My Secret to Absolutely Delicious Tofu

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Tofu’s greatest strength is that it is a total blank slate for any type of dinner. The squishy block is neutral-tasting and nearly flavorless, which makes it easy to turn it into any cuisine you’re in the mood for.

This quality also has the potential to be tofu’s number-one weakness, but I have a trick to make sure that never happens. Instead you’ll be rewarded with absolutely delicious tofu everyone around the table will be into.

Start by Soaking Tofu in a Marinade

The secret to cooking the most delicious tofu happens before you fire up the oven or stove. It’s all about the marinade. Tofu is a blank canvas, willing and able to take on any and all flavors it’s paired with; it has a sponge-like ability to soak up marinades. A simple marinade goes a long way, turning a block of neutral tofu into one that’s packed with flavor.

You can also take it a step further by freezing cubed tofu before marinating, which will give it a chewier texture and up its ability to absorb any marinade it’s paired with.

The Best Way to Marinate Tofu

For the best results, and to be sure the tofu holds its shape, stick with extra-firm and firm tofu when you plan to marinate it. Then just as you would with most cooking methods, start by pressing the liquid from the block before marinating. If you plan to freeze it first, freeze the cubed tofu on a baking sheet, then store in a freezer container until you’re ready to defrost and marinate.

Whether you whisk together a marinade at home or start with a store-bought favorite, plan on marinating for at least 30 minutes. (If you can let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight, that’s even better.)

I also recommend cutting the block into cubes, triangles, strips, or however you plan to cook with it — the smaller the pieces, the more the marinade can really work into the tofu.

Try These Marinade Recipes with Tofu

Cooking Marinated Tofu

All cooking methods are fair game for marinated tofu. The pieces can be baked in the oven, seared in the stovetop, stir-fried, or grilled. When searing or stir-frying, take a minute to wipe off any excess marinade and pat the pieces of tofu dry, which will prevent it from sticking to the skillet.

Do you have a favorite marinade for tofu?

Try These Methods for Cooking Marinated Tofu