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.

My name is Rhyan. I’m a registered dietitian and a well-seasoned vegan who wants to teach you how to make tofu taste good. Don’t just take my word for it; 32 other vegans have given their advice on making tofu taste good and not gloppy, bloppy, and bland. 

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

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. Tofu is a plant-based protein made from coagulated soy milk pressed into solid blocks.

There are many different types of tofu to choose from, all used for different purposes in cooking. If you are looking to try tofu for the first time, most vegans, including myself, recommend starting with extra firm or super firm tofu.  

Survey says, 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 way to describe tofu is it 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. You can easily add flavor with a marinade or seasoning, which is highly recommended.

Vegan pro tip: Like animal-based proteins, plant-based proteins need flavor and seasoning. You likely wouldn’t eat meat unseasoned; the same goes for plant-based proteins like tofu. Here are some delicious recipes with tofu: 

High Iron Smoothie | Phoenix Vegan Dietitian

A high iron smoothie that uses silken tofu to help you meet your iron needs.

Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chinese Curry Recipe | One Pot Wellness

An easy and nutritious tofu curry that takes less than 30 minutes to make and uses extra firm tofu.

Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheese | Thyme to Go Vegan

This high-protein spread is perfect for your morning breakfast and uses extra firm tofu.

Easy Vegan Pesto Lasagna Rolls with Tofu Ricotta |   Bites With Blair

It’s a comfort classic that’s fun to make and uses extra firm tofu for the vegan ricotta.

Orange Tahini Grilled Tofu | Melissa Traub

A summer citrus-flavored grilled option when using extra firm tofu.

Survey says, 87.5% of participants enjoy the taste of tofu.

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

How Vegans Describe The Taste of Tofu

“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 you put with it. If you want to skip the pressing step, buy a super firm option. 

How To Marinate Tofu

A marinade can add a good amount of flavor to tofu. These are sauces made of oil, vinegar, spices, and herbs. Each marinade can provide different flavors, for example; 

  • Mediterranean: lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, yellow mustard, oregano, coriander, mint, parsley. 
  • Mexican: lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, onion powder, olive oil. 
  • Asian: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, orange juice.

Once the marinade is made, the pressed tofu is added to the sauce and sits in the sauce for a few hours in the fridge to enhance the flavor before cooking.

What is The Texture of Tofu?

The texture of tofu varies depending on the type of tofu you eat.

  • Silken: is very soft and almost melts in your mouth.
  • Firm: holds its shape better and has a slightly springy consistency.
  • Extra Firm: is more dense, chewy, and “meat-like” than the other varieties and is solid yet slightly soft.
  • Super Firm: It has a much firmer texture, more chewiness, and resistance to the pressure of your bite. It holds up very well when grilling.

90% of survey participants enjoy the texture of tofu, which they describe as soft, chewy, and spongey. Some compare raw tofu to cheese, which is 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.

Tofu’s texture can change depending on how it’s prepared. The firmer the tofu is, the chewier the texture.

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 surveyed who didn’t like tofu was that it is bland when unseasoned, and it can be tricky to add enough flavor while cooking. However, you’re in for a real treat once you learn to cook it!

As a registered dietitian, I can help you follow a plant-based diet in a satisfying and nourishing way so you can worry about the animals and Earth, not your health! Schedule a nutrition call.

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