How to make super Crispy Air Fryer Tofu in just 10 minutes of cook time! It is not only super easy but also delicious and perfect for meal prep!
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If you’re looking for super quick and easy plant-based protein to add to your meals, you’ve officially found it with this air fryer tofu recipe!
I have fried tofu recipe and our omnivorous household absolutely loves it! My kids call it “chicken”.
Ever since I bought an air fryer, I have been dying to try to make tofu in it! So, here we go!
Have you jumped on an air fryer bandwagon yet? If not, you’re missing out. I was very sceptical why would I need another small appliance but boy was I wrong!
We have been enjoying an array of crispy air fryer recipes cooked in minutes with almost no oil. And it preheats in 5 minutes unlike the convection oven!
So, let me show you how to make tofu in air fryer and you will never look at tofu the same again!
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Tofu
- Learning how to air fry tofu is ridiculously easy and takes just 20 minutes from start to finish.
- No need to press tofu but you can for ultra crispy results!
- All you need is a handful of pantry staples.
- It’s delicious!
Ingredients and Notes
- Tofu: You can use firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes. Don’t use silken, soft or medium tofu because it will release too much water and fall apart. I also recommend using organic tofu to avoid GMOs.
- Cornstarch: This will help the air fryer tofu to become crispy. Alternatively, arrowroot powder will work but won’t be as crisp.
- Soy sauce: This will help to add depth of flavor, umami, and salty flavor. For a gluten free option, use tamari or liquid aminos.
- Toasted sesame oil: This oil helps to add a toasty, nutty flavor. Alternatively, you could substitute it with another oil like olive oil or avocado oil.
- Spices: Smoked paprika (though regular paprika will work but be less smoky), garlic powder, and black pepper. No salt is needed, thanks to the soy sauce.
How to Make Air Fryer Tofu
Making air fryer tofu is super simple and takes just minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook!
Prepare the tofu: First, remove the tofu from the package and drain the liquid. Then pat the tofu well with double-layered paper towels.
Cut into 1-inch cubes. You can then pat them once more after slicing.
No need to press tofu but see FAQs if you would like to for super crispy tofu!
Marinate the tofu: In a medium bowl, combine the cubed tofu, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. Stir gently with a wooden spoon and set aside.
Do not use metal spoon may cause damage to the delicate tofu texture. Then set aside.
Add the dry ingredients: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground black pepper and mix together. Sprinkle over the tofu.
Use wooden spoon to gently coat tofu cubes in seasonings and you can also toss gently towards the end.
Air fry the tofu: Add enough tofu to your air fryer basket in a single layer, with spaces in between. It’s important not to overcrowd the basket otherwise tofu will steam rather than become wonderfully crispy.
Then cook tofu for 10 minutes, shaking once halfway.
Repeat: Remove the first batch of crispy tofu from the air fryer, then repeat with the remaining tofu and enjoy.
- For super crispy air fryer tofu: You can press the tofu before mixing. I’ve tried this recipe with and without pressing with good results, but I know some tofu lovers would prefer to press it. To do so, line a cutting board with paper towels or kitchen towel and place tofu on top. Then add another layer of paper towel or kitchen towel, place cutting board on top and then a heavy pan. Allow it to press for 15-20 minutes.
- You can also freeze the tofu to dry it out: When frozen, the tiny natural pockets in the tofu will expand and upon thawing and pressing the tofu, you’ll be left will firm and spongy tofu that has a good texture, soaks up flavor better and becomes wonderfully crispy.
- Increasing the air fryer time: All air fryer models and sizes vary and can cook slightly different, for reference I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer. Make sure to check on your tofu. Also if you increase the cook time by just a few minutes, the tofu can become more chewy and “meaty”.
- Make sure to use firm or extra firm tofu: This method won’t work with silken or other softer tofu. They contain too much water and will simply fall apart.
- Seasoning blends: You can also experiment with other seasoning blends like Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, curry powder or all purpose seasoning blend.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Tofu?
Cooked tofu makes for the perfect all-purpose vegan protein. It makes any meal healthier.
This time I served it with a mayonnaise and sriracha dip. We had quinoa and simple cucumber tomato salad on a side. That was dinner!
You can add it to salads, add to a heaping bowl of simple spaghetti or any stir fry like cabbage stir fry, for example.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air fryer chicken breast
- Air fryer salmon
- Air fryer broccoli
- Air fryer cauliflower
- Air fryer sweet potato fries
- Air fryer buffalo cauliflower
Crispy Air Fryer Tofu
- 2 x 12 oz packages firm or extra firm tofu
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Remove tofu from the package, drain and pat dry with double layered paper towels. No need to press. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
- In a medium bowl, add cubed tofu, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Stir gently with silicone or wooden spoon (metal will do more damage to tofu’s delicate texture) or toss in a bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, add cornstarch, smoked paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Stir well, sprinkle over tofu and stir gently or toss to coat.
- Add half of the tofu to air fryer basket (tight but with some space in between), close and cook at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, shaking once after 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate and repeat this step with remaining tofu.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: In an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: Pop the tofu back in the air fryer for 4-6 minutes until warm and crispy. Alternatively, you can pan fry it with a bit of oil.
- Air fryer size: I have this 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer and it fits a lot, I love it! With smaller air fryer, just cook in more batches.
- Do not pile up: If you add all tofu at once, it will not get crispy.
- Has to be firm or extra firm tofu: You cannot use soft or medium tofu as it will release more water and fall apart.
- Substitute for toasted sesame oil: You can use any other oil like olive oil or avocado oil. Toasted oil just adds another layer of flavor.
This is the perfect way to prepare tofu. I have had several false starts in the past but this appears fail-proof. I made a dip from sweet chili sauce and peanuts which went perfectly. Served with a side of roasted broccoli, it was a simple, light Friday night dinner. Next time I want to try serving it with your fried cauliflower rice recipe.
That sounds like one amazing dip! So glad it turned out well, thanks for the review!
I had just ran out of sesame oil so had to use regular olive oil, but it still turned out crispy and amazing. The smoked paprika adds so much flavor! Thanks for a new way to enjoy tofu.
So glad you enjoyed it!