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How To Press Tofu. A Simple Guide


For a chef, pressing tofu is a crucial step to achieving the desired texture and absorption of flavors in any dish. Whether you are making crispy bites or marinating it in a flavorful sauce, the way you press it can make all the difference.

Here is a comprehensive guide to help you effectively press tofu:

A Roosevelt Island Daily News Feature

Tools Required:

  • Firm tofu (16 oz block)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Two plates
  • Paper towels or cheesecloth
  • Cast iron skillet or a heavy object


  1. Start by draining the tofu. Remove it from the package and drain away the excess liquid.
  2. Use a knife to cut the block into your desired size or shape.
  3. Place a few layers of paper towels or cheesecloth on a cutting board. Then, place the pieces onto the towels or cloth.
  4. Cover the tofu with more paper towels or cheesecloth.
  5. Place another cutting board or a plate on top of the tofu, and then place a weighty object – like a cast iron skillet – on top of the board/plate. Applying weight helps to drain out the excess water.
  6. Leave the tofu to press for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it for longer if you want an even firmer texture. Typically, pressing it for about an hour is good for dishes like baked tofu or stir-fry.
  7. After the allotted time, remove the weight, then discard the paper towels or cheesecloth, and gently pat dry the tofu with a clean towel.

Tips to keep in mind while pressing tofu:

  • For crispier or crumbled tofu, press it till it’s completely dry.
  • If your recipe calls for more liquid absorption, press it for a shorter period of time so it retains some moisture.

By following these simple steps, you’ll find that your tofu turns out perfectly pressed, firm and ready to be infused with your desired flavors.

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