Shopping for kitchen utensils can be fun or it can be a downright, mind-numbing chore. With so many products on the market in every conceivable area, narrowing down your choices for a specialty utensil can be daunting.
So let us do the legwork and give you a head-start when it comes to buying at least one utensil: a tofu press!
Tofu presses come in several styles and designs and choosing the one that works best for your kitchen starts with evaluating the needs of yourself and your family. Some styles or designs will be more expensive and some will be cheaper and knowing your budget, how much you’ll be using it, and where it will fit in your kitchen cupboards, can help you determine the best fit for you.
Here we’ll be running through the top 8 tofu presses out on the market with tips on where to find them and how much they’re worth. Let’s take the chore out of shopping for kitchen utensils and press it down to its true essence!
What does a tofu press do?
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly do we want our new tofu press to do?
Maybe you’ve been using an old tofu press and have no idea how it’s supposed to work. Maybe this is your first foray into the world of tofu and you need a little guidance. Let’s walk through the basics together!
From sprout to plate: an origin story
While used in many traditional meals across the world, tofu has been on the rise for several years now in the U.S. cornering more of the market as many people switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Tofu is made from condensed soy milk and originated in China over 2,000 years ago. As the market for tofu has risen, the agricultural world in the U.S. has stepped up to accommodate. Now, the majority of the world’s soybeans are grown in the United States.
Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans, grinding them up, and then filtering out any particles that would detract from a smooth product. This is then added to nigari, a salt made from seawater extraction, to cure and make tofu.
As with everything food-related, there are a nearly unlimited number of styles and types of tofu itself. You can choose different textures and densities based on what you need for your next great recipe! A versatile and nutrient-rich product, tofu takes just a little bit of preparation to be used in almost everything and that’s where the tofu press steps onto the scene.
The tofu press
Tofu has naturally high water content and for most recipes, it’s crucial to press and rinse your block before proceeding to the recipe itself. Pressing tofu removes the extra water giving you room to marinate your tofu or just create a denser block that will fry up crispy and delicious!
To do this pressing you’ll need a tofu press.
In this section we’ll go over the top 8 plate and box style tofu presses on the market now, their pros and cons, and a review of each one. There are dozens of different types and styles in the world so we’ve done the hard work for you by sorting them out into an easy shopping list for you to choose from!
The top 7
Let’s get down to brass tacks!
We’re going to be counting down the top 7 tofu presses including their pros and cons, cost, and where you can buy and find the style of tofu press. In this list, you’ll find 3 box style presses and 4 plate presses so you can evaluate your own needs and choose what works best for you and your kitchen!
1. The Original Super Tofu Press by TofuPresser
With over a thousand positive reviews on Amazon, the Super Tofu Press is simple and compact, making it easy to use and easy to store.
Two knobs control the pressure on your block of tofu as water is pressed out. The hollow plates on the top and bottom constrict as the knobs are turned and the water runs out the sides and into a dish or sink.
While several tofu press options have a slotted bottom so that water will run into a tray, this press must be set in a container or a sink to keep your tofu from becoming a mess all over your counter. Springs hold the plates apart and provide tension for your tofu press. This can create some spaces that may be harder to clean but because the whole thing is made of food-grade materials, it can be washed and rinsed easily at the end of the day.
- Simple, sturdy design
- Two knobs instead of four for an easy cleanup
- Affordable price
- 30-day money-back guarantee from the company
- No drip pan
- Springs can be an issue when not used correctly
2. EZ Tofu Press
The EZ Tofu Press comes with over two thousand reviews on Amazon and averages 4.7 out of 5 stars on the website!
With a clean and simple design, the EZ Tofu Press makes getting your tofu the way you want it super easy. In between the two plates, for your convenience, there are centering marks so that you can center your tofu for an even squeeze.
The EZ Tofu Press uses screws and knobs to remove the water so there are no springs or bands that could wear out and leave you in the lurch. Pressing with this contraption takes 15 minutes or less from start to finish.
This press does not come with a drip pan like several others so it must be set over a towel, paper towels, or be used in the sink to avoid a mess in your kitchen. The pieces are sturdy and come apart for easy cleaning and storage between uses.
- Very simple and easy to use
- Easy to clean and store
- Fewer pieces that could wear out but still effective at the task
- No drip pan so must be used in the sink or over towels
3. Tofu Press By Grow Your Pantry
This plate style tofu press not only has great reviews but is compact and easy to use as well as being very aesthetically pleasing.
With two knobs on top, the Quick Drip Bamboo tofu press is simple to use; just slide the tofu underneath the top plate and adjust the knobs to squeeze the water out of the tofu block in just 15 minutes. This tofu press comes not just with the press but with a drip or marinating tray to catch the excess water. The tray can double as a marinating tray when you go to season your well-pressed tofu block.
While the material is very pretty and the whole contraption is nice to look at, bamboo tends to be porous and harder to clean than plastic or metal. You can clean and store your bamboo tofu press in the accompanying drawstring bag to keep it clean between uses.
It is slightly more expensive than the previous tofu press but the materials are sustainably grown and helps keep plastic out of the ecosystem.
- Self-contained with a drip tray for easy clean-up
- Sustainable materials with food-grade standards
- Slightly more expensive
- More porous material that could potentially be harder to clean and keep clean
- Less compact for storage
4. Tofu Press (Ninja) by Raw Rutes
This little beauty looks like it dropped straight out of a sci-fi novel!
All stainless steel, the container and pressing weight system of this box-style tofu press, make it ideal for working with smaller quantities of tofu at a time. The weights do all the work, simply insert your tofu block, set the weight on top, and let it do its magic. No knobs to turn or bands to mess with allow this weighted system to simply set it and walk away.
The water that is pressed out is allowed to drain from holes in the bottom of the container into whatever prepared surface you’ve set up. Unlike other presses, this one does not have a drip pan for excess water. From start to finish this tofu press usually takes about 15 minutes to finish a block of tofu.
While small, this press does not collapse for storage and does not come completely apart for cleaning. The press is backed up by a lifetime warranty as well.
- Very sleek design
- No manual skills needed; just set it and go
- Stainless steel materials for food safety and easy cleanup
- Much pricier than other box-style tofu presses
- Does not collapse for easy storage
5. Gourmet Tofu Press by TofuXpress
Versatile and affordable, the Gourmet Tofu Press can be used with tofu, making of your own yogurt, and pressing liquid out of your vegetables as well.
The design of this little contraption is unique! You place the tofu block into the box, press down on the lid until it latches, and then the tofu presser finishes the job, pressing out the excess liquid while you continue working in your kitchen.
The water collects in the bottom of the box and can be emptied when the pressing is done. However, this box style presser does take much longer than other styles to finish the job. It can take a few hours or even overnight achieve the density you want for your tofu recipes.
When not in use, the pieces all come apart and can be cleaned thoroughly before being stacked conveniently. The manufacturer does provide a limited, one-year warranty on this product.
The Gourmet Tofu Press by TofuXpress is available at Amazon.com for $43.
- Versatile multi-tasking kitchen utensil
- Hands-off design frees you to do other things
- Drip pan for excess water
- Pieces can be fragile
- Takes several hours or overnight to press tofu to satisfaction
6. Tofuture Tofu Press
The Tofuture Tofu Press has a design that screams “cute” to anybody who looks for that in their utensils and appliances!
Made from plastic, the cute box-style tofu press is portable and made to take on the go for anyone wanting to make tofu on the road. The design uses bands and the handles to squeeze the water from the tofu but the bands have a tendency to break which makes removing the water very difficult.
Not only do the bands break but the handles have been known to crack as well making it hard to get an even press on the tofu itself. While highly portable and easy to transport, the Tofuture tofu press can be difficult to get to work correctly if you’re not an expert already.
The press itself is all dishwasher safe making clean-up, especially out on the road, very simple and very speedy.
- Nice design that catches the eye
- Simple clean-up process
- Transportable and easy to take on the road
- Handles can break easily making it difficult to press tofu evenly
- System for pressing can be hard to understand and work correctly for the first time uses
7. Mangocore Plastic Tofu Press
With an extremely simple design, this tofu press has slots on each side for excess water to drain out but has no drip pan so it must be set up in another container or in a sink to avoid a mess in your house. A simple two-piece design is easy for anyone to use.
The tofu is placed inside the box, the top piece added, and you simply press down manually to extract the excess water. This process does take more of your time but is highly effective and allows you to be in control.
It is not the sturdiest or most elegant of designs but it will get the job done with a little effort on your part. There are no mechanical pieces or extra components to manage, maintain, or keep clean. This little box-style press simply gets a rinse and can be put away for use another day.
- Cheap and easy to use for first-time tofu pressers
- No mechanical pieces to clean or maintain
- Doubles as a mold for making tofu as well
- Easy to clean
- Does not collapse for easy storage
- Takes time as you have to press tofu in it manually
- Cheaper materials can break more easily
A Buyers Guide to Choosing the Best Tofu Press
Each kitchen, like each person, is unique!
Choosing a tofu press, whether it’s your first or twenty-first, depends on what benefits you want in your kitchen. Are you looking for a cheaper price? Less mess? More of a hands-off approach?
We’ve shared several great options for you to get started with your tofu journey. You’ll find box and plate style, hands-on and hands-off approaches, and a wide range of materials and designs.
To help you sort through the different options and what might work for your kitchen, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to get you started on the purchasing process!
All presses have their pros and cons but use this list as a guide as you go shopping for your tofu press!
When choosing a tofu press for your kitchen, you’ll want to match the price you’re willing to pay with how often you’re planning to use your tofu press.
If you’re only planning on using it once or twice, a cheaper option might be the best bet. However, if you’re going to be pressing tofu on the daily, going with a sturdier, more expensive option would benefit you more. The typical plate-style tofu press will run you about $20-$35 while a box-style tofu press will run between $15-$25.
Within this list, we’ve organized something for every budget!
Box or plate
There are traditionally two types of tofu presses: plate and box styles. Each has its pros and cons, costs, and benefits for your well-stocked kitchen.
In this day and age, it’s well worth your time to invest in a great tofu press instead of thinking you can skate by with just a regular old plate with your tofu on it and a rock on top of that to squeeze out the water!
While it may seem very simple, the plate style of the tofu press is very effective.
Each plate-style press features two metal or plastic plates depending on which press you add to your kitchen. The tofu block is placed between the two places and pressure is adjusted with either two or four tension knobs that slowly and steadily squeeze out the tofu water.
The water is collected with another shallow plate below the tofu so that it can be used or disposed of accordingly. The process of pressing tofu in a plate press typically takes about 10-20 minutes from start to finish depending on how much you want to press from your tofu itself!
Plate style tofu presses are simple and effective and sit flat for easy storage between uses. With no hidden cracks or crevices, they are also easy to clean and keep clean after use.
Plate style tofu presses like those on our list are simple to use and ultra-easy to store. They typically come all the way apart for easy cleaning and storage and get the job done in a short amount of time.
The drawbacks to a plate style tofu press are typical that they do not contain a drip pan and have to be used over towels or the sink to keep the mess to a minimum.
All told, the typical time that a plate-style tofu press takes to press tofu to satisfaction is between 10 and 20 minutes on average depending on the density you’d like your tofu.
Box style tofu presses come in wood, plastic, or metal and are a slightly more complicated design but they make your job as an official tofu presser much easier!
Each box-style tofu press has the initial box (hence the name), and a weighted or spring-loaded top plate that keeps pressure on the block of tofu, squeezing out the water. Once the box is assembled and set, you can walk away and it will keep pressing until the water content of your tofu reaches your desired levels.
The box style lets you do other things in your kitchen instead of constantly adjusting the knobs of your tofu press to get your final product.
Each box style tends to be unique from its counterparts but across the board, they are designed to be set and left so that you can continue with other tasks. While some have more components that must be maintained and cleaned, a large majority are simple designs that work with the weights included and simply take time.
Box styles are often more self-contained with a drip pan that benefits you with an easier clean-up when all is said and done. In comparison to the plate-style presses, box style presses are often bulkier to store between uses but are not overly large, to begin with.
And the Winner is…
Here at the end of our guide we wanted to announce our top choice among the pantheon of tofu presses now on the market!
The top choice is The Original Super Tofu Press by TofuPresser shared as number 1. It’s an affordable options with an easy to use design and can be quickly stored when not in use. It’s been shown to be reliable and does well over and over again in repeated uses.
The runner up in our list is the Tofu Press By Grow Your Pantry shared as number 3. Made with sustainable materials and designed to work well and be really pretty to look at, it gets the job done in a short amount of time. Easy to clean and with a drip pan, it’s self contained and keeps working time after time. Although it’s made of a more porous material, it cleans well and is made with food grade pieces.
Tofu presses can be found everywhere and shipped to you from anywhere but choosing one that works for you and your kitchen can take a little bit of research.
When you know what you and your kitchen need in terms of budget and style of tofu press, the choice is easy! We’ve shared several great options with you to help you on your tofu press shopping adventure.
Whether you’re just getting into the tofu scene or you’ve been a member for a while we think you’ll be excited with any of the options that we’ve shared today.