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What Does Tofu Taste Like?

Wondering what tofu tastes like? Learn all about tofu, from what it tastes like, to different kinds of tofu and how to cook with it.


Tofu has such a subtle flavor that sometimes it’s hard to pick up on. It’s milky, silky, lightly sour, and delicately tangy at the end. The creaminess is a bit like ricotta or buffalo mozzarella, but the tang is reminiscent of a ferment.

Does Tofu Taste Like Meat?

No. On its own, tofu doesn’t taste anything like meat. In fact, some people describe its taste as bland. Only the sauces and seasonings added to some types of tofu can make it taste like meat.

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is a popular Asian ingredient sold in small blocks. Its taste is mild, delicate, and slightly tangy. With 4 different consistencies, each one is perfect for different cooking techniques. Silken, soft, firm, or extra-firm can be used for smoothies, dips, baking, stir-frying, deep-frying, and more.

With the right kind of tofu and seasonings, you can even make it taste like meat. As a result, tofu is a great vegetarian and vegan meat-substitute. It also happens to be healthy, being high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Thrown into some of our favorite recipes like kebabs, crispy tofu fries, and BBQ tofu, you won’t be putting this silky white block down any time soon.

Two bowls of Crispy Orange Tofu with Rice, with napkin and water in background
Crispy Orange Tofu

What Is It Made Of?

Tofu is made from soy milk or soy beans that are pressed together and boiled. The curds are then compressed into blocks using a mold. The more water that’s removed, the firmer the consistency.

Different Types of Tofu

Different types of tofu work for different cooking methods. Figuring out which one is the right one for your recipe can save lots of time and prevent a kitchen disaster:

  • Silken – This is the softest kind of tofu there is. It’s so delicate and jiggly that it’s almost like Jell-O. It’s perfect for blending and incorporating into desserts, ice cream, smoothies, and drinks. It falls apart very easily, so make sure your recipe doesn’t involve lots of tossing and stirring. Silken tofu’s consistency is very silky and creamy because of its high water content.
  • Soft – This one is a little bit denser but it’s still soft enough to be used for spreads or scrambling. It’s not good for pan-frying or deep-frying because it’ll fall to pieces. However, it’s perfect for noodles and soups where the mixing is kept to a minimum.
  • Firm – Firm tofu is the second most compact kind. It has less water content, so it’s very dense and even a little bit porous because of the lack of hydration. It’s a lot like queso fresco and even feta before it’s crumbled. Due to its consistency, it’s easy to slice and chop. You can use it for spreads, pan-frying, stir-frying, and more.
  • Extra-firm – Like the same suggests, it’s the firmest kind of tofu there is. It’s perfect for stir frying, deep-frying, and even crumbling because it holds its shape extremely well. Despite its more robust consistency, it’s still creamy when bitten into.
A bowl of maple tofu with sticky rice and spinach
Maple Tofu

Is Tofu Healthy?

Extremely! Tofu is gluten-free, low in calories, high in protein, and packed with fiber. Additionally, it has plenty of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. If that’s not enough, it helps reduce the risk of cancer, promotes brain and memory health, and protects against heart disease and diabetes.

Ways to Use Tofu

Tofu can be used for hot and cold preparations in all sorts of recipes. Here are some of our favorite cooking methods:

  • Spreads and dips – Use silken tofu for the smoothest spreads and dips.
  • Smoothies – Silken tofu dissolves well into drinks.
  • Baking – It depends but you can use any type of tofu depending on the recipe. Use it for sweet or savory, hot or cold preparations. For example, cheesecake and crispy baked tofu fries.
  • Stir-fries – Choose firm or extra-firm tofu so that it keeps its shape.
  • Tacos – You can add tofu to tacos and cook it up the same way you would scrambled eggs. This breakfast taco recipe with scrambled tofu is a good example!
  • Deep frying – Firm or extra-firm. The other kinds have too much moisture.
  • Grilling – Firm or extra-firm only. Silken and soft will fall apart and stick to the grill.
  • Noodle bowls – I love adding tofu to noodle bowls, like this peanut noodle bowl with zucchini.

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