Dinner

February 15, 2022

How to Cook Frozen Tofu

If you think you're not a tofu lover, it may just be that you haven't tried a recipe you like. And if you try this method and still don't like it - thats OK too ;) But the trick to making seriously crispy tofu with the perfect texture is to cook tofu from frozen. By doing this, you'll get a far superior taste and texture that I think you'll love. Frozen tofu just tastes better, and I'm going to show you why!

frozen tofu

Why Freeze Your Tofu

  • It changes the texture of the tofu (think chewier and spongier)
  • It's easy to do - just toss the whole thing in your freezer
  • Saves you from tossing out expired tofu that you forgot about in your fridge
  • Results in a firmer tofu so that it holds up better in your meal (no more broken tofu cubes that can't withstand gentle tossing in spices before cooking)
  • Tastes SO good!

The Texture of Frozen Tofu

How exactly does freezing tofu affect the texture?

Well, if you've ever had tofu at a Chinese restaurant, chances are you've experienced this texture. It's spongy which allows the tofu to soak up more sauce (and the sauce is where it's at). It also has more of a chewy texture that is more meat like.

Cooks Illustrated has tested this method and much prefers it, and as they state: 

"Tofu is about 86 percent water; as it freezes, the ice crystals expand, pushing apart the protein network. When thawed, the water drains away, leaving the tofu with a spongy consistency that is highly absorbent....And because the thawed tofu contained so little water, it formed a nice crust when deep-fried."

frozen tofu

How to Freeze Tofu

In order to make frozen tofu, you have to freeze your tofu first (duh, lol). All you need to do is place the block of tofu (in its package) in the freezer overnight (or longer), but overnight at a minimum.

You will notice that when you remove the tofu from the package that the colour changes. This is completely normal.

How to Cook Perfect Frozen Tofu

Once you've frozen the tofu and you're ready to cook it, simply remove it from the packaging.

block of frozen tofu

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, gently slip in the tofu to the pot and boil (reduce the heat to a simmer) for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through. I find this method from Serious Eats results in the easiest way to make tofu personally (rather than having to then thaw and press your tofu after it's been frozen).

Remove the tofu and place it on a cutting board. Let it cool slightly before slicing. And then slice into cubes.

cubed tofu

Add the cubed tofu to a large bowl and add the other ingredients (arrowroot, spices and oil) and gently toss to combine.

tofu in bowl with spices

Preheat the oven to 400℉.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Once hot, add some oil to the pan and then pour in the tofu. Cook on one side until browned and crispy (about four to five minutes). Remove from the heat and flip the pieces over.

frozen tofu

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until crispy all over and cooked through.

frozen tofu

What to Serve with Your Tofu:

This is a fairly basic method of making crispy tofu, so I encourage you to spice it up and serve it with a delicious sauce, with rice (or another grain) and veggies.

My personal favourite is a spicy peanut sauce, but the options are endless.

frozen tofu

How to Cook Frozen Tofu

Since I started freezing my tofu, this is the only way I prep it now. Frozen tofu has the best texture and I'm showing you how to make it so that it's crispy and delicious.

Prep:
5
min
cook:
35
min
total:
40
min
servings:
4
Author:

Jaclyn

Ingredients
  • 16 ozs. extra firm tofu (frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nanami Togarashi (optional)
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil, divided
Instructions
  1. Place tofu (in its package) in the freezer overnight.
  2. Remove the tofu from the freezer and remove the packaging.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently slip the tofu in the boiling water for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the tofu and let it cool before slicing.
  4. Once the tofu has cooled, cut into cubes and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the arrowroot, tamari, salt, togarashi and half of the avocado oil to the bowl and toss gently to combine.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  7. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and drizzle in the remaining oil. Once hot, add the tofu to the skillet and let it brown on one side before flipping, about four to five minutes. Once all pieces are flipped, transfer to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until crispy.

Notes

This is a basic recipe for making frozen tofu. Feel free to add different spices to the tofu mixture when tossing, and a sauce on top is a great idea!

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