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Tempeh vs Tofu: What’s The Difference?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between tempeh and tofu, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the tempeh vs tofu comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on January 13, 2023.

Tempeh and tofu belong to the legumes and legume products food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Legumes and most legume products are an affordable source of plant protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

This article will thoroughly compare tempeh and tofu and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans.

It is a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to its high protein and fiber content, as well as its distinctive, nutty flavor.

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a starter culture, which gives it a firm, cake-like texture, and a unique flavor.

It can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including tempeh stir-fries, tempeh sandwiches, and tempeh bacon.

In addition to being a tasty and nutritious food, tempeh has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

It is a good source of antioxidants and has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol and improved blood sugar control.

Tempeh is also a good source of several important minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Tempeh is an excellent source of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin K.

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin E.


Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a popular plant-based alternative to dairy products that is made from soybeans.

Tofu is native to China and has been used as a dietary staple for thousands of years. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries.

One of the main health benefits of tofu is its high protein content. Tofu is made from soybeans, which are a good source of plant-based protein, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Tofu is also low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for those looking to manage their weight.

It is also rich in nutrients important for vegans such as iron, calcium, and manganese, and it contains many plant compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

In terms of health benefits, tofu has been shown to have a number of positive effects on the body.

It is a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help balance the gut microbiome.

Tofu may also help to reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, due to its high content of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

Tofu is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

However, it also contains Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) in a small amount.

Tempeh vs Tofu Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing tempeh vs tofu.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of tempeh and tofu and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Energy192 kcal76 kcal
Carbs7.64 g1.87 g
Sugar7.33 g0.62 g
Fiber9.3 g0.3 g
Protein20.3 g8.08 g
Fat10.8 g4.78 g
Saturated Fat2.54 g0.691 g

Tempeh vs Tofu Calories

Most calories in raw legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing tofu vs tempeh for weight loss, tofu is slightly lower in calories, with 76 calories per 100 grams, compared to 192 calories per 100 grams of tempeh.

However, both tempeh and tofu can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Tempeh vs Tofu Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including tempeh and tofu, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Tempeh offers around 60% more protein than tofu.

Tempeh has 20.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, while tofu has 8.1 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Tempeh vs Tofu Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in tempeh and tofu.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 75% higher in tempeh than in tofu. It have 7.6 grams per 100 grams, compared to 1.9 grams in tofu.

There’s less sugar in tofu than in tempeh, 90% precisely.

One handful of tofu (28 grams) contains 0.2 grams of sugar, while the same amount of tempeh contains 2.1 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in tempeh and tofu.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 2.6 grams of fiber per portion, tempeh is a better source of fiber than tofu which tempeh offers 0.1 grams per portion.

Tempeh vs Tofu Fats

Like most other legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, tempeh and tofu are low in fat.

Fats in tempeh and tofu are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in tempeh and tofu:

  • Tempeh: 10.8 grams per 100 grams
  • Tofu: 4.8 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, tofu is 72% lower in saturated fats.

Tofu and tempeh contain 0.7 grams and 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Tempeh vs Tofu Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of tempeh and tofu.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Tempeh has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B1 (Thiamine).

However, tofu has a higher amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Tempeh and tofu contain the same amount of vitamin D.

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins tempeh and tofu contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Vitamin A085 IU
Vitamin C00.1 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.078 mg0.081 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.358 mg0.052 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)2.64 mg0.195 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.278 mg0.068 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.215 mg0.047 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)24 µg15 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)0.08 µg0
Vitamin E0.85 mg0.01 mg
Vitamin K47 µg2.4 µg

Tempeh vs Tofu Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the tempeh and tofu comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Tempeh is a better source of calcium, iron, and selenium than tofu.

On the other hand, tofu is a higher amount of copper, fluoride, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Check out the table below to learn how tempeh and tofu compare when it comes to mineral content.

Calcium111 mg350 mg
Copper0.56 mg0.193 mg
Fluoride2.2 µg0
Iron2.7 mg5.36 mg
Magnesium81 mg30 mg
Manganese1.3 mg0.605 mg
Phosphorus266 mg97 mg
Potassium412 mg121 mg
Selenium08.9 µg
Sodium9 mg7 mg
Zinc1.14 mg0.8 mg

The Final Word

Tempeh and tofu are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both tempeh and tofu are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in beans and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes are versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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