17 Vegan Soft Tofu Recipes

Soft tofu, often overlooked in the realm of vegan cooking, is a versatile and wallet-friendly ingredient that deserves a place of honor in every plant-based kitchen. Not only does it serve as a protein-rich ingredient, but its creamy texture and mild flavor make it the perfect canvas for myriad creamy dairy-free creations. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of silken tofu, sharing 17 of our best soft tofu recipes that showcase its game-changing potential.

A grid with four photos: shells and cheese, baked ziti pizza, peanut butter pie, avocado ranch; text reads: 17 creative uses for silken tofu

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In our kitchen, soft tofu is a magic ingredient that transforms ordinary ingredients into extraordinary dishes. 

And while I would not consider soft tofu a sub for regular tofu or extra-firm tofu, it’s still a tremendously versatile ingredient – from creamy pasta sauces to vegan cheese to decadent desserts, the possibilities are endless. 

And the best part? Soft tofu and silken tofu are a great way to replace cashews in many creamy vegan recipes! It’s a far more budget-friendly option, can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, and does not require an expensive blender to get right.

At the end of this post, you’ll be a pro at using soft tofu. Let’s start with some basic soft tofu questions before we hop into the delicious recipes!

What is soft tofu?

Soft tofu, also known as silken tofu, is a high-water variety of tofu with a custard-like texture. 

The high water content and texture are the main difference between soft tofu and more common varieties in the US. Soft silken tofu is commonly used in Asian cuisines, particularly in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese dishes. 

In this post, we’ll be walking you through our more unconventional recipes for silken tofu, but there are many traditional dishes that utilize this ingredient. 

Check out sites like Plant-Based Matters, The Woks of Life, and The Korean Vegan if you’re looking for recipes that are more on the traditional end!

Is silken tofu the same as soft tofu?

While the terms “silken tofu” and “soft tofu” are often used interchangeably, some argue that soft tofu has a slightly firmer texture compared to silken tofu

However, in many recipes, they can be used interchangeably without significant difference in results.

Head on close up shot of a slice of vegan peanut butter pie with a thick fork mark in it.

Soft Tofu vs. Other Tofu Varieties

Understanding the differences between soft tofu and other types of tofu is essential to perfecting your tofu cooking game. 

Here’s a brief overview:

  • Silken Tofu: Silken tofu is not pressed, giving it a creamy and custard-like texture. It’s perfect for smoothies, desserts, and sauces. Though similar to soft tofu, it’s even more delicate.
  • Soft Tofu: Said to have a bit more body than silken tofu but still very tender. 
  • Firm and Extra-Firm Tofu: These types are denser and hold up well to frying, baking, grilling, and stir-frying. They have less moisture and a chewier texture, making them suitable for dishes where tofu needs to retain its shape. Check out our Tofu Chicken Guide for how we use extra firm tofu to replace chicken in our favorite dishes!

What can you use soft tofu for?

There are so many fun uses for this type of tofu that are both traditional and non-traditional!

Some of the traditional dishes you’ll see soft tofu featured in are:

Some of the more unconventional uses for soft tofu we’ll highlight in this post are:

  • Vegan smoothies for creaminess
  • As a base for creamy sauces and dips (instead of cashews) – one of my favorite ways to use it!
  • Creating creamy desserts like eggless custards, puddings, and no-bake pies!
  • Use ¼ cup silken or soft tofu as an egg replacer (for binding) in vegan baking
Make this incredible vegan queso in 5 minutes flat, no cashew-soaking or even a stove top required! It's creamy and flavorful and just begging to be poured (slow-mo-style) over all your nachos, tacos, and basically your entire life. #vegan #queso #superbowl #snack #appetizer #tacotuesday #veganrecipes #oilfree // plantpowercouple.com

Soft Tofu Recipes (Vegan)

Okay, now that we know the basics, let’s get to those vegan silken tofu recipes!

Plant-Based Queso

Dive into a bowl of creamy, cheesy goodness with this dairy-free queso dip, perfect for dipping chips at a party or drizzling over nachos for movie night. This easy recipe is a favorite of ours and our readers!

Creamy Vegan Garlic Sauce

Level-up your pasta dishes or pizza crusts with this luscious creamy garlic sauce, made velvety smooth with the addition of soft tofu and not cashews!

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Pasta

Toss tender pasta with crispy roasted broccoli and a creamy tofu sauce for a wholesome and satisfying meal. It’s kind of like our version of a vegan Alfredo sauce! We had a friend once serve this to a date, and let’s just say the results were very positive!

Vegan Chicken Tetrazzini

Indulge in the classic comfort of chicken tetrazzini, minus the meat and dairy! You won’t even miss them in this vegan tetrazzini. Our silken tofu tetrazzini sauce is so good with a smooth texture and decadent flavor, you’ll be licking it off the spoon! 

Close up overhead photo of a slice of dairy free key lime pie with a bite taken out of it.

Vegan Caesar Dressing

This creamy and tangy vegan Caesar dressing is the salad star at all our dinner parties! Using silken tofu for the dressing makes the process so quick, easy, and low-cost. Everything you want in a crowd-pleasing salad recipe!

Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie

Dive into a slice of tropical paradise with this refreshing and decadent creamy vegan key lime pie, made entirely dairy-free thanks to an ordinary block of silken tofu! This recipe is entirely no-cook too. Just blend up your simple filling, pour it into a pie crust, and chill!

Vegan Peanut Butter Pie

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this absolutely decadent vegan peanut butter pie, boasting a silky smooth filling thanks to soft tofu. Even the staunchest of tofu-doubters will be shocked it’s made with tofu! Another must-try no-bake pie recipe for any time of year.

Creamy Vegan Pesto Lasagna

Layered with vibrant pesto, smoky walnut sausage, mushrooms, and a creamy garlic tofu sauce, this vegan pesto lasagna is a feast for the senses. This is another impressive recipe for date night or a dinner party!

Overhead shot of a vegan cheese pizza, sliced, with a hand pulling one slice out.

Vegan Pizza Mozzarella Sauce

Say goodbye to expensive store-bought dairy-free cheeses with this flavorful vegan mozzarella sauce, crafted from soft tofu, tapioca starch, and refined coconut oil for the perfect melt.

Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese Recipe

Dive into a bowl of nostalgic comfort with this creamy and cheesy vegan mac and cheese, made entirely vegan in under 20 minutes! Silken tofu is blended with flavorful ingredients like nutritional yeast, miso paste, and yellow mustard for a cheesy sauce you have to taste to believe!

Creamy Vegan Spinach Pasta

Add a pop of color and flavor to your pasta night with this light and creamy spinach pasta. The soft tofu pasta sauce with a hint of lemon juice adds just the right amount of creaminess without taking it over the top.

Creamy Vegan Coleslaw

Level-up your vegan coleslaw game with this creamy and tangy version using silken tofu in the dressing! This is my veganization of my Nana’s classic recipe, and it totally takes me back!

Overhead zoomed in photo of a bowl of Taco Bell avocado ranch sauce topped with sliced jalapenos and scallions

Avocado Ranch Sauce

Drizzle this creamy avocado ranch sauce over salads, tacos, or bowls for a burst of flavor and creaminess. Protein-rich silken tofu combines with luxuriously fatty avocado for the perfect base texture!

Vegan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Whip up a batch of healthy vegan mashed potatoes infused with the irresistible flavor of roasted garlic with some extra creaminess thanks to a soft tofu sauce that takes the place of the milk and butter.

Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza with Tofu Mozzarella

Combine two Italian favorites into one delicious dish with this baked ziti pizza featuring the great addition of homemade tofu mozzarella!

Vegan White Pizza

Shake up your pizza nights with our vegan white pizza recipe topped with marinated veggies like sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichokes!

Air Fryer Taquitos with Tofu Queso

Crispy plant-based taquitos filled with carnita-style jackfruit and served with a creamy silken tofu queso for dipping – a perfect appetizer, snack, or savory vegan lunch!

These Dairy Free Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a healthy vegan mashed potato recipe packed with flavor. They are a great plant-based holiday side dish or cozy everyday dinner side. Instead of butter, they use a creamy roasted garlic sauce made with silken tofu that adds extra protein without a ton of fat!

How to Select and Store Soft Tofu

If you are completely new to cooking with soft tofu, you may have some questions about how to even buy it!

Here is our mini silken tofu buying guide to walk you through your first purchase, how to store it, and what to do with leftovers.

When shopping for soft tofu, consider the following tips:

  • Check the Expiration Date: Freshness is crucial with soft and silken tofu. Always check the expiration date on the package to ensure it’s as fresh as possible.
  • Inspect the Packaging: Ensure the package is intact, with no tears or damage. A compromised package can affect the tofu’s quality. Learn from my mistakes!
  • Type of Packaging: Soft tofu is often sold in tubs or vacuum-sealed packages. Tubs are submerged in water and need to be refrigerated, while vacuum-sealed packages can be shelf-stable and stored in a pantry until opened. I find that the vacuum-sealed packages usually provide the best creamy texture because there’s no added water, but either will work in our recipes.

Tips for Storing Soft Tofu

Once you’ve selected and purchased the silken or soft tofu, follow these storage tips to preserve its freshness:

  • Refrigerated Tofu: If your tofu came in a tub, keep it in the refrigerator. Once opened, make sure it’s covered with water. Change the water daily to keep it fresh. Use refrigerated tofu within a week of opening.
  • Shelf-Stable Tofu: Until opened, shelf-stable tofu can be stored in your pantry. After opening, you can transfer any leftovers to a clean container, cover it with water, and refrigerate. Like refrigerated tofu, change the water daily and use within a week.
  • Freezing Soft Tofu: I don’t often recommend freezing soft or silken tofu because it drastically changes the texture. For creamy sauces and dips, I wouldn’t freeze it…unless you don’t mind a cottage cheese type texture to your recipes. 

Tips for Using Leftover Tofu

If you find yourself with leftover soft tofu, here are a few creative ways to use it up:

  • Smoothies: Soft tofu adds creaminess and a protein boost to smoothies without altering the flavor. Blend it with fruits, leafy greens, and your choice of liquid for a protein-packed drink.
  • Creamy Salad Dressing: Puree soft tofu with herbs, spices, and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to create a delicious, creamy salad dressing or sauce for dinner bowls!
  • Soups: Blend some up and add it to your favorite soup to bulk up the protein and creamy texture.
This creamy vegan garlic sauce recipe for pasta or pizza is completely dairy-free and packed with protein! It’s also nut-free (NO cashews!), gluten-free, and includes an oil-free option. It’s easy to make and takes 20 minutes: Just roast your garlic, blend the ingredients, and pour over pasta, pizza, or garlic bread! #vegangarlicsauce #veganpastarecipes #veganpizzarecipes #silkentofu #tofurecipes

Soft Tofu FAQ

Here, we’ll answer some more of the common questions we get about silken and soft tofu! If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments section, so we can make this a more complete resource for future readers.

Should soft tofu be cooked?

While soft tofu can be eaten raw, whether or not you should cook it really depends on the recipe you’re making. If it makes sense, cook it. If not, don’t.

How do you soften soft tofu?

Soft tofu is already soft in texture, but if you need it even softer for a particular recipe, you can gently press it between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Be careful not to press too hard though like you would with extra firm tofu.

Do you rinse soft tofu?

Rinsing soft tofu is optional and depends on the recipe. If you’re using it in a dish where you want to maintain its soft texture, such as in a dessert, you may choose not to rinse it.

Can you freeze soft tofu?

Yes, you can freeze soft tofu to extend its shelf life. However, freezing will change its silky texture, making it firmer and more crumbly. Almost like cottage cheese. You may have a harder time blending it into a creamy sauce at this point, unless you’re using a high-powered blender. We are experimenting with more frozen soft tofu recipes, so stay tuned! 

Looking for more vegan tofu recipes? Check out our Is Tofu Vegan? post with many more recipes and guides to help you along your journey!

Hopefully, by this point, you’re roaring to get started on your soft tofu adventures!

If you try one of our favorite silken tofu recipes, don’t forget to leave a star rating and review to share your experience with others. Let’s spread the joy of delicious, plant-based cooking together! 

Enjoy and talk to you again soon!

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