Air Fryer Tofu
Air Fryer Tofu
If ever an ingredient needed a PR makeover, it is tofu. The recipe for the job? Air Fryer Tofu. Transcendently crispy outside, pleasantly firm inside, and infused with a savory soy maple marinade, tofu cooked in the air fryer will make a believer out of even its harshest critics.
I am doggedly convinced that anyone who says they don’t like tofu hasn’t tried to air fry tofu yet.
And if you count yourself among the tofu skeptics—I get it.
Tofu can be (and this is a culinary term) ick.
Without the proper treatment, tofu is soggy, mushy, and bland.
WITH proper cooking technique, however, tofu is a culinary playground!
A hungry sponge, tofu (like Roasted Cauliflower) readily absorbs any flavors you add to it.With a few easy but critical steps, your tofu will turn out firm, crispy, and delectable.PLUS! Since air fryer tofu uses very little oil to crisp, it is much healthier than regular deep-fried tofu, which is completely submerged in oil.
5 Star Review
“Wow… I never comment on recipes… this is sooooo good. I will probably have tofu a few times a week now. Thank you for the tips!”
— Cashmere —
While you can use various techniques to make tofu crispy (for example, I use freezing and boiling in this Crispy Tofu cooking guide and pressing dry plus pan-frying in this reader favorite Tofu Stir Fry), the best method that I’ve found is using the air fryer.
An air fryer is a high-powered, extra-effective countertop convection oven. It blows hot air down and around the food, cooking and crisping it in a few short minutes.
To compare, air fryer tofu cooks in 11 to 13 minutes, while a regular convection oven would require closer to 25 to 30 minutes.
How to Cook Tofu in the Air Fryer
When it comes to crispy tofu (and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts), an air fryer is going to be your best friend and secret weapon.
Secrets to the Best Air Fryer Tofu
Making the best possible crispy air fryer tofu is a matter of four key components.
Press the Tofu. This removes excess water that could make the tofu soggy.Marinade. On its own, tofu is bland. Letting it sit in a marinade for as little as 15 minutes makes all the difference in the world.Cornstarch. I tested this air fryer tofu both with and without cornstarch. I found that tossing the marinated tofu in cornstarch prior to adding it to the air fryer made a remarkable difference.High Temperature. The best temperature for air fryer tofu is 400 degrees F. This will crisp the outside while allowing the inside to become pleasantly firm. Air fryer tofu cooks in 9 to 12 minutes.
Extra-Firm Tofu. Tofu is an excellent meat alternative, packed with protein, iron, and calcium. It’s essential to use extra-firm tofu here, as it contains less water than other varieties and will hold its shape better during cooking.Soy Sauce. Rich with umami goodness, soy sauce is a can’t-miss addition to our tofu marinade.
Rice Wine Vinegar. Rice wine vinegar adds a touch of sweet acidity to the marinade. Olive Oil. A healthy fat that helps carry and transfer the flavors of the marinade into the tofu.
Pure Maple Syrup. Naturally sweetens the marinade and pairs well with the soy sauce.Spices. Garlic powder and ground ginger are delicious spice additions to the marinade. Sriracha. A dash of hot sauce adds just the right amount of heat. Feel free to use more if you like your tofu spicy.
Do you have another marinade you enjoy? The best part about air fryer tofu is it is easy to adapt once you have the basic method down. The variations are essentially endless!
Cornstarch. A final toss with cornstarch is the key to a perfectly crispy and golden exterior.
Gently press the tofu, then cut into cubes.
Pat the tofu dry to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Stir the marinade ingredients together.
Marinade the tofu for 15 minutes.
Toss to coat with the cornstarch.
Place the tofu in a single layer in the basket of an air fryer. Cook at 400 degrees F for 9 minutes. Toss, then cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batches, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce. ENJOY!
Ways to Use Air Fryer Tofu
What crispy tofu cubes you can resist nibbling straight out of the air fryer basket (and yes, air fryer tofu is THAT GOOD) can be used in a variety of ways.
Tofu is a perfect way to add protein to your favorite vegetarian recipes and vegan recipes.
General Tso Air Fryer Tofu. Follow this General Tso’s Tofu recipe, but swap in this tofu instead.Toss it into any of these healthy Asian recipes.Salad. This Mexican Salad and Ramen Salad would be scrumptious with air fryer tofu added.Peanut Air Fryer Tofu. Swap it for the chicken in these Asian Chicken Wraps with Thai Peanut Sauce, or drizzle it with the peanut sauce from this Chicken Satay.Air Fryer Tofu Stir Fry. Try it as the main protein in these healthy stir fry recipes.Air Fryer Tofu Buddha Bowl. Use it in this Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl with Quinoa and Avocado.Salt and Pepper Tofu. Check out the Kickin’ Black Pepper Stir Fry in my cookbook. Use this tofu as the protein instead. YUM!Vegetarian Beef and Broccoli. Swap the tofu for the beef in my favorite Healthy Beef and Broccoli recipe.
To Store. Store the air-fried tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To Reheat. Recrisp tofu in the air fryer at 375 degrees F. It will only take a few minutes, so check often to prevent burning.To Freeze. The texture of the tofu may change once frozen and thawed, but the flavor will remain delicious. Place tofu cubes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Freeze the frozen tofu in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
Cut the tofu block into cubes up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in an airtight storage container.
Mix the marinade ingredients together up to 1 day in advance, and place the mixture in the refrigerator.
When ready to enjoy, prepare according to the instructions in the recipe card.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Tofu
Homemade Fried Rice
Vegetable Lo Mein
Thai Cashew Chicken
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Air Fryer. The air fryer I own and love for making recipes like this one and Air Fryer Grilled Cheese!Mixing Bowls. This set is ideal for recipes that require multiple bowls. Non-Slip Cutting Board. This cutting board will stay put as you cut the tofu.
The Best Air Fryer
This air fryer works like a dream! It’s the ideal size and has a multitude of different cooking methods.
As you’ve now seen, air fryer tofu is simple to make, tasty, and versatile.
Of all the ways to use tofu, don’t be surprised when you catch yourself enjoying it straight from the air fryer basket!
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve only tested the recipe with the marinade, so you’d be experimenting if you choose to omit it from the recipe.
Tofu may turn out soggy for a few reasons. First, too much water. If you don’t press the water out of your tofu, it can easily become soggy. Second, temperature. Cooking your tofu at a low temperature won’t allow it to crisp properly.
While air fryer tofu requires far less oil than deep frying, it still requires some oil. The oil functions as a barrier that helps prevent the tofu from sticking to the basket. For best results, generously coat the air fryer’s basket with cooking spray before adding the tofu.
Air Fryer Tofu
TO STORE: Refrigerate tofu in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: Recrisp tofu in the air fryer at 375 degrees F. It will only take a few minutes, so check often to prevent burning.
TO FREEZE: The texture of the tofu may change once frozen and thawed, but the flavor will remain delicious. Place tofu cubes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Freeze the frozen tofu in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Vegan Recipes
Soups & Stews
Vegan Pumpkin Soup
READ: Air Fryer Tofu