Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

If you don’t yet have an Air Fryer of your own, 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 healthy air fryer tofu recipe 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 Salad or 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 vinegar
  • Honey or pure maple syrup
  • Avocado oil or olive oil (sesame oil works fine too)
  • Gluten free soy sauce (or regular if you don’t need GF)
  • Garlic (not garlic powder)
  • 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 fry, 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 flavor, 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. This firm tofu creates the best air fry version of this plant-based protein. 

2. Next, wrap the tofu in a paper towel or clean tea 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 all the moisture, then cut the tofu into cubes. 

3. Whisk together the simple marinade ingredients in a small bowl and toss gently with the cubed tofu until it’s evenly coated. Let the tofu marinate 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 marinated 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 F, removing the basket halfway through to toss/flip the tofu cubes so that the tofu cooks evenly.

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

Why You Should Use an Air Fryer

Cooking in the air fryer is a great way to enjoy roasted foods without a lot of added fats. It’s a healthier form of cooking and one that we simply adore using often.

An air fryer does more than just “fry things” it also helps to cook things much more efficiently. It’s basically a tiny convection oven that sits on your counter. Thanks to the circulating air inside and the much smaller space it takes far less time to cook your foods and to warm up too. Preheating it takes only a minute, can you say the same thing about your oven?

You are going to love this great recipe. I’m serious when I say that I can’t stop eating it. It’s super delicious and perfect for so many things from snacking to incorporating into vegetarian recipes (or vegan recipes). 

This has become one of my favorite ways to prepare tofu lately and it’s not hard to see why. From the flavorful tofu marinade to the easy steps this recipe is perfect. The tofu has such a great texture that makes it addictingly good. Air frying tofu makes it super crispy on the outside but soft and tender on the inside thanks to the hot air circulating around in the air fryer. 

Once you learn how to make air fryer tofu you’ll never go back to any other method again. To air fry tofu gives you a deep fried crunchy tofu texture but in a healthier way and it’s perfect for meal prep too. The kids love it and you’ll love this recipe too. It’s super good and worth the time needed to press the tofu and let it marinate. This labor of love creates a versatile recipe you’ll soon not want to be without. Try it soon and see what I mean for yourself.

FAQs

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! 

How long is air fryer tofu recipe good for?

you can keep your cooked crispy tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. they will become softer as they age but you can reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to help get them to crisp up again as they warm up.

How to press tofu without a tofu press

If you don’t have a tofu press, it’s okay because chances are high that you do have some things you can use to DIY a press with you at your home already. Take your tofu and place several layers of paper towels on either side of the tofu block so that it’s resting on some towels and has several on top of it as well.

Now place some heavier, solid objects on the top like a thick book or cast iron pan. This will help to press the liquid out of the tofu before air frying to a crisp.

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! Thank you so much for reading!

 

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 adjust 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. 

 

Pin me!

Here Are Some More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love:

Also, try my Air Fryer Tilapia with Easy Mango Salsa, or Loaded Air Fryer Nachos!

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!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.