Do You Need to Press Silken Tofu?

Does the advice to press, drain, and dehydrate block tofu apply to silken tofu? Ever felt like a fool for not knowing? Learn about the dangers of pressing silken tofu and what to do about it.

Silken tofu on a dark green plate with cast iron pan in the backgroundPin

What is silken tofu?

As a quick refresher, silken tofu is made with a coagulant which produces a jelly-like texture. In contrast to the traditional style of tofu, also known as “regular” tofu or “brick tofu”, silken tofu does not have holes visible to the naked eye.

Silken tofu on a dark green plate to show silken tofu texturePin

Think of it more like a ball of fresh mozzarella rather than a block of feta that has holes and crumbles easily.

Let’s learn why you don’t need to press silken tofu in this article and how this is one of its greatest advantages.

RELATED: Read more about silken tofu in the post Silken Tofu vs. Soft Tofu: What’s the Difference?

Why do people ask whether you should press silken tofu?

I read a lot of tofu preparation advice that recommends pressing tofu to get excess water out. There are many techniques to press tofu, including salting the tofu and placing it between two sheets of paper towels to absorb the water. Some advice includes putting heavy books or pots and pans on the tofu to further squeeze it.

2 heavy books pressing silken and regular tofu cubesPinPin
Foreshadowing: the tofu on the left didn’t end up faring very well from the pressing

The rationale behind pressing tofu is that excess water:

  1. makes it harder for the tofu to absorb marinades and sauces
  2. makes it harder to fry the tofu to a crisp
  3. makes baking tofu take longer because of the extra moisture

However, the advice to press tofu rarely tells you whether the recommendation applies only to “regular”/brick/traditional tofu or whether silken tofu should also be pressed.

Should silken tofu be pressed?

What would happen if you squished a block of jelly/jello?

Imagine the same happening to silken tofu. Actually, no need to imagine. I did the hard work for you. Let’s dive in to see what happens when you press silken tofu.

What happens if you try to press silken tofu?

Step 1: 2 samples of tofu – 1 cube of silken tofu and 1 cube of regular firm tofu

A cube of silken tofu and regular firm tofu side by side on a cutting boardPin

Step 2: A sheet of paper towel for absorbing the liquid

A cube of silken tofu and regular firm tofu side by side with a piece of paper towel on topPin

Step 3: Press with heavy books

2 heavy books pressing silken and regular tofu cubesPinPin

Step 4: Observe the changes

A cube of silken tofu and regular firm tofu side by side showing results after pressingPin
Both cubes got a bit squished

After reshaping the tofu with some gentle pushing, the regular tofu resumes its original shape albeit with imperfections. The silken tofu is unsalvageable.

A cube of silken tofu and regular firm tofu side by side showing results after reshapingPin

Silken tofu turns into a squished mess when you press it. It didn’t crumble gracefully as the regular tofu did.

You can use the regular tofu to stir fry or bake it. Even though it got a bit crushed, it would still hold its shape fairly well.

On the other hand, the silken tofu is broken into segments which makes it harder to pick up and eat. It’s probably only good for smoothies or baking where you would blend the silken tofu further.

RELATED: How to Drain Silken Tofu

A cube of silken tofu and regular firm tofu side by side showing results after reshaping from a 45-degree anglePin

Conclusion: There’s no need to press silken tofu. It actually hurts the tofu.

But there may still be recipes that call for draining or dehydrating silken tofu to remove excess moisture. How do you deal with silken tofu in this case?

Check out the article How to Drain Silken Tofu to learn how to get rid of excess water from your silken tofu that might ruin you dish.

How long can you keep silken tofu once opened?

Store the unused silken tofu in the fridge. Cover it with a plate (eco-friendlier) if it came in a plastic box. If it came in a carton, you can put it in a container to avoid drying out the tofu. You don’t want it to develop a crust that ruins the texture.

Andrea Nguyen, in an interview with The Kitchn, suggests you should use silken tofu within a day or two.

I will leave some silken tofu in the fridge and let you know at what point it becomes too gross or dried to use. Update coming soon.

Has this post changed the way you use silken tofu? Leave a comment to let me know.

READ NEXT: How to Drain Silken Tofu and Which Recipes Need It

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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".

4 thoughts on “Do You Need to Press Silken Tofu?”

  1. A partial block of opened silken tofu was overlooked in the refrigerator
    for 4 days ( it had been drained & covered initially with filtered water in a loaded container). Must it be discarded?! There is no discoloration & no signs of mold. Oh my! do I hate to have to throw it away!

    • Hi Marti,
      If I were you, I would use my eyes and nose to determine whether the silken tofu has gone bad. Do you smell anything that seems off? Sour? Can you see signs of mold? Does the tofu feel sticky or slimy on the surface where you touch it? You know the saying: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

      That said, it’s only been 4 days in the fridge. If it doesn’t have signs of spoilage, I’d be inclined to eat it. However, I would cook it thoroughly by boiling it in soup or making a dish like mapo tofu. I wouldn’t eat it raw like in a cold dish or in a smoothie, just in case.

    • Hi Helen,
      No the tofu is not rotten. It is simply pressed. I used tofu in an unopened package straight from the fridge for the recipe. Hope that helps.


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