Cheese is made from heating cow’s milk to separate the solids (whey) from the liquid. The solids are then formed into cheese. Tofu is a similar product made by separating the solids in soymilk – made from soybeans – from the liquid. It was discovered in China over 2,000 years ago.


Fun Facts

  • Tofu is a staple food in the Japanese diet. It is believed to be one of the reasons Japanese women have a low risk of breast cancer.
  • Tofu comes in several varieties. Silken, which has a soft, custard-like texture, is the most popular. Extra soft, soft, medium, firm, and extra firm tofus are also available.
  • Tofu has a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. It can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.
  • For example, tofu is sometimes used as a meat or egg substitute in casseroles and soups. It can also be used in desserts, such as puddings or custards or added to baked goods.
  • Tofu is a nutritious healthy food. Soybeans are the only plant-based food that contains complete protein. Tofu is also high in iron and calcium.
  • The U.S. grows half the soybeans used in the world.
  • Henry Ford developed a plastic made from soybeans. He used it to make car frames.



  1. Whey: milk solids
  2. Staple food: a major part of the diet


Questions and Answers

Question: I heard tofu wasn’t healthy. What’s the truth?

Answer: Soybean products, including tofu, have been blamed recently for causing certain health problems. Researchers are still learning about the benefits and risks of tofu. Your best bet is to eat tofu occasionally as part of a varied diet.


Learn More

Learn three quick ways to use tofu.