How To Cook Tofu For Baby

Calcium, fiber, and protein are just a few of the many essential nutrients that can be found in tofu. By acquiring the skills necessary to prepare tofu, you will be able to substitute it in some of your meals for foods that are high in calories, high in saturated fat, and high in cholesterol, such as red meat.

When preparing food with tofu, it is essential to keep in mind that the ingredient is flavorless on its own and will take on the flavor of whatever it is prepared with. It all comes down to personal preference when determining the best way to cook tofu, but to get you started, here are some tried-and-true approaches

How to Cook Tofu

1. Scramble It

Tofu can be made into a vegetable-infused scramble and eaten as a substitute for scrambled eggs. This is a cholesterol-free, high-protein and high-fiber way to enjoy tofu.

Here’s how to scramble tofu:

  1. Dice up 3 or 4 cups of your favorite vegetables, such as onions, peppers, tomatoes, squash and broccoli, and place them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Then, drain and crumble a block of firm or extra-firm tofu.
  3. Add the crumbled tofu to the frying pan and mix it in with the vegetables.
  4. To add flavor, mix in a small amount of vegetable bouillon with water. Add the bouillon to taste and allow the scramble to cook down until you achieve an egg scramble-like consistency. This may take close to 20 minutes.

2. Grill It

Tofu is a low-fat and cholesterol-free grilling option that can be used in place of hotdogs and hamburgers.

Here’s how to grill tofu:

  1. Slice a block of extra-firm tofu into 1 to 2-inch thick pieces.
  2. Cover the tofu slices with your favorite marinade or seasonings such as barbecue sauce, olive oil and Cajun seasonings, or garlic.
  3. Let the tofu sit in your flavoring for an hour or two. The longer you allow the tofu to soak up the seasoning, the stronger the flavor will be.
  4. Once marinated, place the tofu slices evenly on the heated grill.
  5. Grill on both sides for a couple of minutes.
  6. Remove from the grill and serve over rice, alone, or on a sandwich.

3. Fry It

Pan-fried tofu is an easily made dish that can add great variety to your diet. Tofu soaks up flavor like a sponge and is best when marinated or dipped in sauce. And coating tofu slices in a small amount of cornstarch before cooking can help it become crispy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slice a cube of extra-firm tofu into thin cubes or slices, depending on how you want to end on how you intend to use it (such as in a stir-fry or on a sandwich).
  2. Eliminate the extra water from the tofu by placing the slices between several paper towels.
  3. Then, place a heavy pan, weighing about 10 pounds, on top and let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes. This helps remove the excess water.
  4. Once the water is removed, cover each side of the tofu in a thin coating of cornstarch and place it in a heated frying pan.
  5. Fry until the tofu becomes crispy and slightly brown.

4. Bake It

You can also bake tofu slices to use on salads or serve as a simple snack. Here’s how to bake tofu:

  1. Drain a cube of extra firm tofu and slice it into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. Eliminate the extra water from the tofu by placing the slices between several paper towels.
  3. Then, place a heavy pan, weighing about 10 pounds, on top and let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes. This helps remove the excess water.
  4. Flavor the tofu by placing it in a bowl with your favorite seasonings such as soy sauce, chili paste or sweet and sour sauce.
  5. Allow the tofu to soak up the seasonings for about 30 minutes.
  6. Place the tofu slices evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and put the pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
  7. Let the tofu bake for 25 to 50 minutes.
  8. Flip the tofu every 15 minutes to make sure that both sides are thoroughly cooked.

Related Reading

How to Turn a Box of Tofu Into 7 Protein-Packed Meals That Are Anything but Bland

How Do You Make Soft Tofu For Babies?

Image result for how to cook tofu for baby

Silken tofu can be scrambled in a pan like scrambled eggs, blended into a smoothie or pureed soup, or pureed using a baby food blender.
Babies who are allergic to soy should not be given tofu because it is a product made from soy. Tofu is a good finger food option for infants who do not have an allergy to soy because it can be diced into small pieces, it is soft, and it is easy to chew.

Here are a few ideas on how to prepare tofu for a baby:

  • Try giving your baby plain tofu.​ Some babies will like the simple flavors of tofu and you can dice it up and serve it as a snack or appetizer.
  • Roll the tofu in crushed cereal.​ You can crush up some Cheerios and coat small tofu chunks with it and give it to your baby as a snack. Graham crackers or wheat germ works as well.
  • Blend it into a smoothie.​ Add silken tofu, juice and fruit to the blender and whip it into a smoothie. You can serve this through a straw for older babies or feed it to them with a spoon if they can’t drink through a straw yet. This is a good way to let a baby practice self-feeding.
  • Use tofu as a meat alternative.​ You can add it to soups or mash it with baby cereal to make a tofu burger. You can mix in shredded vegetables and create a well-rounded meal for your baby. Add chopped tofu to pasta sauce as an alternative to sausage or ground beef.
  • Mix with dips.​ Stir some tofu into hummus, cottage cheese or avocado and serve it with soft vegetables or crackers to dip into it as a mini-meal or snack.

Warning

If you notice any symptoms of an allergy, including rash or breathing difficulties, after your child eats tofu, they may have an allergy and you should seek medical attention right away.

Can Baby Eat Tofu Everyday

Yes. Tofu is an excellent food for babies and toddlers because it contains a substantial amount of protein derived from plants as well as other essential nutrients. Alpha-linolenic acid, also known as omega-3 fatty acid, is abundant in it, making it beneficial for maintaining healthy brains and eyes. Tofu also has a high concentration of the minerals iron and zinc, both of which are essential for the development and health of infants.

WHEN CAN BABIES EAT TOFU?

Tofu can be offered to babies as soon as they’re ready to start solids, usually around 6 months. It’s important to remember that your baby is unique and that rather than going by the calendar, you need to make sure your baby is DEVELOPMENTALLY ready to start solids.

If you’re unsure, be sure to grab my FREE handout!

IS TOFU SAFE FOR BABIES?

Tofu is not a choking hazard as long as it’s soft enough to be easily smushed between your thumb and forefinger and is served in an age-appropriate way.

Tofu is made from soybeans, which is one of the top allergens. If you were told to wait until around 2-3 years of age to introduce it, this is outdated advice! 

The current recommendation is to introduce highly allergenic foods EARLY and OFTEN. By doing so, you can dramatically reduce the risk or actually help prevent the development of food allergies.

When first introducing, start with a small amount and gradually increase.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Packed with so many essential nutrients, tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein and calcium. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in brain development, as well as many essential micronutrients, like iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Soybeans are one of the few plant-based protein foods and the only legume that contains ALL nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is another source.

Do be sure to serve tofu alongside a vitamin C rich food to greatly enhance the absorption of iorn.

Related: Best Iron-Rich Foods for Babies and Toddlers

WHAT ABOUT THE PHYTOESTROGENS?

You may have heard that consuming soy foods can cause feminization in boys and breast cancer.

Yes, tofu contains isoflavones, phytoestrogens that are similar in structure to the hormone estrogens. However, they are NOT the same and behave differently in the body.

In fact, there isn’t research to support that soy has a negative impact on testosterone. But there is evidence showing that phytoestrogens do NOT affect testosterone and estrogen levels.

In addition, there is evidence that girls who eat soy at a young age may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life. 

TYPES OF TOFU – WHICH ONE IS BEST?

Tofu (100g)SilkenSoftFirmSprouted
Protein (g)4.767.179.0413.2
Iron (mg).951.111.611.7
Calcium (mg)83111201239

based on USDA food database (tofu prepared with calcium sulfate)

Tofu is made from soybeans, water, and bean curd. Similar to the cheese-making process, it’s made by curdling fresh soy milk, pressing it into a block, and then cooling it.

All types of tofu are great! You will notice differences in the key nutrients, but again, I encourage you to serve a variety. Do look for calcium sulfate in the ingredients.

It comes down to how you want to serve it.

Silken and soft tofu are wonderful for purees and adding creaminess to sauces, dips (tofu mayo), smoothies, baked goods, puddings, etc. They can also be used as an egg replacer, if your baby is allergic!

Firm and extra-firm tofu are great for slicing into strips or bite-sized pieces as a finger food.

Sprouted tofu is the same as extra-firm tofu but made with sprouted soybeans. If you find that your baby doesn’t tolerate tofu, this variety may help as the process of sprouting helps aid in digestion.

HOW TO PREP TOFU

a block of tofu wrapped in a green kitchen towel with a dutch oven laid on top.

Tofu contains a lot of water so it’s best to press out as much as possible if intending to serve as a finger food. Here’s what to do:

  • Wrap the tofu block in 2-3 or more layers of paper towel, a clean dishcloth, or a kitchen towel.
  • Place a baking sheet on top with a few canned goods or a heavy skillet (if using extra firm) to help weigh it down.
  • Set aside for at least 20 minutes. 

If adding to sauces, dips, smoothies, etc. then there’s no need to press. Simply drain, wrap tofu in a kitchen towel, and gently press over the sink.

TOP COOKING METHODS

First, you want to cut the tofu into strips that are about 2 inches in length (size of your pinky finger) and about ½ to ¾ inch in width.

Here’s how I like to cut a block of tofu:

a four image collage showing how to cut a block of tofu.

Its subtly sweet, nutty, and neutral flavor profile makes it the perfect blank canvas, taking on whatever flavor it’s cooked with.

Most of the recipes you find on the internet promise crispy tofu because we, the adults, love this texture. However, we want the tofu to be soft (easily smushable  between thumb and forefinger) for babies, and that’s what I promise ;).

Here are several ways to achieve this so that it’s safe and enjoyable for your little one.

BAKED

baked tofu strips with oregano, curry powder, and cumin lined on a baking sheet.

Remember – bigger is safer for babies who are just starting solids. You can always chop into smaller pieces after it’s cooked to serve to older babies and kids.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil and seasoning(s) of choice. Place tofu on a baking sheet. Brush oil mixture onto each piece of tofu to prevent breaking. If using extra-firm tofu, you can toss with oil and seasonings.

You can totally use several different flavorings as you see pictured (oregano, curry powder, cumin) to incorporate variety throughout the week.

Place on baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. To ensure evenly cooked tofu, don’t skip this step.

PAN FRIED

five tofu strips fried on a pan.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Arrange your prepared tofu in a single layer on the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

Pictured: cooked in sesame oil and seasoned with garlic powder.

SCRAMBLED

scrambled tofu with vegetables and beans in a large pan with a green spatula.

The texture of this tofu scramble is soft and moist, making it perfect for babies. You can simply serve as is, mix in with oatmeal, or mash on top of a toasted bread.

HOW TO SERVE TOFU TO BABIES (BABY LED WEANING)

6+ MONTHS OLD

a four image collage showing how to serve tofu to babies six months and up.
https://82dadf8d267498c5fa27843e0496c55c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

You can:

Pictured above are the exact meals I served to my baby during her first month of starting solids. I actually filmed EVERYTHING I made for her as well as my toddler, husband, and me from Day 1 to Day 84 (so 3 months) in real time and turned it into an easy to access and follow program!

https://82dadf8d267498c5fa27843e0496c55c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

DO YOU WANT TO MINIMIZE PICKY EATING AND SET A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR A LIFETIME OF HEALTHY EATING HABITS?

Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen

FIND OUT MORE!

9+ MONTHS OLD

a two image collage showing examples of how to serve tofu to babies nine months and up.
https://82dadf8d267498c5fa27843e0496c55c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

As your baby develops their pincer grasp and is able to pick up small pieces of food using their thumb and finger, you can cut into small, bite-sized pieces. I still suggest continuing to offer larger pieces so they can practice taking bites.

I also encourage you to offer mixed foods early and often during this “window of opportunity” when babies are most willing to try and accept new foods.

If your child has never had foods touching or mixed together, it will be much harder to get them to eat these as they enter toddlerhood.

https://82dadf8d267498c5fa27843e0496c55c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Related: Is my Toddler Turning into a Picky Eater?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Organic vs. conventional tofu, which one is better?

I recommend purchasing organic, if possible, as it guarantees there’s no genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

What is the best way to store?

If you don’t use all of the tofu, submerge in cold water in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Be sure to replace the water each day. Toss it out if it starts to smell funny.

Once cooked, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze cooked tofu?

I wouldn’t for babies. Freezing will result in a chewier texture which we don’t want.

Is raw tofu safe for babies?

Yes! tofu that you find at the store actually has already been cooked. As long as it’s been pasteurized, it is safe. Having said that, if you want to err on the side of caution then you can certainly heat up the sauce and bring to room temperature before serving to your baby.

https://82dadf8d267498c5fa27843e0496c55c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

TOFU RECIPES FOR BABIES

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

baked tofu strips with oregano, curry powder, and cumin lined on a baking sheet.

How to Cook Tofu for Baby Led Weaning

Introduce tofu to your baby with confidence with these cooking tips and recipes! Whether you are doing purees, baby led weaning, or both, tofu is an amazing first food.

5 from 1 vote

 Print  Pin  Rate

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 12 (2 strips)

Author: Min | MJ and Hungryman

Equipment

Ingredients

  • ▢14 ounces firm or extra firm tofu
  • ▢oil (e.g. olive, avocado, sesame)
  • ▢seasonings (e.g. curry powder, turmeric, cumin, oregano, garlic powder)

Instructions

  • First press the tofu. Wrap the tofu block in 2-3 or more layers of paper towel, a clean dishcloth, or a kitchen towel. Place a baking sheet on top with a few canned goods or a heavy skillet (if using extra firm) to help weigh it down. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. 

Baked

  • Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat and set aside.
  • Cut into strips that are about 2 inches in length (size of your pinky finger) and about ½ to ¾ inches in width.
  • Toss tofu with oil and seasoning(s) of choice.
  • Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. To ensure evenly cooked tofu, don’t skip this step.

Pan-Fried

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Arrange prepared tofu in a single layer on the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Flip and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. Work in batches, if necessary.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.