Does Tofu Go Bad? Your Questions Answered

Tofu is a great healthy meat alternative that is often a staple in many vegan and vegetarian diets. Tofu is essentially a soy product and is common ingredient in miso soup.

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If you’re not familiar with tofu then there can be some ambiguous questions surrounding how to use and store it, and one of the most common questions being - does it go bad and how long does it take?

The answer is yes. Every food, including tofu, will eventually go off even if it’s unopened. If you’re interested in how long tofu actually lasts and looking for ways to prolong the life of your tofu then keep on reading!

How Long Does It Take For Tofu To Go Bad

How Long Does Tofu Last?

Unopened tofu is still safe to eat around 2-3 months after the production date that is stated on the packaging, if you’re unable to find the production date on the packaging then the best by or use by date is commonly a good indicator to know how long the tofu is safe to eat for. 

Keeping your unopened tofu in the refrigerator should extend the shelf life by up to a week of what is recommended, however, if you don’t intend to use your tofu any time soon then the best way to store it is by putting it in the freezer.

Unopened frozen tofu can last in the freezer for numerous months and even years, however, the recommended maximum freezing time for tofu is 3-4 months to minimize the loss of flavor as much as possible. 

Opened tofu, cooked tofu, or leftover tofu will only last around 3-5 days in the refrigerator so unless you intend to eat all of it at once you should consider putting the remainder into the freezer to use at a later date. Always use proper food storage when storing tofu for your next recipe.

How To Store Tofu - Can Tofu Be Frozen?

The best way to prolong the life of your tofu as much as possible is by freezing it, however, you should make sure you take care when following this route as you'll want to retain as much flavor.

Before freezing your tofu, you should drain all the water from it and then cover it in plastic, and then place it into an airtight container or bag. Freezing tofu will make it last longer. Never store at room temperature.

How long does Tofu last in the fridge? When it comes time to use your frozen tofu in your cooking, you should leave it to dethaw in the refrigerator overnight and then eat the refrigerated tofu within 5 days.

It is not a good idea to refreeze your tofu again. Your tofu's shelf life depends on how you store it.

If you don't use all your tofu at once and you want to keep the rest of it in the refrigerator, then transfer whatever is leftover into an airtight container that contains fresh water and make sure to change the water every day to keep the tofu fresh.

How To Tell If Tofu Is Bad

One of the most obvious signs that any food, including tofu, has gone bad is that there'll be mold, discoloration on the surface.

Normally when tofu has turned bad, it'll change from its regular white appearance to a darker tan color. So bad tofu or spoiled tofu changes color.

Your nose should be able to detect whether tofu has gone bad or not, bad tofu will have a distinct sour smell which is easily noticeable as fresh tofu doesn't particularly smell. So expired tofu is also stinky tofu.

The texture of tofu can also change when it has gone bad.

Tofu normally has a smooth texture and surface, but if you notice that there is a slime layer on top or surrounding the tofu or if it’s started to get a clotted appearance, then it’s probably time to discard it.

If your tofu has been in the refrigerator for a long time but you’re still unsure whether it’s safe to eat, then it’s probably safer to dispose of it instead of risking food poisoning by trying to eat it. 

Can You Eat Expired Tofu?

You shouldn’t get confused with the sell-by date or manufacturing date with the expiry date that is displayed on the packaging of tofu.

If your tofu is past the expiry date or is displaying common signs of turning bad, then you shouldn’t attempt to eat it.

However, if your tofu has been properly stored in the refrigerator or the freezer and it has passed its sell-by date then it should be ok to eat, but make sure to check it over before you begin cooking with it. 

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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