This air fryer tofu recipe is extra crispy and full of flavor using just a handful of ingredients. Making tofu in the air fryer will be your new favorite method once you try this easy recipe. Much healthier and lower in fat than traditional frying with all the tasty benefits!
Welcome to my first air fryer recipe on this site. Truth is, I resisted this counter top appliance for quite some time.
But, when the opportunity came my way to test one out for free, I caved and I have to say, I’m never going back.
This thing is worth its weight in gold for this crispy air fried tofu recipe alone.
And then there’s rotisserie chicken in the air fryer and “fries” out of vegetables but more on all those things another day.
Today is all about crispy air fryer tofu and how insanely easy this miracle appliance makes it!
The term “crispy tofu” alone is one that anyone who eats it has probably dreaded at some point.
Unless you’re enjoying tofu in miso soup or something like this Hot and Sour Egg Drop Soup, chances are you want the result to be a crispy golden brown exterior with a nice softly cooked inside.
The problem, however, is just how to attain that perfect elusive texture.
Enter the air fryer.
Air frying tofu is not only incredibly simple and quick, it’s literally a miracle worker when it comes to the perfect tofu texture.
An air fryer is basically a convection oven but the use of trays or a basket allows the air to circulate all around the food as it “fries” creating a crispy crust around the entire cube of tofu.
AIR FRYER TOFU RECIPE
There’s not much needed to make insanely delicious air fryer tofu, just a few simple ingredients for flavor.
But first, it’s imperative to press the tofu.
PRESSING THE TOFU
Using extra firm tofu will cut down the necessary pressing time quite a bite but it’s still best practice to press the block of tofu for about 15-20 minutes.
You can use an actual tofu press if you have one.
Or, what I do, is place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Place the tofu on top of the rack and then something heavy like a cast iron pan on top of the tofu. This makeshift approach works just as well!
Pressing ensures the crispiest texture once the tofu is air fried and that’s what we’re going for!
It also allows the marinade flavors to come through more since they’re not diluted by the excess water in the tofu.
HOW TO AIR FRY TOFU
Once pressed, cut the tofu into cubes and place it in a bowl with the following ingredients:
- arrowroot powder (optional – discussed below)
- avocado oil
- tamari (or soy sauce/coconut aminos – see recipe note)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- salt & pepper
Toss the tofu cubes until each one is well coated in the mixture.
Place the seasoned tofu in your air fryer basket or tray depending on the model.
Set the air fryer to 400°F and cook the tofu in the air fryer for 15 minutes.
If using a basket model, shake half way through cooking. If using a tray model, I like to rotate the trays half way through.
Check out my air fryer tofu web story too for more info on making this recipe!
As you can see, the seasonings are minimal but these crispy air fried tofu nuggets are just perfect in flavor.
They’re basic enough to go with almost anything you serve them with but flavorful enough to stand out on their own.
The arrowroot powder is optional (cornstarch or tapioca powder can be substituted if desired) and the tofu will crisp up without it but I enjoy the result just a little bit more using it.
Using avocado oil is a purposeful decision when air frying the tofu. Avocado oil, unlike olive oil, has a higher smoke point as well as a more neutral flavor.
Sesame oil is another higher smoke point oil and can be substituted or used half and half with the avocado oil in this recipe. It brings a nice flavor and Asian vibe to the tofu as well.
WHY AIR FRIED TOFU IS SO MUCH BETTER!
Unlike traditional frying, air frying uses substantially less oil, doesn’t make your entire house smell and results in an equally crispy outcome.
How can you beat that?!
TIPS FOR MAKING CRISPY AIR FRYER TOFU
No matter if using a tray or basket model air fryer, don’t overcrowd the tofu.
Same advice applies to making air fryer cauliflower gnocchi. A simple yet important tip!
Work in batches if necessary because overcrowding will lead to less crispy tofu and we don’t want that!
Choose organic and/or sprouted organic tofu if possible.
GMO tofu will likely have been sprayed with glyphosate (aka Roundup) as the soybean crop tends to be heavily sprayed. Choosing organic ensures your tofu is not GMO.
Feel free to switch up the seasonings but using powdered spices versus whole (like minced garlic) is preferable so no flavor falls through the tray or basket when cooking.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH AIR FRYER CRISPY TOFU
When I make tofu like this, just like when I make my marinated tempeh, our favorite way to round out the meal is with some cooked white rice and a roasted vegetable. Roasted romanesco or roasted radishes are great options. Simple is sometimes best!
Crispy tofu in the air fryer is super versatile.
You can even enjoy it as a snack. They’re almost nugget-like so dunking the tofu in your favorite sauce as an appetizer would be another completely delicious option!
REHEATING AIR FRIED TOFU
If you happen to have leftovers, store the air fried tofu in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and re-heat in either a toaster oven or the air fryer for a few minutes.
Either of these options are preferable to the microwave as they will re-crisp the tofu as it heats back up. Reheating in a microwave will result in a soggier texture.
MORE TOFU RECIPES TO ENJOY:
- 16 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons tamari (*see note)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cube the drained and well pressed tofu and place in a bowl with arrowroot powder. Toss to combine.
- Add avocado oil, tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and gently toss again until each piece of tofu is coated.
- Place tofu in air fryer either in the basket or on the trays depending on model.
- Air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes shaking basket or rotating trays half way through.
- Remove from the air fryer once finished and serve hot.
*Substitute low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos if preferred.
**Cooking time does not include pressing tofu. I press mine for 15 minutes which is sufficient if using extra firm tofu.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 583mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.