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Types of Tofu: What is Silken Tofu?

Post by: morinaga on June 8, 2012.

Poor blog, sitting here collecting dust! Well, that's about to change. We have lots of plans in the works for the blog, including new recipes, tofu facts, and tips and techniques for getting the best results with your tofu, as well as company news and more sweepstakes for the chance to win free Mori-nu tofu!

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To start out, let's talk some tofu basics.

Types of Tofu: What is Silken Tofu?

For those just starting to cook with tofu, the huge variety on the market can be intimidating. It’s not just as simple as soft vs. firm! What are these labels like “silken” or “spongy” or “cotton”? And then some of the tofu comes in plastic tubs, some in vacuum packs—and one kind in a box?

What are the differences? And why do they matter? Let's break it down!

There are two main types of tofu, which differ in texture. The English names vary, but in Japanese they are called momen and kinu.


Momen tofu, also called “regular,” "coarse," “spongy,” "cotton," or "wool" tofu, is drained and pressed as the tofu is forming so the excess liquid runs out. Momen tofu is dense and spongy and you can sometimes see a lightly imprinted pattern on its surface from the cloth used to press it. It can be sold as soft, medium, firm, or extra-firm, but all momen tofu is quite sturdy.


Kinu means "silk" in Japanese-- hence its English name "silken" tofu. Silken tofu is not drained or pressed, so all of the liquid remains in the tofu as it forms, making it very smooth and light. It has a delicate, silky texture like fine custard. While on the whole it is softer, silken tofu also comes in a range of firmness, from soft to firm to extra-firm. Soft silken tofu is ideal for blending into sauces, dips, and drinks, or for baking. Firm and Extra Firm silken tofu are best for thicker sauces, soups, salads, and entrees.

All Mori-nu Silken Tofu are—you guessed it!—silken (kinu) tofu. You can be assured of smooth, creamy texture in every box. Even our Firm and Extra Firm varieties are silken because they are made without draining or pressing. Their firmness instead comes from additional soy protein. The result is the smooth texture of silken tofu, but sturdier.

As for packaging, traditionally both momen and kinu tofu are sold in water, in plastic tubs that must be refrigerated and used within a few days. These days you can also find tofu sold vacuum-packed without water. But Mori-nu Silken Tofu is sold in an aseptic box that protects it completely from light and air. Our box keeps our tofu fresher for much longer (an entire year!) than other packaging methods—and with no refrigeration necessary! This is why you can find Mori-nu Silken Tofu sold on the shelf (rather than the refrigerated section) in some stores. You can keep it in your pantry at home, too!

To read more about the benefits of our aseptic packaging, click here

  • When You Realise You Accidentally Bought Silken Tofu Instead of ‘Regular Tofu…’ – The Shy Vegan , on July 15, 2016

    […] silken tofu, while still ‘silky” is recommended by this handy guide as thickener for sauces, soups or to chop for salads and entrees. Otherwise its better for baking […]

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