Freezing Tofu

Fresh tofu in any form can be frozen. Once frozen, fresh tofu changes from white to pale yellow. Thawed, it has a sponge-like texture.

To freeze: Drain, place in a freezer bag. Label, date and freeze. Allow to freeze at least 24 hours before using. Will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I like to cut the 1-pound block of tofu into 4 pieces, put each piece in a fold top sandwich bag, return bagged tofu to the container. Put container in a freezer bag, date, label and freeze. This allows me to use the number of pieces I need without having to thaw the whole block.

To thaw:
Overnight in the refrigerator
Immerse in very hot (or boiling) water until thawed, 15 or more minutes depending on the thickness of the frozen tofu
In the microwave using defrost cycle

To use: Gentle press out excess water and use as directed in recipes.
Slice, dice, coarsely chop or crumble
Marinate and use in stir-fry alone or combine with meat, poultry or seafood
Add to soup or stew, marinated or unmarinated
Substitute for part of the ground beef when making meat sauce

Frozen Tofu Fried Rice

From “My Students’ Favorite Chinese Recipes updated edition” by Norma Chang

4 cups cooked brown or white rice
8 – 12 ounces frozen tofu, thawed, squeeze out excess water, crumble or chop coarsely
3 eggs lightly beaten and scrambled
¾ cups frozen green soy beans (edamame), thawed (or fresh, see NOTE 1)
1 carrot, diced or coarsely chopped
2 – 4 dried Chinese (shiitake) mushrooms. Soaked in water at least 30 minutes to soften. Squeeze out excess water, discard stems, coarsely chop caps
¼  cup chopped onion
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons dark or mushroom soy sauce (see NOTE 2)
2 – 3 tablespoons oil
1 – 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 – 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 – 3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds or sesame seeds

1. Add 1 tablespoon oil to preheated wok or frying pan. Add soy beans, carrots and mushrooms. Stir-fry until mushrooms are fragrant. Remove to a clean plate.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to wok or frying pan. Add onion stir-fry until onion is lightly browned, add garlic, frozen tofu and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Stir-fry until tofu is browned.
3. Add salt and rice. Stir-fry until rice is heated through. Add remaining soy sauce to taste, stir-fry until rice is evenly coated with soy sauce.
4. Add vegetables, scallion, scrambled eggs and sesame oil. Stir-fry until everything is heated through. Stir in dried cranberries and nuts/sesame seeds. Adjust taste. Serve hot.

NOTE 1: If using fresh soy beans, stir fry until mushrooms are fragrant and soy beans are cooked.
NOTE 2: Substitute gluten free soy sauce for a GF version.

VARIATIONS: Vegan Frozen Tofu Fried Rice
For a vegan version, leave out the eggs.

Left to right: green soy beans in pod, shelled green soy beans (edamame), soaked Chinese (shiitake) mushrooms, dried Chinese (shiitake) mushrooms

Copyright © by Norma Chang

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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23 Responses to Freezing Tofu

  1. I like the spongy texture of previously frozen tofu!

  2. Robin says:

    The Fried Rice recipe sounds wonderful! What a nice combination of flavors!

  3. leduesorelle says:

    We make Ma-Po tofu with local pork and tofu often and I was just wondering about keeping some in the freezer as part of my winter pantry staples — thanks for posting about this!

  4. Thanks for the tip Norma – I’ve never tried to freeze Tofu before and love to cook with it!

  5. Joanne says:

    I wholeheartedly believe that you could convert any non-tofu lover by serving them previously frozen tofu. Love the texture and this recipe!

  6. Lrong says:

    The stores in Japan sell the frozen tofu… I like the taste of it too…

  7. That frozen tofu fried rice does look delicious! We will have to give it a go and see if it could win over my picky eater. I learned about freezing tofu when my son started eating solid foods because I made all of his food homemade and he *used* to love it. I hope the appeal is still there!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Heather and Melissa,
      Let me know if your picky eater love the frozen tofu fried rice. How about garnishing it with your kale chips????? There’s an eating trick.

  8. mac says:

    I like frozen tofu in hotpots.

  9. Sure looks delish. And I love tofu! 🙂

  10. erik says:

    suppose you freeze it without the watter pressed out of it. I did it and now it’s kind of brown. Can one eat it like that?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Erik,
      I freeze the fresh tofu without squeezing out the water (it is not possible). Once frozen the color changes. Once thawed you squeeze out the water and use as per recipe.

  11. I never thought of adding frozen tofu to dishes! I love the idea of this and it sounds nice & easy. Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. Pingback: GBOTW: Freezing Tofu + Sprouting Beans from Garden to Wok

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