Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

If you don’t yet have an Air Fryer of your own (*affiliate link), I highly recommend adding one to your must-have list. This handy small kitchen appliance is very easy to use and creates that delicious crispy, crunchy texture that a deep fryer does… without the deep frying and all of the oil!

This easy and super simple recipe for healthy air fryer tofu shows again just how easy it is to use the air fryer and how quickly you can enjoy crispy, perfectly cooked tofu that is great for dipping or using in an entree, like my Thai Lemongrass Salador a healthy buddha bowl!

Air Fryer Tofu Ingredients

 

This tasty recipe is very simple and you need only a handful of ingredients. While you can go-to-town with different marinades, seasonings, and spices when it comes to air fried tofu, my version is a great place to start if you are new to this dish!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Honey or pure maple syrup
  • Avocado oil or olive oil
  • Gluten free soy sauce (or regular if you don’t need GF)
  • Garlic
  • Lime

The marinade is the perfect mixture of sweet, salty, and tangy, and is versatile enough that it can blend into different recipes like stir fries, salads, bowls, or wraps. Or, you can enjoy this tofu on it’s own as a snack! 

How To Make Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

 

When it comes to making the best cooked tofu that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with a delicious, light flavour, there’s only a few simple steps to follow!

1. Start with a block of extra firm tofu you can find at the grocery store. Extra firm tofu creates the best air-fried version of this plant-based protein. 

2. Next, wrap the tofu in paper towel and press for 30 minutes using a tofu press (affiliate link) or a stack of books, or even a heavy cast iron pan to remove excess liquid, then cut into cubes. 

3. Whisk together the simple marinade ingredients in a bowl and toss with the tofu cubes. Marinate the tofu for 30 minutes or a few hours

4. Once the tofu has marinated, pre-heat the air fryer for 3 minutes at 370 degrees. Once heated, place the tofu cubes in the air fryer basket (reserve the leftover marinade to toss with the fried, crispy tofu for extra flavour!).

5. Cook for 12 minutes at 380 degrees, removing the basket halfway through to toss/flip the tofu cubes for even cooking.

6. Remove the air fryer basket when the cooking time is done and transfer the hot, crispy tofu to a bowl and drizzle with the leftover marinade, or use in your favourite recipe!

How long do you cook tofu in the air fryer?

 

Cooking times can vary for tofu in the air fryer. There are different levels of crispiness you can achieve depending on your preferences.

If you prefer golden, slightly crispy tofu with a soft centre, you can cook for less time, and if you like really crunchy, crispy tofu, with a firmer centre, you can cook for longer.

  • As a general rule, I recommend cooking tofu in the air fryer between 10 and 18 minutes at 380 degrees. 
  • Check the tofu periodically during cooking by removing the basket and trying a piece, then end cooking when the tofu when it has reached your preferred level of crispiness! 

 

 

To get the best results with your tofu, I have a few extra tips:

  • Don’t skip pressing the tofu: While it does add extra time to the preparation of this recipe, pressing the tofu is imperative to getting that delicious crispy texture. Without pressing the tofu there will be a lot of extra moisture left in the tofu and that prevents optimal crispiness. 

 

  • Make sure to use extra firm tofu: There are many varieties of tofu on the market including silken tofu, medium tofu, firm, extra firm… the list goes on. Extra firm is the best option for air fryer tofu that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside as it has the least moisture content. 

 

  • Adjust the cooking time if needed: Because not all air fryers cook exactly the same, and preferences are different for each person, you might find you need to reduce or increase the frying time by a couple of minutes. Aim between 10-18 minutes of cooking time, and check the tofu every couple of minutes after the 10-minute mark until you’ve reached your desired crisp-level. 
 

Do you have own an air fryer yet? What type of delicious snacks or meals do you plan to try? Tell me about it in the comments and be sure to pin the photo below the recipe to save this one for later!

 

Close up view of Crispy Air Fryer Tofu pieces

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

This quick, simple, and easy air fryer tofu is perfect for snacking or as the main component in a delicious meal. It's gluten free, dairy free, plant-based, and healthy!

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free or regular)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 1/2 lime

Optional

  • Finely chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions

    1. Wrap the tofu block in paper towel and press for 30 minutes with a tofu press, stack of books, or heavy pan/baking dish to remove excess liquid.
    2. Once the tofu has been pressed, cut into cubes and place in a shallow dish.
    3. Whisk together the vinegar, honey/maple syrup, oil, soy sauce, garlic, and lime juice then pour over the tofu cubes and toss to combine.
    4. Marinate the tofu for 30 minutes or more (up to 1 day is fine).
    5. Once the tofu has marinated, pre-heat the air fryer for 3 minutes at 370 degrees (press on, set time to 3 minutes and temp to 370, then start).
    6. Once pre-heated, remove the basket from the air fryer and carefully place the tofu cubes in the air fryer basket. Reserve the leftover marinade and set aside.
    7. Cook tofu for 12 minutes at 380 degrees, removing the basket halfway through to toss/flip the tofu cubes for even cooking (see notes).
    8. Remove the air fryer basket when the cooking time is done and transfer the hot, crispy tofu to a bowl, then drizzle with the leftover marinade, or use in your favourite recipe!

Notes

You can ddjust the cooking time if needed!

  • Not all air fryers cook exactly the same, and preferences are different for each person, you might find you need to reduce or increase the frying time by a couple of minutes.
  • Aim between 10-18 minutes of cooking time (10 minutes = golden on the outside, slightly crispy and soft on the inside, and 18 minutes = very hard, crispy on the outside and firm/dry on the inside).
  • Check the tofu every couple of minutes after the 10-minute mark until you've reached your desired crisp-level. 

 

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Have a great day!

Christal // NITK

Author: Christal Sczebel

Christal is the creator of Nutrition in the Kitch. She's a Certified Nutritional Consultant, twice published author, gluten and dairy free recipe developer, food photographer, speaker, wife, and mama. Christal loves good food, all things wellness, and loves to travel. Her wellness philosophy is centred around balance and sustainable health, life's way too short for boring diets and restriction!

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