Cold Tofu Recipe: A Quick & Easy 5-Minute Meal


This cold tofu recipe with a chili garlic soy sauce is so refreshing, flavorful, and easy to make! It takes less than 5-minutes and doesn’t even require you to turn on the stove!

cold tofu recipe

What is Cold Silken Tofu?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is popular in Asian cuisine. It is enjoyed in many dishes among meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

In western cultures, it is commonly thought of as a meat substitute because it is high protein. However, I think it should be in a category all on its own!

I actually went through a phase where I was so obsessed with tofu, that I would just eat it out of a container but that’s a story for a another day.

So tofu is made from dried soy beans that are turned into soy milk. Then a coagulant is added to separate the curds from whey. And finally, the curds are shaped into what we commonly know as tofu.

There are different types of tofu, often described by its texture: silken, soft, medium, firm, extra firm.

It has a mild flavor and is the perfect blank canvas.

This cold tofu recipe calls for silken tofu with a flavorful chili garlic soy sauce.

The inspiration came from Chinese liangban dofu (凉拌豆腐), a spicy cold tofu dish.


Ingredients for Cold Tofu

Before we get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:

What Tofu to Use

  • Silken Tofu: For this recipe, use silken or soft tofu that are in the block shape and not in the cylindrical tubes. The texture is smooth, delicate, and custard-like. This is the best tofu to enjoy on its own without much preparation.
slicing soft silken tofu

Sauce Base

  • Soy Sauce: This is the base for the sauce. It adds a salty, savory, umami-flavor. Use regular or low-sodium soy sauce if you are trying to reduce your salt intake.
  • Chili Oil: The spicy element of this recipe. You can make your own homemade chili oil or use your favorite brand. I recommend Momofuku’s Chili Crunch, it has a nice spice level with just a touch of sweetness, which is great for sauces, or Lao Gan Ma’s Spicy Chili Crisp, it’s not as spicy but it is a classic and adds so much flavor to anything.
  • Black Vinegar: Chinese black vinegar has a malty, umami tang that balances out the sauce very well. The flavor is more complex and less acidic compared to white vinegar. I recommend Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar, you can find this at your local Asian grocery store.
soy sauce, Lao Gan Ma chili oil, Momofuku Chili Crunch, Gold Plum Chinkiang Vinegar chinese black vinegar

Flavor Enhancers

  • Sugar: A little touch of sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the sauce. I recommend a simple, neutral white sugar.
  • Sesame Seeds: This adds a nutty flavor and extra texture to the sauce. Even better if you use toasted sesame seeds.
  • Garlic: I love adding raw minced garlic to sauces. It’s very aromatic and adds a nice kick and punch of flavor.
  • Cilantro: Add chopped cilantro as a topping. It adds a fresh, herby brightness to the overall dish.
  • Green Onion: The “cherry on top” of this cold tofu recipe. It has a mild onion flavor that adds a little bit of a bite for the perfect finishing touch.


How to Make This Cold Tofu Recipe

This cold tofu recipe only takes 5 minutes to make!

It’s super quick, easy, and one of my favorite lazy meals that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor.

Also perfect for hot days or dorm room cooking since you don’t need a stove!

As always, theres is a recipe card at the end that you can print out, pin to Pinterest, or save for later.

Step 1: Prepare the Tofu

Begin by cutting along the edge of the tofu container to open the package. Drain the liquid.

Flip the tofu over onto a board or serving plate. Silken tofu is extremely delicate so handle with care to avoid breaking it.

Next, cut the tofu into slices and set aside.


Step 2: Make the Chili Garlic Soy Sauce

After you prepare the tofu, it’s time to make the sauce.

In a small mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, chili oil, black vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, and garlic.

Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients evenly into the sauce.

This chili garlic soy sauce is spicy, aromatic, tangy, savory, umami, and just a touch of sweet.

It touches all the tastebuds, has a nice balance, and so much flavor!

Be sure to taste test it altogether and adjust every ingredient to your liking as needed.

spicy chili garlic soy sauce

Step 3: Top the Tofu

Once the chili garlic soy sauce is complete, pour it generously over the silken tofu slices.

Make sure every bit of tofu touches that beautiful sauce.

Lastly, finish the dish off with fresh chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.

cold tofu with chili garlic soy sauce

Step 4: Serving Suggestions

Finally, it’s time to dig in!

This dish can be eaten as a snack on its own or enjoyed as a meal.

Cold tofu also makes for a great appetizer or side to accompany meaty dishes or salads.

My favorite way to enjoy it is with steamed rice and a side of warm light soup for example, a miso soup.

cold tofu meal with steamed rice and miso soup

Leftovers & Storage

I know it’s hard to resist eating this all in one sitting but this is one of those recipes that taste even better as leftovers!

If you do happen to have any leftovers, then place it into a sealed container and store in the fridge up to 3-4 days.

The longer it sits, the more the sauce infuses and soaks up in the tofu.

It is undoubtedly just as delicious, if not more.

I also love that you can just eat it straight from the fridge!


Save This Cold Tofu Recipe!

This cold tofu recipe is so fast and simple to make.

It truly is the perfect meal for when you are feeling lazy and don’t have the energy to do much in the kitchen.

Best of all, it doesn’t sacrifice on flavor! What more could you ask for??

I hope you love this cold tofu as much as I do and that it stays on the rotation in your home!

5 minute cold tofu recipe

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi

Cold Tofu Recipe With Chili Garlic Soy Sauce

This cold tofu recipe with a chili garlic soy sauce is refreshing, flavorful, and can be made in just 5-minutes without turning on the stove!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2


  • 16 oz silken tofu
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs chili oil
  • 1 tbs black vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced


  • Carefully remove silken tofu from the packaging and drain the liquid. Cut the tofu into slices.
  • In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, chili oil, black vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, and garlic. Taste test and adjust to your liking.
  • Top the tofu with the chili garlic soy sauce, cilantro, and green onions.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy!



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