Tofu for Babies and Kids (Tips and Recipes)


Learn how to make tofu for babies, including options that work for baby-led weaning, finger foods, and transitioning into toddlerhood. Tofu is an affordable plant-based protein that is so incredibly versatile—and easy to make delish!

tofu for babies on plate

Tofu for Babies

Tofu is one of our favorite plant-based proteins since it’s so budget-friendly and easy to flavor in any way you like. And it’s especially great for babies and kids since the texture is soft and so easy to chew—so it can be easier to eat than a lot of meat options.

Tofu is rich in protein and high in polyunsaturated fats, so it’s especially awesome since little kids need lots of regular fat options in their diet. It can also be a great source of B vitamins and iron.

On its own, tofu doesn’t taste like much, but it absorbs liquids, sauces, and flavors really easily so you can really make it taste like anything you or the kids like!

Is tofu safe for babies?

Tofu is a perfect, soft texture for babies, rich in nutrients, and easy to flavor, making it an all-star baby food. It’s also much less expensive than meat or fish, which makes it a great protein option for the whole family.

And if you have any concerns about soy products and cancer, there is a lot of research showing that eating soy can be protective against cancers. (It’s a different story with soy supplements, so it’s important to know what the concerns are really about.)

pan fried tofu cubes on pink plate

Tofu Finger Food

To serve tofu as a finger food, simply cook it as desired and cut up into small pieces. You can offer almost any type of tofu as a finger food—though “silken,” or the softest type, may be a little harder to pick up than “firm” or “extra-firm” simply since it’s so soft.

TIP: Find my full list of easy-to-eat early finger foods here.

tofu for baby led weaning on plate

Tofu for Baby-Led Weaning

Tofu has a great texture for baby-led weaning since ideally the food we offer when feeding a baby in the BLW style are soft and easy to mash between our fingers. Tofu is just that!

You can offer a finger-size piece of cooked tofu and let baby take it from there. Or even incorporate silken tofu into a number of other recipes (like smoothies) to offer baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I give my 6-month-old tofu?

To offer a 6-month-old tofu, you can serve a cooked finger-size piece baby-led weaning style, you can blend silken tofu into a smoothie, or blend silken tofu into almost any puree.

How can I give my 9-month-old tofu?

For a 9-month-old baby who can pick up small pieces of food with their fingers using what’s known as the “pincer grasp,” you can simply dice up any cooked tofu into small pieces. They should be about the size of a pea or two.

What can I do with silken tofu?

You can scramble silken tofu in a pan like scrambled eggs, blend it into a smoothie or pureed soup, or puree it with a baby food. Some people like to use it in place of cream in soups and pasta recipes.

baked tofu on yellow plate

Baked Tofu

Baking tofu on a sheet pan in the oven is one of the easiest, most hands-off ways to prepare tofu. And this recipe is easy to toss together and then either serve or save to enjoy throughout the week.

With just a few ingredients from the pantry, you can make baked tofu that rivals even the fanciest salad bar. (I was always wondering how the tofu on the Whole Foods salad bar was made and it’s basically this recipe!)

Steamed Tofu for Baby

Steamed tofu is an easy option that’s very lightly flavored and mellow. Simply place sliced tofu into a steamer basket fit over a pot of simmering water or broth. You can add sliced lemon, herbs, or any other aromatics to add a little more flavor, and cook until the tofu is just warmed through.

TIP: You can also poach extra-firm tofu by simmering it in any sauce you like, such as a Tikka Masala simmer sauce, marinara sauce, or even chicken broth.

pan fried tofu in white pan

Pan-Fried Tofu

I love pan-fried tofu both because it’s a really straight forward way to make tofu, and also because it has a really pleasant flavor.

Plus, you can serve this with any dip the kids like and add it to a variety of dishes including pasta, salads, pasta salad, and more.

The info on how to make this one is below so you can share it with the kids—at any age!

ingredients in pan fried tofu

Ingredients for Pan-Fried Tofu

To make this recipe you need “extra-firm” or “super-firm” tofu and olive oil.

You could also use butter, ghee, or another cooking oil if you have a different preference.

tofu draining on towels

How to Drain Tofu

To make pan-fried tofu, you’ll want to start by draining the tofu between two kitchen towels. This will remove a lot of the moisture, which will make the result a little crispier.

You can drain tofu on towels, weighted with a bowl or plate, for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

how to make pan-fried tofu step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Once your tofu is drained, here’s how to make pan-fried tofu. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information on this recipe.)

  1. Cut the tofu block into four even pieces.
  2. Optional: Cut each piece in half to make shorter pieces.
  3. Warm oil or butter in a pan and add the tofu. Cook until golden.
  4. Flip over and finish cooking.

TIP: You can serve this warm or let it cool to room temperature and serve it that way. Both work well!

Best Tips for Success

  • Drain tofu and let sit between two kitchen towels, weighted by a heavy bowl or plate, to remove extra moisture before baking or pan-frying.
  • Add silken tofu to smoothies, baby food purees, or in puree soups.
  • To serve tofu in the baby-led weaning style, offer it in finger-size pieces.
  • To serve tofu as a finger food, cut it into small pieces for baby to pick up.
  • You may also like Crispy Tofu Nuggets, Sesame Tofu, Stir Fry with Tofu, and Chia Pudding.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment below and rate the recipe by clicking the stars!

pan fried tofu in skillet

Easy Pan-Fried Tofu (for Baby, Big Kids, and Parents)

Amy Palanjian

Learn how to make tofu for babies and big kids with this easy pan-fried tofu recipe. It’s so easy and yummy that parents enjoy it too!

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 12 mins

Total Time 42 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Servings 4 -6

Calories 78 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 12-15 ounces extra-firm tofu block
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut or avocado oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, or a pinch of Chinese 5 Spice (optional)

Instructions 

  • Open the tofu and drain off the liquid. Place between two clean folded kitchen towels and put a heavy bowl or plate on top. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. This helps remove liquid from the tofu to make it have nice texture when cooked in the pan.

  • Place the tofu on a cutting board. Cut into 1-inch strips by cutting the block into 4 slices. You can cut each slice in half if desired.

  • Place a cast iron or nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the oil and warm for 30 seconds.

  • Place tofu into the pan, spreading out so it has room to cook. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully turn over and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.

  • Remove from pan and let cool just a little before serving.

Notes

  • Serve cooked tofu with a dip like pizza sauce, marinara sauce, guacamole, or salsa.
  • Add pan-fried tofu to a simmer sauce like Tikka Masala sauce, marinara sauce, or even chicken broth and serve with pasta or a favorite grain.
  • Drain tofu and let sit between two kitchen towels, weighted by a heavy bowl or plate, to remove extra moisture before baking or pan-frying.
  • Add silken tofu to smoothies, baby food purees, or in puree soups.
  • To serve tofu in the baby-led weaning style, offer it in finger-size pieces.
  • To serve tofu as a finger food, cut it into small pieces for baby to pick up.

Nutrition

Calories: 78kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 54mgPotassium: 131mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg

Keyword pan-fried tofu, tofu for babies



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