13 Different Types of Tofu To Eat

Learn about the different kinds of tofu you can cook with and how to use them in the kitchen.

Tofu is a versatile and nutritious food made from soybeans. It’s a great source of protein and other essential nutrients, making it a popular choice for vegetarian and vegan recipes. 

Fresh tofu in a bowl

Tofu can be employed in an array of recipes, yet did you recognize there are numerous distinct varieties? From silken to extra-firm and even fried or smoked varieties, it’s important to understand the various types of tofu before cooking with them. 

In this article, we’ll explore all the different kinds available so you can make informed decisions when selecting which type best suits your dish.

Types of Tofu

Learn more about how each kind differs and what recipes they work best for.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is a type of soft, custard-like tofu that has a smooth and delicate texture. It is made from coagulated soy milk that is pressed into blocks. 

This tofu can be employed in soups, gravies, seasonings, desserts, and other meals to experience its smooth texture. Because it’s so mild tasting, it absorbs flavors easily allowing you to enjoy various dishes without having too much flavor overpowering the taste buds 

Silken tofu makes an excellent egg replacement when baking muffins or cakes due to its creamy consistency when blended into batters.

Simply blend one cup of silken tofu with two tablespoons of vegetable oil until smooth before adding it to your recipe.

Extra-Firm Tofu

Extra-firm tofu is the dense variety of tofu available on the market today.

It’s a type of tofu that has been pressed to expel as much moisture as possible, resulting in a dense texture and squeaky consistency. 

It can be used in many different dishes, from soups and stir-fries to sandwiches and wraps.

It has been pressed to remove more moisture than any other kind of tofu and it holds its shape better when cooked or cut into cubes for stir fry dishes.

Extra-firm tofu works best when marinated before cooking because it absorbs flavors quickly due to its density.

Fried Tofu

Fried tofu is a popular dish found in many Asian cuisines including Chinese and Japanese food cultures.

The process involves deep frying cubes or slices of firm or extra firm block style tofus until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside while still maintaining their soft interior texture inside.

Fried tofus are often served with dipping sauces such as sweet chili sauce or soy sauce for added flavor enhancement during meals.

Smoked Tofu

Smoked tofu is another popular way to enjoy this versatile ingredient, with smoky flavor notes added through smoking processes such as cold smoking over wood chips or hot smoking over charcoal briquettes at varying temperatures for different lengths of time depending on the desired results.

Block of smoked tofu and two tofu slices

Smoked tofu can be included in a multitude of dishes, from sandwiches to pizzas and wraps, salads to casseroles.

Firm Tofu

Firm (or regular) style block style tofus have slightly less moisture content than extra firm varieties but still,l hold their shape quite well after being cooked.

Sliced block of fresh bean curd (tofu

They make great meat substitutes in vegan dishes since they take up marinades nicely giving them lots of flavor potential which makes them very versatile ingredients indeed.

Medium-Firm Tofu

Medium-firm tofu is a versatile and tasty ingredient that can be used in many dishes.

It has a texture that is firmer than silken or soft tofu, but still tender enough to not crumble apart during cooking. 

Its high water content makes it difficult to crisp up, but its stability allows for gentle simmering without breaking down completely.

This type of tofu is ideal for stews, saucy preparations, and vegan egg alternatives like Tofu Bhurji.

One way to enjoy medium-firm tofu is by topping it with fried garlic, scallions, dried wakame (seaweed), sesame seeds, and soy sauce – an example of the Japanese dish hiyayakko.

Seasoned Tofu

Seasoned tufos come pre-seasoned with various spices & herbs combinations ready for use straight away without having you do any additional seasoning steps yourself.

These products usually come vacuum sealed packages so shelf life won’t be an issue either if stored properly under refrigeration conditions.

Great options when you need something quick & easy yet flavorful enough.

Tofu Puffs

Also known as “tofu balls” these delicious little treats are deep-fried chunks/pieces/puffs made out from mashed up medium-firm styles mixed with starch powder and then shaped into small round shapes before getting dropped into a hot oil bath until the golden brown color is achieved.

Perfect snacks both adults & kids alike love munching away on these tasty bites all day long.

Tofu Skin

Tofu skin is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes.

It forms on top of freshly made soy milk when it is heated, similar to the way a layer of skin forms over heated whole milk. This layer is carefully skimmed off the top and eaten fresh or hung on lines to dry into sheets.

When dried, tofu skin becomes earthy and chewy with a nutty flavor. It’s sold in various shapes including sticks, ribbons, or sheets which can be simmered or soaked to soften them up again before use. 

Dried tofu skin has many uses such as wraps for crisp vegetables and herbs served with peanut dipping sauce; braised in bold sauces; or cooked into dumplings for extra chewiness.

Fermented Tofu

Fermented Tofu is a special type of tofu produced through the fermentation process, which involves inoculating certain strains of beneficial bacteria cultures onto solidified blocks.

This results in distinctive smell and taste characteristics associated with fermented tofu, commonly consumed throughout East Asia regions such as China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Pressed Tofu

Pressed Tofu is a type of tofu that has been produced through the process of pressing out excess liquids from freshly prepared curds.

The pressing process yields a firmer and dense form of tofu that is perfect for different culinary uses, such as grilling, sautéing, steaming, or braising.

No cooking is involved in this process; rather it requires only a simple pressing step to produce pressed tofu items that are consumed on an everyday basis around the world today.

Tofu Pockets

Lastly, let us talk about pocket-styled versions created especially with convenience in mind; hence why they come pre-filled with already prepared fillings ranging from sweet to savory tastes depending upon the manufacturer’s preferences.

Although customers can add their favorite stuffings whenever they wish to achieve desired outcomes themselves easily and quickly as well.

Types of Tofu

  1. Silken Tofu
  2. Extra-Firm Tofu
  3. Fried Tofu
  4. Smoked Tofu
  5. Firm Tofu
  6. Medium-Firm Tofu
  7. Seasoned Tofu
  8. Tofu Puffs
  9. Tofu Skin
  10. Block Tofu 
  11. Fermented Tofu
  12. Pressed Tofu 
  13. Tofu Pockets

What’s Your Favorite Kind of Tofu? 

In Conclusion, Tofu is a food made from soybeans and is a popular choice for vegetarians as it is a great source of protein and other essential nutrients.

Each kind of tofu differs in texture, density, and moisture content, making them suitable for specific dishes. For example, silken tofu is soft and custard-like, making it great for soups and desserts, while extra-firm tofu is denser and can be used in stir-fries and sandwiches.

Fermented tofu has a unique flavor that is perfect for seasoning sauces and dressings, while tofu puffs are ideal for snacking. Tofu skin can be used as a wrap for vegetables and herbs or braised in bold sauces.

Tell us your favorite type of tofu, or learn the difference between tofu and tempeh on our blog!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.