Air fryer tofu is a tasty and healthy alternative to meat. You’ll love its chewy texture, crispy exterior, and tender and juicy core.

It’s perfect for adding to salads, bowls, stir-fries, stews, and curries, or dip it in your favorite dipping sauce.

Air fryer tofu piece on a fork

This crispy air-fried tofu recipe is for health-conscious people who want a quick, protein-rich alternative to chicken and other meat.

The air fryer, with its hot circulating air, enables us to cook this crispy tofu in just over 10 minutes—it takes more than 30 minutes to achieve a similar result in a standard oven.

Also, because it’s so fast, the air fryer crisps up the tofu on the outside without drying it out inside.

The result is flavorful, crisp, and chewy airfried tofu bites that can be used in as many preparations as chicken.

Think salads, grain bowls, stir-fries, soups, and much more! This healthy, satisfying, and delicious tofu recipe offers endless possibilities for enjoying it.

Air fryer tofu on a plate with salt flakes

Air fryer tofu video

Ingredients & Substitutions for air fryer tofu

Air fryer tofu ingredients

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Tofu

Choose firm tofu or extra-firm tofu. Avoid silken tofu, as it will fall apart in the air-fryer.

Soy sauce

We use reduced-sodium soy sauce. You can substitute tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.

Oil

A little oil is necessary to help the tofu crisp up. We usually use olive or avocado oil, but your favorite vegetable or light-colored sesame oil can be used.

Salt

Tofu needs salt to taste good, so add a generous pinch of sea salt or kosher salt.

Spices

We use garlic powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper.

You can get creative and use your favorite spices. For example, if you use the air fryer tofu for a curry, you can season it with turmeric or curry powder. Onion powder works too.

Cornstarch

Optional, however, coating the tofu in a bit of cornstarch makes it crispier.

It also makes it tastier because the cornstarch helps the other ingredients stick to the tofu.

Air fryer tofu in a salad

How to make air fryer tofu

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Remove the tofu from the package, drain it, and pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. Please don’t press the tofu, as pressing it will make it dry inside.

With your hands, break the tofu into bite-size pieces.

Tip: we think it is better to break the tofu apart with your hands rather than cutting it into cubes with a knife. The rugged surface of the tofu pieces will grab onto the seasoning much better than clean-cut tofu cubes.

tearing the tofu apart with hands

Transfer the tofu bites to a large container and add oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cornstarch.

Toss gently in the marinade, with a spoon, until fully coated.

tofu mixed with oil and spices

Brush your air-fryer basket with a thin coat of oil to prevent the tofu from sticking.

Transfer tofu into an air-fryer basket. Arrange mainly on a single layer without too much overlapping.

Air fryer tofu before cooking

Air fry the tofu at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes. Halfway through cooking, separate the tofu bits from each other with a fork, and shake the basket.

If you have a small air fryer, you might have to cook the tofu in batches.

Air fryer tofu after cooking

Total cooking time may vary based on your air fryer model. The longer you cook it, the crispier and chewier it gets.

Air fryer tofu on a white plate

Serving suggestions

Think of air fryer tofu as a chicken replacement. You can add it to most meals as you would add chicken.

It’s excellent to boost the protein content of any meal or to serve on its own with a dipping sauce.

Salads and bowls

air fryer tofu added to a salad with peanut sauce

Add it to your favorite salad, rice dish, grain bowl, or Buddha bowl. Drizzle with our delicious peanut sauce for the best flavor combination.

Check out our tofu salad, Buddha bowl, or peanut noodles with peanut sauce.

Asian-style stir-fries

tofu stir fry with noodles

There’s nothing better than a quick, tasty, and fulfilling tofu stir-fry. You can make it with your favorite noodles, veggies (we love it with broccoli, mushroom, and pepper), and a delicious soy sauce seasoning.

Check out our tofu stir fry recipe.

Curries and stews

Vegan Butter Chicken with spoon

Add it to our vegan butter chicken, tofu curry, vegan curry, eggplant curry, or sweet potato curry.

Its chewy texture is perfect with the creaminess of most curries and stews.

Make BBQ Tofu

BBQ tofu brushed with BBQ sauce

You can use this recipe to make our finger-licking BBQ tofu with homemade BBQ sauce. It’s excellent in a sandwich with creamy coleslaw and a side of air fryer potatoes.

Check out our BBQ Tofu recipe and BBQ sauce.

Tips

Pressing tofu?

Honestly, we never press our tofu as it takes too much time, and we prefer tofu that hasn’t been completely dried out.

If you like firmer, chewier tofu, 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.

Use your hands

We think breaking the tofu apart with your hands is better than cutting it into cubes with a knife.

The rugged and porous surface of handmade tofu pieces will grab onto the seasoning much better than clean-cut tofu cubes. It’ll also get crispier this way.

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 creates a thin crispy 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. Don’t use cornstarch if you like drier, more jerky-like air-fried tofu.

Air fryer tofu on a plate with lemon wedges

Storage

Make ahead: air fryer tofu is best right after making it, so it’s crispy and juicy.

Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in the air fryer or the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing air-fried tofu, although, if you want, you can certainly do so.

More tofu recipes

Interested in more tofu recipes? These are some of our favorite ones:

For many more tofu ideas, check out our tofu category page.

More air fryer recipes

crispy air fryer tofu

Air Fryer Tofu

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 16 votes
Air fryer tofu is a tasty and healthy alternative to meat. You'll love its chewy texture, crispy exterior, and tender and juicy core.
It's perfect for adding to salads, bowls, stir-fries, stews, and curries, or dip it in your favorite dipping sauce.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main, Snack
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces firm tofu or extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch optional, for a crispier tofu

Instructions 

  • Pat dry 16 ounces firm tofu then break it apart with your hands into bite-size pieces.
    tearing the tofu apart with hands
  • Transfer to a large container and season with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 2 twists black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons cornstarch.
    Toss gently with a spoon until tofu pieces are coated in sauce.
    tofu mixed with oil and spices
  • Brush air-fryer basket with a thin oil layer, arrange tofu bites without too much overlapping, and air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes.
    Air fryer tofu after cooking
  • Halfway through cooking, separate tofu bits with a fork and shake basket.
    Air fryer tofu on a plate with lemon wedges
  • Dip in your favorite dipping sauce, or add it to salads, stir-fries, curries, stews, grain bowls, and more.
    air fryer tofu added to a salad with peanut sauce

Video

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of air-fryer tofu out of 4 servings.
STORAGE
Make ahead: air fryer tofu is best right after making it, so it’s crispy and juicy.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in the air fryer or the microwave for a couple of minutes.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing air-fried tofu, although, if you want, you can certainly do so.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 65mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.4g, Vitamin A: 249IU, Vitamin B6: 0.04mg, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 3µg, Calcium: 132mg, Folate: 6µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.1mg, Magnesium: 11mg, Zinc: 0.1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! The only substitution I made was to use coconut aminos versus the soy sauce. This was my first foray into preparing and eating tofu and I am so glad I chose your recipe! Delicious!

    1. Hi Susuan,
      That’s fantastic – I am very happy to hear you had a good first encounter with tofu 🙂
      Thank you for the substitution tip, and for taking the time to leave a comment here.
      All the best,
      Louise

    1. Fantastic, Missy!
      I’m very happy you enjoyed the tofu, thanks so much for taking time to write a comment.
      All the best,
      Louise

  2. Hello, this sounds great. Could you maybe share the measurements for the peanut sauce that goes with it in the shorts video, please?