Sep 3
Okay, so you’d like to try out homemade tofu, but you’re not ready to commit to starting from dried soybeans? Well I’ve got a compromise for you. How about starting with soy milk? Most of the work involved in making homemade tofu is making the soy milk. By starting with soy milk you can have fresh homemade tofu in an hour. I still ultimately recommend starting from scratch with dried soybeans, but at least this will give you an idea of why artisanal tofu is so much better than the regular store bought stuff. The method I’ve described below makes approximately 10 ounces of tofu (depending on the coagulant used and how firm you make it). If you want more tofu, just double the recipe.

Before we get started, a few quick notes:
* Store bought soy milk: The better the soy milk, the better the tofu. The problem with store bought soy milk is that you don’t know the brix (the percentage of dissolved solids) in the milk, which will effect firmness and coagulation time. Store bought soy milks also often have added ingredients like oils or sweeteners. So when using store bought soy milk, you are taking a bit of a gamble. Yes, you will still be able to make tofu, but you won’t have the same control over the firmness of your finished product. In addition, it also becomes more expensive.
* Coagulants: In my experimenting I’ve used a variety of coagulants. My personal favorite is tofu made with one of the forms of nigari because it makes a firmer tofu. The other coagulants produce a softer tofu, and tofu produced with lemon juice is a bit tangier. If using a coagulant other than nigari, I suggest pressing it for a bit longer.
* Pressing weights: Although I often use a large can of peaches or something similar as my weight in pressing my tofu, you can also use a ziploc bag filled with dried beans or pie weights.

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Quick and Easy One Hour Tofu

-4 cups soy milk
-Coagulant–choose one of the following:
1) 1 tsp. liquid nigari or
2) 1 1/4 tsp. granular or powdered nigari or
3) 1 tsp. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) or
4) 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed) or
5) 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Measure coagulant into a dry cup. Add 1/2 cup water to coagulant and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

2. Pour milk into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring from time to time (so that the milk doesn’t burn).

3. Reduce heat and simmer soy milk for 3 minutes.

4. Remove the pot from heat. Add half of the coagulant mixture to the soy milk, stirring with a spatula in a whirlpool pattern. After stirring vigorously 5 or 6 times, bring spoon to a halt upright in the soy milk and wait until all turbulence ceases. Then add the remaining coagulant mixture, and this time stir gently in a figure eight pattern. When you notice that the soy milk is beginning to coagulate, cover the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.

5. Line a small colander with a clean tightly woven cotton cloth and set the colander over a bowl that can support it, or in the kitchen sink. 6. Using either a skimmer or a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds (the curds are the solid bits and the liquid is the whey) and transfer them into the cloth-lined colander (or tofu press if you’re using one).
7. Fold the cloth over the top of the coagulated soy milk, and place a weight of about 1 1/2 pounds on top. I like to place something between the tofu and the weight (like a plate) so that the weight is evenly distributed and gives better shaped tofu. Set the bag of weights on top and press down firmly until the liquid draining from the bottom has slowed to a few drops, about 2 minutes.
8. Let the tofu set up for about 15 to 20 minutes.

9. Once the tofu has firmed up as desired, place a large bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. Remove the weight from the tofu, unfold the cloth, and gently transfer the tofu into the bowl of cold water. Gently run cold water from the tap into the bowl for 15 minutes, without letting the water hit the tofu directly.
10. Serve the tofu immediately or store it in fresh cold water in the refrigerator.
This particular batch of tofu was made using apple cider vinegar as a coagulant. You might notice that it is a bit softer looking.

Ok, so now you’ve got tofu. What do you do with it? Tomorrow I’ll share a few simple ideas, as well as some ideas on what to do with okara, the pulp leftover when making soy milk.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie September 4, 2009 at 6:00 am

Oh my, I am impressed! Fantastic! Now, I'm not sure I'll ever try this, but it is inspiring! And I do love good tofu!


Anonymous September 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm



AnOc September 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Great post and great idea. I live in a rural area of Germany and I never got the tofu I really like here. The tofu I found is mainly very rough and has lots of pores, so I will try to make my own, very smooth one (yours all look like the ones I love). Thanks for the instructions!


Fuji Mama September 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Thanks Jamie! :)

AnOc– Oooh, yes, you definitely need to try and make your own! It's guaranteed to be better than what you're describing!


LollyChops September 8, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Man… somehow I missed the entire tofu week extravaganza! Shame on me! This looks doable!


[email protected] September 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm

This is so, so , SO cool! I love that you're doing tofu week! It never even occurred to me to make my own. I've GOT to try this!


liz April 6, 2011 at 4:45 am

where does one get liquid or powdered nigari?


Sharron December 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm

in the vitamin section of your local store under the name of magnesium sulfate


Sharron December 26, 2017 at 7:13 pm

I am so sorry. Magnesium sulfate is Epsom Salt, Magnesium chloride is nigari, but you can find them both in the pharmacy section (the first), or vitamin section (the latter) of the stores.


Indra May 19, 2020 at 3:12 am

Try food grade gypsum (calcium sulfate).
Amazon sells it.


Mary November 25, 2013 at 12:46 am

I tried making it with O Organics soy milk and lemon juice as a coagulant and as of right now it tastes pretty funky…not sure how i feel about this but i want to try again from scratch starting with dry soybeans. Do you think the lemon has any effect on the taste?


Sharron December 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Lemon does not affect the taste nor does vinegar.

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Ejura June 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

My tofu didn’t coagulate at all


LOtta August 23, 2016 at 9:42 am

Same here!!! Even added much more lemon juice, then tried adding some white wine vinegar when I ran out of lemon juice. Don’t know what is the problem. I even used a thermometer when I heated the milk, heated to 71 C as a YT vid said. USed store bought milk…


Sharron December 26, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Try making your own soy milk. It’s an adventure in itself. I’ve had batches to fail for no obvious reason. It just irks me to keep on perfecting my technique. Good luck!


Aega October 4, 2015 at 8:25 am

Like with Ejura, my tofu didnt coagulate. I wont try this recipe again.


Ten Commandments October 29, 2021 at 1:27 pm

I’ve been making tofu for years and the method she is giving here is basically the only one there is. This is the method professionals use, so don’t give up. Just add the coagulant just after the milk was brought to boil or near boiling. If you add it and you don’t see clear liquid coming fairly soon, then you didn’t add enough so add some more. I have never had it not coagulate, so you may have some factor that spoiled it such as a store bought milk with other ingredients getting in the way or a milk that is not concentrated enough. I make the milk by soaking soybeans overnight and then I blend the beans with double the volume in water and then boil it for 30-60 minutes, then strain it, heat it to boil, turn off the heat and add the coagulant, adding more if it doesn’t coagulate fairly quickly, then let it set for at least half an hour, then spoon out the curd for pressing. You will definitely get good results.


karmah April 21, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Do you know which coagulant is best if I wish to make extra firm tofu?


Sharron December 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Nigari which is Magnesium Chloride in the vitamin section of stores.


Indra May 19, 2020 at 3:22 am

Food grade gypsum (calcium sulfate).


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Sonia October 20, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Hi, thanks for great post.

I make fresh tofu daily (have a small tofu business here in TZ as it’s very hard to find in stores) and use bottled lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. My tofu comes out supe super firm and this has really nothing to do with the coagulant but more how it’s added and how it’s pressed.

I boil the freshly made soya milk until it starts boiling vigorously, then turn the heat down only slightly and start to drop in the coagulant with my hand. Very little amounts, everytime it boils up, I splash it in. And I do this while the milk is boiling for another 15 min until.firm curds are formed. I do not stir.

I pick up.the big pieces of curds with a spoon, pour out the excess water and put them in the wooden tofu presses my husband made for me (any draining method will work, even a colander). Then I press the tofu with some heavy weights, about 10-25 kg and I leave it that way for about 10 min.To get rid of the tangy flavour of lemon and/or vinegar, I just soak them in ice cold water for a couple of minutes before cooking/storing in water in the fridge.
This gives me really firm tofu blocks that can be stir fried, I’ve fried etc.

Hope these tips help ;)


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