Tempeh vs. Tofu: Which Plant-Based Protein Reigns Supreme?

Tempeh vs. Tofu: Which Plant-Based Protein Reigns Supreme?

tempeh vs. tofu - which one is better for you?

Tempeh and Tofu - two powerful plant-based protein alternatives. But which should you choose or consume more of? Which tastes better? Which one is ultimately the best?

Drum roll.... Sorry to break it to you, but there is no definite answer. Both of these plant-based proteins are popular among those who follow a meatless diet, and it will mostly come down to personal preference.

Both tempeh and tofu are fantastic plant-based sources of protein that are versatile and easy to prepare, including grilling, baking, frying, and sautéing.

But if you have to choose, what's the difference between the two, and which is better? Let's take a closer look at their differences in taste, texture, nutrition, health benefits, and ways to cook.

Tempeh vs. tofu

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that originated in Indonesia. It's made by cooking soybeans and fermenting them with a culture of rhizopus mold.

The result is a firm, cake-like product with a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Tempeh can sometimes include seeds like millet or grains like wheat, rice, or barley.

Tempeh is a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

What is Tofu?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is another soy-based product made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into a solid block.

Tofu has a more bland flavor and a soft, custard-like texture. Since tofu is flavorless, it needs some extra love when cooking to define its flavor.

Tofu is low in calories, high in protein, and a good source of calcium, iron, and other nutrients. 

READ MORE: Are soy foods healthy? Let's discover the truth!

tempeh vs. tofu - nutritional profile

tempeh vs. tofu - nutritional profile

Both tempeh and tofu are healthy, nutrient-dense foods to include in your diet. However, the two have some significant differences concerning their nutritional profile.

Tempeh has double the amount of protein compared to tofu. A 100-gram serving of tempeh contains around 18–20 grams of protein, while the same serving size of tofu contains around 8–10 grams.

Tempeh is also a good source of fiber, with around 9 grams per 100-gram serving. Tofu, on the other hand, contains less fiber, with about 1 gram per 100-gram serving.

If you are counting calories, you may prefer tofu instead. Tofu has about half the amount of calories and fat compared to tempeh, and it also contains fewer carbs.

Both tempeh and tofu are good sources of iron, calcium, and other minerals. However, tofu is higher in calcium, while tempeh is higher in iron and potassium. 

tempeh vs. tofu - health benefits

Both tempeh and tofu offer a range of health benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of each:


  • Fermented soy products like tempeh are easier to digest and may be better tolerated by those with digestive issues than non-fermented soy products like tofu.
  • Tempeh is a good source of probiotics, which can support gut health and improve digestion.
  • Tempeh is also rich in prebiotics, that regulates bowel movements and reduces inflammation.
  • Tempeh is high in protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied after meals and support weight loss.
  • Being a good source of calcium, tempeh can assist in keeping bones strong and dense and prevent the development of osteoporosis.


  • Tofu is a good source of calcium and other bone-healthy minerals.
  • Tofu is low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for weight management.
  • Soy products like tofu are rich in phytoestrogens, known as isoflavones, that protect against certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and gastric cancer.
  • Increased soy intake, like tofu, can decrease the risk of heart disease due to its effects on cholesterol and triglycerides.

READ MORE: 6 Major benefits of plant-based proteins

tofu vs. tempeh - cooking and uses

tofu vs. tempeh - cooking and uses

Both tempeh and tofu can easily be found in grocery and health stores and used in various dishes, including stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, and soups. Here are some ideas for how to prepare and use each:


  • Marinate sliced tempeh in your favorite sauce, then grill or bake until crispy.
  • Crumble tempeh and use it as a vegetarian substitute for ground beef in tacos or chili.
  • Slice tempeh thinly and use it as a meat substitute in sandwiches or wraps.
  • Cube tempeh and add it to stir-fries or noodle dishes.


so which is better - Tempeh or tofu?

As you can see, they are both great, and it depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs.

Tempeh may be the way to go if you're looking for a higher protein and fiber option. Tofu might be more your thing if you prefer a bland canvas to work with and a softer texture. 

In conclusion, both tempeh and tofu are nutritious, plant-based sources of protein that are versatile, easy to prepare, and offer a range of health benefits.

Whether you prefer the nutty, chewy texture of tempeh or the soft, custardy texture of tofu, there are plenty of ways to incorporate these plant-based proteins into your diet and reap the benefits of their nutritional goodness.

So why not try both and see which one you prefer? 



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