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5 Best Tofu Presses to Give Your Meatless Meals Great Taste and Texture

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Tofu is a versatile, protein-packed food which has been a staple in meatless diets for centuries.

Firm tofu can be baked, fried, grilled, scrambled, steamed, or really cooked any way you want. But first, it must be pressed.

Pressing tofu drains out extra water as it would otherwise prevent the tofu from soaking up flavor and achieving a perfect texture.

If you’ve struggled to find your perfect tofu formula, you need a tofu press.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks

The History of Tofu

Your first introduction to tofu may have been seeing the word “beancurd” on a Chinese restaurant menu as a child. Tofu technically is beancurd, the curd of coagulated soybeans.

It is believed a form of tofu was discovered during the Chinese Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago, but was not popularized until the Song Dynasty, when it also spread to Southeast Asia.

In the meantime, tofu was introduced to Japan during the Nara period by Zen Buddhist monks, who were vegetarian and used it as a meat substitute. The word tofu is Japanese in origin.

The first reference to tofu in English is traced back to a 1770 letter sent by Benjamin Franklin in which he mentioned a “cheese” made from beans. Check out this article from The Smithsonian for more on how Franklin helped bring tofu to America.

Despite positive opinions from a Founding Father, it was not until 1878 when the first tofu company in the United States opened. Tofu is still considerably less popular in the U.S. than Asian countries, but the global market is growing as the demand for plant-based foods rises.

How Tofu is Made

Making tofu begins with soybeans which are soaked and then ground in water. The resulting liquid is boiled, then separated into solid pulp and soy milk.

A coagulant is added to the soy milk to help it curdle, then the curds are pressed to separate the whey from firm tofu. Silken or soft tofu is not pressed. The finished product is chilled in water, then cut into blocks and packaged with water.

For a thorough explanation of the manufacturing process, check out this “How tofu is made” article. If you’re more into videos, here you go:

Because tofu is made with water, chilled in water, and later stored in water, the water content is very high by the time it reaches your refrigerator. This is why pressing your tofu is a necessity.

Pressing Tofu

If you don’t already own a tofu press, chances are you’ve tried an alternate method for draining your tofu.

Some people recommend wrapping the tofu in paper towels, covering it with a plate, and then stacking heavy items on top of the plate. But this method is not the most effective, and it honestly seems a little wasteful.

One alternative is to use cloth towels, which will not only create extra work in the form of laundry but there’s a chance you’ll end up with lint on your tofu—not exactly appetizing!

If you want consistent results every time with minimal effort and waste, the best way to press tofu is with a presser!

In the next section, we’ll go over the differences between types of tofu presses and how to find the one which will work best for you.

How to Choose the Best Tofu Press for You

Price Point

Tofu presses are generally not very expensive, but you’ll still want to pay attention to the price when deciding which one to purchase.

If you don’t eat tofu too often and are just looking for a press to try out, you may want to check out one of the more affordable options on our list.

But if you’ve been pressing tofu for ages and are looking to up your game, pay attention to the higher-end models which offer some unique benefits you may appreciate.

Pressing Mechanism

Clamps, springs, and tension control knobs are a few of the mechanisms different presses utilize to create the pressure to drain your tofu. Others rely more on human force.

Ease of use for many tofu presses will be determined by this pressing mechanism, so be sure to choose one which does not require more effort than you want to give.

Drainage Method

Some tofu presses offer some form of built-in water collection, while others will need to be drained over a dish or kept in the sink.

Though built-in water collection offers an element of convenience, especially if you want to press tofu in the refrigerator for an extended period, the presses which have this feature are often more difficult to clean.

If it’s important to you if your tofu press is self-contained, check out the models on our list with collection trays. But if you don’t mind finding another place for the water to drain, a simpler model may be a better choice.

5 Top Picks for Tofu Presses

Now your introduction to tofu presses is complete, it’s time to check out our list of top picks!

Gourmet Tofu Press and Marinating Dish

Gourmet Tofu Press/Marinating Dish - Clear. TofuXpress removes moisture from tofu and other foods automatically without mess.

Our list begins with the TofuXpress Gourmet Tofu Press and Marinating Dish, a classic model which has been working overtime in plant-powered kitchens for years.

Made from FDA approved thermoplastic, this patented design utilizes a stainless-steel spring as it exerts pressure on tofu once the lid is securely in place.

While draining, water rises to the top and can easily be dumped in the sink. Because the water is contained within the device, this is a great model to use for extended pressing time in the refrigerator.

After your tofu is pressed, the pieces come apart for easy cleanup. TofuXpress says this model is dishwasher safe, but recommends hand washing for longevity.

This Gourmet Tofu Press and Marinating Dish is made in the USA and comes with a one-year limited warranty.

This video from TofuXpress gives a thorough product demonstration:

What We Like

  • Effective self-contained pressing device
  • Also serves as a marinating dish
  • Comes with instruction booklet and recipe guide

What We Don’t Like

  • Higher price than most presses
  • Plastic tabs can break off

YARKOR Tofu Press

YARKOR Tofu Press, Easily Remove Water from Tofu for More Delicious

The YARKOR Tofu Press is a convenient gadget with a built-in water collecting tray.

Like the TofuXpress, the YARKOR Tofu Press utilizes a spring for tension, but this model’s spring is situated underneath the tofu dish.

Tofu goes in a strainer and then placed on top of the spring, which connects to the water collecting tray. The top lid presses down on the tofu, and buckles clip into place to exert pressure.

This self-contained model is easy to take apart and clean after use.

For more information about the YARKOR Tofu Press, check out this unboxing video with on-screen usage instructions:

What We Like

  • Built-in water collecting tray

What We Don’t Like

  • More pieces to clean

TofuPresser Original Simple Tofu Press

The Original Simple Tofu Press by TofuPresser - The Easiest Way to Remove Water From Your Tofu

The TofuPresser Original Simple Tofu Press is a simple but effective model as it utilizes tension control knobs to squeeze tofu between two plastic plates.

Made from BPA-free HDPE plastic and FDA-approved food-grade metals, the Simple Press is the economic model from TofuPresser, who also offers a Super Press model.

By simply placing your tofu between the plates and screwing down the plastic knobs, you can create plenty of pressure to drain away excess water. Just be sure not to screw down too tightly if you want the block to stay intact for chopping into pieces.

This one-piece model is super easy to clean and can even top-rack dishwasher safe. Because it does not have any built-in water collection, it will require an additional plate or dish to hold the drainage.

This Original Simple Tofu Press is made in the USA. TofuPresser offers a 60-day unconditional satisfaction guarantee and a two-year limited warranty.

What We Like

  • Great price point
  • Drains water effectively
  • Super easy to clean

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t be used without something to catch drainage
  • Sometimes needs to be readjusted

that tofu thing Tofu Press

that tofu thing - Tofu Press - Get More Out of Your Tofu with The Most Efficient Tofu Press

Next on our list is that tofu thing, an innovative tofu press with lattice panels which helps drain more quickly and evenly.

A single thumbscrew allows you to easily apply pressure to the tofu, and the lattice panels take care of the rest.

This model does not offer self-contained water collection, but with only 15 minutes needed to press your tofu, it’s easy to keep in the sink or on top of a plate.

It can be washed in the dishwasher, making cleanup a breeze, and it also comes with a storage bag for safekeeping.

Made in England, that tofu thing offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty against breakage with normal use.

What We Like

  • Innovative lattice panels
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Comes with storage bag for safekeeping
  • Dishwasher safe

What We Don’t Like

  • Needs to be drained over the sink

Handy Pantry Plastic Tofu Mold/Press with Cheesecloth

Handy Pantry Plastic Tofu Mold/Press with Cheesecloth - 5'x4'x3' - Makes Over 2 Lbs of Tofu Per Batch - Dishwasher Safe - Reusable

The Handy Pantry Plastic Tofu Mold/Press with Cheesecloth is an affordable convenient tool for making your own tofu or pressing tofu you have purchased.

The simple plastic design consists of a perforated basket and a lid with a plunger for applying pressure to the tofu.

This model also comes with a cheesecloth which can be used during the tofu-making process. Instructions for making your own tofu are not included.

With only two parts made of dishwasher-safe plastic, this tofu press is a breeze to clean.

What We Like

  • Affordable option
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Cheesecloth for tofu making included

What We Don’t Like

  • Water can pool up under the press
  • The lid is smaller than the basket, sometimes causing an uneven press

Top Choice for the Best Tofu Press

that tofu thing - Tofu Press - Get More Out of Your Tofu with The Most Efficient Tofu Press

Each of these tofu presses is an effective, convenient alternative to soggy tofu and paper towel messes. But for its consistent drainage and innovative design, our top pick is that tofu thing!

The makers of that tofu thing were inspired to create a faster, more efficient way to press tofu, and they got the job done. With this device, it should only take 15 minutes to get the perfect press, and that tofu thing removes up to 39% more water than competitors.

All of this is possible because the lattice panels allow water to drain from all six sides of the tofu block with just a few turns of the single thumbscrew.

With normal use, that tofu thing should never break, and comes with a lifetime warranty in case of the unexpected. A handy storage bag is also included.

Whether you go with that tofu thing or try out another press, you’re going to be amazed by how much this improves your kitchen life. Time to get cooking!


Joy Lindsay

Writing, cooking, and compassionate living have always been some of my favorite things, and have become even more important to me since I went vegan. I'm excited about this opportunity to bring these passions together and share them with the VegByte community!

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