Introduction: How to Press Tofu

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Tofu is one of my favorite foods to cook with. There are so many ways to cook it and it accepts flavors really well!

I know that many people have issues with the texture of tofu, so I thought I'd show how I press my tofu to get the best texture from it. This really only works with medium, firm and extra-firm styles of tofu - anything softer and it'll just crumble under the weight!

Plus, when you press tofu properly, you remove LOADS of water, which means there's more room for marinade and seasonings to get in and make your tofu awesome. :D

Step 1: What You'll Need to Press Tofu at Home

You can buy tofu presses (or make your own! We have a few tutorials here on Instructables), but they tend to be kinda expensive for how often I'd use them. Instead, I use these items:

  • 2 large plates
  • 2 paper towels or one cloth towel
  • a few canned foods or books, whatever you have on hand

Step 2: Drain Your Tofu Over the Sink

I like to use a knife to cut one edge of the package and let the tofu drain over the sink.

You can slightly squeeze the package at this point too - it'll help get out a bit more water before pressing! I just press my palm into the top while I let it drain. Just don't press too hard, you can bust the tofu. :P

Step 3: Set Up the Press

Place the paper or cloth towel on a large plate in the middle. Make sure to fold it several times so there's quite a bit of bulk under the tofu. This is especially important if you're using paper towels - never do just one layer because it will disintegrate and attach itself to the tofu. Yuck!

Place the tofu onto the towels, and then place another plate on top as shown. At this point, put 2-3 cans or a couple books on the top plate. This will create your press!

Just make sure you don't add too much weight, because you can cause the tofu sides to break and collapse.

Step 4: Press the Tofu for 15 Minutes to 1 Hour

The longer you press it, the better it will be!

I normally do mine for at least 20 minutes because I always seem to be rushing to cook, but an hour makes for amazing tofu as far as I'm concerned. I had enough time to let it sit for an hour today :D

If loads of water starts building up in the bottom plate, pour it off, otherwise just let it hang out. (See photo above for a gauge of how much water will come out!)

If you're using cans you may need to slightly adjust their position or remove one depending on how the tofu is looking. Sometimes too much weight in one place can cause the tofu walls to bow out and break.

Step 5: Comparison of the Tofu Before and After

This is what the tofu should look like at the end - it should be a bit smaller! If you pressed it for long enough, you won't see any excess water seeping from the sides, either. :D