Before fancy meat alternatives like Beyond Meat burgers came on the market, tofu was the go-to choice of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
Tofu is generally affordable, easy to find, and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s a lot healthier than most vegan meat alternatives that are processed with excess sodium and preservatives.
If you’ve been wondering where to buy tofu, the best places to check out are:
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods Market
- Your Local Asian Supermarket
Tofu’s versatility is part of what makes it such a great protein additive and is why it’s been used for thousands of years.
You can chop it up and add it to soup, pan-fry it with seasoning to make it taste savory, or chop it up and eat it with vegetables for an extra-healthy dish.
In today’s post, I’m going to start by showing you what to look for when selecting tofu, so you know how to pick the best tofu for your needs.
Then, I’ll give you a full rundown of my favorite places where I like to buy tofu, as well as the pros and cons associated with each.
Let’s check it out, shall we?
What To Look For When Buying Tofu
If you’re not used to shopping for tofu, then it can be a little bit confusing at first.
Depending on the options available online or at your local supermarket, you may find plain tofu, flavored tofu, and several different varieties of softness (discussed below) designed to be used for different dishes.
To help make your shopping experience easier, here are some tips to show you what to look for in tofu:
|What To Look For When Buying Tofu||Why It Matters|
|Expiration Date||Tofu has a limited shelf life and will go bad, just the same as perishable meat products. Before you buy it, double-check the expiration date to make sure that it’s still good and that you’ll have time to use it before it goes bad. Nobody wants to buy tofu just to throw it away!|
|Softness/Type of Tofu||Tofu is available in several different levels of softness, ranging from soft and moist to hard and firm. Each offers a different texture, and can completely change the dish you’re trying to make. So make sure you buy the right type of tofu.|
|Plain Tofu vs. Seasoned Tofu||Plain tofu is relatively tasteless, which allows you to use it in hundreds of ways. However, many brands also offer pre-seasoned tofu options that can make cooking easier and quicker.|
|Organic vs Non-Organic Tofu||There isn’t much of a taste difference between organic and non-organic tofu. However, organic tofu is made using organic soybeans that haven’t been genetically modified or grown using dangerous chemicals.|
|Tofu Blocks vs. Pre-Cut Cubes||Traditionally, tofu is sold in large blocks, allowing you to cut slices as small or large as you need. However, tofu is also sold in smaller pre-cut cubes, which can take some of the work out of cooking it.|
Are There Different Types of Tofu?
Yes! Although almost all tofu has the same general flavor profile, you’ll find that the different types of tofu vary significantly in texture.
The main difference between the different types of tofu is how much moisture they each have.
Soft tofu has the highest moisture content and has a slightly silky consistency, while firm tofu has the least moisture content and has a slippery, tight texture.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the five different types of tofu, so you can decide which one is best for you.
- Soft (or Silken Tofu): Silken tofu is the most traditional form of tofu found in China. It’s too soft for frying but makes a great additive in dips, salads, soups, smoothies, and other soft meals.
- Medium: Medium tofu is slightly firmer than silken tofu and holds itself together better. It’s great for warm soups and cold salads, where it won’t undergo high temperatures.
- Firm: Firm tofu is easily identifiable by its harder, firmer squares. It can withstand higher temperatures than medium tofu and can be stir-fried on medium heat without falling apart. It’s also great tofu for snacking on and can act as a substitute for ricotta cheese or cottage cheese.
- Extra-Firm: If you’re trying to pan-fry your tofu with high heat, deep-fry it, or bake it, then extra-firm tofu is the best choice, as it won’t fall apart on you.
- Super-Firm: Super-firm tofu isn’t quite as commonly found, but it’s often sold in tight vacuum-sealed bricks. It’s typically used as a cheese substitute since you can cut hard slices, which are great on sandwiches!
If you want a more detailed breakdown, check out Chef Norry’s comparison of the different types of tofu here:
Can I Order Tofu Online?
A few years ago, I would never have considered ordering tofu (or any food, for that matter) online. The ongoing pandemic completely changed the way I shop for food, though.
To avoid getting sick, I stayed away from busy stores and supermarkets and started shopping online or taking advantage of curbside pickup.
Amazon started offering two-day and one-day shipping options, which really put the icing on the cake, and I’ve ordered tofu from them on several occasions.
You can buy “shelf-stable” tofu that will remain fresh at room temperature before it’s opened. Most Amazon sellers can also ship cold tofu in a climate-controlled box with an ice pack if needed.
Whenever I order tofu on Amazon, I usually try to purchase something that’s shelf-stable just in case I’m not at home to receive the order.
As long as it’s shelf-stable, it will stay fresh at room temperature for several months at a time.
Where To Buy Tofu: Get The Best Tofu On The Market
Alright, so now that you know the basics of what to look for the next time you’re shopping for tofu, it’s time to show you where to buy tofu!
From buying tofu on Amazon to vegan-friendly retailers, these are my go-to tofu distributors.
1) Amazon Online
Average Price Range: $15 to $30
As I mentioned above, Amazon quickly became one of my go-to grocery suppliers during the pandemic. After signing up for Prime, I was more than happy to take advantage of the fast two-day delivery speed.
Whenever I noticed my tofu supply was getting low, I’d order another one.
Amazon doesn’t offer quite as many brands of tofu as you might expect, but they do have a pretty decent selection of tofu varieties.
I’ve found soft creamy tofu on Amazon as well as extra-firm cheese-like tofu. I’ve even found organic tofu before!
If you’re trying to order bulk tofu, then Amazon is easily the best place.
They sell large multi-packs of tofu that you won’t find in the store, at a far more affordable bulk price. The only downside is that they don’t offer many options for smaller containers.
Some of the top-selling tofu brands on Amazon include:
- Mori Nu – Buy it here on Amazon
- Whole Foods 365 Brand
Mori Nu Tofu is the best-selling brand of tofu on Amazon, as they specialize in selling shelf-stable tofu that can be left at room temperature until it’s opened.
This makes it particularly good for shipping and you won’t have to worry about it going bad in transit.
After opening your Mori Nu tofu, you’ll need to put it in the fridge and be sure to use it within two or three days before it goes bad (which is standard with any type of tofu).
Since Amazon owns Whole Foods, I’ve also seen a few frozen tofu meals sold by their 365 brand as well. I’ve only tried the Mori Nu tofu before and I’ve found that it’s outstanding quality.
If you’re looking for same-day tofu, Amazon might not be the most convenient. If you can afford to wait a day or two, though, you’ll be able to find a great deal on whatever type of tofu you need!
- You can buy shelf-stable tofu on Amazon that stays fresh at room temperature until you open the vacuum-sealed container.
- Amazon offers next-day or two-day shipping for eligible Prime members.
- Amazon offers multiple types of tofu, including soft, firm, and even organic tofu.
- You’ll usually need to wait two days for your tofu to come in the mail.
2) Trader Joe’s
Average Price Range: $5 to $12
If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood, I highly recommend you check them out.
Trader Joe’s has always been a vegetarian and vegan-friendly grocer and they have lots of different options when it comes to tofu, frozen tofu meals, and other vegan favorites.
One of the things I really respect about Trader Joe’s is that they support their local communities. This means you’ll find tons of products that are local to your region, allowing you to support your neighbors.
I’ve found some really great vegan snacks and goodies there.
Trader Joe’s has a good tofu selection as well! They don’t offer a lot of options when it comes to large bulk bars of tofu. However, they do offer several different options for frozen microwavable tofu meals.
Think “Healthy Choice Meals” but vegan and made with tofu.
One of my favorite tofu products they sell is this Tofu Scramble With Soy-Based Chorizo. It’s one of the best vegan breakfast meals I’ve ever had outside of fancy vegan restaurants.
- Trader Joe’s supports local communities and offers regional vegan options.
- Trader Joe’s has great frozen tofu-based meals.
- Trader Joe’s is always friendly and has decent prices.
- Trader Joe’s doesn’t deliver or offer curbside delivery at this time.
- Trader Joe’s doesn’t usually sell large blocks of tofu or tofu by itself.
3) Whole Foods Market
Average Price Range: $2 to $10
If you’re looking to buy a small block of tofu for yourself, then you can’t go wrong with Whole Foods Markets.
Compared to every other grocery store I’ve ever been to, Whole Foods offers a remarkable variety of tofu types, flavors, and sizes.
Depending on how much you need, you can buy small palm-sized blocks of tofu or larger blocks of tofu by the pound.
Whether you’re looking for extra-soft, extra-firm, organic, or even seasoned tofu, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at Whole Foods.
The prices for tofu aren’t that bad either. You can get a small block for as little as $3 and larger blocks for around $10 per pound. The three main brands of tofu that Whole Foods carry are:
- Mori Nu
- 365 by Whole Foods Market
- Whole Foods Market has a good selection of different tofu varieties.
- Whole Foods Market offers curbside pickup if you want to skip the line.
- Whole Foods Market always has friendly employees.
- Whole Foods Market is a bit more expensive than ordering online or visiting a discount grocery store.
Average Price Range: $2 to $6
If you just ran out of tofu and you need a quick re-up, then Target carries Mori Nu tofu, which is the largest and most popular tofu retailer in the US.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer a bunch of options, as Target’s grocery section is relatively small.
At this time, Target only offers Mori Nu’s extra-firm tofu as well as a spicy seasoned Moroccan tofu by Hodo Plant-Based Foods.
The prices are affordable, though, and Target offers curbside pickup, so it’s not a bad place to visit if you’re in a pinch and can’t afford to wait for Amazon or locate a faraway Whole Foods Market.
- Affordable tofu.
- Offers curbside pickup.
- Target only features two brands and types of tofu, so you won’t have much choice.
5) Your Local Asian Supermarket
Average Price Range: $5 to $20
If you’re lucky enough to live near a large Asian supermarket, then this is a great place to stock up on tofu (and any other international vegan snacks you may enjoy).
Since these supermarkets typically import tofu from directly overseas, they can be more affordable than places like Whole Foods Market or Target.
Since tofu is a very popular Asian food, you’ll also find that Asian supermarkets offer a wider selection of types of tofu, seasonings, and frozen tofu dishes.
- Usually has great prices.
- May offer a wider variety of tofu than your average American supermarket.
- Asian supermarkets are typically only located close to large cities, so they’re hard to find.
Where’s The Best Place To Buy Tofu?
If you’ve been looking to get the best deal on tofu, then I’d have to say that buying tofu online from Amazon is, by far, one of the best deals.
The Mori Nu tofu sold on Amazon comes shelf-stable and will last for months on your shelf until you open each individual pack. It may cost more upfront, but you’ll save a good bit of money in the long run.
If you like tofu, then you’re probably a fan of ramen noodles as well. If so, then you’ll love my post answering whether or not Maruchan Ramen is vegan!
Until next time, keep calm and vegan on.