Dehydrating Tofu

The secret to dehydrating tofu that rehydrates well in meals, is to freeze it first. This page explains how to dehydrate tofu in three important steps, and then describes how to incorporate tofu into dehydrated meals for backpacking or home use.

Dehydrating tofu opens up many new dehydrated meal possibilities.

Photo above: Meals made with dehydrated tofu. You’ll find the recipes further down the page.

How to Dehydrate Tofu that Rehydrates Well & Tastes Great

Step One: Freeze It.

Choose firm or extra-firm tofu. Keep the tofu in its original package and freeze it solid. Once frozen, thaw it out overnight in the refrigerator.  That way you can prep and dry it during the day.

Why is freezing tofu before drying it so important? Tofu is very dense. Freezing it opens up air spaces in the tofu through the expansion of frozen liquid inside. Dehydrating tofu, without freezing it first, results in tofu that resists rehydration. It will be rubbery and hard. Freezing also shortens the drying time because the heat and air circulation of the dehydrator can get into the air pockets.

Choose firm or extra-firm tofu for dehydrating.

Photo above: A 250 gram (9 ounces) of extra-firm tofu.

Step Two: Slice It Thinly

Even with freezing, tofu is still dense. It dries best when sliced into thin slabs about half-a-centimeter (less than a quarter-inch) thick. Slicing tofu thinly also allows more flavor to penetrate it when you cook it before drying it.

Tofu dehydrates best when you slice it thinly. Try noodle or small square shapes.

Photo above: Tofu cut into noodle shapes on right. (4 cm long, or approx. 1.5 inches)

Open package and drain off any liquid.

Slice thinly down the entire block of tofu. Then, turn the tofu a quarter-turn and cut the other way into desired shapes. This is best accomplished by dividing the block into two or three stacks. Slice into noodle shapes, or small squares (two quarter-turns). A good size for squares is one centimeter, or about a third of an inch.

Step Three: Add flavor and Cook It

In the same way that rice and potatoes absorb flavors when cooked in broth before dehydrating, tofu also absorbs flavors well. The following examples show how to dehydrate tofu in vegetable bouillon, taco seasoning, and curry seasoning. When combined with other ingredients in a dehydrated meal, the captured flavors enhance the whole meal.

Cooking Tofu with Vegetable Bouillon

Starting Tofu Quantity: 250 grams (9 ounces).

Add six to ten grams of vegetable bouillon to a pan with eight ounces (236 ml) of water. Chicken or beef bouillon can alternatively be used.

Bring water to a light boil. When the bouillon is dissolved, add tofu squares or noodles.

Simmer tofu for ten minutes, then turn off stove. Leave tofu in pan, uncovered, until most or all of the liquid is absorbed.

Tofu cut into noodle shapes, lightly seasoned and cooked in liquid before dehydrating.

Photo above: Noodle-cut tofu in vegetable bouillon.

Cooking Tofu with Taco Seasoning

Starting Tofu Quantity: 250 grams (9 ounces)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Chili Mix Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Oregano
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste

Combine all ingredients with eight ounces (236 ml) of water in pan.

Bring water to a light boil. When the seasonings are dissolved, add tofu squares or noodles.

Simmer tofu for ten minutes, then turn off stove. Leave tofu in pan, uncovered, until most or all of the liquid is absorbed.

Tofu cut into small squares, seasoned with taco flavors.

Photo above: Tofu squares cooking in taco-seasoned liquid.

Cooking Tofu with Curry Seasoning

Starting Tofu Quantity: 250 grams (9 ounces)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Bouillon
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • ¼ Cinnamon

Combine all ingredients with eight ounces (236 ml) of water in pan.

Bring water to a light boil. When the seasonings are dissolved, add tofu squares or noodles.

Simmer tofu for ten minutes, then turn off stove. Leave tofu in pan, uncovered, until most or all of the liquid is absorbed.

Tofu, after it absorbed all the liquid and curry seasonings.

Photo above: Tofu squares after cooking and absorbing curry-seasoned liquid.

Dehydrate Tofu @ 135° F (57° C) for 4 to 8 hours

Place seasoned tofu in a single layer on dehydrator trays. One Excalibur tray will hold one cooked batch.

The smaller the pieces, the faster they dry. Dehydrated tofu is hard. You can snap it in half, rather than bend it like jerky. It’s too dry to enjoy as a snack, but it rehydrates well in meals.

Store dehydrated tofu in air-tight containers until ready to use.

Dehydrating tofu on Excalibur Dehydrator Trays.

Photo above: Dehydrating tofu noodles and squares on Excalibur Dehydrator trays.

Dehydrated Tofu Noodles & Squares. Shown before drying on left, after drying on right.

Photo above: Dehydrated tofu on left, rehydrated tofu on right. Use 1:1 ratio water to dried tofu.

Rehydrating Tofu

If you want to rehydrate tofu by itself, such as with the Spicy Tofu Tortilla recipe below, use a 1:1 ratio of food to water. So, for half-a-cup of dried tofu, 45 grams, add half-a-cup of water. There may be a little water remaining, but it will taste good.


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Four Dehydrated Tofu Recipes

Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice

Tofu Vegetable Soup

Spicy Tofu Tortillas

Curry Tofu & Vegetables

Dehydrated tofu noodles, spring onion, mushrooms, carrots, and corn.

The photo above shows the main ingredients that went into the first meal: Tofu noodles, green onion, mushrooms, carrots, and corn. For the soup, broccoli was used in place of corn.

Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice

1 Large Serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Dried Rice (66 g)
  • ¼ cup Dried Tofu (20 g)
  • ¼ cup Dried Spring Onions, lightly packed (2 g)
  • ¼ cup Dried Mushrooms (5 g)*
  • ¼ cup Dried Vegetable Medley (10 g), Carrots and Corn shown.
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder

* Soy sauce was added to the mushrooms before drying them. This adds soy sauce flavor to the meal.

Water to rehydrate: 2 cups

Preparation: Place all dried ingredients in pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then transfer pot to an insulating cozy for fifteen minutes or longer.

Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice after being rehydrated to make a meal.

Photo above: Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice after rehydration.

Tofu Vegetable Soup

1 Large Serving

Ingredients: Same as the meal above without the rice. Dried broccoli substituted for corn.

Water to rehydrate: 2½ cups

Preparation: Place all dried ingredients in pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then transfer pot to an insulating cozy for fifteen minutes or longer.

Tofu Vegetable Soup made with dehydrated tofu and vegetables.

Photo above: Tofu Vegetable Soup

Spicy Tofu Tortillas

Servings: 2 Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Dried Taco Spiced Tofu Squares (45 g)
  • 2 8” Tortillas

Water to rehydrate: ½ cup (118 ml)

Preparation: Place dried tofu squares in pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then transfer pot to an insulating cozy for fifteen minutes or longer. Spoon rehydrated tofu into tortillas and fold in half. Tip: Make one at a time, keeping the tofu for the second tortilla warm in the pot.

Square cut, taco-flavored dried tofu after rehydration. Enough for two tortillas.

Photo above: Square cut, taco-flavored tofu after rehydration. Enough for two tortillas.

Curry Tofu & Vegetables

Dried Curry Tofu, Apples, Carrots, and Broccoli.

Photo above: Dried Curry Tofu, Apples, Carrots, and Broccoli.

1 Large Serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Dried Curry Seasoned Tofu Squares or Noodles
  • ¼ cup Dried Carrots (10 g)
  • ¼ cup Dried Broccoli (5 g)
  • ¼ cup Dried Apples (10 g)

Water to rehydrate: 1¼ cups (295 ml)

Optional Ingredients: 2 Tbsp Powdered Milk, or 1 Tbsp Powdered Coconut Milk

Preparation: Place all dried ingredients, except milk or coconut milk powder, in pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then transfer pot to an insulating cozy for fifteen minutes. Stir in milk powder while there is still a little liquid remaining. Wait another five minutes or longer.

Dehydrated curry tofu and vegetables after being rehydrated.

Photo above: Although you can’t see it, there is a little curry sauce under the pile that was made with the addition of powdered milk.

Dehydrating Tofu Summary

Freezing, thin slicing, and cooking lightly with seasonings and liquid, are the three steps that will result in delicious tofu that rehydrates well in meals. Using the four tofu recipes on this page as examples, experiment with your own combinations of seasonings and complimentary ingredients.

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Next topic: Dehydrating Bark

How to turn starchy foods like potatoes, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin into bark for snacking, or to use bark as the saucy base in many dehydrated food recipes.

Return to: Dehydrating Food Table of Contents

How to dehydrate meat, vegetables, fruit, fruit leather, tomato sauce, rice, soup, and dog treats.

Next topic: Dehydrating Bark.

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