How to Drain Silken Tofu and Which Recipes Need It

Even though you shouldn’t press silken tofu, there could still be a benefit to draining it to remove excess moisture, especially if you’re baking with silken tofu, blending it for a smoothie, or topping a salad with silken tofu. Let’s learn how to drain silken tofu.

Silken Tofu Green Onion recipe served on white plates on blue backgroundPin
For a recipe like Silken Tofu With Green Onion, you may want to drain the silken tofu to avoid diluting the sauce.

Silken tofu is tender and prized for its smooth texture. However, this silky, custard-like consistency makes it challenging to prepare. Especially if you’re preparing soft silken tofu, it can be a nightmare to pick up, let alone press and drain. That’s why you can’t press silken tofu. However, you can drain excess water from silken tofu. Read on to learn how.

What Recipes Benefit From Draining Silken Tofu

To be clear, draining silken tofu is optional. Most of the time, I don’t bother draining silken tofu because it’s a waste of time. However, there are some recipes where having excess liquid can harm the taste of the dish or throw off your recipe measurements, such as when you’re baking with silken tofu.

Let’s learn what kinds of recipes might benefit from draining or dehydrating your silken tofu.

RELATED: Check out the post Does Tofu Melt?

Silken Tofu in Soups and Stews

When I’m adding silken tofu to soups or stews, such as egg drop soup or mapo tofu, I skip draining the silken tofu since the tofu will be served with a lot of liquid anyway.

Silken Tofu in Salads and Cold Dishes

Silken tofu is a common ingredient for Chinese cold dishes. There is a myriad of ways to enjoy silken tofu, such as the Silken Tofu With Green Onion and Silken Tofu with Century Egg cold dishes.

Close up look of century egg with soft tofu, green onion, soy sauce, and sesame oil with golden ribbon in backgroundPin
This dish has raw silken tofu with soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. Check out Silken Tofu with Green Onion for the recipe. The century eggs are optional.

Because cold dishes are a great food to make ahead of time, if I don’t plan to eat the dish for 15 minutes or more, then I will cube the silken tofu and allow the excess water to pool in the plate. Just before preparing my salad or cold dish, I will drain the excess water.

However, if I am preparing the cold dish to serve immediately, I skip draining the silken tofu.

Silken Tofu in Smoothies and Baked Foods

Silken tofu is a common egg substitute for vegan baking recipes. Because precise measurements are more important in baking than in cooking, excess water can negatively affect your baking recipe. I would drain the silken tofu if I’m baking with it.

Smoothies come down to personal preference. If you like thick smoothies, you may want to drain. If you don’t care, then throw the tofu in straight and save your time.

Tall blender with glass jar, tofu and frozen berries in the glass jarPin
Adding silken tofu to your smoothie offers a plant-based substitute for milk, yogurt, or ice cream that still gives you a lot of protein.

You can easily drain silken tofu with the following technique.

RELATED: Learn more about silken tofu in the article What Is Silken Tofu?

How to Drain Silken Tofu

Place your silken tofu on a plate and let it sit for a few minutes. The tofu will weep. Once the excess liquid pools on the plate, you can easily pour out the water. If you want to speed it up, you can zap the tofu in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Some cooks recommend patting the tofu with paper towel. You can use the paper towels to gently soak up the excess liquid from the plate. Check out the image below as a guide.

Block of silken tofu with paper towel to drainPin
Use a paper towel to soak up the liquid from the plate to drain silken tofu. Or gently pour out the excess liquid.

I find it a bit wasteful to use paper towels for draining silken tofu. So I often hold the tofu gently on the plate and tilt the plate over the sink to drain the excess water.

Draining silken tofu on a white plate using a paper towelPin
Drain soft silken tofu with a paper towel because it is too delicate to hold while you pour off the water. Firm and extra-firm silken tofu can be drained by tilting the plate with water over the sink.

WARNING: If you want to stir fry tofu or bake it until it’s crispy, you should NOT use silken tofu. Use regular (“block”) tofu instead.

RELATED: Learn why you should NOT press silken tofu.

Do you need to cook silken tofu? 

No. As long as the package of tofu doesn’t have any holes, it should be aseptic. So, you should feel about confident eating the silken tofu straight from the box without getting sick.

The silken tofu’s biggest appeal is that it requires almost no work. Once you prep your ingredients, you simply need to incorporate the silken tofu and soon you have a moist and creamy meal to enjoy.

Vegan smoothie recipes use raw silken tofu as a substitute for milk or yogurt.

I frequently eat raw silken tofu. I like dropping cubes of raw silken tofu into miso soup. I also create a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing and pour it over raw silken tofu as a refreshing summer dish.

Check out these recipes that use silken tofu.

5-Minute Homemade Vegan Miso Soup With Silken Tofu and Seaweed
You'll love this belly-warming miso soup during cold wintery nights. It only takes 5 minutes and you can add any garnishes to tailor it to your tastebuds. Add a dash of sesame oil for extra indulgent miso soup.
Get the Recipe
5-Minute Silken Tofu with Green Onion
This easy vegan recipe using silken tofu is a quick-to-make appetizer. You'll love the silky texture. Bump up the recipe to serve a family by doubling all the ingredients.
Get the Recipe

Anna looking down chopping vegetables
About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

Leave a Comment