Does Tofu Go Bad? Shelf Life & Signs Of Spoilage

Does tofu go bad? Tofu is food; yes, it goes bad.

But this answer should not discourage you from getting that large batch you plan to get. If you found an old pack of tofu in your freezer that looks nothing like good tofu, you should trash it.

Soybean curds do not last forever. If you want to keep them beyond the day of purchase, you should learn how to store them properly.

In this article, you’ll also find out know how long they can last in and out of the refrigerator and the signs of spoilage to watch out for.

What is tofu?

Tofu is a Chinese vegan, gluten-free food made by coagulating fresh soy milk and pressing the curds into blocks.

The name “soybean curds” comes from the coagulation and curdling process soy milk undergoes before it becomes tofu. Soybean curd is rich in protein, iron, and calcium but low in cholesterol and calories.

Tofu can be soft, firm, extra firm, or even silken, based on your preference. This Chinese staple has crossed the borders of Asia and is now eaten raw or cooked in different parts of the world, and in different meals.

Moreover, you can either have soybean curds as a full meal or as a substitute for meat, for a vegan diet.

Additionally, soybean curds are a healthy meal as they are low in saturated fat. They are not only great for vegans; they are also healthy for people with heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

Does tofu go bad?

Yes, tofu goes bad like every other food.

Spoilage of soybean curds depends on how exposed you left them during and after preparation, how you store them, and how long you store them. Besides these, many other biological factors influence spoilage.

Does tofu go bad in the fridge?

Yes, it does.

An open pack of soybean curds will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator regardless of the printed date on the pack. On the other hand, an unopened pack of soybean curds will not go bad until it is past the printed date on the pack.

Tofu is prone to bacterial growth. Opening the refrigerator door too frequently exposes it to microorganisms. This is a major contributing factor to spoilage in the refrigerator.

Does tofu go bad after being cooked?

Yes, it does. However, if stored immediately after cooking, cooked soybean curds will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Tofu is only as good as two hours after preparation if you leave it alone in the pot or anywhere in the kitchen.

Does tofu go bad after the expiry date?

Yes, it will if you have opened the pack before the expiry date.

If you store an unopened pack in a freezer, it may be fit to eat for a few months after the expiry date. However, it is not advisable to freeze soybean curds beyond four months.

Expiry date (or best-by date, which is more common) is another factor that determines how long your soybean curds will last.

The expiry date on your pack of soybean curds tells you how long it will last. Also, how you stored the unopened tofu can help extend its quality beyond the expiry date.

In addition, when you open the pack, make sure you smell the soybean curds to identify signs of spoilage.

What is the shelf life of tofu?

The shelf life of unopened, shelf-stable soybean curds is 3-5 months while unopened, refrigerated tofu lasts 3-5 days after its best-by date. Frozen soybean curds have a shelf life of up to 5 months.

Can eating expired tofu make you sick?

Yes, it can.

If you have consumed bad tofu, you’re likely to experience signs like digestive issues, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and headaches. These symptoms are similar to those seen with food poisoning.

How to tell if tofu is bad

Check the package

If you got sealed soybean curds from the store, check the seal on the pack for the printed date. The best-by date can help determine whether the soybean curds are still consumable.

Also, a bloated pack of soybean curds is a sign of bacterial contamination and you should trash it.

The water in the pack

If the water in the pack of tofu is thick, cloudy, or brownish, it is a sign that the soybean curds are bad and you should discard them immediately. This also applies to homemade soybean curds.

Examine the color

Soybean curds are naturally white or off-white. If your soybean curds appear dark yellow, grey with mold discoloration, or brownish, do not eat them. Discolored soybean curds are bad and no longer safe for consumption.

Smell the soybean curds

Tofu is almost odorless. When it goes bad, it develops an acidic smell that is stinky and sour. If you notice this with your soybean curds, it is time to throw them away.

Take a little bite

The taste of food can help you identify if it is still fit to eat. If you cannot make out the state of your soybean curds from the smell and look, you can take a little bite.

Bad tofu cannot taste like good tofu. Instead, they have a very sour and bitter taste.

How to preserve tofu

  • Store unopened soybean curds in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sunlight
  • When you have opened your soybean curds pack, refrigerate it
  • Store soybean curds for longer by freezing it
  • Keep soybean curds in an airtight container to prevent bacterial growth
  • Preserve leftover soybean curds by soaking them in clean, cold water before refrigerating
  • Change the water you soak soybean curds in daily
  • Save your money by buying only as much as you can use within a short period


Why does tofu go bad so fast?

Tofu goes bad quickly because it is prone to bacterial growth. At the slightest exposure to air, it becomes unsafe to eat.

Can you eat unopened expired tofu?

It is not advisable to eat expired tofu, unopened or not. Before you eat tofu, make sure you examine it for signs of spoilage. If you notice any deviation from the good state, discard it and avoid food poisoning.

Must you refrigerate tofu?

You must refrigerate it if you bought it refrigerated. You should also keep open packs refrigerated to preserve their quality and prevent contamination.

Can you store tofu in a ziplock bag?

Yes, you can. A ziplock bag is airtight and a good substitute for a Tupperware container.


Tofu or soybean curd is a protein-rich food. However, it doesn’t last so long. It quickly goes bad, especially after opening it.

Nonetheless, this drawback is easily managed if you know how to store your soybean curds properly. Freeze unopened and opened soybean curds to keep them for longer. Consume opened soybean curds within five days.

Most importantly, store your soybean curds in a hygienic environment and always examine them before you cook and eat them.

Thanks for reading.

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