk be frozen?

mikeinternet (author)kim braman2015-03-25

Also as far as freezing the soy milk. Never tried it. I'm sure it would last quite a bit longer but I would recommend using it as fresh as possible.

mikeinternet (author)kim braman2015-03-25

Here is a recipe for cookies that can make use of a good deal of it...

Okara Cookies
  • 2 cups flour (Up to a 1/2 cup wheat)
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cup okara
  • 1TBsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Chips? Almonds? Peanut butter? Craisins?

Mix everything together, dry first then okara and vanilla. If needed add water a little at a time until doughy. Add chips or what have you. Shape into cookies and bake 20minutes at 375 degrees.

Or this makes a pretty good burger...

  • 1 Cup 'Stuff' (Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans, Tofu, Okara)
  • 1 Splash of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 TBsp soy sauce
  • Spices

1. Mash 'stuff' with oil.

2. Add everything else. Knead.

3. Form cutlets. Fry.

The cookies come out nice and chewy. The burgers are even better the next day in a toaster oven or oven. You could also add it to soups or bread. Honestly it is pretty bland stuff but very versatile. Hope this helps.

dzung.duong.5 (author)2015-03-13

HI ! I only know that Epsom salt is used for cleaning, bath or laxative ( take with cool water). I am wordering that Magnesium Sulfate inside epsom salt should be became poison after cooked it???? I really confuse to use it by this way, Can you please give me some idea? Thanks alot !!

That is not something I have heard. Epsom salt is certainly one of the more popular coagulants. Of course if you have any reservations, I would recommend using lemon juice.

Hope that is of some help.

kristin.haugen.313 (author)2015-02-15

great instructions THANK YOU! I used bottled lemon juice, curdled immediately. Will do this one again

Excellent. Thank you for sharing your results.

I think tofu is somehow even better when you make it yourself.

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