Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 8 reviews

Air Fryer Appetizers Asian food recipes Recipes Side Dishes Vegetarian

Cook time Cook time: 15 minutes

Air Fryer Tofu is incredibly crispy, flavorful, and easy to make. Marinated in a blend of sesame oil, brown sugar, and soy sauce, it makes a great appetizer or vegetarian main dish. Air frying tofu is fast and easy, giving it a perfect texture of crispiness on the outside and creaminess on the inside. 

If your air fryer is on the fritz or you loaned it to a friend, this Crispy Baked Tofu is an amazing recipe to use instead. These Chipotle Sofritas are another way to enjoy it but with a Mexican flavor. Or try this healthy but tasty Air Fryer Falafel for a tasty vegetarian spread. 

Air Fried Tofu Recipe

Tofu has gotten a bad rep over the years as a bland and boring meat substitute but using this air fryer recipe makes it crispy, creamy, and tasty. Although there are different ways to cook tofu, this is the perfect way to fry it while keeping it healthy rather than deep frying.

The trick for great taste in this recipe is the marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, liquid smoke, mirin sauce, garlic powder, and brown sugar that gives this dish its amazing flavor. This delicious side dish or main dish goes great with this sweet and tangy instant pot orange chicken.

This is one of my favorite tofu recipes and will probably end up being your favorite way to make cook it once you try it. The crispy bites are so perfect, they can be served as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce.

Also, you can just cook a larger batch and serve it over rice or noodles for a delicious Asian meal. The recipe is easy to make it’s so good your whole family will love it, even the picky eaters.

Ingredients needed:

You can scroll down to our recipe card to see the exact instructions but here are the basic ingredients:

  • Block of tofu: We used extra firm tofu, make sure to press the excess liquid.
  • Soy sauce: You can make your own or use store-bought.
  • Sesame oil: We use store-bought and it adds such a rich and deep flavor.
  • Mirin sauce: Or use white wine or white wine vinegar.
  • Liquid smoke: If you don’t have liquid smoke, try smoked paprika.
  • Garlic powder: You could also use minced garlic.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar.

How do you make air fryer tofu recipe?

  1. Press: First, press tofu for at least 15 minutes with a tofu press to get rid of the extra moisture and excess water.
  2. Cut: Then, cut into chunks using a cutting board and the chunks on a baking sheet.
  3. Combine: Next, mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and combine.
  4. Marinade: After, let the tofu soak for about 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat: Meanwhile, preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees and spritz the air fryer basket with canola or olive oil. 
  6. Cook: Place it in a single layer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the basket a few times so they cook evenly.

 

 

Recipe variations:

  • Substitute: You could substitute dry sherry or rice wine vinegar for the mirin sauce.
  • More flavor: Add some onion powder, kosher salt, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper for extra flavor.
  • Cornstarch: Toss the tofu in cornstarch right before cooking for an incredible crispy crust.
  • Spice it up: Toss in some chili powder or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
  • Oil: Use avocado oil instead of olive oil for a different flavor.

How to serve:

Serve Crispy Air Fryer Tofu with sesame seeds and your favorite sauce or try one of these serving suggestions:

  • Serve as part of a buddha bowl with rice, beans, and other veggies. 
  • Add these crispy tofu cubes to your favorite stir fry recipes like this chicken and broccoli stir fry. 
  • Sprinkle the cooked tofu with rice vinegar or peanut sauce.
  • These go great with teriyaki sauce or chipotle sauce for dipping.
  • Or try this homemade barbecue sauce. 
  • Another option is to serve it with your favorite Asian noodles.
  • Also, they make the perfect vegetarian finger food and would be great served on a large plate with many different sauces for the Game night.
  • As an alternative, use it to stuff burritos and tacos.

Frequently asked questions

What is tofu? 

Tofu is made of condensed soy milk pressed into solid blocks. The process is like making cheese and it originated in China. According to historians, it was discovered on accident 2,000 years ago when a Chinese cook mixed nigari with soy milk. Nigari is the minerals that are left over after removing the salt from saltwater.

What is a tofu press?

It is a tool that squeezes the excess liquid out of tofu blocks. It is important to remove as much liquid as possible before using it or it will not hold its shape when you cook it. Too much liquid will make it fall apart. 

If you do not have one, you can use a clean tea towel with a plate under it. Place a block of tofu in a clean kitchen towel on a plate with a lip. Put a heavy pan or cast-iron skillet on top for 30 minutes to remove the water. You may need to put some heavy cans or jars on it too.

Is tofu good for you?

Not only is it great for you, but it is also an excellent way to lose weight. Each small serving contains eight grams of protein with only two grams of carbs and four grams of fat. 

It also contains a lot of manganese, calcium, copper, magnesium, and iron. It is one of the best ways to get all these benefits with minimal calories and fat. Since you are cooking this tofu with hot air, it is even healthier.

How to store leftovers:

  1. Store: Once you cool the crispy air fryer tofu, it will stay fresh for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Freeze: To freeze your tofu, put it in a freezer bag and it will be good in the freezer for up to five months. However, it may lose some of its crispiness.
  3. Thaw: Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. 
  4. Reheat: Reheat in the air fryer at 375 degrees F for three minutes. 

More Air Fryer Vegetarian Recipes:

 

 

Cooking tips:

  • Always check your raw tofu before cooking, even if the expiration date has not passed. If it smells bad or has the water is thick, do not use it.
  • In addition, to get even more moisture out, press it between paper towels and microwave them for two minutes.
  • Also, to make your tofu crispier, cook it longer, and to make softer tofu, cook it for a shorter time. 
  • Cut the tofu block 24 hours in advance and refrigerate them in an airtight container. 
  • As an option, you could also make the marinade a day in advance to save time when cooking. 
  • If you are making some extra, cook in small batches, placing the cooked chunks on a baking sheet in an oven at 150 degrees F. 
air fried tofu

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Air Fryer Tofu is incredibly crispy, flavorful, and easy to make. Marinated in a blend of sesame oil, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
5 from 8 votes
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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet

Ingredients

  • 16 oz block extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirim
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)

Instructions

Press:

  • Place the tofu between paper towels and place a heavy pan on it for at least 15 minutes to remove extra moisture.
  • After that, cut tofu into bite-sized 1-inch cubes and transfer them to a large bowl.

Marinate:

  • Combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stir to combine, and drizzle over the tofu. Toss to coat and marinate for an additional 15 minutes.

Air Fry:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F.
  • Add the tofu cubes to the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  • Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally for even cooking.
  • Serve garnished with sesame seeds and your favorite dipping sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1017mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 292mg | Iron: 3mg
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Comments

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Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

YUM! This sounds incredibly delicious!!

Reply

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

This Air Fryer Tofu is couldn't look any more perfect!

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Krystle

So crispy! Even my tofu hating hubby ate some.

Reply

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

This Air Fryer Tofu looks absolutely delicious! Yummy!

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Amanda Livesay

Crispy tofu is my favorite and this is the best way to make it!

Reply

Sandra

This is so easy! A new favorite air fryer recipe for me!

Reply

Cathy

Such an easy way to make tofu!

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