You will not believe how easy it is to make your own homemade tofu, and once you do you will never go back to store bought tofu! There are so many advantages to making your own tofu at home, not the least of which is that fresh, homemade tofu tastes oh-my-god so much better than store bought tofu (even that pricey, high end tofu!). That’s a great reason, but there is also that you know exactly what is going into it, and that you don’t have to worry about tofu in the fridge expiring or taking up fridge space, because you can just whip up a batch of tofu from shelf-stable ingredients that you almost certainly already have, whenever you need it!
All you need to make this incredibly easy homemade tofu is soy milk and vinegar. That’s it! It’s so easy! And it’s even easier if you have an Instant Pot, although you don’t have to have one to make this recipe (directions for both Instant Pot and stove top are included).
You will want something through which to strain the tofu (fine cheesecloth is ideal, but you can even use a clean bandana or a piece of a clean, unwanted t-shirt – in the recipe we will be calling it “cheesecloth”), and something to line with the cheesecloth such as a colander or a big strainer. You will also want something with which to press your tofu. We now have this tofu mold and press, which we love, but you can use whatever you want or have on hand. You can mold it in a small strainer over a bowl, and you can even press your tofu by simply laying it on a plate lined with a thick pad of paper towels, and putting another plate on top of it and weighing it down with a couple of cans of food or a couple of books (remember those?)
Ready? Here we go!
Recipe for How to Make Tofu at Home
Assemble your straining and pressing items.
1 to 2 quarts of organic soymilk (make sure the only ingredients are soybeans and water, we use WestSoy or EdenSoy). The directions and amount of vinegar are the same whether you are doing one or two quarts – 2 quarts will yield a good-sized block of tofu; 1 quart will yield about half of what you get in a package of tofu in the refrigerator section at the store. The block pictured in water, and in the Clove-Studded 5-Spice tofu roast pictures, is from 2 quarts of soy milk.
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
If using an Instant Pot:
Pour the soy milk into the Instant Pot, lock on the lid, and set for 0 minutes (yes, that’s really a thing, it means it will come to pressure and then shut off). Let it natural pressure release (NPR), and remove the lid – do not turn the Instant Pot off (so it has now switched over to Keep Warm).
If using the stove:
Pour the soy milk into a saucepan, and heat it until it just starts to simmer, and then turn the heat down to low.
The rest of the directions apply whether you used an Instant Pot or stove
Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the soy milk, and stir slowly for several seconds, first in one direction, then in the other, do a couple of figure 8s or Zs. The purpose is to have the vinegar evenly distributed, but gently.
Now, turn off the heat (if in an Instant Pot turn it off) and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Your soy milk is now curdled. (If your soy milk has not curdled, gently warm it and add another tablespoon of vinegar, stir it, and give it another 15 minutes.)
Curdled Soy Milk
Line a colander or strainer with the cheesecloth and pour the soy milk through the cheesecloth. Be sure you have a large bowl below to catch the whey (or do it in the sink).
Gather up the edges of your cheesecloth (be careful, it’s hot! That’s why I have on rubber gloves (don’t you love my purple rubber gloves? :~) ), and gently squeeze as much water as you can out of it.
If you have a tofu mold/press, now is the time to put your tofu into it, still in the cheesecloth!
If you don’t have a mold press, put it (again, still in the cheesecloth) in a small strainer over a bowl.
Let your tofu hang out, solidifying in its cheesecloth cocoon, for a couple of hours. Your delicious tofu is now ready to eat!
If you want your tofu to be firmed up, this is the time to press it (the tofu mold/press we use does molding and pressing at the same time). If you don’t have a tofu press, then use the “sandwiched between two plates on top of paper towels and with a weight on the top plate” method.
After pressing it for a half hour or so it will be somewhat firmer. To make it firmer still plunge it into an ice water bath (I don’t know why it works, but it does) and store it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
If you want it really firm, get some nigari for next time, and use that instead of vinegar – use 1 teaspoon nigari flakes diluted into a half-cup of warm water.
Also, always store any leftover tofu in your refrigerator, in water.
Your homemade tofu is going to be amazing! Here are some things that we have done with our homemade tofu:
Baked Marinated Tofu
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Clove-Studded 5-Spice Tofu Roast
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