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How To Make Tofu Taste Like Chicken

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The best recipes are created through mistakes. And that’s exactly how I was able to get this tofu to taste almost like chicken. 

Juicy, tender, with every bite dripping with an umami flavor that keeps on giving. Tofu can taste good, with just the perfect mix of technique, ingredients, and love.

There was once upon a time that I could not stand the taste and texture of tofu – to me, it was like a wet cardboard box. However, after several years of experimenting, I have learned to appreciate the versatility of tofu. 

Tofu can be smoky, spicy, tender, or with a crunch. It really is up to the home cook to hone in their creative juices. Today I was the cook and I made what I wanted – tofu that tasted, felt, and looked like tender chicken chunks – and I was all about it.

The story of this recipe began with freezing the tofu block.

Freezing the tofu blocks create ice crystals within the block, which opens up the tofu and makes it easier for the marinade to penetrate the block. It becomes sponge-like.

Anyway, the tofu block didn’t quite hold together. This tofu block was medium-firm, not firm. Because of this and because I sliced them too thinly, they couldn’t hold it together. 

I freeze my tofu blocks frequently, so that’s not new for me. What was new is that I got a block of tofu that wasn’t quite as firm as to how I usually buy them. I also did a bad job at slicing them thick enough, So, I actually ended up with tofu pieces.

Pro-tip: the more liquid you drain from the tofu block, the less of that tofu taste you’re going to get. You know what I mean – that distinct tofu flavor that’s a bit bizarre, but totally not off-putting.

Another benefit of draining as much water as you possibly can is that the tofu block will have a better time soaking up flavor from your marinade. 

How To Freeze Tofu 

Throw the entire tofu with its packaging into the freezer. No need to drain. Straight to the freezer it goes. You’ll want to freeze the tofu block for at least a day. 

How To Defrost And Press Tofu

First, remove the tofu from its packaging. 

You can defrost the tofu block on the counter or fridge all day. Just throw the tofu in a large bowl so it can collect any extra liquid as it defrosts. Once it defrosts, press the tofu. 

Or, if you’re in a hurry, just microwave the block. I microwaved the frozen tofu block to quickly defrost, which I did in 4-5 minute intervals. When the time was done, I drained and pressed the tofu as much as I could between the backs of two plates.

Then I threw the tofu block into the microwave again. I repeated this process until my block was totally defrosted and free of any extra liquid. 

Additionally, if you need more direction on how to defrost tofu, check this out. 

Large slab of porous, defrosted tofu

How To Make Tofu Taste Like Chicken

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken, Tofu



  • Freeze a block of tofu for at least 24 hours. Remove the frozen block from its packaging and defrost in a microwave, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Once defrosted, allow to cool for 5 minutes. Next, drain and press excess water.
  • Cut the tofu block into plank and pat-dry each plank with a clean towel or paper towel.
  • Measure 6 tablespoons of water and pour it into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Drop one Not-Chick’n cube into the bowl of hot water. Dissolve and mix.
  • Tear the tofu into bite-sized pieces and set aside in a bowl. In a pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Add the tofu and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Next, pour the over the tofu pieces and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Serve.
Bowl of spiral pasta with olives and tofu chicken

Or, go for a taco!

Soft tacos topped with tofu chicken and sriracha

Recipes That Also Use Frozen Tofu 

Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado 

Plate of Puerto Rican tofu guisado with smashed avocado, rice, and plantains

Simple Tofu Nuggets 

Crispy tofu nuggets

Black Bean & Tofu Burger

Vegetarian burger with tofu, mushroom, and black beans

Cookware Used In This Recipe

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