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This marinated tofu doesn’t even need to be cooked! Flavored with soy, sesame oil and ginger, this easy tofu recipe will be your new favorite. (It’s ours.)

Marinated tofu
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Alex and I don’t eat a lot of tofu. But this marinated tofu: well, it’s special. It’s packed with savory umami: toasted sesame oil and ginger and garlic and soy sauce. There’s a touch of maple to balance, and it’s mixed with green onion and sesame seeds. Oh: and you don’t have to cook it! All you have to do is throw in the fridge to marinate: so it’s almost totally hands off. Normally we don’t evangelize tofu. But with this easy tofu recipe: we’re 1000% excited about it. You’ve got to try this one…we promise it’s a winner. Throw it in a bowl with quinoa, tahini sauce and some fresh veggies, and you’ve got a healthy lunch or dinner.

More great ways to serve tofu? Pan Fried Tofu and Grilled Tofu.

Marinaded tofu

How to make this easy marinated tofu recipe

Where did we get the idea for this marinated tofu recipe? Well, we actually had it at an airport. AN AIRPORT? Yes, I know, I can confidently say that this is the first and only recipe on A Couple Cooks that has ever been inspired by airport cuisine.

However, Alex and I were at Chicago Midway and we needed a healthy dinner fast. Miraculously, Alex found some sushi and a box of marinated tofu. After the first bite, none of us could stop eating it! It was seriously savory and satisfying, but tasted fresh and healthy at the same time.

This marinated tofu is the definition of easy: there are basically two steps. Press, and marinate. Why do you need to press tofu? Well there’s quite a bit of water in tofu, so in order to infuse it with flavor you’ll need to press it. However: we’ve developed a quick way to do it!

Easy marinaded tofu recipe

How to press tofu: fast!

Many tofu recipes require you to press tofu for about 1 hour to drain it before starting the recipe. This doesn’t really work with our life work flow, so we decided to research faster ways to press the water out of tofu. There’s actually a surprising trick for speeding up pressing tofu. The microwave!

Oddly enough, if you microwave tofu for 2 minutes, it extracts quite a bit of liquid. Then place the pieces on a dry towel, place a cutting board on top, and top it with a heavy object. The weight will extract more water, and it will be done after just 15 minutes.

Marinated tofu

How to marinade tofu

After pressing the tofu, all you have to do is marinade the tofu for 30 minutes. Marinading it is just letting it sit in a bowl with the marinade: you’ll just need to stir it once. The flavors are balanced with savory, sweet, tangy, and spicy: soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil, tangy rice vinegar, maple syrup and a touch of gochujang hot sauce for a hint of heat.

Throw that all together with some minced green onion and sesame seeds, and it’s SO flavorful, you won’t know what hit you. Like really. We served this marinated tofu to our 2 year old and he gobbled it all up! It’s truly magical.

Wait! It’s not cooked.

And that’s it! With this easy marinated tofu, you don’t cook it. This makes it 100% easier than any baked the method. Since it’s firm tofu and you’ve pressed all the water out of it, the tofu has a great texture. Of course, if you’d like to bake it you still can! You can pan fry it or bake it (we’d suggest our friend Ali’s method for baking it). But this easy marinated tofu recipe really doesn’t need to be cooked: it’s seriously flavorful without the fuss.

Marinated tofu

Is tofu healthy?

Yes! Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits—especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat. For more details, go to Straight Talk About Soy.

How to serve marinated tofu

This marinated tofu is so simple because it’s mostly hands off: there’s really only about 10 minutes of active time. This gives you ample time to prepare the rest of a meal. And because it can store refrigerated for up to 5 days, it’s perfect for lunches!

How would we serve this marinated tofu? We have a noodle bowl recipe coming soon that features it, or you could make it into a bowl meal bowl with quinoa and roasted brocolli….ok let’s just start a list! Try serving it with:

How would you serve it? Let us know in the comments below.

This marinaded tofu recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-based.

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Marinated tofu

Marinated Tofu

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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This marinated tofu doesn’t even need to be cooked! Flavored with soy, sesame oil and ginger, this easy tofu recipe will be your new favorite. (It’s ours.)


  • 12 to 16 ounces block of extra firm or firm tofu
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (or toasted sesame seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion


  1. Remove the tofu from the package and drain liquid. Cut tofu into half lengthwise and place it in a large bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; this helps to extract liquid.
  2. Drain off excess liquid released in the microwave. Place the two pieces on a towel; place another folded towel on top and add a cutting board and a heavy object. Allow to press for 15 minutes until the water is drained.
  3. Cut each square into 16 pieces, for 32 squares total. Place them all in the bowl with the marinade and stir very gently. Add marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, stirring gently halfway through. Stores refrigerated for 5 days.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Marinated
  • Cuisine: Asian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Jennifer M Lefebvre says:

    Delush. Love this idea, microwaving for faster pressing not cooking, and having some ready in the fridge. Brilliant! Now especially when my tofu is getting close to the expiration because I did not or could not go through all those old steps, I will make this. Thanks!

  2. Judi Gibbs says:

    Hi: Just tried your marinated tofu last night with kids and grandkids and everybody LOVED it. I especially liked it because it was EASY. This will be in my regular faves. I am new to your site but delighted so far. Great energy and ideas. Best of luck to you guys and I will keep enjoying everything you have to share!!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thank you!

  3. Ceebee G. says:

    Does chickpea tofu have to be drained in the same way as soy? It seems much less water-based.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We don’t have any experience with that, sorry!

  4. liz says:

    We marinate and roast tofu a few times a week in this house and what a treat to have something new and easy! This was absolutely delicious! We used our favorite smoked chili sauce instead of the gochujang and it tasted just like one of our favorite tofu salads at our local Szechuan restaurant. Served it with broccoli and seasoned rice and had a wonderful dinner. Highly recommend!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Robin says:

    FINALLY a blogger who says to microwave the tofu!! This is a common practice in Japan, and when I returned to the US, I was surprised and frustrated by all the bloggers who insisted you go through this stupid hour-long pressing process.
    I’m excited to try this recipe this weekend! Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Haha! Yes, the microwave helps immensely! Hope you enjoy :)

  6. Kirsti says:

    Have to comment as I made this recipe tonight and it is SO GOOD! It’s what I’d call tofu poke and you guys nailed it! Not that I thought you wouldn’t… all of your recipes are winners or at least the many I’ve tried. ;)

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Haha! So glad you enjoyed it!

      1. Helen says:

        Is there a substitute for gochujang if I don’t have any?

        1. Alex Overhiser says:

          A little bit of any asian hot sauce will work!

  7. Tanya says:

    I forgot to pick up maple syrup from the store can u use honey?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes, but start without about 1/2 and add more to taste!

  8. Sam says:

    Would you leave the leftover tofu in the marinade when refrigerated or will the garlicky taste become too strong?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! You can leave leftovers in the marinade and the flavor won’t get too overpowering. Thanks for asking!