Tofu Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs and Health Benefits of Tofu

firm tofu nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Tofu is a plant-based protein made from soybeans. The beans are soaked, cooked, and crushed into a liquid. With the help of a coagulant, the liquid thickens to become tofu. Tofu is low-carb, dairy-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, and vegan, so it is popular with people who have specialized diets.

There are different types of tofu, determined by the firmness and water content. The more firm, the less water content, and therefore, the more calories and nutrients. The more liquid varieties, like silken and soft tofu, have more water in it, and fewer calories, carbs, protein, and fat.  

Tofu is a traditional Asian dish that through westernization and food processing has become more of a meat substitute. Tofu is high in protein, but low in fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. 

Tofu is extremely versatile. It doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own, and it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Be sure to calculate the calories in tofu marinade, sauce, or topping when calculating your complete tofu calories.

Tofu Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a one-quarter cup (or 81 grams) of firm tofu.

  • Calories: 117
  • Fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 11mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2.2g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Protein: 14g


Tofu is a low carbohydrate food. A typical serving of firm tofu is 1/5 of a package or 79 grams. This contains around 2 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber. 


Although one serving of firm tofu contains around 7 grams of fat, most of the fat is heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and to a lesser degree monounsaturated fat.


Tofu is an excellent source of protein, with 14 grams per serving. Since tofu is a complete protein (which means it contains 9 of the essential amino acids required by the diet) it can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for meat. Many people who don't eat meat use tofu as the main protein in a meal. It can be prepared in a variety of different ways to keep it from getting boring. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Tofu is a excellent source of calcium and a good source of iron. One quarter block of tofu (81g) contains 553mg or about 43% of your daily calcium needs (1,300mg). It is a good source of iron (around 2.5mg) for your daily iron allotment of 18mg. It also contains 237 mg or around 5% percent of the daily value serving of potassium, which is 4700mg.

Health Benefits

Soy foods like tofu contain isoflavones, a phytoestrogen similar to the hormone estrogen and may provide certain health benefits including:

  • Relief from hot flashes, a common menopause symptom
  • Prevention of certain cancers including breast and prostate cancer, although studies are still in their early stages and not yet concusive.
  • The potential for a reduced risk of heart disease according to some studies on isoflavones.
  • May help with osteoporosis prevention if about 50–100 mg of isoflavone is used. That's about 1–2.5 cups of boiled soy beans or 1.5–4 cups of soy milk. For optimal bone health, soy milk should be fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

A large review of clinical studies found that there is some evidence to support most of these claims, except for osteoporosis prevention. The link to osteoporosis prevention requires more long-term studies comparing isoflavone by itself to soy products as a whole because protein also contributes to bone health.

The National Institutes of Health suggests that soy is safe for most people when used as a food or taken for a short time as a dietary supplement. They recommend that women who are at risk for breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive conditions should discuss soy-containing dietary supplements with their health care providers before consuming them.


Soy, the main ingredient in tofu, is one of the top food allergens in children and adults. Soy allergy starts in childhood, and most are outgrown in adulthood. People allergic to wheat, beans (legumes), milk or other food can have also have an allergic reaction to soy.

Symptoms of soy allergy range from mild, including hives or itching in and around the mouth, to severe reactions including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.

Adverse Effects

Certain depression medications (MAOIs) may interact with fermented soy products due to their potentially high level of the amino acid tyramine. People taking MAOIs, such as Nardil or Parnate, should limit tyramine intake to 6 mg or less. One serving of firm tofu can contain between less than 1 mg to close to 5 mg, depending on how long it has been fermenting.

People taking the blood thinner warfarin should use also avoid soy products because it affects the efficacy of the medication.


Tofu comes in four varieties, based on the water content. The more firm, the less water, and the more calories and nutrients per serving. 

  • Extra-firm tofu or dry tofu is very firm. It can be fried, grilled, or used as a meat substitute in a stir fry. Extra-firm tofu can also be marinated for extra flavor. 
  • Firm tofu comes packaged in water. It can be barbecued, mashed, or crumbled and added to salads. Firm tofu can also be scrambled. 
  • Soft tofu is used in foods that are blended like salad dressings, dips, and soups. 
  • Silken tofu is an undrained, unpressed Japanese-style tofu. It has the highest water content of all tofu types. It is also used in foods that are blended, like smoothies and pudding. 

Storage and Food Safety

You'll find most kinds of tofu in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. Many times it is kept near cheeses. Silken tofu, however, is usually found in the aisles near other vegetarian foods.

Tofu can be stored in the refrigerator at home although some silken varieties can be kept in the pantry until opening. Once opened, however, you should refrigerate the product and use it within 2 to 3 days of opening.

Unopened, you should use the product by the "best by" date on the package. Tofu will have a foul odor when spoiled.

You can freeze tofu, although some people freeze tofu to give it a thicker meat-like texture. However, manufacturers suggest that you avoid eating tofu that has been frozen for more than 60 days.

How to Prepare

Before preparing tofu, open the package, and drain the product. You can also press it between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then, give any of these recipes a try:

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7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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