Food & Drink

Can You Freeze Tofu?

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 | 0 Comments
Can you freeze tofu is something many cooks wonder

Tofu is an excellent vegetarian-friendly protein source, but when it comes to storing leftover ingredients, newcomers to the tofu scene often wonder: “Can you freeze tofu?” The short answer is yes, you can freeze tofu and later thaw it out to safely eat.

That said, tofu certainly doesn’t behave in the same ways that frozen meat does, so there are a different set of rules and tips you need to know to successfully freeze tofu. To help, we’ve put together a quick guide on the ins and outs of freezing tofu both before and after it's cooked. 


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Can Tofu Be Frozen?

So, the big question: “Can tofu be frozen?” Yes, you can freeze tofu. More specifically, you can freeze tofu that is uncooked, removed from the package and drained of liquid. Tofu is made from a simple ingredient — soybeans — that can be safely frozen when uncooked, so it’s actually a really safe food for freezing. 

If you want to learn more about proper tofu preparation and preservation, you can look for cooking classes near you that offer courses on tofu recipes. You can also find plenty of online cooking classes on the subject.

A dish of marinated tofu and quinoa-stuffed red pepper
via Cozymeal

Can You Freeze Silken Tofu?

Generally, you can freeze tofu, but you do need to keep in mind the type of tofu you are freezing. For the most part, freezing silken tofu isn’t the best idea. Tofu varieties come in a range of firmness, with silken tofu being the softest.

Silken tofu has an almost creamy texture, and when a recipe calls for silken tofu specifically, it’s usually with that creaminess in mind. When you freeze tofu, a lot of moisture gets removed. So, while you technically could freeze silken tofu, you’d end up with a kind of unappetizing, dehydrated silken tofu that wouldn’t be of much use to your recipe. 

Many people wonder can you freeze tofu
via Canva

What Are the Benefits of Freezing Tofu?

Freezing tofu has several great benefits. Firstly, you’re saving money on groceries as you can freeze the tofu before it goes bad in the fridge, avoiding the need to pay to replace an expired food product. For folks with a tight grocery budget, tofu is often cheaper than meat (while still having all nine essential amino acids, a high amount of protein and many other nutritional benefits) and has a really long shelf-life, which is extended by freezing tofu.

However, freezing tofu isn’t just a money-saving strategy. You can freeze tofu not only for the financial benefits but also for the cooking benefits. In fact, a lot of tofu fans swear by freezing their tofu. Frozen tofu loses moisture, creating a chewier and more porous texture. So, if you’ve been wondering how to make tofu firmer, freezing it and thawing it before use is a great idea. 

Although the chewy texture in itself can be satisfying, the main perk is that the increased porosity of the tofu allows it to better absorb marinades and flavors. This is particularly appealing if you’re using tofu as a substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan appetizers or main courses. 

A tofu dish in a wooden bowl
via Canva

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Can You Freeze Cooked Tofu?

You can freeze tofu when it’s uncooked, but what about cooked tofu? In most cases, freezing a cooked tofu dish won’t be the end of the world, but it also probably won’t taste as good when you reheat it. 

Again, this has to do with the effect that freezing has on tofu texture. Freezing is a great way to prepare tofu before it's cooked, but if you’ve already cooked the tofu and achieved the texture and flavors you want, dehydrating it in the freezer is likely going to make the tofu too dry and chewy. 

You can freeze tofu when cooked if needed
via Canva

How To Freeze Tofu

Freezing tofu is extremely easy. You can freeze most kinds of uncooked tofu, with firm tofu or extra-firm tofu generally getting the best results. Start by removing the tofu from the package. Keeping the tofu in a single block, lightly pat it dry with a paper towel. You don’t need to fully press tofu to get out all the excess moisture, but a gentle drying on the outside will help with the freezing process.

Next, place the tofu in an airtight container. Keeping the tofu in a sealed container will ensure that it stays preserved. Finally, store the tofu in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw it. 

A dish with cubed tofu on a wooden surface
via Canva

Can You Freeze Tofu in the Original Packaging?

Do not freeze tofu in its original packaging. While the original packaging is airtight, it’s also filled with liquid. If you freeze tofu in the original packaging, you’ll likely end up with a funky, frozen block of tofu water. Save yourself the mess by draining your tofu and transferring it to another sealed container before freezing it. 

You can freeze tofu in an airtight container
via Canva

How Long Can You Freeze Tofu?

Per the USDA, all frozen food remains safe almost indefinitely, since the freezing temperature keeps bacteria from growing. But for quality’s sake, you can freeze tofu for about three to five months before the taste and texture become unappetizing.  

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How to Thaw Tofu

After freezing the tofu, you may be wondering how to thaw frozen tofu. Thawing tofu is just as simple as freezing it. About 24 hours before you want to eat your tofu, remove it from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator.

Don’t leave the tofu out on the counter to thaw — much like when you thaw meat, tofu should live in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook it. After the tofu thaws, you may need to pat it dry and drain out a little extra moisture. Then, you can cook it however you wish. As mentioned already, tofu that has been frozen works great in dishes with a flavorful marinade or sauce, like General Tso tofu

Along with asking can you freeze tofu, many wonder how to thaw it
via Canva

For anyone asking: “Can you freeze tofu?”, the answer is a big yes! Freezing tofu helps lengthen its shelf-life and enhances the soy-based protein’s texture. Just be sure to freeze uncooked tofu and take it out of the original packaging first. Tofu is a fabulous food to add to your diet, and with these freezing tips, you can get even more use out of this useful and tasty ingredient. 

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