How Long Does Tofu Last? Can It Go Bad?

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Tofu has really come into its own recently as the go-to alternative for meat. Packed with protein, tofu is also an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans looking for nutrients without eating animal products. Every store now, not only has different kinds of tofu but has a variety of tofu products like tofu sausages, tofu slices, tofu scramble, and so on. With its rise in popularity, tofu is now a common sight in most households.

But do you know how long tofu can actually last? How does it need to be stored and if it can spoil? Let’s explore further to better understand the best ways to store and use tofu.

How Long Does Tofu Last?

Tofu is made from curdled soy milk that is processed into blocks. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed with fiber, potassium, iron, and all the good stuff. Tofu blocks are generally packed in brine or water and are often found as silken, firm, or extra firm.

Tofu, when made at home can last for 3-5 days in the fridge with proper storage. Store-bought shelf-stable tofu, which is usually sold in tetra paks, last for months, and even a couple of weeks past its best-by date. Store-bought regular tofu can last for about a month, when unopened and a couple of days past its best-by date.

An interesting fact about tofu is that cooked tofu can last longer than uncooked, raw tofu. So, if you are looking at storing tofu, it is recommended to cook it and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you are looking for an even longer shelf life for tofu, there is an option of freezing it, but freezing tofu does change its texture and quality.

Type of TofuPantryFridgeFreezer
Homemade Tofu1-2 hours3-5 days1 month
Shelf-Stable Tofu (unopened)
Best-by date + 2 weeks
Shelf-Stable Tofu (opened)
Best-by date + 1-2 days2-3 months
Regular, store-bought tofu (unopened)
Best-by date + 2-3 days
Regular, store-bought tofu (opened)
3-5 days1-2 months
Cooked Tofu2-5 hours71 -2 months

How Best to Store Tofu?

We’ve seen the various kinds of tofu and how long they will last, but tofu’s expiration date depends largely on how well it has been stored. Whatever type of tofu you have and however long the expiration date on the packaging may say, unless you take proper precautions during storage, your tofu is going to spoil.

Like every other food and ingredient out there, for tofu as well, the shelf life comes down to storage.

The first thing to remember is that tofu needs to be refrigerated. Whether cooked or packaged, opened or unopened, tofu is best when it is stored in the fridge. If you leave it outside for more than a couple of hours, it is going to start decaying. Tofu will be fine outside for an hour or two, depending on the temperature, after that its quality comes down. Here are a few ways to store your tofu.

  • Homemade tofu needs to be refrigerated within an hour or two of making it. Place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge, where it will last comfortably for 3-5 days. Homemade tofu is best eaten fresh.
  • Store-bought tofu whether it is silken, firm or extra firm will be fine in its packaging till you open it. As soon as you open it, transfer the tofu and the water it is in an airtight container and seal tightly.
  • There are two ways of storing store-bought tofu. One is to place the tofu in an airtight container submerged in water and seal it tightly. The other way is to store it in an airtight container without water and refrigerate it. Both options work perfectly well, and the tofu will last the same amount of time. But with the tofu stored in water, remember to change the water every day.
  • Shelf-stable tofu will be fine even outside the refrigerator, but there is no harm in placing it in the fridge, even if unopened.
  • As mentioned earlier, tofu whether homemade, store-bought or of the shelf-stable variety, will last longer when it has been cooked. So, if you have a block of tofu that you are hoping to use over an extended period of time, then cut it into cubes, cook it and then store it in the fridge to extend its life by a few more days, giving you a few more tofu-laden meals.
  • Remember that when you are storing tofu in the fridge, it needs to be closed or sealed, you cannot leave it exposed to the elements and air. Even in the fridge, the tofu gets exposed to fluctuating temperatures every time the fridge door is opened. The tofu will start hardening and lose quality a lot faster. It also increases the risk of spoilage.
  • Now, freezing tofu is a viable option but be aware that the taste, texture, consistency, and even the color of the tofu might change. This is because tofu has a lot of moisture in it and when frozen and thawed the water in it changes the consistency of the tofu. Nonetheless, if you do decide to freeze your tofu, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  1. First press all the water out of the tofu
  2. Cut the tofu into cubes or strips, this helps the tofu freeze and thaw quicker and more evenly
  3. When you want to use the tofu, thaw overnight in the fridge
  4. There will be some water residue along with the thawed tofu

Can Your Tofu Spoil? How Can You Tell If Your Tofu Has Spoiled?

Despite all our best efforts, tofu can spoil. Unexpired tofu that has lost its quality and is on its way out might not make you sick, but it will have an unpleasant taste. You should get rid of it. To find out if your tofu has spoiled here is what to look out for:

  • Color: Expired tofu will sometimes have a dull or even yellowish color
  • Texture: If the tofu has hardened, because of improper storage, the parts of it exposed to air would be a much darker color and it will be dry and hard. This is another sign for you to throw out the tofu. Another indicator of spoiled tofu is a sticky residue on the tofu. If when you touch the tofu, it feels almost oily, then it is no longer consumable.
  • Smell: Tofu does not have a distinct smell, so if you smell anything even mildly sour or off, then it has spoiled.
  • Taste: Similarly, tofu has a pretty neutral taste, so if you taste something sour or bitter, then it has turned and should not be consumed.

This power-packed protein is a healthy and affordable option for those seeking to make changes in their eating habits. It is readily available, easy to cook, and doesn’t have an overwhelming taste or smell. So, if you are looking to introduce more tofu into your diet, then make a note of how best to store and use it and prolong the shelf life of tofu.


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