How to Dry-Fry and Marinate Tofu Like the Pros

Dry-fried and marinated tofu, ready to be incorporated into your favorite stir-fry dish.
Dry-fried and marinated tofu, ready to be incorporated into your favorite stir-fry dish.

If you are a vegetarian, you know it well: tofu disaster. Cooked incorrectly, tofu can turn out slimy and disintegrate into a flavorless mush. How do restaurants do it? My special method uses dry-frying and marinating, resulting in firm, flavorful tofu that leaves even meat-eaters impressed.

How to Dry-Fry and Marinate Tofu

• Drain 16 oz. extra firm tofu and cut into 1/2 " thick strips or triangles.
• Place between cloth napkins or towels and gently press to remove water.
• Slow cook in unoiled pan on low to medium heat.
• Use spatula to press, releasing water. When golden brown, turn over. Tofu is done when golden on both sides.
• Stir pieces into marinade of your choice and allow to sit for 1/2 hour.
• Tofu is now ready to be incorporated into your favorite stir-fry.

Dry-Fried Tofu Preparation

To make your own delicious tofu dishes at home, do what the restaurant chefs do!

What You'll Need:

  • One 16 ounce brick of extra-firm tofu (feeds four people).
  • Cutting board and knife.
  • Cloth napkin or dish towel (not terry cloth).
  • Teflon or very well-seasoned cast-iron pan. *
  • Spatula.
  • Prepared marinade in a bowl (see recipes below).

* A note on the pan: Since no oil is used, your tofu will likely stick to a stainless steel cooking pan without a non-stick coating. Teflon isn't supposed to be dangerous at low to medium heat, but to be safe I've switched to using a very well-seasoned cast-iron pan. As long as I'm careful to watch it, I don't have trouble with sticking.

Prepare Marinade First and Set Aside

Here are some example marinades that work well with dry-fried tofu. These also do well with meat.

The following recipes should make enough for one 16-ounce block of tofu after frying.

Simple, all-purpose tofu marinade:

  • 1/2 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos (for a salty, smoky flavor)
  • Splash of rice vinegar
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • water to cover

Chinese tofu marinade:

  • 1/2 cup shoyu (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine (or sherry)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)

Thai tofu marinade:

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine (or sherry)
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • Splash of rice vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 small shallot (or half onion), finely minced
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp finely minced lemon grass (fresh or dried)

Tofu drained and cut into 1/2 inch thick triangles.
Tofu drained and cut into 1/2 inch thick triangles.
  • Tofu comes packed in water. Drain and cut it so that your pieces are 1/2 inch thick. For most recipes, you will want to then cut it into triangles, but some recipes call for strips.
  • Put the tofu pieces between two absorbent cloth napkins or woven dish towels (not terry cloth) and gently press, hard enough to get a lot of water out but not to squish.
  • Use a Teflon or well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Heat on an electric range at medium heat or low to medium heat on a gas range. Slow cooking is the key to keeping the tofu from sticking to the pan and insures that the water has time to evaporate out before the outside is browned. Do not use oil. You want to leech all of the moisture out of your tofu, so do not use oil. Leave the pan dry.

Press with a spatula to remove water.
Press with a spatula to remove water.
  • Place tofu in the pan leaving room around each piece. You may need to fry a few batches to give it enough room.
  • As they cook, use a spatula to frequently press down on the pieces. You will see water seep out and sizzle in the pan. Once the bottoms are very firm and golden in color, flip and fry the other side. Again, frequently press each piece with a spatula. When they are golden and firm on both sides, they are done.

The tofu is done when both sides are golden and firm.
The tofu is done when both sides are golden and firm.


Marinating tofu.
Marinating tofu.
Tofu asparagus stir-fry.
Tofu asparagus stir-fry.


If you have leftover uncooked tofu, simply store in a sealed container completely submerged in water (a zip-lock baggie will do in a pinch, but some sort of Tupperware container is best). Cooked tofu, on the other hand, can be stored just the same as any other leftovers.

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Comments 246 comments

alstr 4 months ago

I've been using this method of years and it never fails to yield exceptional results!

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londonaccountants 2 years ago from London, UK

Delicious, thanks!!

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ilikegames 2 years ago from Australia

My cousin loves Tofu, I think he'll find all this very helpful to take it all to the next level.

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violet-femme 2 years ago from Australia

Ahh yes, I've always made the mistake of not pressing my tofu. Thanks for the tips!

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iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

I'm not a vegetarian, but I like tofu quite much. It's really versatile. It's best when paired with noodles and soup. Now I've found other ways to prepare it. Thanks for sharing!

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Carb Diva 3 years ago

It's breakfast time, and I want to eat tofu. Not just any tofu. I want to eat the tofu that you photographed. It looks soooo yummy. I have been cooking (or trying to cook) tofu for years and had never heard of dry frying. Thank you for this wonderful hub.

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FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Thank you for this. I would actually do more vegetarian if tofu worked for me and now you have divulged the secret to cooking tofu. Voted up and more.

katieA 4 years ago

so glad I found this site.... I dry fried my tofu and marinated it for about 30 min. in my own concoction of teriyaki sauce, vinegar and some spices. I grilled the tofu with some tuscan vegetables and it was so delicious!!!!! It was the first time I had ever cooked my own tofu and about the third time I had ever tried it. I love it that its low carb as I am a diabetic.

Meredith 4 years ago

Yes! It worked! Thank you!!!

KIC 4 years ago

Used the George Foreman on low. (Heated up to high first then turned down.) YumMO! It didn't stick around long enough to use in a salad. I just dipped it in that Trader Joe's Island Soy dipping sauce. Super! and easy. Who knew?

Dfelker 4 years ago

Delicious, just tried your recipe with the Thai marinade, I cut the soy sauce amount by half and only used 1 tbsp brown sugar with chili garlic sauce. Very umami as the Japanese would say, yum!

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purpleangel47 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

Thank you Melissa. For my last 20-plus years as a vegetarian, cooking tofu has totally baffled me. Now that I'm vegan though, I'd like to create dishes that include tofu and I thought to have it come out firm, I'd have to deep-fry it. Glad to know I don't. ;)

Thank you for this post. :)


Kim 4 years ago

The tofu turned out GREAT. I added a Wegman's pre-made curry sauce ,red cabbage and shredded carrots. SO GOOD! Next time I would add cashews and really enjoy! Thank you for sharing I am now better at preparing!

Amelia 4 years ago

I just made this for dinner tonight (using the Chinese marinade) in a quick stir fry with aubergines - and it was perfect! Thanks for the great recipe.

Nptexas 4 years ago

I'm a tofu novice and this article with photos is BEYOND helpful. Excellent. Been at it now a few weeks and this is no-fail for me. Just need to find more marinade recipes to change things up a bit. Thanks a million. I'm marinating a small batch now in nonfat Italian dressing to try in salad for protein. Great post. Really!

Gina 4 years ago

Thank you for the recipe my husband is vegan and we always have to go out and eat tofu. Now I can prepare it at home for him just like the restaurants do. :)

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reagu 4 years ago from Los Angeles

These look so good. I bet they taste great, too.

tippykayak 4 years ago

I made this tonight and had to throw it out! It was like shoe leather. Very disappointing. About how long should it dry-fry? I did mine in my panini maker and assume I fried it too long.

felix 4 years ago

thanks so much! just today i was breaking my head over how to do tofu differently than frying. you have some very useful comments that make sense, so i'll give this another try in a few days ...;-)

jane 4 years ago

we are trying tofu for the first time tomorrow in a stir fry however my daughter wont try it with a marinade. How can I ensure it has flavour for her.

Stephanie 4 years ago

Did this with my Lodge cast iron - huge success! Thanks!

DK 4 years ago

K, you should taste your marinade before using it.

I just tried this dry frying technique to marinade tofu before putting in a simple olive oil and white wine pasta dish. Yes tofu in an Italian dish, and it was the most flavorful tofu I've ever made. Just marinaded it in some white wine garlic and green onions for 30 min before.

I've been cooking tofu for a decade, how have I never learned how to actually make it flavorful?

Can't wait to try it in an Asian stir fry!

4 years ago

Evil! I just wasted an entire block

Of organic tofu, huge broccoli which was very expensive, tons of carrots, peppers and the rest, hours of my time preparing this beautiful dish only to have to throw it in the trash can! The tofu was beautiful and perfect until I used your Chinese marinade which fouled up the entire dish. I've never been so overwhelmed by a salty flavor that left this inedible. Now I have to feed my family of 5 a quick dish of cereal as I cry over this disaster! Please please, anyone reading this - dry fry the tofu but skip this horrible marinade!!!

Amee 4 years ago

This is exactly what I was looking for! Finally my tofu turned out the way I wanted it to! Thanks

Shonna Luten 4 years ago

can you deep fry this after the marinating method...?

Lisa Gaines 4 years ago

I think I'll be trying this.

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louromano 4 years ago

I can't wait to try this tonight! Have you ever tried a barbeque marinade?

michael 4 years ago

The pictures look like tempeh to me

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Ginzipper27 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Just made the best tofu I've ever had! Thank you so much for sharing this method!

Mary 4 years ago

Works like a charm! Thanks so much!

Ripspa 4 years ago

Amazing..tried this evening and it was indeed delicious!!!!

John UES 4 years ago

Finally! I've always wanted to replicate the texture of fried tofu from Chinese take-out joints, my result was always a bland disappointing mush. I am now a dry frying convert!

calypso_jimmy 4 years ago

trust me ... I have done this a dozen times now, and the basic message here is sufficient to deliver restaurant-quality tofu dishes.... definitely experiment... I also find that, to save my non-stick frying surfaces... a small misting of olive oil does not make a measurable difference, re dry-frying the tofu triangles.

Roz B 4 years ago

Even my better half thought it was better than any tofu he had tried before (not that we have much experience but yum all the same). Marinated in a chilli sauce mixed with peanut butter.

Meg 4 years ago

thank you for this recipe. I hate baking tofu - its never crispy! finally, after 10 years of being a vegetarian, I've found my perfect tofu recipe. I used this in a thai curry soup, which I'll put on tastykitchen. I'll be sure to cite your method!

Jmm 4 years ago

Yesterday I had an example of how not to pan fry tofu. New raw vegan no oil diet

This is what I am talking about!


ajit das 4 years ago


Thank you so much. such a wonderful,even without rice wine.

katie 4 years ago

i tried baking it but it never was still mushy.

Carrie 4 years ago

I made this for dinner using the Chinese marinade and it turned out great. A bit tedious with the two step process but worth it to get firm, seasoned tofu. Thanks for the tip!

Brandi 4 years ago

I have a friend coming in to town tonight, and I wanted to make her cilantro lime tofu fajitas, I'm hoping that this method of cooking works out well! I've never cooked tofu before, but this seems like a great recipe! The only thing I have to worry about now is the chosen marinade...

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steffsings 4 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

Excellent! I've had trouble with too soft tofu, the specialty firm/toothy types are more expensive, so this is a great recipe. I went a little different route though - dredged large slices through buttermilk & a seasoned flour mix (salt-cracked pepper-pulverized garlic-paprika) fast fried in olive oil THEN smothered in sliced onion & mushroom gravy 'YEP over rice... mmm-mmm... thanks for this! Every now & again I miss southern food this hit the spot! (I might try tempur next time)

PhiH 4 years ago

Wow, I never saw so many comments for a recipe. But the kudos are deserved - I just tried it and it was great! I'm not a great cook but this tasted great. At last, I have a technique for cooking tofu that even I can be successful with. Thank you!!

thespiangirl 4 years ago

Always wondered how they get the tofu brown in restaurants....Could never figure it out. Thank you for this interesting method. I'm gonna try it tonight. YEAH!

Sharyn DImmick 4 years ago

Thanks for posting all of the different marinades: I usually use a teriyaki-style one that we use on chicken: tamari, garlic, crushed pineapple, a little oil. I'm going to print yours and try them all eventually.

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hirundine 4 years ago from Nelson, B.C. Canada

Thanks to Melissa for a great method for tofu. I have a couple of questions, a) I used pressed tofu which removed the necessity for pressing out the water. b) The third marinade seemed a little heavy on the fish sauce? A 1/2 cup of fish sauce seems a little on the heavy side? Since the concentrated sauce can be overwhelming. Has anyone actually tried this marinade?

I used your second marinade as a guide, with the addition of an onion and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil into it.

Thanks, once more and cheers!



angie 5 years ago

first time making tofu and found this site the quickest and easiest to get the info- didn't feel like watching long drawn out videos of people making it- thanks- hope it will turn out ok!

C*Marie 5 years ago

Yummy! As I was frying the tofu, my kids were eating it out of the pan. I used stainless steal with a spray of pam to prevent sticking! It turned out amazing & taste's soooooo good plain! Can't wait for it to finish marinating & throw it over some jasmine rice!

Aunt Bunnie 5 years ago

I used a well seasoned cast-iron skillet and had absolutely no problem with sticking. Worked perfectly. Thank you.

nhenry :) 5 years ago

thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike 5 years ago

Well... It wasn't that yummy spongy fluffy stuff I get at chinese restaurants, but it was pretty darn good. I'll keep trying.

Yvonne 5 years ago

I will definitely try this method as it seems close to the one our best Chinese restarant uses with excellent results and the tofu ends up really tasty. My previous method has been to cut into cubes and marinate in a polythene bad and then bake in the oven to dry out and then mix in with stir fry towards the end to reheat. Works reasonable well but tofu can end up slightly dry. I am diabetic so do not use sugar in the sauces but sometimes put a plum in instead. Use similar in my marinade ie soy sauce, black pepper, garlic, chilli, root ginger, spring onion tops, lemon grass, chives, white wine...

harmony74 5 years ago

I got the dry frying part down, but need to work on the marinade. This also takes quite a bit of time, so don't try it unless you have a lot of time and patience. I can see how it works though! Excited to try again, this time wasn't a complete fail, but needed more flavor.

sandy 5 years ago

MMMM looks delicous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve 5 years ago

Even surprised my Chinese wife by using this method . Great tofu thanks .

steve 5 years ago

I notice all the vegan people start with firm/extra firm tofu in their recipes, and the Asian created recipes use soft tofu, with the Asians producing a vastly better dish

Marti 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this! I have been experimenting with tofu for several months now and the dry-fry method proved to be my most successful attempt!

SsvRrwQ 5 years ago

Wow, this is great.

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jestone 5 years ago from America!

There is a trick to getting the most moisture out of the tofu and that is to boil the slices first. It sucks out the water in the tofu and then pat it dry and dry fry it like the article says. It works really well and give you the "Restaurant" quality of fried tofu that is the BEST!

tofu recipes 5 years ago

Thanks for this tofu recipe. It is very delicious.

Stephanie Cheatley 5 years ago

Tofu tip of the day - If you freeze regular tofu you can get about 99% of the water out. Start with the regular tofu, normally it would be way too soft to squish the water out. Then freeze solid, then defrost. It magically turns into the texture of of a kitchen sponge and you can squeeze all of the water out. then fry as the recipe indicated (and you can use oil to make it crispy since there is no water). It seems a lengthy process but if you always have a couple in the freezer it only takes a day on the counter to defrost.

Andrea 5 years ago

Well I've got my dry fried tofu in the fridge right now! I fear that I might not have cooked them enough for to achieve that crunchy texture, but only time will tell I suppose. This is my first attempt at cooking tofu like a pro, or at all for that matter. I am letting it marinade for an hour, as opposed to half, just because I am a flavor fiend. So here's hoping my first attempt at tofu does not become my last. Awesome advice though!

Charles 5 years ago

I just tried this for lunch. I have been a vegetarian for 6 months and vegan for 2 months. But, although I have purchased tofu several times, it always turned out soggy and slimey - so I have been mostly eating processed soy crumbles and tempeh for "meat". Using the method above, the tofu turned out just like an Asian restaurant - firm with a bit of chewy-liciusness. Yum! The keys, as detailed above: (1) NO OIL the first time you fry it, to dry it out. I was using oil every time in the past - we fry stuff in oil, right? Well, with oil the water is trapped inside the tofu. Without oil, it escapes and gets a nice crust outside and firmess inside. (2) Marinade after you get it dried and crusted. There are simple but critical steps. You, or Charlie Sheen, may say, "Well duh!" But I didn't know and now that I do I thank the author very much! My menu choices just doubled, thanks!!

wilhub 5 years ago

every time i have made it, from the tetrapak you get in supermarkets, it ends up a slight disaster, but i am going to try it the way you put it here, and i BET it will be 1000% better, can`t wait to try it. here in the UK, it is quorn that is the main veggie meat replacement for veggies, and i love it!,but i just fancy a change, and tofu sounds like it!

Gemmie 5 years ago

Thanks for the recipes and the dry fry directions. I don't have a cast iron or teflon pan, but I DO have a George Forman!!! I used the George as others suggested. What I did was: I cut the tofu into about 7 slices and pressed them. I then put them into a zip lock bag and froze them overnight. The next morning I took them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge. About 4:00 I took them out of the fridge and pressed them again. I then cut the slices into 3 pieces each while my George was heating up. I had the heat set at medium to warm up then I turned it down to medium low and put the tofu on the grill. I pressed it down a bit and carried on making my marinade. I would occasionally open the lid and press the tofu and you could hear the liquid sizzle on the grill, but there wasn't much. I cooked it for maybe half an hour or so, until it had golden grill marks on it and it was dry. Then I put it in my marinade... It was THE BEST tofu I have ever had!!!! My husband (who is a dedicated carnivore)told me that it was delicious as well, so I know it had to be good!!!! *Smile* Thanks again and thank you to the other posters for the suggestion on using the George!!!!

Sophie 5 years ago

Even though I've been a vegetarian for a year now, the daunting task of cooking tofu always resulted in me avoiding it. But now, thanks to this recipe, I've probably made the best vegetarian stir-fry I've ever had. Thank you so much for making me love tofu!

kims3003 5 years ago

Love this - so helpful - have always wanted to learn this. Thanks1

çatlak kremi 5 years ago

thanks so much, my stir fry turned out wonderfully ;)

Su 5 years ago

I am in the marinating stage of this right now, so we'll see the final results. However, I used the Forman Grill (saw that in a previous posts) and the darn thing worked like a charm! I did a tiny bit of extra pressing with a spatula to get a tiny bit more water out, but really there was almost none left. I, too, use the TofuXpress, which is the absolute GREATEST thing on the planet if you eat tofu. I barely ate tofu before because pressing was such a hassle. Now I freeze firm or extra firm tofu in the original package as is from the store (I coupon shop and have gotten completely free Nasoya tofu for the past year-- so I have a freezer full). I thaw it out in the fridge, then put it into the TofuXpress. By the time it's completely pressed out, the brick of tofu is about 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick and very dense (just the way I like it). As a former "meatatarian," I can honestly say this method has made the absence of meat a non-issue for me. I'm excited about the dry frying now-- I'm marinating right now in time for lunch. Can't wait!

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Domelady 5 years ago from upstate New York

Most excellent! Thank you for making tofu more appealing!

Carrie 5 years ago

Wow, and I thought I could only get that restauranty quality by actually pan-frying my tofu in oil first. This is awesome! Also, I highly recommend investing in a Tofu XPress! I wanted one for eight months before somebody got it for me as a gift. Saying that it changed my life would be an exaggeration... but only slightly!

Lynda 5 years ago

This sounds sounds delicious and will be on the menu tonight. Thank you! Another way to make tofu more palatable is to freeze it (while still in its package). Then, thaw the tofu completely, cut out the bottom of its package, and squeeze gently over the sink. Continue squeezing until no more liquid comes out.

At that point, the tofu has a spongy/chewy texture that some people may prefer. Plus, it can absorb more flavors than if it retained the original liquid.

natasha 5 years ago

thanks so much, my stir fry turned out wonderfully with my, now, intact & marinated tofu! before it was crumbly and mooshy, now i feel like I ordered out!

Cycling Dove 5 years ago

I have failed miserably at making good tofu at home -- that is, until I came across this recipe. I am living in Central Asia, and can buy fresh blocks of tofu at the local market. For my weekly dry frying, I use a grill pan, and it is amazing! Even my husband, who is not a vegetarian, likes to eat it directly out of the pan. Thanks!!

GUNTHER 5 years ago

Just finished the "dry-fry". Marinating as I type. Going to try it as a sub for rice with a home made ratatouille tonight. Results to follow.

Tofu 5 years ago

I am a big tofu fan. I prefer dry frying also, but I never tried marinating it afterwards.

Thanks for the great tip, I'll sure give it a try.

mmkg 5 years ago

OMG! Now I realize what I've been doing wrong. This ifno is very helpful. Thx

Brittany 5 years ago

Thanks, I have been messing up tofu for years now! I'd like to know if you just cook the tofu after it has marinated for a while, and just add veggies?

Timmy 5 years ago

Excellent and so simple; there's no reason not to do this. After I pressed and dry-fried the tofu I marinated it in BBQ sauce for a BBQ Tofu Pizza. Most appreciated!

jmwid 5 years ago

This method works great, but only if you properly press the tofu before dry-frying. The way I've always pressed tofu is to set the tofu on a large plate with four paper towels under it. Then I put an upside down plate on top of the tofu block and set a bunch of heavy canned veggies or soup on top. After 1/2 an hour, most of the liquid will be gone. You can also flip the block over and press again on the other side. After that dry-frying is a breeze.

As far as marinades go with this method, so far I've tried barbecue sauce with some spices and soy sauce and a pre-made Szechuan marinade by San-J. Both tasted great.

I'd imagine just about any strongly flavored liquid + spice mix will do the trick.

Also, once you prep the tofu like this, cooking in a wok or skillet is a breeze. It should take less than five minutes if your wok is a hot enough. Don't overload the wok and keep those veggies crunchy and it turns out great.

Lastly, Mori-Nu brand tofu in the vacuum packed boxes won't work at all with this method. You need to look for tofu in a water packed firm tofu in a plastic tub with plastic over the top. This is usually kept refrigerated in the produce section of most grocery stores.

cindy naude 5 years ago

I have never heard of dry frying tofu ... going to definitely try it. sounds really yum! just a question, can i store the dry fried tofu in the marinade for an extended period of time? if so, how long?

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GALAXY 59 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Just tried this recipe for supper tonight, it was amazing, thanks for this great hub. I have been a vegeatarian for years and am always on the lookout for new ways to prepare veggie food.

sasy123 5 years ago

it was so much fun i did it mom i still haven't tried it yet but we had fun thanks 4 the tips melisa ray davis bye

Todd (April Maze) 6 years ago

OMG! Thanks so much for the dry frying tip!! amazing! - for years I have been putting tofu in currys and wondering why it falls apart and isn't as nice as the restaurant dishes, and the pre-fired tofu is sooo expensive! Love it, will now check out your marinade suggestions!

scott 6 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful tofu tip. I did the dry fry method in a cast iron skillet and it worked like a charm. Right now I'm marinating the tofu in a ziplock bag with a whole bunch of kim-chee. Can't wait to cook it all up for breakfast tomorrow. I just know it's gonna be good!!!!!! Thanks :-)

cat 6 years ago

Thank you! This was great. I tried the chinese marinade. It's great. I think the key is to cook on low, cause mine browned a little too much, but now I fully understand the art of cooking tofu.. THanks

papaya 6 years ago

i've been a vegetarian for 6 years, and only now do i understand how to cook tofu properly. thank you for your recipes. i tried it and it is delicious!

Melissa 6 years ago

I tried it with Mori-Nu extra firm tofu and it didn't come out! It broke and never got that nice golden color.... what brand do you recommend?

Jo 6 years ago

I am just elated at this wonderful site my search took me to. I am newly vegan and I really need successes to keep me moving forward. My tofu triangles came out golden and beautiful. My daughter said they looked like french toast....we're going through dairy withdrawals. Anyway, I cooked these to a background of show tunes, made my marinade with chili oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, a bit of sugar,vegetable broth, sesame oil, chopped green onions and chopped up smart style vegie chik'n strips. They are all marinating overnight. I can't wait for tomorrow's dinner. Thanks for keeping me on the course to healthier eating!!

Marcela 6 years ago

I was really nervous about cooking tofu again as it always crumbles and is soggy. But, I tried this method and it worked wonderfully. Full of flavor. Thanks!

Kerstin 6 years ago

Hi, I tried the dry-fry methode and it was really great :)

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ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

I tried this recipe today using my George Forman grill. It turned SO good, that I just ate several pieces of dry-fried tofu, as they were! Great!

mrsound 6 years ago

I just made a tofu omelet just this week. And it was really good. I got the recipe here:

I think the dry frying you got here is really good. I will try this too. Thank you.

JCL 6 years ago

The dry-frying method worked pretty well. I think I should have cut the tofu a little thicker actually because it was a bit too thin. One other thing. We tried the Thai marinade and either my fish sauce is too old or the recipe calls for too much. It was really very strong! I think I need to buy new sauce, but am curious if anyone else has tried the Thai marinade...thoughts? comments?

JCL 6 years ago

We tried a thai tofu receipe last night not know how to cook tofu and needless to say the tofu was less than exceptional. Will try this recipe tonight. I do have a quick question though. I have a cast-iron pan but it is relatively new--how long did it take you to season yours before it was basically non-stick? WE used the stainless steel pan last night and just like you said, the tofu basically just stuck to the pan. thanks!

Laura 6 years ago

I just wanted to thank you for this amazing post. I have been trying to incorporate tofu in my diet more because of health and financial reasons. (I can get tofu really cheap) But my issue with it has always been texture, my husband said eating my tofu was like eating a kitchen sponge. Not something you want to hear about your cooking. But I tried your technique and it turned out amazing!!! It was honestly the best tofu curry I have ever eaten and the tofu was perfect. Thank you so much, this has definitely made me a fan. :)

nutrigal 6 years ago

This is the best tofu ever. Tried it today and worked like a charm. Who knew using no oil will give you the best tofu ever!

Good work!

Leah 6 years ago

Mellissa you ROCK!!!! I can't tell you how many recipes I have tried with Tofu & they all end up mushy. My hubby is adventurous and will try almost any recipe I make, but Tofu is a hard sell... especially when it always coming out less that yummy.

I'm definitely trying this one out tonite. I like the idea of not using any oil. Every other recipe I have seen so far calls for a few tablespoons of oil which I think adds to my not cooking it properly & ups the calories.

Also... I love the idea of using the George Forman to help dry out the Tofu.

Thanks again! ;0)

angel custado 6 years ago

yummy.... I can't wait to do try this!

Damon 6 years ago

I tried this tonight, using a variation on the Chinese marinade (so that I could just then add some hoisin and corn starch to employ the "used" marinade as a sauce. Also I added some chili oil and garlic chili paste because yum.)

Anyway, this techique is just excellent. I was raised by vegetarians and once I rebelled against that thought I hated tofu, but I decided I'd try to eat a little less meat and this technique was perfect. The tofu actually had texture and held up without crumbling, Chinese people have been eating tofu for thousands of years, they have it figured out. This was an excellent dinner.

jennybeans 6 years ago

This is by far the most awesome tofu I've ever made. I, too have struggled with barely edible tofu messes for the last twelve years. My husband even likes it made this way, and he's as carniverous as they come! Last night I made Pad Thai with dry fried tofu, and tonight I baked the other half block with BBQ sauce. I wish I had made a whole block of BBQ tofu...I'm so tempted to eat the rest before the hubby gets home!

Ely 6 years ago

I can't wait to do try this! I am newly vegan and I hope this will help me! I don't want to end up 'junk food' vegan/vegetarian.

Jeri 6 years ago

nick - "water to cover" simply means you put the ingredients of the marinade together, put in the tofu, then add water until the tofu is all underneath the marinade (covered by the marinade).

I am going to try this tonight, I have my tofu and ingredients for stir fry all ready. Unfortunately, all my cookware is stainless steel (went through a divorce, hubby got all the teflon)!

I have a George Foreman Grill, however... and it's teflon coated. And it seems to me the weight of the cover on the Foreman Grill would work like pressing the tofu with a spatula.

I'm excited to see if it works! It looks delicioso! :-)

nick 6 years ago

what does it mean by "water to cover" in the tofu marinade?

Eva 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this method. This is exactly how I like my tofu, and it's a great way to change the texture without the fat of frying. I will use this all the time!

Allison 6 years ago

I just made this tofu tonight with a variation of your Chinese marinade with some green beans and mushrooms. It was delicious, but it did take a bit of time. Best tofu I've ever made! It was delicious as a replacement for the fried tofu in this recipe: which was delicious and totally customizable. My boyfriend gave it 20/20 (even if he added chicken). Thanks!

Susan 6 years ago

thank you so much!!!!!! I tried it right away - finally tofu stir-fry that is truly yummy AND that you can really sink your teeth into!!! I need to practice but my first batch came out about 85% great, i.e. 400% better than my usual mushy/crumby tofu stir-fry!

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Melissa Ray Davis 6 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

Thank you everyone for all of the glowing reviews. I'm glad this recipe has helped so many people!

LC - A half hour likely won't allow for food poisoning, but refrigerating the marinating tofu won't hurt anything, so go for it!

Meghann – My only experience of usu-age tofu is in inari sushi, and I don't think tofu prepared using this method would work with that (it probably wouldn't hold together enough to split and stuff it), but if there are other usages for usu-age that are similar to the way tofu is used in stir-fry or noodle dishes, then I'd say go ahead and experiment!

JV – Yeah, you do have to make sure it is cut thin enough for this to work.

Anne – My suggestion would be to do a search for "low-sodium marinade recipe," maybe adding a word for whatever sort of cuisine you're trying for (Asian/Chinese/Thai/etc).

hellokevin11 6 years ago

Jut tried this. Absolutely badass. and that's coming from a meat eater. This is great ! Eat it with lettuce wraps!

Joyce 6 years ago

Help at last! I'm going to try it.

Suzanne 6 years ago

This was fantastic! I'm put off by the soft texture of even pressed tofu, but this really worked out well. I didn't cut some of it thin enough (or press hard enough I guess) and they were still a little soft, but most of them had the firm chewy texture I was hoping for. I marinated it in a pineapple sake teriyaki marinade and served with a yummy mushroom pilaf.

Wendy 6 years ago

I made this tonight using the Chinese Marinade (Soy, sherry, garlic, ginger and palm sugar). After dry frying the tofu I also marinaded some chicken strips for hubby. I reserved some marinade and thickened it with veg stock and corn flour to drizzle over the top. Served it with rice. It was YUMMY!

As for the tofu I use a 'hard' tofu and if you need low salt soy there is always low salt tamari.

rose 6 years ago

i just made my first tofu dish thanks for the cooking instructions. i had no mushy disasters :)

Anne 6 years ago

I have high blood pressure and am supposed to eat a low sodium diet. How can I make my tofu taste great without soy sauce which is high in sodium. Please help!

JV 6 years ago

okay so I've never cooked tofu before. bought extra firm. pressed it for a bit between paper towels. I have a non stick pan but not so non stick anymore. The tofu crumbled and became white scrambeled eggs. added a bit of oil. now I have the sides golden but inside is mushy yuck. Also I have it in little cubes so maybe too thick? I wanted to make veg version of curry chicken dish - similar to butter chicken. so will continue to practice....


1) don't cut the pieces to thick

2) ensure your pan really is non stick

Thailand Breeze 6 years ago

This is the first time I learned about dry-frying tofu. I will have to try your method. I also like the different recipes for marinated sauce.

Thanks for sharing.

michellr 6 years ago

I haven't tried it as yet so wish me luck

Vegan Recipes 6 years ago

Nice guide!

It took me ages to learn how to cook tofu properly, my Wife is vegan, so I do like to treat her to the occasional vegan meal!

Meghann 6 years ago

This looks so incredibly good. I have a question, though someone may have asked it in the last three years (and I'm sorry if they have and I didn't see it), is this similar to usu-age tofu, or fried tofu? Could I use this as an alternative? I don't like the idea of eating deep fried anything, and if this will work in my Japanese recipes instead, I will love you forever (but not in a creepy way, lol).

Thanks for your time!

mike 6 years ago

works perfectly, the drier the tofu the better. i need to have some patience when it comes to drying the tofu.

joanne 6 years ago

fab i love it.

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adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Because tofu packs so many nutrients into a serving of between 70-100 calories, it can be a great part of a weight loss regimen or a way to maintain a healthy weight. It delivers the protein benefits of meat while still being low in saturated fat and sodium.

Don 6 years ago

I had the SLIMY FALL APART MUSH problem until I found this guide - It worked really well and I'll be using this method from now on. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together! From Eastern Canada!

chimera 6 years ago

I just tried this method tonight in our cast iron skillet - it worked fabulously! I marinated it in a lime/tamari/honey/brown sugar/scallion/garlic marinade for a few minutes and it was perfect. Thanks for the great tutorial - I always wondered how the restaurants did it!

Sean 6 years ago

They don't make 16 oz. blocks of tofu anymore, at least not here in the U.S. The standard weight is 14 oz, except for Soy Boy brand which is 15.

angela 6 years ago

SOOOOOO good! my new favorite way to make tofu

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creativelycc 6 years ago from Maine

This looks so yummy, I can't wait to try it. I do like tofu!

LC 6 years ago

I really want to try this, but I worry that leaving the cooked tofu out with result in food poisoning. Is it supposed to marinade in the fridge?

Brian 6 years ago

Looks great!! The one question I have is if you make a lot and want to keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days, is it better to take to dry-fried tofu out of the marinade after 4-5 hours, or keep it in the marinade refridgerated for 2-3 days. I'm going to go with taking it out of the marinade, but If any has left it in the marinade for 2+ days I'd be interested to hear the results!

Meredith 6 years ago

This way of cooking tofu is SOO GOOD!! Way better than any other method! It makes the most delicious tofu that has great texture. I'm so glad I found this recipe, this ones a keeper!!!!!

MKM 6 years ago

ditto on this being awesome! ive tried countless times to make tofu, only to make soggy wet cubes. this actually worked!

Kristy 6 years ago

This is an awesome method, thanks for posting this! Now I can cook tofu at home well, without tons of oil. Tried it and loved it!

Caroline 6 years ago

Thank you! I tried this and it turn out great. Best tofu cooking method I've found!

Martha 6 years ago

I admit that I did not read every comment, so if this is a repeat, I apologize. The best way I know of to drain tofu is the TofuXpress...I have had mine for a few months and pretty much keep a block pressing in the fridge all the time. There are some for sale at amazon...

Stephen 6 years ago

Can one freeze the remaining seasoned tofu?

Anita Smith 6 years ago

So helpful, basic & direct. I really needed these pointers! has anyone ever been to I just ordered some soy candles. . . pretty good

Anyway, Thx

Tiffany 6 years ago

Thank you so much for posting this. I never knew how to properly cook it, it was always a mushy mess because I couldn't press it well enough to get enough moisture out of it. It was always bland too. Now that I've learned and enjoyed this dry fry method and marinating it after cooking, it has given me new ideas for cooking tofu.. and they work so much better now with this experience. I really appreciate the photos and the great descriptions!

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Sound of Me 6 years ago from United States

Oh my god these look so good. I've wanted tofu like the kind from my favorite Chinese place at home for so long but just didn't know how to make it. This looks spot on. Definitely bookmarking this to my favorites and giving it a try ASAP. That tofu-asparagus dish looks AWESOME! :)

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martycraigs 6 years ago

Wow, these photos make this tofu recipe look absolutely great! It's true, I really enjoy tofu when I got out to restaurants, but have the hardest time trying to make it myself. I will definitely try dry-frying my tofu next time.

Thanks for sharing this, I'll definitely be passing this recipe on to a few friends. Also, I'll have to report back after I've given this a try.

Gina 6 years ago

Thanks so much for the advice. No more bathing my tofu in cooking oil and ending up with a soggy mess :-)

MFA 6 years ago

Used a griddle/panini press....towards the end of the dry fry session then pressed down with the panini side....was able to see water/steam vent out the side. Came out great and the pieces sucked up the marinade like a sponge!

Danita 6 years ago

This was my first time ever trying tofu. This worked like a charm. I used a griddle since I did not have a teflon or cast iron skillet. Thanks!

Lori 6 years ago

My first try was a success!!! I used Kikkoman's Teriyaki marinade as a last minute marinade, but it has a lot of sodium in it so next time I'm going to find a healthier alternative!

Tim Rowe 6 years ago

Whoever thinks there are only 2 types of tofu should check out a Chinese or Japanese supermarket -- there are dozens!

I make my own tofu, so mine is already pressed pretty dry (it's easier to handle that way), but this is my first shot at dry-frying and marinading. Looking forward to supper tonight!

erika 6 years ago

awesome! I've been trying to figure this out forever. I resorted to baking my tofu but it just isn't the same. thanks for this! it tastes so much better!

Jess 6 years ago

Thanks so much for the recipe. Tried it tonight with some tofu I had and it worked a treat! Delicious!

Colin 6 years ago

I just cooked tofu this way for the first time and used a thai marinade with soy sauce, fish sauce, galangal, lemon grass, kafir lime leaves and lime. I have to say, this is the best tofu I've ever had in my life. Better than meat. Thanks!

Rita 6 years ago

Splendid - I never understood why I liked tofu eaten out but never got it right at home. Thanks!

Mary 6 years ago

Thank you! My tofu was always mushy until I tried this method- it worked great!!!

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Nicole Winter 6 years ago from Chicago, IL

Melissa Ray Davis: Can't wait to try this out, thank you so much for publishing it! I'm not a vegetarian, but I'd like to start eating tofu once a week to cut back on my meat intake. We just bought a wok and are really enjoying using it every night, so this will add a little more variety to our routine stir-fry dinners!

walter 6 years ago

I've had a good amount of experience with Chinese cuisine, and was never able to quite get the tofu the way I like it. I tried this last night and it was freakin' AMAZING. It adds some time to the prep, but it can be done hours in advance... and wow was it tasty, and it didn't all come apart in the wok.

Would marinating a day in advance be too much? Just curious...

thanks so much for posting this, Melissa!

John-Jo 6 years ago

My tofu is now perfect thanks to this method.

Redtop 6 years ago

This is great! I will be trying it tonight! When cooking tofu in cubes, how do you make the inside not squishy?? When I make it the outside is super crispy but I hate the mush on the inside!

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tonyhubb 6 years ago

Love Tofu! Thanks!

Abby 6 years ago

I have struggled with tofu... and so many of my vegitarian recipe books have not made it any easier. This is the important piece I was missing! This is a sure fire way to impress people with some tofu, even if its simply served with rice. What a great introduction.

Tam 7 years ago

Thanks so much for these tips! I tried the dry-frying tonight and used your recipe for the Chinese Tofu Marinade and it all was the first time I've ever *liked* tofu that I've made at home. Very tasty! :)

amy 7 years ago

I bought tofu many times, but didn't know what to do with it. I tired this method and cooked it with brinjal. It was great , my husbend loved it. Thank you

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tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

Love Tofu!We have Tofu pretty often. You inspired me to work on more hubs about food. Yummy:)

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

I have had dry-fry tofu stick pretty badly to stainless steel pans and a few other types of conventional cookware. However, I now have a really well seasoned cast-iron pan which does the job beautifully, so I no longer need to use Teflon. If you can season a cast iron pan so that it's practically non-stick, you're set. (I know, I need to revise the article so that people stop having to ask.) Feel free to experiment, of course!

Karl 7 years ago

Eh..I know it's been commented on before, but cooking at low temperatures do I really NEED to use a Teflon pan? I've never cooked with tofu before and want to try this. Most other recipes call for olive oil to be used, but since this is meant to be dry, I can't use that to help prevent sticking.

I could buy a Teflon pan, but I really don't think that i want to use Teflon. Is it really going to stick that badly if I don't use it, but keep it at a low heat?

Bee 7 years ago

thanks for this great tip! I made some miso soup and it was great.

Are you nuts? 7 years ago

16 of you actually tried the recipe. Thank you for your comments. Do the rest of you just hunt around on line looking for recipies that LOOK good so you can comment? Your postings are a waste of time, as is mine right now. Are you nuts?

joanna 7 years ago

ive been having tofu catastrophes a lot. This worked GREAT! i kept my heat on the electric stove at 4-6 through the entire process. YUM!

william wilson 7 years ago

i must try this draining method, as i have always wondered why you get two types in the supermarket:one in a block that reminds me of a block of yogurt!, and the other in lovely pieces that you want to eat right off the shelf.

thanks a mill.!!

Belle 7 years ago

This recipe looks great, I'm going to try it tonight! I also agree with those who choose to use non-teflon pans. Rather than cast iron however, I invested in a set of Saladmaster cookware simply because it is constructed of medical grade steel that will not leech into the food under any temperatures. It cooks my vegetables really well, we'll see tonight how it does tofu!

Alex 7 years ago

Thanks for the great post!

Amy K 7 years ago

Thank U. I'm am going to do that now. U're article was very informative for me for this will be the 1st time ever that I have tofu. I look forward to reading more of U're recipes.

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

Amy ~ Yes, that should work fine as long as you keep it in a sealed container in the fridge.

Amy K 7 years ago

Can U cook the tofu the night before U are going to use it & then marinate it the next day?

Sarah 7 years ago

This method works great. I tried it using a cast-iron panini pan and it worked perfectly, and was a lot less work. Because the lid is heavy, you can just leave it on and walk away. It does the pressing for you and you get some nice grill lines! I did it dry and it doesn't stick.

Sarah 7 years ago

I cannot wait to make this tonight!! I have been searching everywhere for tips on what I am doing wrong with my tofu. I think this method is a winner. THANK YOU!!!!

Tracie 7 years ago

I tried this and it is so yummy. I did mine on an iron skillet and then marinaded it in teriyaki merinade. I am having the leftovers today, cold, with an asian cabbage salad. Delicious!! I am so glad that I finally found a fried tofu recipe that worked.

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

CE ~ you can try frying it at a slightly higher heat to speed up the process. Different ranges will have slightly different temperatures at different settings. Just be sure not to char the outside before it dries out. You could also use a bigger pan, or do two pans at once.

I haven't tried to keep the tofu at that stage before, but I would imagine that it should keep a few days if you seal it and refrigerate it. You could also store it in a marinade with a preserving ingredient, like vinegar.

CE 7 years ago

I just tried this recipe and so far my tofu has turned out delicious-looking (still marinating), but it took FOREVER to dry-fry- over an hour for one block (two batches, admittedly). Am I doing something wrong?

Also, how long does the fried, not-yet-marinated tofu keep? I could see maybe making a big batch once a week or so.

Tobi 7 years ago

Well, here I am again. That last batch I made never made it into any kind of recipe. Everyone just kept eating it like a snack. Including me. I'm finally making more and they're lining up. Thanks again - it's wonderful!

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author


There are two things you can do. The longer you dry fry it, the less squishy it will be in the center. If it is turning golden before the center is dried out, then try a lower heat for a longer time. Be sure to keep pressing it as you cook it, too! The other thing you can try is to cut the pieces thinner. The thinner the tofu the less squishy center you end up with.

Brittney 7 years ago

I tried this method just this afternoon, and it soaked up flavors wonderfully. My only question is this: how do you avoid "mushy" centers? The outside was great -- firm and chewy, but the middle just kind of "squeezed" out between my teeth. Any suggestions?

taylor 7 years ago

this worked great! I accidentally bought the precubed tofu, but it worked great with my lime cilantro marinade for fajitas.

janie 7 years ago

I did the air frying method and the tofu finally came out right! However, I used a sweet & sour pork recipe and used the air fried tofu instead of the pork. Yumm!

sailorv77 7 years ago

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and never ever could figure out how restaurants did this with tofu. Thank you thank you thank you!

cc 7 years ago

Thanks- this is really helpful... I always try to achieve that dry skin that restaurant fried tofu always has with the same results- soggy soft tofu. I wish there were more recipes out there involving tofu for the avergae cook.

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Miss Crayola 7 years ago from Sainte-Marie, QC, Canada

Thanks sooooo much! I tried different ways of cooking tofu and never succeed in frying it that way. I'm sure it will be as good as the one I ate in China. Your marinades seem yummy too!

Tobi 7 years ago

Thanks so much. I love this process and the recipes. One thing - call me a Luddite, but I don't use teflon pans. I have the old-fashioned cast iron which I love. I have found only one tool that works for cleanly and deftly lifting and turning the tofu in the early stage of dry-frying. A spackle blade is ideal for a variety of tasks in a kitchen - especially if you do not use teflon. It's thin enough and stiff enough that it leaves no tofu on the pan and it doesn't damage the tofu triangles. A hardware or paint store isn't typically thought of as a source of kitchen utensils - but in this case it works. Thanks again for this recipe.

Sarah 7 years ago

This made the BEST tofu I've ever had, it didn't even need a marinade! Thanks so much!

Emily 7 years ago

There is a great little gadget now to drain tofu without towels and plates and things. TofuXpress. It's awesome.

Melanie Schultz 7 years ago

Does anyone know if it works as well to fry larger batches of tofu, keep it in the fridge, and marinate it when I feel like it? Is the tofu as absorbent? And does it keep well?

kato 7 years ago

I also use tofu that isn't packed in water and so no need for draining! It is Wildwood Organics brand; I find it at Whole Foods. Works great for this dry-fry and is quicker than draining!

jenny 7 years ago

THANK YOU SO MUCH. This looks absolutely wonderful, I am running to the market right now to make this for my dinner tonight! Similar to what I used to do, but looks much better.

al 7 years ago

Yesterday i bought tofu and it didn't have any instructions on what to do so i just removed it from the water cut some few pieces and fried it together with some vegetables for half can guess the trying this recipe tonight,thank God i found it!!!!

Christelle 7 years ago

Hummmmm, I love tofu :))))))

ECW fan REAMtz 7 years ago

This is so good!!!

ECW fan REAMtz  7 years ago

I just started to be a vegetarian on the last week of March 2009, just 2 months b4 my high school graduation.

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Ktoo 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Great tips, always looking for better ways to handle tofu

Shelly 7 years ago

I dry fry my tofu using the George Foreman! Works great..u get grill marks and all. Then near the end I add dry seasonings, like Italian Mix, Thai, Curry. If you put the seasoning on too soon, it tends to burn the seasonings. then I just put the strips of cubes on my salads for lunch at work.

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

KT, I'd never heard of that before. Where'd you get it? What brand? Sounds very useful.

KT 7 years ago

I made tofu for the first time last week & it was great. I use super firm tofu. It's great for frying & it comes in a dry block, no water to deal with or freezing. Just slice it & fry it

tommymac 7 years ago

I have tried this a couple of times and it works a dream. Thanks for posting! I agree with Deborah (above) that freezing really helps too. If you freeze a whole block and then defrost, quite a bit more water will come out when you open the pack. This takes a bit more planning but seems to speed up the towel and dry frying stages.

Beth 7 years ago

How long do you bake it on the pizza stone and at what temp? That sounds like it would be a lot quicker and could do all in one batch.

Brian 7 years ago

Tofu is a tricky thing to work with. We bake ours on a pizza stone (or any of those stone products). The stone really draws the moisture out of the tofu more than any other method I've tried.

You just have to be careful and flip the pieces halfway through.

chef_mason 7 years ago

Probably because it contains a lot of salt, and tofu's inherent blandness needs plenty of coaxing toward whatever flavor you're looking to get. Try using different vinegars, but always remember to balance the acidity with something sweet like maple syrup or apple syrup* or honey or barley malt (for the vegans) or you'll wind up with a tofu pickle. No matter what you marinate in, make sure there is plenty of salt in your mix, all the flavors in the world won't help unless it is properly seasoned (salted).

*- Apple Syrup: Take a liter or 2 of your favorite apple juice or cider or juice some fresh ones. Put it in a pot on the stove and crank up the heat and let it reduce WAY down; until you have a cup or less. The bubbling in the pot will change as the water evaporates, from a water-type bubbling to a sugar-type bubbling, which looks almost foamy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.This apple syrup is divine on almost anything you put it on: salads, ice cream, etc., and it's just pure natural apple sugar. Try it with pears or other juices.

Deborah 7 years ago

I googled tofu marinades and this site popped up!

I am marinating as I type. I used frozen a thawed tofu which helps with texture also but i added the dry-frying before marinating. I have to say I have high hopes based on the results so far.

Tomorrow it will go into the tofu asparagus stir fry.

I have a question. Does anyone know why tofu marinades seem to rely so heavily on soy sauce? I have had a hard time finding recipes without it. I'm not anti soy sauce but it tends to make all the dishes tasted the same.

nancybrom 7 years ago

This recipe is wonderful. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! The texture is restaurant-quality and fabulous!! No more smooshy tofu for me!

Steph 7 years ago

thank you for this article!!!

i've been tofu friendly for years and never knew the secret to making really good tofu

I'm doing this tonight - I'm really excited.

Gracie 7 years ago

Mmmm I tried this but with a bit of a different cooking method. I sliced into a little thicker than 1/4" slabs. Painted them marinades of my choice (one was a soysauce based, hoison sauce marinade and the other was a spicy thai peanut sauce)

Dryed them out on the outdoor grill which added another depth of flavor and the nice grilled marks on each side. When sufficiently dried out . . I threw the leftover marinade on each one . . very tasty!!

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Melissa Ray Davis 7 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

Jenbeee ~ Oh no, that's very odd. Did you use "extra-firm" tofu and press it really well with a cloth first? I've never had that happen before. I wonder if it was the brand of tofu.

jenbeee 7 years ago

I wish I could say that this worked, but I used a teflon-coated pan and it still stuck! It was a catastrophe. Dinner was pretty much ruined.

erika 8 years ago

awesome, want to try this .

its really great..

Courtney 8 years ago

successs! i said i would try it and i did tonight and the results were extremely tasty!

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mitone 8 years ago from Galax, VA

awesome...never thought about pan frying it to dry it before I marinade it...what a great idea!

whuebl 8 years ago

I tried pressing firm tofu between 2 cutting boards with 3 pounds of cans on it. About 1/2 cup of liquid resulted. Then I cut it into cubes and added a BBQ sauce to the original container with the cut tofu in it and let it absorb that for 1/2 day. Next I floured it with pre-cooked (browned) flour and deep fried it for 5 minutes. After putting it on paper towels to absorb the grease, I put it back in the BBQ sauce.

You can use this several ways - I like to use it in a stir fry with onion, rice and the tofu - and anything else you want... add some hot broth after cooking before serving. Yum.

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selvirajan 8 years ago from India

mmm.. your page is so tasty. Thanks for such a nice recipe. I also like to try this Dry-fry :)

Courtney 8 years ago

I really want to try this...I always ruin anything I try to make with tofu.

Kayana 8 years ago

Wow, I'm going to try soon! I tried cooking it and got lumps of wet tofu cubes in my stir fry. EW

Leanne 8 years ago

Thanks for the excellent ideas. It always tastes horrid when I cook Tofu -can't wait to try.

will 8 years ago

nice one!!! i've been trying varios methods but can never get the right texture, but this method sounds perfect!! thankyou all knowing tinternet! x

Niami 8 years ago

I make this once a week now, thank you!!!!!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

I am going to have to try this-- I don't like teflon and would like to know if well-seasond iron skillet woud work/ Can I put just a swipe of oil with a paper towl?

The only way i have liked using tofu is making it into a fruit smoothie.

Keevin 8 years ago

I have made tofu in the oven before and this method here is much better!!

Melissa Ray Davis profile image

Melissa Ray Davis 8 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

About the Teflon comments: Yeah, I understand, I use cast iron for everything *except* dry-frying my tofu. I am going to do some experimenting soon to see if I can get the same effect with a very well-seasoned cast iron pan. In the mean time, check out this great article about "green" and healthy alternatives to Teflon: If it makes you feel any better, Teflon's harmful effects are only released at extremely high temperatures, and tofu is dry-fried at a much lower temperature than that.

A few people have suggested baking it in the oven, and while I agree that would dry the tofu out, you get a decidedly different effect than this method--the texture isn't nearly as good. I wouldn't want to do that, myself. Baking it, you can't be constantly pressing the water out with a spatula (as you can using the dry-fry method). In order to dry it out enough using an oven, you'd have to bake it to the point that the exterior would be really chewy, tough, and over-cooked. I'd definitely look into Teflon alternatives instead.

anna 8 years ago

if you don't want to use teflon, maybe can try an oven to get it dry and firm

chris c 8 years ago


i was wondering if you thought baking the tofu would be effective in dry frying it or getting it ready for marinade. i'm trying it with 2/5's of an extra firm block. the remaining 3/5's i used your method but then i thought of this.

what do you think of this?


Bett B profile image

Bett B 8 years ago

This looks great! Thanks very much for what looks like a good way to get less fat into my cooking. I wonder about the teflon, though, that's a very unsustainable technology, both in manufacturing and in the home. Do avoid high temperatures when using it.

New non-stick alternatives are emerging, however I have yet to see any real information on whether they are better than teflon or not.

For the moment, as an alternative to Teflon, I suggest tossing in some dilute soy sauce, then baking on parchment in the oven. This will dry the tofu and give it a nice golden color as well. The dilute soy sauce solution will also impart a bit of that caramelized taste you would get in the frying pan.

Once I have tried this method (probably in a few days' time) I will report back!



Q DeRHINO profile image

Q DeRHINO 8 years ago

I think this is great I have been looking for alernatives to meat that still had full to the bone flavour,, and it looks like your little tip has helped me change the way i have been eating for the better. thanx!!


Bobbincat 8 years ago

I don't use teflon pans, any ideas for cooking (drying) using stainless steel, cast iron, or wok? Do you think baking the tofu would work to dry it out?

Robert R 8 years ago

Wow, this technique is amazing - I can't believe I haven't seen it before. Recently, I had decided to minimize my reliance on highly processed faux-meats (i'm a struggling vegetarian), and other products like tempeh just wasn't quite there texturally for me. But this really creates something with bite. Thanks for sharing!

cindermonkee 8 years ago

My husband and I love this method! We're not vegetarians but love to have a bit of variety for our evening meals. We now love Tofu night since I found this page. We were clueless on how to use it before then. Thank you =)

SusanBonfiglio profile image

SusanBonfiglio 8 years ago from Woodmere, NY

Thanks so very much for writing this. I will try it. I really appreciate the pictures and the homemade marinade recipes.

I can't wait to try this.


Tom Beckett 8 years ago

mine didn't look so appetising, but tasted so good, ill keep tryng till i get the presentation spot on, thanks a lot!

AndyBaker profile image

AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

I'll be perfectly honest - I've never tried tofu.

This one's on the menu for tonight :-)

Looks great - nice work.

Health_guru profile image

Health_guru 8 years ago

That tofu looks delicious. I will have to try the recipe!

Calidaho 8 years ago

This is amazing! I have been veg for 2.5 years and didn't start enjoying tofu until about a year ago. The problem is that most of the tofu I love is breaded and fried. And I certainly have not been brave enough to try making it at home--tom many bad memories of throwing wet cubes of tofu in with various dishes in college. No wonder I was nervous!

I am so jazzed to try this method! Tonight I am making something with the baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, ginger, scallions and cilantro I got in my organic produce delivery yesterday!

Melissa Ray Davis profile image

Melissa Ray Davis 8 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

ehsc010 ~ I haven't done much curried tofu before, but I have made a masoman curry with tofu before. I'll try to get a recipe for masoman curry up in the next few months!

Dan 8 years ago

I'll try this at weekend. I've tried tofu twice and both time I ended up will a load of slush in my stir fry!

ehsc010 8 years ago

what is the best recipe for a curry tofu? i usually just brown the tofu in strips then add curry powder and brown that, then done.... but sometimes i add cayen pepper powder allso.

wowowow 8 years ago

so good!!

Shari Turner 8 years ago

Now I know what to do. I have used tofu, but never cared a lot for it because it was so tastless and I didn't care for the texture. I will DEFINITELY give this process a try. It sounds sooooo good. Thanks much for the info.

Melissa Ray Davis profile image

Melissa Ray Davis 8 years ago from Swannanoa, NC Author

Yes, a barbeque marinade is quite tasty! My favorite soy product to use barbecue with is tempeh, though. There's a recipe here:

Trail Runner 8 years ago

I can't wait to try this tonight! Have you ever tried a barbeque marinade?

The Good Cook profile image

The Good Cook 9 years ago

I have a teenage daughter who is vegetarian and we enjoy many vegetarian meals together, but I have always shied away from the whole tofu thing. Now I know where to come for advice and inspiration when we eventually try it. Thanks.

Tim Hollis profile image

Tim Hollis 9 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I blacken tofu cubes in olive oil, adding peppers, mushrooms, garlic and onions in the final 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add great glops of soy sauce and a lesser glop of steak sauce or liquid smoke and mix in with powdered or flaked yeast protein. It tastes like breaded meat and goes great in rice or noodle dishes.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

We enjoy tofu and eat it regularly. i'll have to try cooking it this way.

Watkins Lady profile image

Watkins Lady 9 years ago

Oh I can't wait to try this!

Erica 9 years ago

AHH HA! I've been soaking my tofu, THEN cooking it. Which has been resulting in a gross disaster! Thank you!

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

I often press my tofu between two towels, with a pan sitting on top of it. After about an hour, most of the liquid is absorbed by the towels and the tofu keeps its shape. Then I cook it and add it to the dish I'm making. I hadn't yet figured out how to get the marinaded tofu thing down, so I'm excited to try this method.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

Glad I found this, I love Tofu, but I never cooked it right, just with onion, peas and cut tofu. The above sounds delicious. I will try it out. Thanks again for sharing this. Cheers :)

Leigh K profile image

Leigh K 9 years ago from Asheville

I am so excited to try this out tonight! I went to the N. Asheville Farmer's Market yesterday and got some baby bok choy, cilantro, and scallions. I'm going to use some asparagus and water chestnuts, too! It should be fun and delicious.

Rachel  9 years ago

I will definitely try this whole process next time I use tofu. As it is, my tofu dishes only come close to what I'd like them to be 1/2 the time!

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