As plant-based eating becomes even more popular, eating tofu is on the rise. You might be tempted to try it, but the looming question “What does tofu taste like?” might lurk in your mind before you want to try it. It’s a good question that all new plant-based eaters have had.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to expect with the taste and texture of tofu. To answer such a subjective question, I surveyed 32 vegans to get to the bottom of what tofu tastes like and what its texture is. 

sliced tofu with brown liquid on white ceramic plate
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

What is Tofu?

Tofu is one of the most versatile plant-based protein options available. Its origins come from ancient China, and it has gained widespread popularity worldwide.

It’s a plant-based protein made from soy milk that has been coagulated and pressed into solid blocks. It has a mild flavor and can absorb the taste of other ingredients. Tofu has become a staple in all types of eating patterns. 

There are many different types of tofu to choose from, all used for different purposes in cooking. From this survey, 12.5% of people prefer firm tofu, while 68.8% of people prefer extra firm tofu, and 15.6% prefer super firm tofu. 

Forms response chart. Question title: What is your favorite type of tofu?. Number of responses: 32 responses.

What Does Tofu Taste Like?

The most common answer on my survey is that tofu has a plain, neutral, kind of bland taste when it’s raw and by itself. However, the options are endless when it comes to cooking with tofu because it’s a blank canvas. It is easy to add flavor with a marinade or seasoning, which is highly recommended.

Because tofu is a plant protein, I always suggest cooking or preparing tofu similarly to how you would an animal protein. You wouldn’t eat meat unseasoned; the same goes for plant-based proteins like tofu.  

Out of the participants, 87% reported that they enjoy the taste of tofu, and here’s how they described the flavor of tofu. 

Forms response chart. Question title: Do you like the taste of tofu . Number of responses: 32 responses.

“It has a very neutral flavor but also tastes like soybeans, not like edamame, though a completely different taste. It also tastes wet when raw. When cooked, it can taste like anything put with it.” 

“Very plain if you don’t season it.” 

“I love all the possible flavors of it.”

“It doesn’t really have a taste until you add something to it.”

“Whatever you season or marinate to taste like, hopefully, people are seasoning their tofu.”

“Tofu has no taste. It’s the marinade and seasonings that give it taste.”

“By itself, it is bland with not very much going for it. But seasoned …it is fabulous.”

Enjoying tofu really comes down to preparation. If it’s not prepared correctly, it likely won’t taste good. The key to making tofu taste good is pressing out enough of the water so it can take on the seasoning that you put with it. Or, if you want to skip the pressing step, buy a super firm option. 

Texture of Tofu

The texture of tofu varies depending on the type of tofu you eat. Based on these results, 90% of survey participants enjoy the texture of tofu.

From the survey results, the texture of tofu is described as soft, chewy, and spongey. Some compare raw tofu to cheese, being a little “squeaky,” and when in cube form, it’s similar to a soft cheese like Muenster. 

Forms response chart. Question title: Do you like the texture of tofu?. Number of responses: 32 responses.

Depending on how the tofu is prepared, the texture can change. The firmer the tofu is, the chewier the texture. To create a meat-like tofu, the freezer method (pressing, freezing, thawing, and repeat) is very favorable but takes a bit more time.

Not Liking The Taste of Tofu

It’s okay if you don’t like tofu. Some people don’t like certain foods. If you’ve tried it more than once when it was prepared correctly and still don’t like it, that’s okay! There are so many other plant-based proteins to choose from. 

The most common complaint from those who didn’t like tofu was that it is bland when unseasoned, and it can be tricky to add enough flavor while cooking.

I’m curious! Do you like the taste of tofu? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.

Hopefully, I’ll have some tasty tofu recipes on my food blog, First Time Vegans, soon!

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