Air fryer tofu is a convenient, easy recipe you can make in less than 15 minutes with very simple ingredients.
Learn how to turn a block of firm tofu into tasty, crispy, and chewy bites of plant-based protein to level up your meals.
Check out our best tofu recipe collection!
Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein, and we try to include it in our diet 2 to 3 times a week. We love cooking it in various ways, from pan-fried to marinated, from vegan tofu fish to Italian tofu meatballs.
It's such a versatile ingredient, and we always have a couple of blocks in our fridge.
Crispy air fryer tofu is just one of the many ways we like to cook tofu. Although not the most creative way of preparing it, air-fried tofu is a winner because of its simplicity and versatility. It's practical, and we love it for that.
All you have to do is toss firm or extra firm tofu cubes into a quick marinade and air fry it for 10 to 15 minutes to get it as crispy as you like. And that's it. You can expect tofu that is crisp on the outside, with a nice meaty chew to it.
You can use it like chicken in most of your meals. From salads to stir-fries, from curries to sandwiches. It's really up to you. It works everywhere.
Cooking tofu in an air-fryer is similar to oven-baking, but it's faster, it gets crispier, it consumes less energy, and there's less clean up to do afterward. Those are big enough reasons to love this air fryer tofu recipe as a quick, last-minute protein boost to your plant-based meals.
Tofu: the firmer the tofu, the crispier and chewier the result. So for crispy tofu we recommend using a firm or even extra-firm tofu. Regular tofu works too, but it won't get as crisp and chewy. Don't use silken tofu for this recipe; it won't hold up well in the air fryer.
Soy sauce: we use reduced-sodium soy sauce. You can replace it with tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
Oil: a little oil helps get the tofu crispy and cook evenly. We use extra virgin olive oil because it's the best oil to cook at high temperatures, thanks to the high amount of antioxidants that protect it from burning. Avocado oil is a good alternative. Regular olive oil is fine too. Other oils, such as canola oil or sesame oil are also ok if you like their flavor.
Salt: optional, depending on your diet and preferences. We like to add a pinch of salt to give the tofu an extra flavor boost. Since we cook most of our meals at home, we can control how much sodium we eat. If you want to be on the safe side, then don't add it.
Spices: spices are great because they add flavor without adding sodium. We use garlic powder and black pepper for the basic recipe. You can add any spice you like, such as onion powder, turmeric, paprika, chili powder, Italian herbs, etc.
Cornstarch: This is optional; however, coating the tofu in a little cornstarch makes it crispier. It also makes it tastier because the cornstarch helps the other ingredients stick to the tofu.
Preheat your air fryer to 390F or 200C for 3 minutes. In the meantime, drain and pat dry the tofu, then cut it into cubes or slabs.
Transfer it to a bowl and add oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss the tofu in the sauce until fully coated. To prevent the tofu from breaking, toss it with your hands.
Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss it again until the cornstarch is fully dissolved and coats the tofu completely.
Transfer into your air fryer basket, and air fry tofu for 12 to 15 minutes. Shake the air fryer basket two to three times during cooking.
Total cooking time may vary based on your air fryer model. The longer you cook it; the crispier and chewier it gets as the moisture from the tofu evaporates.
Pressing tofu: to press or not to press? If you like firmer, chewier tofu, you can press it for 30 minutes before air frying it. To press it, either use a tofu press or wrap it in paper towels and put it under a heavy object. The pressure will make the water leak out of the tofu, making it dryer and chewier. Honestly, we never press our tofu as it takes too much time, and we prefer tofu that hasn't been completely dried out.
Single-layer: arranging the tofu on a single layer in your air fryer basket will produce slightly crispier tofu as the hot air is better distributed. However, the difference is not huge. So if your air fryer is not big enough, you can overlap the tofu a little. If you do so, remember to shake the air fryer basket a few times to move the tofu around.
Cornstarch: you can air fry tofu without cornstarch; however, the result will be slightly different. The cornstarch does create a thin crisp layer on the outside of the tofu. Also, it helps the flavorings stick together and make the tofu tastier. Cornstarch also creates a thin barrier that prevents moisture from escaping, so the tofu will be juicier. If you like drier, more jerky-like air-fried tofu, then don't use cornstarch.
Air fryer tofu is not a complete dish, but you can add it to most meals. Try it on rice with steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice, oven-baked Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables.
Add it to curries, soups, salads, and even to one of our vegan pasta recipes. Try it with our one-pot chickpea stew, Italian bean stew, or quick and creamy butternut squash soup to get a nutritious and fulfilling dinner.
Have it as a snack, dipped in vegan mayo, or a quick vegan chipotle sauce.
Turn salads into satiating main meals by adding a handful of cubes of crispy air fried tofu. Our favorites are this simple shaved brussels sprout salad, crunchy couscous salad, chickpea quinoa salad, and vegan potato salad.
Interested in more tofu recipes? These are some of our favorite ones:
- marinated tofu - packed with flavor, easy, and versatile.
- fried tofu - kind of like air fried, but made on a skillet instead.
- tofu salad - with a creamy tahini sauce.
- vegan tofu curry - creamy, aromatic, and so flavorful.
- tofu soup - simple, healthy, asian ispired soup.
- orange tofu - sweet and sour, better than chicnese takeout.
More air fryer recipes
Store leftover air-fried tofu in the fridge for up to 3 days. The tofu won't be as crispy after a few hours. Reheat in the microwave or the air fryer for a couple of minutes.
You can freeze air fryer tofu. However, its texture will change. The tofu will be chewier and less crispy. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat in the microwave, on a pan, in the oven, or in the air fryer.
For many more tofu ideas, check out our tofu category page.
Air Fryer Tofu
- 14 ounces tofu firm or extra firm
- ½ tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or other spices
- 2 twists black pepper
- ⅓ teaspoon salt optional
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch optional, for crispier tofu
- Preheat your air fryer to 390F or 200C for 3 minutes. In the meantime, drain and pat dry the tofu, then cut it into cubes or slabs.
- Transfer it to a bowl and add oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss the tofu in the sauce until fully coated. To prevent the tofu from breaking, toss it with your hands.
- Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss it again until the cornstarch is fully dissolved and coats the tofu completely.
- Transfer into your air fryer basket, and air fry for 12 to 15 minutes. Shake the air fryer basket two to three times during cooking.
- Total cooking time may vary based on your air fryer model. The longer you cook it; the crispier and chewier it gets as the moisture from the tofu evaporates.
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