The Ultimate Guide To Preserving And Storing Tofu


Typically, after opening a package of tofu, you may not use the whole package. Or after cooking some tofu you may have leftovers and want to save it for another day. These are just a few examples of wanting to save some for a future meal. Therefore, how do you preserve tofu?

Cooked tofu can be preserved in the refrigerator up to five days or in the freezer up to five months. Unopened tofu can be stored in the refrigerator until the expiration date or in the freezer up to five months. Opened, uncooked tofu can be preserved in the refrigerator for five days or frozen for five months.

As you can see, what kind of storage or for how long changes depending on the situation. This blog post will include every possible scenario and how to store the tofu step by step.

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Disclaimer: Some of links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. How To Preserve Unopened Tofu

I just bought some organic tofu in the supermarket today which prompted me to write this article. The typical tofu package has an expiration date and states to keep refrigerated 1. There are two ways to preserve unopened tofu.

Refrigerate

Keep the unopened tofu in the refrigerator until the expiration date on the package. It’s best not to open the package until you’re ready to use some of the tofu. The opened package exposes the tofu to the outside elements, and a loss of quality will occur.

Freezer

If the expiration date is approaching and you still haven’t opened the tofu, it’s safe to freeze it 2. The unopened tofu will last up to five months.

Tofu Packed in Water

If the tofu is packed in water, the water in the package may expand and break it open exposing the tofu to the air and elements. Therefore, follow these steps:

  • Open the package and remove the tofu from the water.
  • Place the tofu in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. A tightly sealed storage container can also be used.
  • Store the tofu up to five months.

Tofu Packed Without Water

  • Place the unopened tofu package inside the freezer.
  • Store the unopened tofu up to five months.

I frequently add frozen packaged tofu to my smoothies! It’s a wonderful addition and helps increase the protein content. I divide the package into four squares and use one square per smoothie. The secret to an easy smoothie is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload.

The blender I recommend has a 6 blade, multi-tiered blade, check it out and the current price on Amazon, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology.

How to Defrost Unopened Tofu

The best way to defrost unopened tofu is to remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. After one day the cooked tofu should be defrosted throughout.

If you’re in a rush, the frozen tofu can be placed outside on the counter until it’s defrosted.

How Long Should Unopened Tofu Be Left Out?

Unopened tofu shouldn’t be left out on the counter because it requires refrigeration. The tofu should be used by the expiration date or frozen to preserve it longer 3.

easy to make smoothies
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2. How To Preserve Opened, Uncooked Tofu

Since I only use 1/4 of the package for my smoothies, I’m always storing the rest of the block until I use the remainder. Opened tofu can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Refrigerator

  • The opened tofu can remain in the package it came in.
  • Trim off the plastic at the top of the container.
  • Refill the container with enough water to cover the tofu.
  • Tightly seal with plastic and place it in the refrigerator.
  • Change the water every day.
  • Store in the refrigerator up to five days.

A food storage container may be used if not using the original packaging. Fill it with water covering the tofu and tightly seal the top. Change the water every day up to five days.

Freezer

If the opened tofu is unused in five days, you’ll want to freeze it before it turns bad.

  1. Cut the tofu into blocks.
  2. Place the tofu cubes onto a cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  3. Freeze the cubes for two hours.
  4. Place the tofu inside a freezer bag or in an airtight container with a lid.
  5. If using a freezer bag, remove as much excess air as possible.
  6. Write the date on the bag or container used.
  7. Store the baked tofu in small amounts to prevent air from entering. Smaller batches will allow you to defrost only the amount you want to use instead of defrosting all of it at once.
  8. Store the frozen opened tofu up to five months.

How to Defrost Frozen Opened, Uncooked Tofu

The best way to defrost opened, uncooked tofu is to remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. After one day the uncooked tofu should be defrosted throughout.

If you’re in a rush, the frozen tofu can be placed outside on the counter until it’s defrosted 4.

How Long Should Opened, Uncooked Tofu Be Left Out?

Opened, uncooked tofu shouldn’t be left out on the counter because it requires refrigeration. The tofu should be used by the expiration date or frozen to preserve it longer.

How To Preserve Opened Tofu Without a Fridge

To preserve opened tofu without a fridge it has to be soaked in a brine.

  • Drain the liquid from the tofu.
  • Fill a glass jar with 1/2 liter of water.
  • Add three tablespoons of salt into the water and mix it well.
  • Add the tofu into the salt water mixture and make sure the tofu is covered with the water.
  • Seal the jar.
  • Store the jar in the cabinet or on the counter away from sunlight or heat.
  • Store for 1-2 days.

3. How To Preserve Cooked Tofu

You’ve just finished a wonderful meal containing tofu but couldn’t eat the rest of it. It would be a waste to throw out such a healthy and tasty dish, why not save it for another day? There are two ways this can be accomplished.

Refrigerator

Because tofu is such an absorbent food, it’s important to be stored correctly after it’s cooked. This way it doesn’t absorb any moisture, lose its baked, crisp goodness or take on any unwanted flavors.

When storing baked tofu in your fridge correctly, you’ll be able to use it up to five days after it was cooked. The best way to ensure it stays firm and doesn’t return to being moist is by taking the following steps:

  • Allow the cooked tofu to completely cool down. Therefore, no steam will be released into the container.
  • Let it cool down in the pan or on a towel.
  • Place the leftover cooked tofu into an airtight container.
  • Store it in the refrigerator up to five days.

If you know ahead of time you’re going to have extra cooked tofu and it’s served in a sauce, follow this step. Keep the amount of known leftover tofu separate from the sauce. The sauce will turn the tofu soft and squishy instead of staying firm.

Freezer

If you have leftover cooked tofu and you know it won’t be used in five days, it’s best to preserve it by freezing it. As long as the cooked tofu is stored properly, it will last for five months 5. After five months the texture and flavor might deteriorate 6.

To freeze cooked tofu follow these 6 steps:

  1. Allow the tofu to cool down before placing it in a container.
  2. Place the cooled tofu inside a freezer bag or in an airtight container with a lid.
  3. If using a freezer bag, remove as much excess air as possible.
  4. Write the date on the bag or container used.
  5. Store the baked tofu in small amounts to prevent air from entering. Smaller batches will allow you to defrost only the amount you want to use instead of defrosting the entire dish at once.
  6. Store the frozen cooked tofu up to five months.

The best way to remove the air from a freezer bag is using a vacuum sealer. If you don’t have one, you can close the bag almost all the way by inserting a straw and sucking out the remaining air.

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When the tofu is frozen, ice crystals may form. This may affect the color, texture and may change the taste a little. Check it before you eat it to see if you’ll enjoy the flavor and texture once defrosted.

Baked tofu can only be stored once. Do not re-freeze it after defrosting. Speaking of defrosting, keep reading the next section to learn how to do it properly.

How to Defrost Frozen Cooked Tofu

The best way to defrost cooked tofu is to remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. After one day the cooked tofu should be defrosted throughout.

If you’re in a rush, the frozen tofu can be placed outside on the counter until it’s defrosted.

How Long Can Cooked Tofu Be Left Out?

Cooked tofu should be left out for no longer than two hours. Leaving it out for longer than two hours increases the risk of bacteria forming. The cooked tofu can be stored in the refrigerator for five days or frozen up to five months.

Tofu Preservation FAQs

How and Where is Tofu Stored in the Supermarket? Tofu is stored in a refrigerated cold case in or near the produce section of the store. The tofu is stored in sealed plastic packaging. Some are packed in water. Some are not packed in water.

How to tell if tofu is bad? Tofu is bad when:

  • It smells bad.
  • There is mold growing on it.
  • The water is curled.
  • It is past the expiration date.
  • It tastes bitter and unusual.

If in doubt, throw it out.

Can You Freeze Tofu Scramble? Tofu scramble can be frozen in an airtight container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to five months.

Tofu scramble is a one-pan fried dish made from crumbled tofu and any other ingredients to your liking.

As a rule, the tofu used in the dish can be frozen, but the other ingredients which have been added may not freeze well. If this is the case, the dish may have to be refrigerated in an airtight container instead of frozen.

Keto Diet Tip: Tofu a great choice for a low-carb diet. It contains less carbs than protein and healthy fat. One of the biggest reasons for failing a Keto diet is not having a plan. Simply follow this plan for only 28 days, The 28-Day Keto Challenge and you can Succeed!

Read Next – More Food Storage Articles For You!

The Complete Guide To Storing Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This How To Store Baked Tofu

How To Freeze Tofu After Cooking It

6 Cheeses That Can Left Unrefrigerated

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Wikipedia: Tofu[]
  2. Oregon State University: Should we eat expired tofu?[]
  3. Rogel Cancer Center: Information About Tofu[]
  4. Colorado State University: Food Storage for Safety and Quality[]
  5. The University of Georgia: Food Storage for Safety and Quality[]
  6. Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center Of Excellence: Tofu[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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