How to Dehydrate Tofu and Make Tofu Jerky

tofu on tray
To dehydrate tofu, first freeze the block solid and then allow it to thaw. Drain off any excess liquid and slice the tofu into 1/4-inch slices or cubes. Lay it on a dehydrator tray in an even layer, and then dehydrate at 135°F for 4-8 hours.

How to Dehydrate Tofu in a Food Dehydrator

Dehydrating tofu using a food dehydrator is simple but takes a bit of prep time before you can get to drying. Extra-firm tofu is the best type of tofu to use for dehydrating.

  1. Buy a block of tofu and freeze it until it is solid inside the original packaging.
  2. Once the tofu is fully frozen, allow it to defrost overnight, ready to begin the drying process the next day.
  3. Drain off the excess liquid and allow the tofu to dry on a few layers of paper towels.
  4. Slice the block into pieces of tofu about 1/4-inch thick. You can also slice your tofu into cubes if preferred.
  5. Lay your fresh tofu slices on clean dehydrator trays in a single layer, with space between each slice for increased airflow.
  6. Place the tofu in the food dehydrator and dehydrate at 135°F for 4-8 hours.
  7. Check the tofu regularly. You can tell it is done when the tofu snaps when you bend it.
  8. Allow the tofu to cool to room temperature, and then store it in an airtight container.
Dehydrated tofu chunks in a bowl
Dehydrated tofu

How to Make Tofu Jerky in a Dehydrator

Making dehydrated tofu jerky requires a few extra prep steps to infuse flavor into the tofu.

  1. Take a block of extra-firm tofu and drain off the excess liquid.
  2. Press your fresh tofu. You can do this with a tofu press or place the tofu between two layers of paper towels sandwiched between two plates. Place a heavy weight on the plate on top of the tofu for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice the pressed tofu block into 1/4 thick slices.
  4. Mix together your desired marinade, or use a pre-made marinade you love. One marinade that works particularly well for tofu jerky is mixing soy sauce with a few drops of liquid smoke and adding a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and paprika.
  5. Put your tofu into a resealable container or freezer bag and pour the marinade over it.
  6. Place it in the fridge for 12 hours.
  7. Remove the tofu from the refrigerator and pull the tofu out of the marinade.
  8. Lay out the marinated tofu slices on clean dehydrator trays in a single layer.
  9. Place the trays in the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135°F.
  10. Leave for around 7 hours, checking regularly. The tofu jerky should be dry but still chewy and bend rather than snap.
Tofu chunks sitting in a dark brown marinade in a glass container
Tofu in marinade

How Do You Dehydrate Tofu Without a Dehydrator?

You can make dried tofu using a home oven or the press method. Both methods will get the job done but require more frequent monitoring.

Using an Oven to Dehydrate Tofu

  1. To dehydrate tofu using an oven, prepare tofu by freezing it or marinating it for 12 hours and removing excess liquid.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay your tofu slices out in a single layer.
  3. Set your oven to the lowest temperature and prop the door open with a wooden spoon to achieve better airflow.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and dehydrate for 4-8 hours, checking on the progress regularly.
  5. Ovens often have hot spots, so be sure to move your baking sheet every hour to ensure even drying.
  6. Once dry, remove the tofu from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container.

Using the Press Method to Dehydrate Tofu

Another way to dry tofu is to press all of the moisture out of it.

  1. You do this by placing layers of paper towels (four to six) on a cutting board. Lay the tofu on top of them and put another layer on top of the tofu.
  2. Place a plate on top of the tofu block and add weight to force the moisture out of the block. This could be canned food, a large book, or a cast iron pan.
  3. Leave the tofu for 30 minutes or until the paper towels become completely saturated. Let the tofu stand for thirty minutes, and then repeat the process.
  4. Keep repeating the pressing process until there is no moisture on the paper towels.
  5. This method is quite labor intensive and doesn’t remove as much water content as using a dehydrator or oven. This means the dried tofu won’t keep as long and only adds 2-3 days to the shelf life of fresh tofu.

Is Dehydrated Tofu Good for You?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made by curdling soya milk which comes from soybeans. It is often a staple ingredient in East Asian cuisine, particularly in China and Thailand. Dehydrated tofu is a healthy meat alternative, providing good levels of protein, antioxidants, and calcium in a low carbohydrate package. It is relatively high in fat, so should be eaten in moderation.

Here are some of the health benefits of dehydrated tofu:

Jar of dehydrated tofu ground into small pieces
Dehydrated tofu crumbles

What is the Best Way to Prepare Tofu Before Dehydrating?

The best way to prepare tofu before dehydration is to freeze it. Freezing tofu before dehydration makes it less dense, opening up air pockets inside the block as the internal liquid expands. This reduces the drying time the tofu needs and allows it to rehydrate better once fully dried.

What is the Difference Between Dehydrating Tofu and Frying It?

Dehydrating tofu is a form of food preservation that involves removing the moisture content from the tofu to allow it to last longer.

Frying is a method of cooking involving heating the food using hot oil. Frying tofu will not preserve it – instead, it will add flavor and alter the texture of the tofu, making it more crispy on the outside and fluffy in the center.

Fried tofu chunks in blue bowl
Fried tofu bowl

How Do You Make Dehydrated Tofu Crispy?

The best way to make dehydrated tofu crispy is to rehydrate the tofu and then fry it. To rehydrate tofu, place it in a bowl of boiling water and allow it to soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Your tofu should now be ready to use as if it was fresh.

Stir fry the tofu by placing it in a wok with oil over high heat. Be sure to turn regularly to cook the tofu pieces to fry each side evenly.

How to Store Dehydrated Tofu

The best way to store dehydrated tofu is in an airtight container. Tight containers such as Mason jars, Kilner jars, or Mylar bags are all good options for storing tofu.

It’s important to store containers of dehydrated tofu in a cool, dark, and dry place. Moisture, heat, and light all accelerate the spoiling process, so keeping these things away from your tofu is crucial.

What is the Shelf Life of Dehydrated Tofu

Dehydrated tofu has a room-temperature shelf life of 1-2 weeks. This is much shorter than other dehydrated foods due to the high-fat content of tofu. If stored in a refrigerator, dehydrated tofu can last up to six months, while dehydrated tofu stored in a freezer will last one year.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer and keen foodie based in London, England. When he's not writing, he can be found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes for him and his partner to enjoy!

Recent Posts