How-to Press Tofu (overnight in the refrigerator)

Tofu on paper towels

This week we’re adding an exciting new feature to the site where we share a different quick cooking tip every week. This week’s “Kitchen Shortcut” will how you how to press tofu in the fridge overnight so it is ready to cook when you are. If you are new to tofu or want to learn more about the various types of tofu, check out our master class on tofu.

Tofu, particularly firm and extra firm comes in a plastic tub filled with water. This water needs to be drained and then gently pressed out of the tofu before cooking or marinading for best results. Ideally, tofu should be pressed for at least one hour prior to cooking. That is fine when you’ve got time to wait but if you’re cooking tofu on a weeknight. But if you’re cooking tofu during the week, this extra pressing time can really delay eating dinner. We love having fried tofu and tofu stir fries for dinner during the week so this pressing time didn’t work. To help move things along, we came up with a technique to press the tofu in the fridge overnight so it would be pressed and anxiously awaiting our marinades in the morning.

How-to Press Tofu in the Refrigerator

Pressing tofu in the refrigerator isn’t really all that different from pressing for shorting periods on the counter. The major difference is in the amount of towels used to catch the water and the weight of your “tofu press.”

Step 1: Buy a nice block of regular firm or extra firm tofu at the grocery store. We prefer Azumaya brand tofu.

Baking dish lined with towels

Step 2:The night before cooking, open the tofu package and drain the water from the package. Find a plate or small baking dish and line it with about 1-inch of paper towels, kitchen hand towels or a combination of the two. We tend to use kitchen towels because this technique uses so much.

Tofu on paper towels

Step 3: Place your freshly drained block of tofu in the middle of your towel-lined pan.

pressing tofu

Step 4:Place about 1/2-inch worth of towels on top of the tofu. Then, place a smaller baking dish, book or other flat surface squarely on top of the towels. Use a couple cans of vegetables (or left over jambalaya in our case) to press down the tofu. You don’t want a ton of weight here so the 2-3 cans of veggies should be sufficient. It won’t be the end of the day if you use too much weight…your tofu will just be flatter than normal in the morning.

Step 5: Place the pan of tofu in the refrigerator overnight. The following morning, you will have nicely pressed block of tofu awaiting any marinades or sauces you would like to throw on. You can also start pressing the tofu in the morning if you will not be using any marinades and just want a block of pressed tofu waiting for you when you get home at the end of the day.

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