Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or just someone who clearly enjoys tofu, you’re going to have some baked tofu. After you’ve finished with your wonderful meal, what do you do with the leftovers? It would be a shame to throw it out making you wonder, how do you store baked tofu?
The best way to store baked tofu is to place it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Ensure it has cooled off to room temperature before placing it in the container to avoid condensation. Baked tofu can last up to five days in the refrigerator.
Let’s have a look at how to store baked tofu in the fridge in complete detail. In addition, I’ll inform you of alternative options besides the fridge, like freezing. I’ll answer some crucial questions about using tofu straight from the package and what to do with the water.
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How To Store Baked Tofu
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:
1. Allow the tofu to fully cool down completely before putting it in a container. Leave the tofu in the pan or on a piece of kitchen towel after it’s been cooked. This will ensure no steam is released and trapped in the container with the tofu.
This would cause condensation, and water would drip down onto the tofu. The tofu would get wet and absorb the water causing it to lose its firm texture 1.
2. If you know ahead of time you’re going to have left over tofu, follow this step. If you’re having sauce with the tofu, keep it separate rather than cooking the tofu in the sauce. If the tofu is stored with the sauce, it will immediately return to a soft and squishy tofu and will no longer stay firm and chewy.
How To Freeze Tofu After Cooking It
Freezing excess tofu is a wonderful way to store it for later use beyond the five days it would stay fresh in the refrigerator. It would be a shame to have to throw some of the tofu away, therefore freezing it is an ideal way to save it.
Try these simple strategies to freeze tofu after cooking it:
- Allow the tofu to cool down before placing it in a container.
- Make sure the tofu inside a freezer bag or in am airtight container with a lid.
- If using a freezer bag, remove as much excess air as possible.
- Write the date on the bag or container used.
- 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.
- Store the frozen tofu up until 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, insert a straw and suck out the remaining air.
A vacuum sealer is one of those items you’d wonder how you did without one prior to purchasing it. They sell some nice, affordable ones on Amazon. Check them out by clicking here, vacuum sealers.
When frozen, ice crystals may form on the tofu. 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. I discuss in more detail how tofu changes once it’s froze in my blog post, How To Freeze Tofu After Cooking It.
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 Freeze Packaged Tofu
If you have an unopened package of tofu bought in the store and the expiration date is approaching, you may want to freeze it 4. You can place the unopened package as it is into the freezer. Like cooked tofu, freeze it for up to five months.
I frequently add 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.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Tofu?
If your tofu has been frozen correctly, then thawing should be a breeze! This is how to thaw frozen tofu:
- A frozen block of tofu can be defrosted by placing the container in a pan of hot water.
- Another option is running warm water over the tofu to defrost it quicker.
- A ready-made baked tofu dish can be defrosted by simply leaving it on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator to thaw slowly for one day.
- A frozen package of tofu can be defrosted the same way.
How Long Baked Or Cooked Tofu Can Sit Out
Cooked tofu can site out at room temperature for no longer than two hours to avoid risk of bacteria forming. The cooked tofu can be placed into an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator up to five days or in the freezer up to six months.
Fresh tofu, if purchased in a sealed package, cannot be left out because it needs to be refrigerated 5. Use the tofu by the date listed on the package. If not, you can freeze the package and remove it when you’re ready to eat to cook it.
Can You Freeze Tofu Scramble?
Tofu scramble can be frozen. It should be placed into an airtight container and stored in the freezer for up to six 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.
Can You Keep Tofu In The Fridge Without Water?
Store bought, packaged tofu cannot be kept in the fridge without water. If the package is opened, keep the remaining tofu covered in water. The water should be changed daily to maintain its freshness.
If you purchased the tofu from the refrigerator section of your supermarket, it would need to be kept cool in the refrigerator. Do not keep it on the counter and use it by the date on the package.
The reason for covering uncooked tofu in water is because tofu is a protein and can be contaminated by food-borne germs. Therefore, by covering it with water keeps it safe from germs.
However, tofu that has been flavored and cooked can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. There is no need to cover it with water.
Can You Eat Cooked Tofu Cold?
Cooked tofu can be eaten cold and doesn’t have to be reheated. If the cooked tofu was stored correctly in the refrigerator or freezer, it can be eaten cold.
Of course, this depends on the added ingredients. Other ingredients could spoil much quicker than the tofu, so plan accordingly. If necessary, store the tofu separately from the rest of the dish.
Baked or even fried tofu should be good enough to eat for up to 5 days if kept in the refrigerator. They can be eaten cold as well as re-heated, which would taste more appealing but the choice is yours.
How To Know If Your Stored Tofu Is Bad
If you bought your tofu in the store, pay attention to the date on the package. For opened or cooked tofu, a 4 to 5 day storage period should be the rule. If the food is past or near its best-by date, inspect it first before you throw it away. Following the below checks should help you to decide whether it’s edible or not. This applies to both uncooked and cooked tofu dishes:
- How does it smell? – If the tofu smells bad, it’s bad. Don’t eat it!
- How does it look? – If it’s watery, curled and has mold growing on it, don’t eat it!
- How does it taste? – If you have got this far and past the other 2 tests, if the tofu tastes bitter and weird, don’t eat it!
Where Is Tofu Stored In The Supermarkets?
Tofu stored in the supermarkets can be found in a refrigerated case in the store. Mostly it’s located in the produce section in a refrigerated case. Other stores have it in a refrigerated case located on the back wall not far from the produce section.
Wrapping Up The Stored Baked Tofu
Storing baked tofu the best way is necessary to prevent it from going bad and becoming inedible. For short-term storage the refrigerator is the best place for up to five days.
For long-term storage, freezing it is the best way to keep it for up to five months 6. Packaged, uncooked tofu should be kept in the refrigerator until the best by date on the package.
All tofu should not be kept at room temperature for longer than a few hours. A bit of preparation and planning will help keep your tofu fresh to be enjoyed when you want it.
Read Next – More Food Storage
- Wikipedia: Tofu
- The University of Georgia: Food Storage for Safety and Quality
- Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center Of Excellence: Tofu
- Oregon State University: Should we eat expired tofu?
- Rogel Cancer Center: Information About Tofu
- Colorado State University: Food Storage for Safety and Quality