Last Updated on 23rd April 2022 by
Tofu is a great way to get protein into a vegetarian diet and it’s a good substitute for meat, thanks to its chewy texture. If you don’t know how to work with tofu, how long to press tofu, or that tofu needs to be pressed in the first place, you may feel a bit overwhelmed trying to work with this food.
One thing to keep in mind about tofu is that there are different levels of firmness. Some people prefer an extra firm tofu while others want something that’s softer. You may have to experiment a little and take some time to figure out which one you prefer. Make sure that you check the recipe you’re going to use when you cook tofu so that you get the right kind of stuff for the recipe. Certain recipes do call for specific kinds of tofu at specific levels of firmness.
You can eat tofu raw without cooking it up and you should know that the parts that need to be cooked are already cooked, namely the soy. Most people prefer it to be cooked, however.
How long to press tofu? I’ll get to that in a moment then walk you through the process of pressing it and cover how long it takes to press the tofu to get it just right.
Why Press Tofu?
When you buy tofu from the store, you may notice that it’s sitting in some water. It usually comes packed in water, and you want to drain off at least some of this water using either a tofu press or a press free method.
How long does it take to press tofu? You should know that going in and understand how long the process will take so you know what to look forward to. It should be about 10 minutes at least, but it’s not a bad idea to spend 30 minutes or even an hour pressing it give yourself a drier, stiffer tofu.
Pressing tofu means it will cook properly. No one wants watery, soggy tofu. That would not taste very good. It would be similar to eating soggy meat. If you want the tofu to have the right texture and to be chewy like it is meant to be, it needs to be pressed and it needs to be pressed long enough to get the water out of it.
To use a tofu press to get the water out of the tofu, you want to start by unwrapping the tofu. Make sure you take the packaging off and drain off any excess liquid. Put your piece of tofu into the tofu press and ensure that all the parts of the tofu press are attached, with the metal coil attached to the crank. Then, cover the tofu with the lid while the tofu is inside the press. Turn the top crank so that it fits into the slots on both sides of the tofu press. Once the top is latched properly, liquid will start to drain into the top of the press.
It should take around 15 minutes for liquid to drain out of the tofu and into the top of the press. It takes longer to press out the liquid if you’re doing it by hand and you don’t have a specially designed tofu press for the job. So, if you’re wondering how long do you need to press tofu in a press, the answer is about 15 minutes, but without a press it will take longer.
How Long Do You Have to Press Tofu If You’re Not Using a Press?
To press the tofu without using an actual tofu press, you’ll need to drain out the extra water and then cut the tofu open. Open it up like a book and then put a few pieces of paper towel under each section of the tofu. Put a few on top of the tofu as well. Make sure both parts of the tofu are lined up with each other and then use something flat and heavy to cover the tofu.
A lot of people would simply use a skillet laid flat on the tofu to press it down. Then, they may place a bag of sugar or something heavy on top of it. A few books work well too. This presses the water out of the tofu very well.
How long to press tofu? If you are using this method, the minimum amount of time is 10 minutes, but it’s definitely better to press it for longer. You want a dry, firm tofu for the right texture and taste. If you don’t want the tofu to end up somewhat soggy after you cook it, try to press it for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Once the water has been pressed out, you can remove the covering and get rid of the paper towels. Then, just cut the tofu how you need to and cook according to your recipe.
Now you know how long to press tofu for. You can use your pressed tofu in just about any tofu recipe. It can also be stored to be used later on. You can put it in the fridge, and the tofu will keep for a few days. Keep in mind that you can make good use of your time while the tofu is being pressed. If you’re letting it sit there under press, you can be cooking up the other foods to use in your tofu recipe or cutting them up and preparing them to cook with the tofu once the water is pressed out of it.
Try not to skimp on pressing the water at the tofu. This is an important step that makes a big difference in how your tofu comes out. If you cook tofu and wonder why it’s not turning out properly, it could be because you’re not pressing it long enough. Remember that it takes longer to press it without an actual tofu press, and you want to make sure that you’re giving it enough time for the water to drain out. That water is necessary when it’s packed to ensure that it lasts for a long time, but once it’s time to cook up the tofu, you want that water gone.
Most any recipes you make using tofu will assume that you’ve already drained your tofu. Keep that in mind as well, and consider how long it takes to drain the water out of coat tofu and press the tofu properly when you’re considering how long it takes to cook the meal. Figure that in and add it on top of the recipe prep time that’s listed for the recipe. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to press the water out before you cook up tofu. This isn’t a last-minute thing you can do, usually, if you want your tofu dish to turn out properly.
I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food! You can find my Facebook here