Air Fryer Tofu – Perfectly Crispy!
Making crispy cubes of tofu has never been easier! You’ll love how air fryer tofu turns out and in half the time of baked.
Crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, air fryer tofu turns out perfect every time. We just can’t get enough air fryer recipes! If you’ve been baking tofu, now’s the time to try air frying it. It takes half the time and you really get a nice crisp exterior.
What do you do with crispy tofu cubes? Add them to a salad or Buddha bowl in place of meat or cheese. Tofu is great in a stir-fry with flavorful sauces. Instead of chicken, add tofu to this Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry or Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry for a meatless or vegetarian entree. You’ll find that crispy tofu is perfect as a healthy snack to munch on.
If you’re new to the world of tofu, air fryer tofu is a great introduction. Most people love the crispy texture of the cubes, with the creamy interior (even people who don’t normally love tofu).
And let me tell you, we tested this recipe five…six times? I lost count. We wanted to make sure it was perfect. We ate a lot of tofu in the process.
Why eat tofu? Tofu, made from condensed soy milk, is a low calorie source of protein and is one of the few plant-based proteins that contains all the amino acids your body needs, along with lots of vitamins and minerals. Look for a a non-GMO, organic brand, if possible. If you’d like to learn more, Healthline has a good summary of benefits and concerns.
About this air fryer tofu
First of all, let’s talk about pressing. To make this recipe work, you’ll need to press some of the liquid from the block of tofu so that the tofu will retain its shape when it’s cut and fried. Some of you may have a tofu press which is made just for this purpose.
If you don’t have a tofu press, you can easily improvise by placing the tofu on a wire rack, with a tray underneath to catch the liquid, and setting something heavy on top of the tofu. I like to use my cast iron skillet but anything heavy will work. Put a layer of paper towels on the tofu before setting the skillet on top and give it about thirty minutes to drain.
After you’ve pressed the tofu, cut it into evenly sized cubes. Coat the cubes with a mixture of soy sauce and oil.
Turn your air fryer on to preheat for five minutes, and then lightly toss the tofu cubes with cornstarch (gently, they’re pretty delicate!).
Place the cubes on the rack and fry for just fourteen minutes, shaking the basket once to ensure it cooks evenly.
That’s how it’s done. It’s such a simple process and the result is so delicious. We tested several variations of this recipe so you can be confident that your tofu will turn out just perfect.
What you need
- Extra Firm Tofu – It’s important to get extra firm tofu; different types of tofu will be too soft for this recipe.
- Soy Sauce – We recommend using low-sodium soy sauce. Tamari will also work if that’s what you have on hand.
- Olive Oil – Avocado oil is a great alternative if you prefer, grapeseed oil is also a good option.
- Cornstarch – This is the secret to a crisp exterior! We tested it with and without cornstarch, and while it was good without, it was better with it. If you’re in a rush, you could skip it, but we think the extra step is worth it for a superior end result.
Set your air fryer for 375°F and preheat it for five minutes.
Deep frying tofu adds a lot of calories and fat but using an air fryer eliminates the need for excess oil. You’ll only use one tablespoon of healthy olive oil.
Firm tofu has more than twice as much protein as silken tofu because silken tofu has way more water in it. Silken tofu has less calories and fat for the same reason. Either type is still a healthy choice. Buy the variety that works best for your recipe.
How to make this recipe your own
- Add seasonings of your choice: salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder, taco seasoning, chili powder, curry powder, you name it, it’s wide open to you. How you season it will depend on what you’re adding it to.
- Substitute arrowroot or nutritional yeast for the cornstarch if you want to make this tofu gluten-free.
The most time consuming part of this recipe is pressing the tofu. You can do that ahead of time if you like or just press it in the fridge all day. You won’t want to leave tofu on the counter for more than an hour or so.
Cooked tofu can be stored in the refrigerator, properly covered, for five days or in the freezer for three months.
If you’re planning on using the tofu in a stir fry, just toss it in near the end of the cooking time to reheat. If you’re adding it to a salad or bowl, reheat it briefly (just a couple of minutes) in your air fryer, toaster oven, or skillet on the stove, or reheat the tofu in the microwave for just 10-15 seconds.
Don’t overheat the tofu because it will become tough and chewy. (We determined this the hard way in one of our many tests of this recipe!)
Easy air fryer recipes
Cooking has never been easier now that you have an air fryer. Try:
- Air Fryer French Fries – so crispy!
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs or if you prefer, Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Air Fryer Chickpeas – any flavor you like!
- Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Air Fryer Falafel
- Air Fryer Salmon
- 1 (14-16 oz) block extra-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- Press tofu for 30 minutes using a press or by placing it on a rack set over a baking sheet to catch the liquid, and then placing a heavy pan on it.
- Combine soy sauce and oil in a shallow dish.
- Cut tofu into bite-sized blocks (about 1 inch), add to soy sauce/oil mixture, and turn to coat all sides.
- Preheat air fryer set at 375ºF for 5 minutes. Whe air fryer is preheated, toss tofu with cornstarch.
- Add tofu to air fryer in a single layer. Cook 14 minutes, or until lightly browned, shaking basket halfway through cooking time.
- Serve immediately, if desired. Fried tofu can be refrigerated for five days, or frozen for 3 months.
- Make ahead: Press the tofu, covered, in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance.
- Add seasonings of your choice: salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder, taco seasoning, chili powder, or curry powder. How you season it will depend on what you're adding it to.
- Substitute arrowroot for cornstarch if you want to make this tofu gluten-free.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 of 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 263mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.