Toddler-friendly tofu

People forget that tofu is fantastic toddler food. It’s white, bland, nutritious, and can “hide” in all sorts of other foods. Here’s Kristen’s suggestion:

Trying to get your baby to eat tofu? Stick it in miso soup! You can buy miso in bulk at most Asian and/or health stores, or just buy the quick instant stuff and add hot water. But either way, my not-so-eating tofu son LOVES it now. Just cut it into small tiny cubes, throw it into the soup, and then feed it to him that way. Miso has some great health benefits too.

I toss cubed extra-firm tofu with some cornstarch, season with salt and pepper, then fry in olive oil — the kids love it. I’ve also blended silken tofu (the stuff in the shelf-stable boxes) into smoothies, puddings and my annual pumpkin pie.

What are your kid-friendly tofu recipes?


  1. Tiffany says

    It would probably be easier to get most toddlers to eat tofu than miso soup?! That’s not really any of help. It can, however, be easily disgusted in “kid friendly” foods as well…think mac and cheese.

  2. Pat says

    I agree. I don’t even like miso soup… not sure that my kids would touch it. But I’ll try some variations on the tofu.

  3. sg says

    too much salt in miso. I just cut tofu into bite size squares and my baby loves to eat it plain. incidentally, I love it plain too!

  4. Melanie says

    Great tips! Thank you! My little guy likes anything with lots of flavor so he may actually like miso soup. I do. He also likes my famous (well in my family anyways) mac & cheese casserole and adding tofu might be a good way to add some protein. He just doesn’t like meat so this may be the ticket for us! Thanks for posting!

  5. says

    My toddler loves miso, and we have used the tofu-in-miso strategy to get protein into him, too. It’s great.

    Another tofu sneak for us in the summer is to blend silken tofu with frozen berries or other fruit, as for a smoothie, and then freeze in popsicle molds. Our litle guys love them.

  6. Annette says

    Since when are certain foods kid-friendly? Food is food! How do you know your kids won’t eat miso soup? Have you even tried to offer them something besides mac and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches? Let them try new things for goodness’ sake!

  7. Parent Hacks Editor says

    My notoriously picky kids love miso soup. Takeaway: different presentations can encourage kids to try a food they’ve prevoiously rejected.

  8. BTMF says

    We bake sliced tofu with BBQ sauce and/or hot wing mix, and our kids like it. They also like it when I pan fry seasoned tofu cubes for stir fry. They’ve also never eaten meat, so that might factor into their acceptance of tofu and seitan.

  9. says

    My to-die-for recipe for tofu is simple:
    1 carton of firm tofu + half a package of chocolate chips (melted) +1tsp of vanilla =everything in blender until well blended. Pour into little cups and put it in frig for half an hour (so that it sets like a mousse) or if your too impatient eat immediately!
    Young and old LOVE this recipe -buon appetito!

  10. says

    Tofu is a regular part of our family’s diet. The GREAT thing about it is that not only is it great plain (and SO nutricious), but it also absorbs whatever spices you are using in your recipe and is “hidden.” :-) I use it to stretch taco turkey meat, in chili, spaghetti sauce, and in all kinds of soups. Fried (with Pam) and with a little soy sauce is delicious as well! If you get the firm kind you can even make a sort of Tofu Steak! You can even put a little peanut butter in the pan and then grill tofu on top of it. It absorbs the peanut-y flavor and is fantastic! Possibilities are endless…explore tofu!!

  11. tina says

    Alex, your mousse sounds delish! My kids like the tofu shiratake noodles – the angel hair version. I toss it with butter and grated cheese.

  12. Jennifer says

    When I was a kid, we used to get cubes of raw tofu that we could dip in honey as an after school snack.

  13. Marie says

    Both my kids have loved tofu since they first started eating solid foods. The older one (4) loves it marinated (soy sauce, sherry, cider vinegar, & brown sugar) and stir-fried. The younger one (2) enjoys it with ketchup. I really can’t remember how that combo came up, but now she will wake up and ask for it for breakfast!

  14. Zed says

    As someone who doesn’t love tofu by itself much, I can attest that it’s very easily added to lasagna and other strongly flavored foods.

    I agree that “kid friendly” is a relative term, and while almost all kids go through a picky stage at some point, there are many foods that are still “acceptable” to them simply because of repetition and familiarity. My kids’ favorite foods are spicy chili with beans, cottage cheese, kiwis, avocados, and broccoli. If I introduced these foods today for the first time, no doubt they would hate them. It’s all about the repetition!

    Miso soup to one family is like pizza or tacos to another family.

  15. Kym says

    I squeeze as much water as possible out of firm tofu and them crumble it into a skillet. If it still looks pretty moist I cook the water out for a few minutes, usually with some diced onion and garlic, but it would be fine without too. Then I add taco seasoning and follow the directions as if I was using meat. It seems odd to add water back after you’ve just cooked it out but it really does taste better that way. Good for tacos but we also love it in taco salad.

  16. Crissi says

    I have a 9-month old, so I use firm tofu as a great finger food. He never seemed to like it very much plain, but I cut it into bite-size cubes, soak it in cranberry juice in the fridge and then serve it to him – pink and flavored!

  17. says

    Tofu is my 3 year old’s favorite food. He likes it straight out of the fridge, cubed with a little soy sauce on it. My 2 year old, on the other hand, won’t even touch it :)

  18. Maureen says

    Might take away from the health of the tofu, but my boys love it if I saute it in a little butter, olive oil and maple syrup and then sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top. To increase the wow factor and to make dinner more fun (in a very easy way for me), I cut the tofu horizontally three times to get three thinner slabs and then cut out shapes with cookie cutters (we typically go with trains since I have boys).

    The chocolate mousse recipe sounds great… I definitely want to try that sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Lisa says

    When my son was a toddler, he ate tofu with gusto — rectangular cuts “dipped” into anything (even flax seed meal) were his favorite.

    But please note: after feeling nearly smug that my child was getting a diet rich in not just tofu but other soy products, I read a couple of articles (the first being from the L.A. Times, in the Health Section) talking about caution about TOO much soy, especially for boys. Nothing to panic about, but they’d found some kind of connection b/w exhorbitant soy intake and later sexual devt, I think? Anyway, altho I hate to jump on a “fear bandwagon” of any kind, I thought I should just mention that those of you who, like me, go gangbusters on the soy might want to do a google search. Who knows: two years later, the research may have been totally debunked by now! lol

  20. says

    My daughter is 6 now but when she was a toddler I used to just cut up firm tofu into tiny bite size squares and take them with us on the road in a bowl with ice and water to keep them firm. She used to eat them (and so did I) as a quick snack.

    I find it hard to find tofu now that I am living in a remote part of Ireland or I would do the same with my son. I sure miss Hawaii and all the tofu friendly stores on every corner, oh and the beaches and the warmth.

  21. says

    By the way everyone -I forgot to mention that I serve the chocolaty treat when he has a cough -it reallly sooths the throat!

  22. rednexmama says

    I make fake chicken fingers with the extra-firm tofu. Just dip in egg (or other vegan substitute. Not sure what I would use, but I’m sure there are plenty of options) and then coat with seasoned cornflake crumbs. The seasoning is up to you, but I really like italian seasoning with marinara sauce as a dip. I did learn that I need to use a fair bit more seasoning than I would if I was making actual chicken fingers. Sam ate hers with ketchup, too!

  23. says

    I’ll have to add my 2 cents… I’ve been doing this for a while and pretty much perfected it for my girl. I pretty much follow the same recipe, minus the corn starch, and add Top-Ramen noodles to the soup. Do NOT use the flavoring packet found in the package, as it contains tons of MSG – BAD! Good luck…

  24. Steph says

    We eat tofu at least three times a week; it’s cheap and versatile! One good trick is to slice firm tofu, squeeze it between paper towels to remove the water, and then freeze it. The freezing will change the texture, making it “meaty”. Then I broil or pan fry it with a variety of seasonings: steak sauce, teriyaki, lemon and butter. It’s delicious!

  25. wiggles says

    Freezing tofu before crumbling it makes it the same texture as ground beef. I can get everyone in my family to eat chili (or any other relatively strongly flavoured dish that contains ground beef) without meat and with tofu any time.