Tofu is readily available in supermarkets, but many people lack the knowledge of how to prepare it. Made from soybeans, the food has a mild or bland taste, but it’s also versatile: You can use it in baked dishes, sauces and stir fries. Well prepared, this inexpensive and healthy protein has a delightfully chewy texture and can absorb any flavor that is cooked with it.

Things You'll Need

Make sure not to select a silken tofu. Silken tofu is only ideal for blending into sauces. Water-packed tofu, found in a refrigerator, is a better bet. Extra-firm style is desirable for creating highly flavored tofu, although firm will do if it is all you can get. Organic tofu tends to be of higher quality and taste better.

Freeze the tofu, then thaw it.

Squeeze the tofu. Often pressing it between two plate bottoms helps with this. Freezing, thawing and squeezing help to make tofu taste good by making the texture more porous and allowing more of the original moisture to escape. Much of the bean taste of tofu is removed with the water.

Cut the into the pieces you want to use. Cubes are good for stir-fry, and slabs are good for sandwiches. Whatever shape you choose, make it fairly small or thin so that the marinade can penetrate it easily. You can dab the tofu with towels or leave it out for a few hours on a cutting board to make it even more dry if you want.

Marinate the tofu. You can use any seasonings you like to make the tofu taste good, although it is a good idea to cover the tofu with a liquid in a sealed container, so usually a little water helps to extend the marinade. Soy sauce is a traditional tofu marinade. Vinegars such as apple cider, plum, balsamic or white also work, as does liquid smoke, herbs and spices.

Drain the tofu after marinating it for an hour or more. Reserve the marinade. Stir a few spoonfuls of oil into the tofu, and spread it out on a baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven until it begins to turn golden and crispy. (The time will vary depending on how wet the tofu is, but it might take a while.)

Add the tofu to whatever dish you are preparing, and include some of the reserved marinade if you like. It is good hot or cold.


  • You can fry the tofu instead of baking it in the last step. Add a coating of cornstarch to make it crispier. Use plenty of oil, and don’t try to stir it immediately.

  • If you eat tofu a lot, prepare several blocks at a time this way. You can add them to recipes later or eat them for snacks.