How to Cook Tofu

Silken or extra-firm? To press or not to press? This easy baked tofu recipe + my best tips and tricks will teach you how to cook tofu like a pro!

Baked tofu

Everyone has an opinion on tofu, and here’s mine: I absolutely love it…when it’s prepared the right way. If you’ve never worked with it before, cooking tofu can be daunting. But once you learn a little about it, it couldn’t be easier to prepare tofu well. Below, you’ll find my best tips and tricks for how to cook tofu like a pro, plus my go-to sriracha baked tofu recipe!

What is tofu, anyway?

Tofu is a soy-based food that’s made from curdling soy milk and forming it into a solid block. It’s a good source of plant-based protein that can be used in all sorts of ways. It’s a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, but even if you’re a meat eater, I urge you to try it. In my tofu recipes, I don’t use it as a meat substitute, but rather as something unique and delicious in its own right!

Tofu on a cutting board

How to Cook Tofu

Tofu can get a bad rap as a meat substitute, but it’s actually an incredibly versatile ingredient. When blended, it has a great creamy texture – you can use it in a vegan mousse or pudding, and it’s essential for making a creamy ricotta substitute in my lasagna and vegan stuffed shells. Most often, I bake it to add protein and hearty texture to bowlsnoodles, and salads.

It’s easy to work with, but there are a few things you should know before you start cooking with it. Here are my best tips for how to cook tofu:

  1. Make sure you select the right texture. In grocery stores, it ranges from silken to extra-firm. Soft silken tofu would be my choice for blending into desserts or slicing into miso soup, but if you’re serving it as a main dish or topping it onto bowls, extra-firm is what you’ll need. It has a heartier, denser texture and less water content than other types of tofu. Note: I prefer to buy organic tofu made without genetically modified soybeans.
  2. Press it. Tofu contains a lot of water, and you’ll want to squeeze most of it out, especially if you’re baking, grilling, or frying it. I recommend using a tofu press to do this, because it gives the tofu a delicious chewy texture and makes cleanup a breeze. But having one isn’t necessary. For a DIY option, you can press tofu with a cast-iron skillet instead. No time to press? Choose a brand of tofu that doesn’t require pressing. I love California-based Hodo Foods’ organic extra-firm tofu, which has an amazing chewy texture straight out of the package.
  3. Spice. It. Up. There’s a reason that tofu gets flak for being bland, and that’s because it is! Make sure you season it well. You can marinate it, or prepare it using the crispy baked tofu recipe below.

How to cook tofu

Do I need a tofu press?

The short answer is, it depends! Some brands of tofu, like the organic extra-firm tofu made by Hodo Foods, come already pressed, so they don’t require additional pressing. I often seek out Hodo tofu because the California-based food company uses fresh, high-quality ingredients like organic, non-GMO soybeans grown in North America. In fact, Hodo is the preferred brand of Michelin and James Beard award-winning restaurants like State Bird Provisions and Slanted Door. I love it’s delicious firm texture, and it saves me time in the kitchen. No pressing required!

For working with other brands of tofu, I definitely recommend getting a tofu press. These gadgets are simple and affordable, and they’ll give the average extra-firm tofu a great chewy texture.

After testing the best tofu presses, my favorite is the Tofuture Tofu Press, which is easy to use and yields perfectly pressed tofu every time. It also captures the excess liquid from the tofu, making cleanup easy. I just pour the extra water into the sink!

You can get the Tofuture Tofu Press on Amazon for $25.95. Want to consider a few other options before you buy? Check out my guide to the best tofu presses!

My Go-To Baked Tofu Recipe

Baking is my go-to method for how to cook tofu. It yields flavorful, firm cubes that are perfect for adding to a stir fry, salad, or bowl! Here’s how I do it:

First, drain and press the tofu. For the best texture, press the tofu using a tofu press or cast-iron skillet for 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re short on time, just drain the tofu and gently press it in a kitchen towel or paper towels over the sink. The tofu won’t be as firm this way, but it will still be delicious!

Next, cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss the cubes with olive oil, tamari or soy sauce, and sriracha. If desired, you could also add cornstarch to make the cubes extra crispy.

Finally, bake! Transfer the baking sheet to a 425°F oven and cook until the cubes are browned around the edges. Enjoy!

Baked tofu recipe

More Plant-Based Cooking Basics

If you love this recipe, try one of these plant-based cooking components next:

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How to Cook Tofu

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 205 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 5




  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the cubed tofu with the olive oil, tamari, and sriracha. For extra crispy tofu, sprinkle with the cornstarch and gently toss to coat.
  • Spread the tofu evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until browned around the edges. Remove and serve warm.



4.98 from 205 votes (176 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Mia Michel

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I’ve made it several times and I absolutely love it! So easy and it comes out perfect every time. I didn’t even need to adjust anything to my taste and I’m picky! Thank you so much.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Gloria

    Will Arrowroot work instead of cornstarch? I don’t eat corn and eat GF. I found this info: “Arrowroot flour is a gluten-free substitute for cornstarch. You should use twice as much arrowroot as you would cornstarch for thickening.”

  3. Jean

    4 stars
    Really good and very easy, but next time I’d up the sriracha to maybe 3/4 tsp. They were just a tiny bit light on flavor for me.

  4. jason

    can you make this and store in the fridge? how long will it last?

    • Mia Michel

      I was surprised and delighted to find that it was still good after 3 days when stored in the fridge in a Tupperware! That’s the longest I’ve stored it. I don’t usually let it last that long, usually I eat it in the course of 2 consecutive nights for dinner. It’s always just as good the 2nd night after a quick nuke in the microwave.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the tofu!

  5. Linda

    Made your tofu recipe this evening, all I can say is delightfully delicious. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Linda, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it!

  6. Ethan

    I’m absolutly in love with this recipe, it’s quick and simple but still delicious!

  7. Nina

    Can you sub half ketchup half tabasco sauce for sriracha maybe, or is the flavour totally different?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Nina, the flavor would be totally different so I can’t say without trying.

  8. James from

    Thanks for the tutorial on how to cook tofu.

  9. Melissa

    5 stars
    I loved this. Amazingly good for such a simple recipe! I left out the sriracha as I’m having stomach issues. I used the cornstarch, which I highly recommend.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Melissa, I’m so glad you loved the tofu!

  10. Janet

    Have you ever tried crumbling it before baking, to have even more crunchy bits (without adding cornstarch)?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Yes, I love doing that! I’d definitely recommend it, with cornstarch or without.

  11. Ann

    Thank you for this array. What about freezing tofu? I tried it and after thawing, the water drops out like squeezing a sponge; the marinade immediately goes into that sponge, better than before freezing. But the texture changes too. What do you think? How to use it?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      We love using tofu that’s been frozen and then thawed for baking or air frying!

      • Shawna

        What is the recommended cook time and temp for air frying? This is my first attempt with tofu and I want to get it right. I can’t wait to try this!

  12. Julia

    This if the first tofu recipe I’ve ever really fully embraced. Congrats, Love & Lemons! It’s so easy and adaptable and delicious, my goodness. It has become a “go to” for me in the pursuit of more & more plant-based eating. I even freeze portions for use in bowls or salads, etc. Thanks so much for your generous sharing of this and other healthy recipes.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Julia, I’m so glad you love it!

  13. susan

    4 stars
    So delicious! Thank you.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Christy

    5 stars
    This is my new favorite way to cook tofu! It is so much easier than pan-frying enough for the six of us to enjoy. Thank you!

    • Phoebe Moore

      I’m so glad you love it!

  15. Bih Tan

    5 stars
    Made the tofu recipe today. It taste really good.
    Love the crunchy edges.

    Thanks for sharing it

  16. Henry

    5 stars
    Just made this for the first time…Just ate tofu for the first time..Loved it….I can no longer eat meat because of digestive issues….this is a life saver for me…ty for your recipe and the info

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Henry, I’m so glad you loved the tofu preparation!

  17. Mounika Raghu

    4 stars
    Which brand organic tofu do you use? I am from india…which one do u suggest…am worried about GMO foods

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’ve used the Whole Foods brand, West Soy, the Trader Joes brand, and a brand that’s local to my area.

  18. Candice

    5 stars
    These are Ah-mazing! I’ve been adding tofu to our meals little by little. The kids love this one! Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  19. Carol

    4 stars
    Have you ever heard of cubing and then lightly boiling your tofu for 5 minutes to extract the moisture, drain and use as called for? This method seems to work well for me.

  20. Julia

    5 stars
    Thanks for the corn starch tip! I made this with tahini and soy with chili flakes and Mike’s Hot Honey. Best tofu I’ve made!! Thanks!!

    • Nicole

      5 stars
      Excellent for first time tofu virgind

      • Steph

        What ratio did you use? My is a vegetarian and this is new to me. She loves mikes hot honey and I’d love to try and make this for her!

    • Leslie

      5 stars
      I like using cornstarch. Lately I have been using arrowroot and airfrying it without oil.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.