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How to Make Soy Milk, Tofu and Okara

Updated on August 6, 2013

Why make your own soy milk, tofu and okara?

The health benefits of soy have been well documented. Consuming soy every day can lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people should eat at least 25 grams of soy protein each day to lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Soy is also low in saturated fat and can help you to lose weight and stay healthy.

Soy products can be expensive in many places. Making your own soy milk, tofu and okara is a great way to enjoy these healthy foods and save money. You can also avoid any chemical additives that are added during commercial manufacturing processes.

Have you already tried making your own soy milk, tofu or okara?

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What You Will Need

  1. Dried Soy Beans
  2. A soy milk maker (or a food processor and a very large cooking pot)
  3. Nigari (magnesium chloride) or gypsum (calcium sulfate). This acts as a coagulant to make the tofu solidify out of the liquid soy milk.
  4. Cheesecloth (or similar loosely woven gauzy fabric)
  5. A tofu press

Where to buy everything you need to make tofu

SoyaJoy Total Tofu Kit
SoyaJoy Total Tofu Kit

This handy starter kit includes a tofu press, 1 lb of nigari (enough to make 200 lbs of tofu!) and a cloth for straining the tofu.


How to Make Soy Milk with a Soy Milk Maker (Recommended Method)

Making soy milk by hand can be fun, but it's a drag to do regularly. You may prefer to buy a soy milk maker to save you time (and washing up!)

This method couldn't be easier... Soak the beans for a few hours, put them in the machine with water, press the button, and 20 minutes later you have fresh soy milk ready for drinking.

The products below are three of the top rated soy milk makers, based on user recommendations:

Fresh homemade soy milk makes a great base for smoothies
Fresh homemade soy milk makes a great base for smoothies

How to Make Soy Milk Without a Soy Milk Maker

Makes 3 liters of soy milk

1. Soak 1lb of Soy Beans for 8 hours, or overnight

2. Drain and Rinse the Soy Beans

3. Grind the soy beans in the food processor with enough water to just cover the beans. Process for a few minutes, until the beans have been finely ground into a creamy consistency. You may need to do this part in stages, depending on the size of your food processor. Also, the ground beans tend to stick to the sides of the food processor, so you may need to stop several times to scrape them back into the path of the cutting blades.

4. Heat up 8 cups of water in your large cooking pot on the stove.

5. Add the beans to the pot.

6. When the mixture boils, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, with frequent stirring.

7. Place your cheesecloth over a large bowl and pour the mixture through the cloth. Do this in stages, pressing down on the soybean mush with a wooden spoon to drive all the liquid through the cloth.

8. The filtered liquid is your soy milk!

Drink the soy milk as is, sweeten it, or blend it with fruit to make a delicious smoothie.

Smoothie Recipes

Need help using up all that milk? Check out these delicious smoothie recipe books.

fresh okara
fresh okara

How to Make Okara

How to Preserve Okara

The mushy stuff that was left behind on the cheesecloth when the liquid had filtered through is called okara. This is a highly nutritious and versatile food. You can use it fresh that day or preserve it so it can be stored and used later.

The best way of preserving okara is to spread it thinly on baking trays and put it in the oven at low heat to dry it out. It is done once all the moisture has been removed.

Once dried, the okara will be crunchy, and makes a satisfying addition to muesli and cereals. You can also rehydrate it to use in place of ground meat in recipes. You can make a great vegan chilli or bolognese that way.

How to Make Tofu

1. Take the Soy milk you made in "How to Make Soy milk" (or you can buy soy milk and start with this step) and put it back on the stove to warm up.

2. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of Nigari in one cup of warm water.

3. When the soy milk is hot, add the Nigari solution a bit at a time, stirring gently.

4. Leave the mixture for 15 minutes without stirring.

5. Line your tofu press with the cheesecloth.

6. By now, curds should have formed in the mixture. Pour or ladle the mixture into the tofu press bit by bit, allowing time for the liquid to drain through the cloth.

7. Wrap the cheesecloth over the top of the tofu and adjust the press so that it is pressing down on the tofu. Depending on the model you might need to use small weights (or a book) to provide the pressure.

8. The harder and longer the tofu is pressed, the firmer the tofu will be. Check it every 15 minutes or so.

Now you have your own fresh tofu to use in stir-fry, salads and many other dishes. If you're stuck for ideas I highly recommend the book on Japanese cooking featured below.

Cooking with Soy, Tofu and Okara - Tofu Recipes, Okara Recipes, Soy Recipes

Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery
Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery

Discover the versatility of tofu and soy with this ingenious collection of healthy, fresh recipes.

Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions
Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions

Japanese cuisine includes some great vegetarian and vegan meals. Discover them with this beautiful book.

The Best of Tofu
The Best of Tofu

The perfect book for tofu lovers.


Tell us your tips for making tofu, or share your soy milk, tofu and okara recipes

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    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Great lens on tofu.

    • maryseena profile image


      5 years ago

      Tofu is not easily available where I live in. This lens has come as a blessing for me. Thank you for sharing the recipes.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      i love the recipes so much! all the recipes are so healthy! ^_^

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      try adding some pandan leaves pre-cut with the bean grinding for a subtle delicious flavor, it's know as the vanilla of Asia. Scenns Tofu on facebook

    • microfarmproject profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you so much for the recipes. I am going to have to give these a try.

    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 

      6 years ago

      I love tofu..

    • rozalex lm profile image

      rozalex lm 

      6 years ago

      Great lens! I enjoyed it :)

      Maybe I'll try making one..

    • GirlLovesNature1 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      That's a great tip deyani! I don't mind the taste of soy, but sometimes it's nice to experiment with different flavours.

    • deyanis profile image


      7 years ago from Oz

      I usually add fresh crushed ginger to the soy milk maker to remove the soy strong taste. It's yummy & delicious. Didn't realize that the mushy stuff is called okara and it's a very nutritious food. I will never throw okara again, thank you for sharing the way to preserve this healthy food.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      I've never made soy milk but my brother has. Got to admit that we don't consume soy every day ....

    • Pnorway profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens. :D

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      This sounds easier than I thought. I wish I'd known how to do this back when I grew soy beans (among many other things). But this would be a great way to save money, because, from what I've seen, buying bulk soybeans isn't expensive, but the products made from them often are pricey.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Soy milk is so healthy and its yummy. Nice lens


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