How long is tofu good for after cooked?

Tofu is a versatile ingredient that is made from soybeans. It’s a staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets as a protein source. When stored properly, both fresh and cooked tofu can last beyond the expiration date printed on the package. However, there are some guidelines to follow to ensure cooked tofu stays fresh and safe to eat.

Quick Answer

Cooked tofu stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator is generally good for 3 to 5 days past the printed expiration date. Properly frozen, cooked tofu can last 2 to 3 months in the freezer. Signs that cooked tofu has gone bad include mold, a spoiled smell, and a slimy texture.

How Long Does Fresh Tofu Last?

Fresh, unopened tofu typically stays good for:

  • 7-10 days past the printed expiration date when refrigerated
  • 5-6 months when frozen

Once opened, fresh tofu block lasts about:

  • 7-10 days refrigerated
  • 5-6 months frozen

The expiration date on the package is a good starting point, but it’s usually safe to keep fresh tofu for about 1-2 weeks past this date when stored properly in the fridge.

How to Tell if Fresh Tofu Has Gone Bad

Signs that fresh tofu has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Mold growing on the tofu
  • Visibly slimy texture and watery appearance
  • Sour or unpleasant smell

Maximizing Freshness of Tofu

To help fresh tofu last as long as possible:

  • Purchase sealed packages without rips or tears
  • Check the expiration date
  • Store in the refrigerator immediately in water in an airtight container
  • Change the water daily to keep it fresh
  • Keep the container of tofu submerged when refrigerating
  • Avoid freezing and thawing more than once

How Long Does Cooked Tofu Last in the Fridge?

Once tofu is cooked, here is how long it lasts refrigerated:

  • 3-5 days past the expiration date printed on the package
  • 5-7 days total if cooked from fresh

The key is storing cooked tofu properly in an airtight container to maximize freshness.

Cooked Tofu Storage Tips

  • Let cooked tofu cool completely before refrigerating
  • Store in an airtight container, not the original packaging
  • Ensure the container has a tight seal
  • Keep refrigerated at 40°F or below
  • Use within 3-5 days for best quality

How to Tell When Cooked Tofu Goes Bad

Signs that cooked tofu has spoiled and should be thrown out:

  • Mold growing on the tofu
  • Slimy texture
  • Sour or unpleasant smell
  • Discoloration

Can You Freeze Cooked Tofu?

Yes, cooked tofu can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Follow these steps:

  1. Allow cooked tofu to cool completely.
  2. For extra firm or firm tofu varieties, press out excess liquid before freezing.
  3. Portion into airtight containers or freezer bags.
  4. Label with the date and contents.
  5. Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  6. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Freezing prevents bacteria growth that causes spoilage. Cooked tofu that has been continuously frozen can last up to 2-3 months in the freezer.

Tips for Freezing Cooked Tofu

  • Freeze in portions for easy thawing.
  • Avoid repeated thawing and refreezing.
  • Press out water before freezing for firmer texture after thawing.
  • Use thawed cooked tofu within 3-4 days.

How Long Can You Store Leftover Tofu Dishes?

Here are some guidelines for how long leftover tofu dishes keep in the fridge or freezer:

Leftover Dish Refrigerator Freezer
Mapo tofu 3-5 days 2-3 months
Tofu scramble 3-4 days 1-2 months
Sesame tofu 3-5 days 2-3 months

As a general rule of thumb, most cooked leftover tofu dishes stay good for 3-5 days refrigerated and 2-3 months if frozen.

How to Store Leftover Tofu Dishes

To maximize freshness of leftover tofu dishes:

  • Let cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Store in airtight containers.
  • Ensure containers have tight sealing lids.
  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Freeze for long-term storage.

Proper storage helps prevent bacteria growth and spoilage.

Does Tofu Go Bad If Left Out?

Yes, tofu can go bad if left out unrefrigerated. Here’s how long tofu lasts at room temperature:

  • Fresh tofu block – Up to 2 hours
  • Cooked tofu – 1 hour
  • Prepared tofu dishes – 2 hours

Leaving tofu out for too long allows bacteria to multiply quickly and can make it unsafe to eat.

Signs Tofu Has Gone Bad from Sitting Out

Look for these signs that tofu has spoiled after being left out:

  • Slimy, mushy texture
  • Visible mold
  • Discoloration
  • Sour smell

Tofu that develops any stale, sour, or unpleasant smells after sitting out should be discarded.

How Long Can Opened Tofu Last in the Fridge?

Once opened and refrigerated, here is how long tofu lasts:

  • Fresh tofu block – 7-10 days
  • Cooked tofu – 3-5 days
  • Prepared tofu dishes – 3-5 days

Sealing opened tofu tightly in airtight containers and keeping refrigerated helps extend its shelf life.

Maximizing Opened Tofu Lifespan

Follow these tips for keeping opened tofu as fresh as possible:

  • Press out excess liquid from firm and extra firm tofu.
  • Seal tightly in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate immediately after opening.
  • Change water daily for fresh, uncooked tofu blocks.
  • Cook leftover tofu within 3-5 days.

Does Cooked Tofu Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, it’s important to refrigerate cooked tofu. Leaving it out at room temperature allows harmful bacteria to grow quickly.

Always refrigerate cooked tofu within 2 hours. Store in a sealed container, not the cooking vessel.

Refrigeration prevents the growth of bacteria. Cooked tofu that’s been properly refrigerated can last 3-5 days past the expiration date.

Can You Freeze Leftover Cooked Tofu?

Freezing cooked tofu extends its shelf life significantly. Follow these tips:

  • Let cooked tofu cool completely before freezing.
  • Portion into freezer bags or airtight containers.
  • Remove as much air as possible.
  • Label bags with contents and freeze-by date.
  • Freeze for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Does Tofu Go Bad If You Cook It Twice?

It’s generally safe to cook leftover tofu a second time. However, the texture and flavor will continue to degrade with each reheating.

To retain the best quality, it’s best to cook tofu only once. Use leftovers within 3-5 days and don’t reheat more than once.

If reheating previously cooked tofu, inspect carefully for signs of spoilage like mold, sliminess, or an off smell.

Reheating Tips for Leftover Tofu

To safely reheat cooked tofu:

  • Only reheat once
  • Use within 3-5 days
  • Inspect carefully for spoilage before eating
  • Reheat thoroughly to 165°F
  • Bring sauces to a boil when reheating

Properly reheating cooked tofu dishes ensures they reach a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria present.

How Long Does Thawed Tofu Last in the Fridge?

Thawed tofu that has been continuously frozen and properly thawed in the refrigerator can last:

  • Fresh tofu block – 7-10 days
  • Cooked tofu – 3-4 days

Use thawed tofu as soon as possible for best texture and flavor. Do not refreeze tofu after it has been thawed.

Thawing Frozen Tofu

Follow these guidelines for thawing frozen tofu safely:

  • Thaw in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
  • Allow 12-24 hours to thaw completely.
  • Use thawed tofu within 3-4 days.
  • Do not refreeze after thawing.

Always thaw frozen tofu slowly in the fridge, never on the counter or in warm water where bacteria can multiply.

Can You Freeze Tofu After It Has Been Thawed?

It is not recommended to refreeze tofu after it has already been thawed. Refreezing can compromise the texture and flavor.

However, if thawed tofu is added into a prepared dish that is subsequently frozen, that is generally safe. But standalone thawed tofu should not be refrozen.

For best quality, it’s better to cook thawed tofu within 3-4 days and avoid refreezing it if possible.

Why Refreezing Thawed Tofu Isn’t Recommended

Refreezing previously thawed tofu is not recommended for a few reasons:

  • Can result in unpleasant, mushy texture.
  • Often leads to crumbly, dry consistency.
  • Makes the tofu more susceptible to spoilage.
  • Can reduce flavor.

Is It Safe to Eat Tofu After It Smells Bad?

No, it is unsafe to eat tofu that smells bad or has an off odor. This is a clear sign that spoilage bacteria have proliferated and the tofu has begun rotting.

Discard any tofu that has developed an unpleasant or sour smell. Do not taste or eat tofu that smells bad.

When to Toss Out Smelly Tofu

Discard any tofu that has:

  • Sour, unpleasant odor
  • Ammonia smell
  • Stale, rotten smell
  • Very pungent odor

Bad smells indicate bacteria growth. Rotten smelling tofu can make you sick and should not be eaten.

Can Spoiled Tofu Make You Sick?

Yes, eating spoiled, rotten tofu can make you sick. Consuming tofu that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria or mold can cause food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning from bad tofu include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache

The effects can begin anywhere from 1-48 hours after eating spoiled tofu. See a doctor if your symptoms are severe.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning from Tofu

You can avoid getting sick by:

  • Checking expiration dates on packages
  • Storing tofu properly
  • Keeping cooked tofu refrigerated
  • Reheating cooked tofu thoroughly
  • Discarding expired or smelly tofu

Practicing proper food safety when handling and storing tofu reduces the risk of foodborne illness.


Cooked tofu that is properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator generally lasts 3-5 days past the printed expiration date, and around 5-7 days total if cooked fresh. Freezing extends the shelf life of cooked tofu to 2-3 months. Signs that tofu has gone bad include mold, slime, and an unpleasant sour smell. Spoiled tofu can harbor dangerous bacteria and lead to food poisoning, so it’s important to follow food safety guidelines when cooking, storing, and reheating tofu dishes.

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