Today we’re looking at a product that goes a long way in making the preparation and enjoyment of tofu even better – the tofu press. This is a popular tool among vegans or anyone who enjoys this popular meat substitute. We’ll give you a full rundown of the top products on the market, and take you through a full buyer’s guide to help you choose the best product for your kitchen.
What is a Tofu Press?
A tofu press is a kitchen tool that helps remove moisture from a tofu block. Tofu is typically packaged in liquid to keep it fresh and prevent it from drying; however, when it comes to preparing tofu, you don’t always want it wet.
A tofu press or tofu presser does exactly what the name implies, it presses the tofu, squeezing out the excess liquid until you are left with a dense piece of tofu. This is helpful if you want to add your marinade to the tofu or prepare it in any way.
Tofu presses come in a pretty impressive range of options. There are several types of presses to choose from, all touting benefits for function, usability, portability, and design. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but we’re going to examine the top options on the market.
1. BEST OVERALL: YARKOR Tofu Press
First up, we have the YARKOR tofu press, a popular choice because it offers a simple, functional design.
We like the YARKOR press because it is so simple and intuitive. Simply put the tofu in the press and use the top lid to secure it inside. Then, lock it into place, and the bottom spring pushes up against the tofu. This provides consistent force, draining the tofu without any effort from you at all!
The bottom bucket collects the water and is easy to drain and clean. Plus, the spring inside the collection bucket is rust-proof, so you don’t have to worry about any damage to the spring.
We also like that this design is see-through so that you can see when your tofu is ready to go.
Overall, we like this machine. It is simple, functional, and high quality. It also has a set-it-and-forget-it design that is easy to use. No effort is required from you after you put the tofu in the box style press. The one downside is that there are a lot of components to clean, but it is dishwasher safe!
- Functional Design
- The machine does the work for you
- A lot of parts to clean
2. Yarkor Bamboo Press
Next up we have a more traditional model of tofu press, also from YARKO. This is a classic, bamboo press that also has that traditional appeal.
This bamboo press is super easy to use. Simply place the bamboo on the bottom tray, attach the top plank above, and tighten the screws gradually to squeeze the moisture out of the tofu. The screws allow you to adjust the pressure gradually so that it doesn’t dry out too fast and crumble. This press is also hands-off, simply set the screws and walk away.
The bottom layer has convenient slots for draining. No bowls or plates are required to collect the water.
Another thing we like about bamboo is that it is eco-conscious. This design utilizes no harmful plastics, and you can really feel good about using the press!
The one downside is that it’s not as simple to use as some of the spring-loaded designs as you have to keep manually adjusting the screws yourself. This is a small gripe, though, as the screws allow you an extra layer of control.
- High-quality bamboo
- Efficient draining tray
- Manually adjusting the screws
3. Pynior Tofu Press
Here’s another great option from Pynior. This one utilizes a simple, spring-loaded design to press the tofu. Put the tofu in, lock it into place, and let the spring do the work for you. We love these designs because they have a built-in drainage-compartment which makes emptying the water easy.
In terms of tofu presses, this is an economical choice for what it offers. It’s not the most high-quality press, but it’s priced fairly and it works.
The one downside is that it’s not translucent, so you can’t see the tofu once you put it in there.
- Simple and it works
- Drainage compartment
- Value option
- Not translucent
4. EZ Tofu Press
Here’s another great option for pressing tofu. As the name implies, this is an easy tofu press!
We love tofu presses with simple designs, and this is about as simple as it gets. Put the tofu between the plates, tighten the screws, and gradually squeeze out all the water. That’s it. This one only takes about 15 minutes, depending on your desired consistency.
The one downside is that this plate style press it doesn’t have a plate for draining. You have to put it in a bowl or a wide pan, but the press itself is very easy to clean for this reason.
This product is of good quality and made in the USA!
- Made in the USA
- Simple and easy
- No drainage pan
5. Simple Tofu Press
This tofu press has a unique design, but we like it. Place the tofu between the two plates and use the attached screw to tighten the compartments. It’s very similar to many of the designs, but the screw is located in the center so you can hold the press in place with your opposite hand while you screw it, giving greater control.
There is also a drainage compartment at the bottom of the contraption, which is always a major bonus when pressing tofu.
This press is fairly priced and works well.
- Unique one-screw design
- Drainage compartments
- Almost entirely plastic
6. BEST BUDGET: Mangocore Press
If you’re looking for an inexpensive tofu press, look no further than this one from Mangocore.
It doesn’t get more basic than this. There’s a box to put the tofu in and a top plate you press on or set a weight on. It’s very much a manual press, but you might prefer that if you want total control over the process.
The press does have slits for draining, but you’ll have to put it in a bowl or a pan to collect the water.
Another bonus is that this press is dishwasher safe! And you can’t beat the price.
Overall, if you just want a basic press without all the fancy designs, then this is probably what you’re looking for. It doesn’t have screws, springs, or compartments, it’s just a press. But if you want total control over your tofu pressing, it’s a great choice.
- Simple tofu press
- Full control over pressing
- Very inexpensive
- No springs or screws
7. Simple Drip Tofu Press
Here’s a more functional take on some of the plastic tofu presses that we outlined above. This one steps up its game and offers a drip tray on the bottom! It has all the appeal of the plastic trays we already mentioned, but with the extra drainage for added convenience.
It’s a basic, functional press, but the drainage tray does make it a bit more difficult to clean.
The one downside of this plastic press is their overreliance on plastic. We do prefer bamboo trays, but you can decide on whichever one you prefer.
- Drainage tray
- Easy-grip knobs
- More difficult to clean
8. YARKOR Tofu Press
Here’s another great press from YARKOR. This is extremely similar to the press we outlined above from them, but it doesn’t have translucent plastic.
If we had a choice, we’d pick the one with translucent plastic, but this is still such a functional press that we had to include it. We think YARKOR makes the best spring-loaded presses. The spring applies consistent pressure, so it’s pretty much the lowest effort type of press.
We also like that this press is made of BPA free plastic. It’s always good to make an environmentally conscious choice when you can. Additionally, YARKOR provides a 30-day money-back guarantee!
The one downside of this type of press is how hard it can be to clean. With the three trays, as well as the spring, it can be a real hassle if you don’t own a dishwasher. If you do have a dishwasher, though, it’s quick and easy!
- Highly functional spring-loaded press
- No need to apply pressure yourself
- Difficult to clean
9. TOFUDEE Tofu Press
The TOFUDEE press features a very unique design and is unlike most other options on our list.
To use the TOFUDEE press, put your tofu into the compartment and use the top knob to apply pressure. You can adjust the pressure as you want, even in small increments. This ensures that you don’t crumble the tofu and can dry it out as much as you want.
The tofu rests on top of the grate, and the water drains to the bottom of the press, where it can easily be emptied.
Overall, this is another simple, easy-to-use design, and the big handle makes it quite a bit easier to use than designs that use screws.
Another thing we like about this press that goes unnoticed is the silicone legs. These keep the press secure and in place, and it doesn’t slide around while you turn the knob, making it much easier to adjust the press.
- Easy to use
- Unique design
- Draining compartment
- Difficult to clean if you don’t own a dishwasher
10. BEST PREMIUM: Wooden Tofu Press
Let’s finish off our list with the most basic of tofu presses!
This is a high-quality, simple, wooden tofu press. There isn’t much to it, but it gives you all the control that you could want.
This is an old-school press for those interested in traditional cooking. Put the tofu in the box, line with cheesecloth to drain, and put some weight on the lid to apply constant pressure. You can walk away from the press and come back in about half an hour to drained tofu. Adjust the weights or the length of time for optimal pressing.
Bonus: this press also doubles as a sushi presser!
We also like that this is a big press, and it can take up three pounds of tofu. It’s efficient and ideal for those who are preparing large quantities of food.
Overall, it’s a great press if you like to do things the old fashioned way. It will likely be the choice of those who need to drain big quantities of tofu at once. It’s high-quality wood, and it has the price tag to match.
- Basic, old-school press
- Works great once you find the ideal weight and time
Tofu Press Buyer’s Guide
To wrap up, let’s take a look at the most important factors you need to know to choose the best tofu press.
Are There Alternatives to a Tofu Press?
One of the most commonly asked questions about the tofu press is whether there are viable alternatives to using one. The answer is yes, but the real question is whether it’s worth the trouble!
A homemade method of pressing tofu is to simply place the tofu between a layer of paper towels. Use a paper towel or two on the bottom and top to absorb moisture, and place the tofu in a pan or bowl to catch the drainage
Then, apply a weight on top of the tofu, something like a small barbell plate, a heavy can, or anything of similar weight and density. Then, wait for about 30 minutes or so or until your tofu is at its desired consistency.
As you can see, it’s quite a simple process! But the real question is to its effectiveness. If the weight is not evenly dispersed, the tofu might not drain evenly. Additionally, it can be difficult to find a weight that is not too light or too heavy.
This method can work if you’re really in a pinch. But as you can see from our list, tofu presses are highly available and inexpensive. We’d recommend you just pick up a press and make your life easier!
Things To Consider
Choosing from all the presses on the market is no easy task. It helps to separate your decision into factors to focus on. Use these to evaluate each option above and make the best choice for you:
Tofu presses are typically made from wood or plastic, with some having metal components. The material makes a few key differences, primarily environmental sustainability with wood being the clear winner.
But no matter which you choose, you just want a press that is made of quality materials. Both wood and plastic have varying degrees of quality, and you want to choose a press that is built to last. Use our list to pick from some of our favorites!
As you can see, many presses utilize many ways to press tofu. Some are easier and more automatic, while others allow a higher degree of control. At the end of the day, it’s a largely personal preference of whether you want the additional flexibility to press the tofu to your preferences or you want to set it and forget it. Think of which appeals to you most, and use this to pick the type of press that most meets your preferences.
Finally, don’t forget about cleaning the press! Typically speaking, the presses with more components will be more difficult to clean. Generally, the presses which contain drainage plates have more moving parts and fall into this category. However, they also tend to be easier to use, so there’s a definite trade-off.
Either way, don’t forget to account for cleaning when making your decision. Sometimes, it can be the biggest hassle in the entire process! And if you own a dishwasher, be sure to look for a press that is dishwasher safe.