DIY Tofu: Just Soymilk, Lemon, and Water!

Make your own tofu at home with only soymilk, fresh lemon juice and water! Fresh, homemade tofu is so much better tasting than the store-bought stuff and super easy to make. And don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like lemons at all. You don’t need anything special other than cheesecloth.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Store bought soymilk usually contains a bunch of additives so you won’t want to use that for this recipe. Use homemade soymilk or brands that only contain soybeans, water and maybe salt. Soymilk is really easy to make too; here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. 😉

By the way, this recipe makes “regular” style tofu; the firm kind that you can stir-fry easily without it breaking apart. Click here for how to make Silken Tofu, also known as smooth tofu.

Video Tutorial for Homemade Tofu

You may have heard some rumours about soy, but this legume has been consumed in China for centuries! Soy is one of the “5 Sacred Grains” and is one of the most healthful sources of complete protein. Check out this article from Dr. M Greger on the healthfulness of soy.

homemade tofu slices on bamboo board

Check out this quick recipe for Chinese Five-Spice Tofu, one of my favourite ways to eat up fresh, homemade tofu.

Printable recipe for DIY Tofu

Homemade Tofu
Serves 3
Make your own tofu at home with only soymilk, fresh lemon juice and water! Fresh, handmade tofu is so much better tasting than the store-bought stuff; milder and with a different bite. Plus it's super easy to make. And don't worry, it doesn't taste like lemons at all.
Write a review
  1. 5 cups plain soymilk (Soymilk Tutorial here) [1180ml]
  2. 1/2 cup water [118ml]
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice [22ml]
  1. Combine the water and lemon juice.
  2. Separately, heat the soymilk to 160F (71C) in a large pot. Be sure to stir constantly to keep the soymilk from burning on the bottom. If you don't have a thermometer, you can bring it just to a boil, then remove from heat and stir for 2-3 minutes to cool.
  3. Remove the soymilk from heat and stir half of the lemon mixture into the soymilk for 1 or 2 minutes with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  4. Stand the spoon or spatula straight down into the milk to cause the spinning motion of the milk to stop.
  5. Add the rest of the lemon mixture and stir the spatula in a back and forth motion or a figure eight motion. The intent is to mix the lemon juice coagulant in thoroughly but gently.
  6. After a minute or two, the soymilk should start to separate and curds will begin to form. Stop stirring and cover the pot with a lid.
  7. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Afterwards, the soymilk will have completely separated into bits of soybean curd and liquid. The Liquid should be rather clear and yellowish. If it is still milky looking, it has not completely curdled. In that case, add a few drops of lemon juice and stir them in well.
  9. Prepare a colander or seive lined with a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl, or use a steamer pot.
  10. Ladle the soy curds into the cheesecloth.
  11. Pull up the sides of the cloth to allow most of the water to drain out. Gather the sides of the cloth and twist at the top to squeeze out more water.
  12. Untwist the cloth and re-wrap the curds so that it forms a loaf shape.
  13. With the curds securely wrapped in the cheesecloth, place a a couple pounds of weight on top. You want to press the curds evenly to force the water out. A cutting board with a few books on top would work well. Alternatively, use a tofu press device.
  14. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  15. Carefully unwrap the tofu and place in a bowl of very cold water. This will help the tofu firm up further.
  16. Now it's ready to use! Otherwise, store it in water, in the fridge, for 1 to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen.
  1. This recipe can be multiplied to make larger batches. This recipe makes about 350g (12 ounces) of firm tofu using 8 lbs of weight over 45 minutes. The weight of your finished product will depend on how much water is pressed from your tofu.
  2. Store bought soymilk usually contains a bunch of additives so you won’t want to use that for this recipe. In fact, these additives are sometimes added specifically to prevent curdling which is exactly the opposite of what we're trying to do. Use homemade soymilk or brands that only contain soybeans, water and maybe salt.
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/
Showing 32 comments
  • narf77

    Hi Mary, I love your recipes, especially your non dairy cheeses. I just started following you in my RSS Feed Reader and get excited to see what you have shared every time I see a new post. Just one little thing, you forgot to say what the 1 1/2 tbs (22ml) was for in your recipe. It is obviously lemon juice but people tend not to think before they type and you are bound to end up with people asking what the ingredient is that is missing. Cheers for a most excellent website and thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes.

    • Mary

      Thank you so much, dearie! Both for your kind words AND for catching my mistake! I am so glad you noticed that. <3

  • saniel

    ccan an other organic GMO free non dairy milk be used? almond, hemp, coconut, sunflower

    • Mary

      To be honest, I do not know. For almond, it’s a probably not. Almond milk doesn’t tend to curdle in the same way. I have heard that hemp milk will work though! Someone shared this recipe (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2012/01/31/hemp-tofu/) with me and said it was not bad. I am going to try is ASAP so I’ll let you know when I do. Or if you try it first, please let me know! 🙂

  • Connie

    I just made the soy milk and then made the tofu. It turned out great!!! and soooooo easy !! thanks – great videos 🙂 Now, I am moving on to the “sea burgers” using the okara from the milk. Can’t wait to try them

    • Mary

      Oh yay!!!! Connie, that is so great to hear. I am so happy that you tried the recipe and that the video was useful for you. Please let me know how the sea burgers work out for you. <3 Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know about your results! 🙂


    yumm I just bought a tofu maker set so I can’t wait to try it out

  • afsar ghori


    I soaked soya bean for 10 hrs then granded, and then i strain the milk whi i boiled and added 3 small lemons juice added in water, it did not cuddled/caugultes (not breakup)then i added s1/2 tbs salt still didnt caugulted then added two more small lemons directs still didnt caugulated rather it is turning into thick liquid like starch why?


    • Mary

      Hi dear, I cannot tell why your soy milk did not coagulate at first. What did it look like when you added the lemon juice?

      Salt is not in the recipe here. Flavourings should only be added after you have separated the soy curds from the water.

      Other than those things, here are some important points:
      – the soy milk needs to be good quality. Well made soy milk is creamy and thick, the okara (soy bean pulp) will be fine and quite dry.
      – the soy milk needs to be the correct temperature before coagulant is added. The best thing is to use a correctly calibrated thermometer.
      – make sure the lemons you use are sour lemons. There are types of lemons which are sweet and not sour. Do not use those kinds.

      I hope that helps! Good luck!

  • Nya

    What is the health information for this recipe?

    • Mary

      This isn’t a health blog and I have limited time so I don’t include nutrition information. However, with so few ingredients, it should be pretty easy to enter the recipe into a free service like Cronometer if you want to find out. Cheers!

  • Amy

    Mary, what’s your favorite store bought tofu? I love the tofu at our local Chinatown but pretty sure it’s not non gmo stuff. Thanks!

    • Mary

      I buy whatever is the least expensive. The two brands available at my local stores are Sunrise Tofu and Superior Tofu. Both brands use non-GMO soybeans. I don’t really have a preference; they both offer good quality tofu. Further to that, I don’t purposely avoid GMO products either. Those nothing is as great as home-made tofu 😉

  • Kim sae hyon

    Hi Mary… I used your recip to make tofu… thank you soo much.. but my mixture is not separating.. what shoul I do.. shall I keep it until it separate..??? Please help me…??????

  • Roz

    Thanks for your recipe. I haven’t eaten my first batch (any but a small taste) yet, but I was wondering about the “whey” which separates from the curds of the tofu. If it were dairy cheese, a lot of the protein from the original milk would be in that liquid, but of course this isn’t dairy milk so maybe it’s different?
    Any idea??

  • Chad

    Hey Mary, I’ve been trying to make tofu, and have made a couple batches so far. While I’ve been able to get the end product, during the separation of the curds, the coagulant i use(Nigari Flakes aka Magnesium Chloride) does not get the curds to quite the same consistency as you do. I use to Teaspoons of the stuff to about 6-ish cups of soymilk. What i mean when the texture is off, is that i can’t pick up the curds with a spoon, and they seem to be fairly fine and will stick to the cheesecloth i use to separate the curds(which is a pain) they are fine enough that trying to use a wire strainer causes them get stuck in it and not drain very well, as well as being annoying to pull out of the strainer.

    I would really appreciate some advice, as being the only man with an interest in cooking, i’ll be having no help from my mates. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this, as i am lost.

    • Chad

      Sorry, Two Teaspoons of Nigari flakes, not “to”. My English teacher would cry if she saw that!

    • Anastasia

      I have the same problem as Chad. I used Gypsum, because i couldn’t get the lemon to work at all. It’s as if it doesn’t separate properly. The whey is still quite milky and the curds are small.. what are we doing wrong?

  • Freda

    Pls can I use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice?

    • Mary

      I haven’t tested with apple cider vinegar. Please let me know the results if you decide to experiment with it!

  • Agnès

    Hi Mary. I made your tofu recipe yesterday, with store-bought soymilk that contains only water and soybeans. I have encountered a problem : when, after 15 min of rest for my lumpy mixture, it was time to drain it, using a regular cotton cloth because that’s all I had, it was too hot for me to squeeze with my hands. Therefore, I had to use a spoon to “press”, but the end result is closer to silken tofu. I cannot use it as I would with firm tofu because it breaks apart too easily in my hands. I am still very happy to have made my own silken tofu, and will use it, but I wish I could make firm tofu without getting third-degree burns on my hands ^^
    So I was wondering if I could either let the mixture sit for longer than 15 min in the pot, so that it cools down in the pot, and then drain it like you showed in the video, or, pour it on the cloth, and wait at this stage, long enough for me to handle it and effectively press it.
    I’m counting on your experience for this, but if you don’t know, which I totally understand, I’ll just have to try these options myself.
    At least, I know how to do silken tofu ^^
    Thank you if you answer me, and even if you don’t, because I respect your work, I know it’s good because I watch all your videos and often get inspired.
    God bless,

    • Mary

      Hi Agnes,
      I’ve already answered your comment on on the YouTube page, but just wanted to add it here in case any readers get confused 🙂

      “Be careful and DON’T burn yourself. After scooping the curds into your cloth, draining away excess water by simply pulling on the edges of the cloth, you can let it cool enough for you to handle properly.

      When first gathering up the cloth, you should have only squeezed gently. Don’t use anything else to press the curds. We don’t want to break them up. Instead, just let the weight do the work!

      The tofu is made firm by the weight on top, slowly pressing and forcing the water to drain out. Do not add extra force by squeezing with your hands; this breaks the curds and your tofu will become crumbly.

      You would not have made silken tofu, though you might’ve thought so if your tofu was soft. Silken tofu is made with whole soy milk, not separated into curds and whey like in this process.”

      I’m working on my silken tofu blog post still. Hopefully, I can get that up sooner rather than later so I can show you the difference. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try. I know it can be intimidating <3



  • Honey


    I just made your soymilk and tofu and both turned out perfectly!

    I hand squeezed the remaining okara, mixed it with cumin, coriander, salt pepper, garlic, onion, and a little flour and friend up some falafel. They did, somehow, have a very distinct fishy flavor. I imagine they are similar to your sea burgers. I’ll be having these with tartar sauce next time I’m in a mood for something from the sea.

    Thanks for these easy recipes, beautiful blog post, and great video!

    • Mary

      Hi Honey! Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂 I’m so happy to hear about your success making soy milk and tofu and your own okara cakes! <3 Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  • Kathleen R

    Hi Mary,

    I just tried this recipe but I don’t know where I went wrong. It wasn’t as lumpy as shown in your video. I still tried to drain it out etc and it ended up being crumbly…I will keep trying to get this right. Would like some some advice on what I went wrong. Thank you for the simple easy recipe!

    • Mary

      Hi Kathleen. Thanks for your question. Did you use homemade soy milk?

  • Kathleen

    Hi Mary. Yes I did. I used a soymilk maker which just requires me to put in the beans and water.

    • Mary

      It might be the soymilk. Some readers have told me their soy milk maker doesn’t extract enough to make good tofu. However, that might not be the problem. Was the liquid still milky looking after coagulation (just before removing the curds)?

  • Kathleen

    The liquid was clear just like the video.

    • Kathleen

      Is it possible that I used too much soy milk instead? My one cup is 250ml so 5cups would hv been 1250ml..i will keep trying tho 🙂

  • Catherine

    Can you use this tofu to make your “fried chicken” recipe?

    • Mary

      Hi Catherine,

      Good question. It’s better to use commercially sold tofu since its texture is more consistent. The tofu I made in the video would not be suitable since it was pressed quite firm. You need medium firm tofu for the recipe to turn out with all the flaky layers. While it’s possible to make medium-firm tofu at home, I don’t have such specific instructions for that.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Charred five spice tofu on salad