Two plant-based proteins; tempeh and tofu. What makes them similar, but also different? Keep reading to learn about tempeh vs tofu.

These two products are very commonly used as meat substitutes for protein. The two are obtained from plants and are high in nutrients. Both the foods share the same health benefits, however, they have different appearances, nutrients, and flavors.

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Tempeh And Tofu: What Are They?

They are very similar because they are both products of processing soybeans. Because of these origins, tempeh and tofu are both amazing plant-based protein sources.

Tofu is made out of coagulated soy milk. It is later pressed into solid blocks. It has different textures, such as soft, firm, and silken. Tofu can be eaten raw, used in sauces, or cooked in a large variety of methods and recipes.

Tempeh is made out of whole soybeans. These soybeans are fermented into a dense, firm, but textured loaf. It is then fried, baked, or otherwise cooked in methods similar to meat. It also can contain healthy additional ingredients, such as flaxseeds and whole grains.

Tofu has a neutral taste whereas tempeh has a nutty umami taste. Both can be cooked in different ways. They are commonly used as a meat substitute for protein.

tofu and tempeh, isolated on a white background

Nutritional Values

  Tempeh; a 3-ounce serving  

Tofu; a 3-ounce serving


Calories 140 80
Protein 16 grams 8 grams
Calcium 6% of the Daily Value 15% of the Daily Value
Fiber 7 grams 2 grams
Potassium 8% of the DV 4% of the DV
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Sodium 10 mg 10 mg
Carbs 10 grams 2 grams
Fat 5 grams 5 grams
Iron 10% of the DV 8% of the DV


Both plant-based proteins are low in sodium and free of cholesterol.

However, since tempeh is made out of whole soybeans, it is much healthier and richer in calories, fiber, and protein. Whereas tofu is comparatively low in protein, calories, and other components of nutrition.

Tempeh vs Tofu: Similarities

Reduce Heart Disease

Tofu and tempeh are associated with lowering the risk of heart diseases. These soy-based plant proteins are free of cholesterol. According to a study, tempeh had nutritions that helped decrease triglyceride and cholesterol.


Tofu and tempeh contain phytoestrogens that are also called isoflavones.

Isoflavones are plant compounds that contain estrogen-like qualities such as chemical structure. It promotes reproductive and sexual development. Isoflavone is the reason why tempeh and tofu have such health benefits as lower heart disease and cancer risks.

3 ounces of Tempeh contains 10 to 38 mg of isoflavones whereas 3 ounces of tofu contains 17 to 21 mg of isoflavones.

Tempeh vs Tofu: Differences

The most common difference between tempeh and tofu is beneficial prebiotics. Tempeh provides beneficial prebiotics; these are natural fibers that accelerate the production and growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

This prebiotics help in reducing inflammation, improving memory, and lowering cholesterol.

Another difference that sets them apart is their nutritional values. Tempeh is healthier but is higher in calories too. Tofu has no sugar whereas tempeh has 0.5 grams of sugar per 100g.

Tempeh has a richer fat content than tofu. Tempeh contains 11 grams of fat per 100g whereas tofu contains 5.3 grams of fat per 100g.


Tempeh has a nutty, earthy flavor and tofu has a neutral flavor. Here is a breakdown of both plant-based protein on the basis of their culinary uses:

Raw Consumption Of Tofu

Tofu can be eaten raw. It is a healthy snack and commonly eaten as such in many Asian cuisines. You can use raw silken tofu in creamy salad dressing and chocolate pudding, or extra firm tofu in marinated form.

Raw Consumption Of Tempeh

Tempeh can be eaten raw. Most brands that sell tempeh use pasteurized tempeh, making it safe to eat raw. However, most people do not like the idea of consuming tempeh raw because of its nutty, bitter flavor.

Cooking Tofu

There are different ways of cooking tofu, and you can play with spices and flavor because tofu is amazing at absorbing the flavor. You can cook Tofu Scramble, Tofu Nuggets, or just simply roll it into Tofu Meatballs. You can also make a Tofu Broccoli Skillet dish or Tofu Curry.

Cooking Tempeh

Since tempeh has its own flavor, there is not much ground to be unique or play with the flavors. However, you can cook Tempeh Stir Fry, Tempeh Smoky Bacon, or Teriyaki Tempeh.

Tofu or Tempeh: Which Is Better?

Both tofu and tempeh are great sources of nutrients. Let’s have a side by side comparison to see which suits your requirements the best:

Tofu is less expensive than tempeh. It has a neutral flavor that makes it easier for it to absorb the sauces and spices better. This eliminates long marination times and makes it extremely versatile. The texture of tofu varies from silken to super-firm, making it an appropriate ingredient for smoothies, sauces, meat substitutes, sandwich fillings, salad toppers, etc.

Tempeh has a higher protein content as compared to tofu. It has a texture close to meat making it a better substitute for meat than tofu. Also, it is rich in beneficial probiotics that help fight diseases such as cancer or heart diseases. It has a distinct savory flavor, making it perfect for savory dishes.

Tofu And Tempeh: How To Store

Tofu can simply be stored in a clean, cold water container in the fridge. Make sure you change the water on a regular basis to keep the tofu fresh. It is advisable to cook the tofu within three to four days to get the best taste out of it.

Tempeh can be stored in your refrigerator for seven days. Since tempeh is fermented, it will continue to ferment making the flavor better and richer. You can simply wrap up tempeh in parchment or wax paper and keep it in the fridge.

Soy-Rich Food And Menopause

Peri-menopausal women not taking chemical substitution treatment or hormone replacements are regularly encouraged to eat soy-rich food varieties, for example, tofu or tempeh to assist with lessening menopausal manifestations like hot blazes, flushing, and night sweats since they contain significant degrees of isoflavones, a substance that imitates estrogen.


Both tofu and tempeh are rich in nutrients. They are soy-based and are rich in isoflavones.

Tempeh is rich in prebiotics and has a higher content of protein and fiber. Whereas tofu has a higher content of calcium.  Notwithstanding which one you pick, eating both of these food varieties is an extraordinary method to build your isoflavone and improve your general wellbeing.

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