Air Fryer tofu is crispy, flavorful and can be used in lots of ways. The tofu pieces are tossed in a soy sauce mixture, coated in cornstarch and then “fried” until browned and crispy.
It has gotten HOT here in N.C. this week. Today the high is supposed to be 99, and the “feels like” is bound to be much higher with all the humidity we have here. 🥵
Thankfully, my family is headed to the mountains tomorrow for a long weekend, along with my parents and my brother’s family. And it’ll be much cooler there!
It’s not the trip we had planned — we cancelled a trip out of the country because of concerns about testing and getting back in, especially with our younger kiddos who aren’t vaccinated yet — but we will all be together and that’s what matters.
Plus, the cool, fresh mountain air is going to feel SO good!
But let’s move on to the food…
Today we’re making Air Fryer tofu, which gets crispy and browned and irresistibly delicious.
I can’t stop eating them, you guys! Even just by themselves dipped into a sauce (which I’m also sharing below).
They’re salty and savory and just so pop-able. And versatile, too – there are tons of ways you can use these. Ideas below so keep reading.
Whether you have long loved tofu or are looking to give it a try, this is the recipe for you!
First, a quick little story about tofu newbies and mask wearing mishaps.
I was in the grocery store recently picking up a few last-minute things for some recipes I was photographing, including buying some tofu.
The young guy at the checkout counter said he’d never had tofu and asked me if it’s any good.
“It can be,” I said. “If it’s prepared well. If it’s not, it can be pretty mushy and bland.”
He asked how I recommend preparing it and I told him I have been ALL about this Air Fryer tofu recently because it gets so crispy.
I also mentioned my crispy soy marinated tofu that’s done in a pan and is also delicious. Cause you know, not everyone has an Air Fryer and I kinda thought he might not.
Then he goes, “I have a friend who boils it. Would that be good?”
And I didn’t know what to say. 😳
Because no, that would not be good. Not good at all.
I think I kinda shrugged and said huh, I hadn’t tried it that way and then walked away with my bags, disturbed.
Much later that evening it hit me. I bet he said “broiled.” Or I really hope he did because that would make a lot more sense. Darn masks making things hard to hear when we’re talking to people. 😷😂
Anyway, Air Fryer tofu is the perfect way to ensure super crispy tofu that you won’t want to stop eating!
And the soy mixture for the sauce that these are tossed in before they cook ensures they are full of flavor from the get go.
No boring, mushy or bland tofu here, no thank you!
The Air Fryer is a glorious instrument that way.
You can check out all of my Air Fryer recipes if you’re obsessed like I am with the magic of it.
And stay tuned because I have many more Air Fryer recipes planned for you!
You can sign up for my free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
OK, let’s get cooking.
Now, I’ve got some notes and tips coming up below on how to make Air Fryer tofu. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making Air Fryer tofu:
- You’ll need to press the tofu before you marinade it. This helps remove excess liquid, which is key to helping it get crispy later. (Details below if you need them.) It takes 30 minutes to an hour, so please plan accordingly.
- Make sure to buy extra firm tofu. The other less firm varieties won’t give you the same crispy texture once cooked.
- I recommend low-sodium soy sauce to control the sodium in this dish. You can also use a soy sauce substitute such as tamari or coconut aminos, depending on your needs.
- The recipe calls for black pepper but you could substitute red pepper flakes if you want a spicy tofu.
- It helps to pause and shake the Air Fryer tray halfway through the cook time. It moves the tofu pieces around so they all continue to get crispy on all the sides.
And in case you are in the market for an Air Fryer, I highly recommend both of mine.
Yes, I have two Air Fryers. Don’t judge.
I got the first one as a gift for Christmas a few ago and it’s been fabulous, but it’s on the small size. (Would be great for singles or couples.)
So I bought myself a bigger one for Christmas the next year. 😂 I got this one (It’s usually on sale, which is nice) and I’ve loved it. It’s a better fit for families with children, or just if you’re cooking for bigger groups.
They are super easy to clean, too, which is a big bonus in my book.
OK, back to today’s tofu deliciousness.
If you haven’t worked with tofu much, pressing it is key to getting the extra moisture out.
Luckily, it’s really easy to do.
How to press tofu:
– Place the block of tofu on a plate with a double layer of paper towels on it.
– Cover the tofu block with another paper towel and plate that is then topped with a heavy can, such as a big can of tomatoes or beans or marinara sauce. You want to weigh it down a bit.
– Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour to press out excess liquid.
– Then cut your tofu and it’s ready to cook.
By the way, there is such a thing as a tofu press, which might be good for someone who eats tofu a few times a week. Otherwise, I think two plates and a weighted can work just as well – and are free!
OK, let’s get ready to eat!
These crispy cooked tofu can be used in so many ways, which of course I love. Who doesn’t appreciate a little versatility?
Ways to use Air Fryer tofu:
- Add to a stir fry or curry dish
- Mix into some fried rice
- Use as a protein for a grain bowl
- Or use as a topping for salads
- Serve over steamed rice with veggies
- Make tacos, wraps or sandwiches
- Or just eat them with a yummy dipping sauce!
And because I love you, here’s my favorite easy soy dipping sauce. It’s the same one I shared with my baked vegetable egg rolls.
(There’s instructions in that recipe post about how to make the egg rolls in the Air Fryer, too, if you want to check those out.)
Easy Soy Sauce Dipping Sauce:
– In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or about 2 teaspoons fresh), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
– Add some red pepper flakes or a smidge of sriracha if you’d like it to have a little heat.
– Mix well and dip away!
OK, you are all set to enjoy some delicious crispy tofu – made without all the oil and frying mess. Win win!
I hope you give these a try soon.
- 1 (14-16 oz.) package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, if yours requires preheating.
- Cut the pressed and drained tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, ginger, salt and pepper. Add the tofu to the bowl and mix carefully to get the tofu pieces coated in the sauce.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu and toss gently again to get the cornstarch distributed. (It will soak into the tofu pieces; that’s fine.)
- Place tofu pieces in the Air Fryer tray, leaving plenty of room between each one so they cook evenly.
- Cook at 400 for 12-14 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through, until crispy. Serve immediately.
You’ll need to press the tofu before you marinade it. This helps remove excess liquid, which is key to helping it get crispy later. Please plan accordingly. (See notes below on how to do it.)
Make sure to buy extra firm tofu. The other less firm varieties won’t give you the same crispy texture once cooked.
Soy sauce: I recommend low-sodium soy sauce to control the sodium in this dish. You can also use a soy sauce substitute such as tamari or coconut aminos, depending on your needs.
Pepper: The recipe calls for black pepper but you could substitute red pepper flakes if you want a spicy tofu.
How to press tofu:
- Place the block of tofu on a plate with a double layer of paper towels on it.
- Cover the tofu block with another paper towel and plate that is then topped with a heavy can, such as a big can of tomatoes or beans or marinara sauce. You want to weigh it down a bit.
- Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour to press out excess liquid.
- Then cut your tofu and it’s ready to cook.
Easy soy sauce dipping sauce:
- In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or about 2 teaspoons fresh), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
- Add some red pepper flakes or a smidge of sriracha if you’d like it to have a little heat.
- Mix well and dip away!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 41Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 211mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g