Preparing Tofu

“Preparing Tofu”

My husband recently became a vegetarian. I would like to try cooking with tofu, but have no idea where to start. Can you give me some preparing tofu tips? Thanks.

P.S. I love your book!

Jocelyn in Sunset, UT

Tofu is a great source of protein.  So for vegetarians who don’t eat typical protiens such as chicken, fish, or red meat; Preparing Tofu is a way to get the nutrition, without actually eating the animal.  Plus, for only about two dollars a package, you can’t beat the price of preparing tofu. 

The First Timer’s Guide to Preparing Tofu

Preparing Tofu starts with actually getting the Tofu.  Tofu will most likely be stored in the produce section of the grocery store (since its made from soy beans).  It will generally come in “firm” and “extra firm” (or super firm, which ever they choose to call it).  I usually go with the extra or super firm, since it seems to hold together better when cooking.


Preparing Tofu – Step#1 Open the package and take the Tofu out of the Container.

Preparing Tofu – Step #2 – Cut the Tofu according to the desired size.  You can just cut off a piece of what you want to use and leave the rest in the storage container to use later.  I chose to use the whole thing, for demonstration sake.

Preparing Tofu – Step #3 – After you have the size you want (usually bite size), you can put your finished product into a bowl for transportation and storage.

Preparing Tofu – Step #4 – Grab a Pan and put just enough oil in it to coat the bottom of the pan.  This way the tofu won’t stick as much.  Once the oil is hot, drop your Tofu in and watch out, cause if the oil is too hot, it will splatter all over you.  Tofu has a lot of moisture in it and oil and water don’t mix well, especially when the oil is hot.  Hot Oil on your skin = No Fun.

Preaparing Tofu – Step #5 – Now that the Tofu is heating up, add some flavor to it.  Tofu is naturally kind of bland, but it absorbs flavor very well.  Teriyaki Sauce is one of the best flavorings I have found for it.  Here I am using a lite Soy Sauce (in keeping with the “heathly” undertones) and a little fresh garlic.

Preparing Tofu – Step #5 – After having spent most of my cooking days in professional kitchens, I tend to gravitate towrds tossing my pans, instead of using a more common spatula or spoon to mix the ingredients.  Both ways work just fine (tossing is just a little bit quicker).  After it is mixed well, each piece looks nice and coated and is heated through, you can take it off your stove and out of the pan.

Preparing Tofu – Step #6 – Now that your Tofu is ready just go ahead and serve it.  As you can see, I chose to serve it hot with wild rice and steamed vegetables-a great vegetarian dish.  Or you can even serve it cold (or hot) on a salad.  You can also grill tofu like you would a steak or hamburger, or put it in a casserole in place of say, chicken. Alot of people use it in classic Asian Stir-fry . . . The possibilities are endless . . .

Anyway you do it, you should be able to satisfy your vegetarian-man or anyone else by preparing tofu nicely.

Check out the video if you need some more help preparing tofu. . .

Want to know more about preparing tofu?  Check out our online cooking classes here!

Get The First Timer’s Cookbook, DVD or both right here!

About the author, Shawn

Chef Shawn has worked in almost every segment of the foodservice industry. He holds business degrees and certificates in Culinary Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Accounting and Professional Sales. He is Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and a Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) through The American Culinary Federation. A Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) through the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the author of The First Timer’s Cookbook and The First Timer’s Bakebook. His work has been recognized nationwide as well as being a regular contributor to numerous food service publications and outlets and is the recipient of numerous awards-most recently the 2015 Culinary Educator of the Year through the local American Culinary Federation’s chapter-Beehive State Chef’s Association.

He the owner of multiple food service businesses and currently the host of the Business Chef Podcast.


  1. john on 03/06/2009 at 4:41 PM

    Yay, Tofu! I’d be glad to see your take on tempeh and seitan, also.

  2. Andrew on 09/28/2009 at 10:13 AM

    Tofu is not a protein substitute. And tofu is not necessarily bland. I understand that it’s a commonly misunderstood ingredient in many Western cultures, but to say so is to not give it any credit. Real tofu made with care is delicious and complex. It’s not some throaway for vegetarians. Artisan tofu is a centuries-old artform in Japan, not unlike cheese or wine.

    So yes, you can smother tofu in some sauce. If you do so, it will taste like Teriyaki. But you could do that with absolutely anything. Teriyaki carrots. Teriyaki bread. Teriyaki Rice. A much more interesting recipe would be one that honored and magnified the natural taste of tofu itself. That would be one I’d be interested in.

  3. michele on 10/06/2009 at 1:00 AM

    andrew, do u know of any websites that have recipes with tofu made in such a way?

  4. administrative assistant on 12/22/2010 at 10:15 AM

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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