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Air Fryer Tofu {Crispy Fried Tofu}

Crispy and easy Air Fryer Tofu is a speedy weeknight dinner. Packed with flavor this crispy fried tofu is the most delicious vegan or vegetarian recipe you can make in under 30 minutes. 

For many people, tofu is a non-starter. I get it. Everyone has different tastes and some just haven’t tried tofu in the right way. Yet.

This is the recipe that will convert the tofu haters.

Don’t let the “air fryer” part of the recipe title scare you away. You can totally make it old school – in a skillet or in the oven. You’ll get a similar crunch, but it will take more work and definitely more oil.

I love to mix up this crispy tofu with some Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce and put it on top of these Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes. YUM!

Need something delicious to serve with this air fryer tofu? How about whipping up a batch of Instant Pot Basmati Rice, Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli, Instant Pot Brown Jasmine Rice, Instant Pot Sushi Rice, Green Beans in Tomato Sauce, Instant Pot Coconut Rice, Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Rice, Air Fryer Potstickers, Instant Pot Jasmine Rice, Kale Chopped Salad, or Air Fryer Egg Rolls?

Hungry for more? Check out these 12 Whole30 Air Fryer and 13 Easy Air Fryer Vegetable recipes for more inspiration. 

How to Press Tofu

They do sell actual presses for this, but I find the combo of plate + two clean kitchen towels and a heavy casserole dish (I used my dutch oven) works great and it’s free!

Drain the water from the tofu, and slice each of the tofu bricks into 6 slices.

Line a plate with a dishtowel. Place the slices on the towel. Top with another towel and place another towel over that and place something heavy on the top to help press the water from the tofu. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2 photos showing how to press tofu

How Long Does it Take to Fry Tofu?

Using the air fryer it takes about 23-28 minutes. It depends on how long you pressed the tofu and how crispy you like it.

3 photos showing the various stages of frying tofu in the air fryer

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • You can fry without the cornstarch but it does help give that extra crisp and crunchy coating we all love.
  • Corn allergy? Try arrowroot powder or potato starch.
  • Toss finished tofu with your favorite sauce. Try the (vegan) sauce from our Instant Pot Orange Chicken drizzled over the tofu. It’s SOOO good. Or use this Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce for a great flavor.

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes Like This:

a bowl of crispy tofu with green onions, rice, and sesame seeds

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving has 1 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Air Fryer Tofu {Crispy Fried Tofu}

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time33 mins
Crispy and easy Air Fryer Tofu is a speedy weeknight dinner. This crispy fried tofu is the most delicious vegan recipe you can make in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil {optional}
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • sesame seeds {optional}

Instructions

Tofu Prep

  • Drain the water from the tofu, and slice each of the tofu bricks into 6 slices.
  • Line a plate with a dishtowel. Place the slices on the towel. Top with another towel and place another towel over that and place something heavy on the top to help press the water from the tofu. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cut the pressed slices into cubes and put into a medium bowl. Toss to coat the tofu with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Sprinkle cornstarch over the top and gently toss to coat.
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil and then add the tofu. Lightly spray the top of the tofu with olive oil spray (optional).
  • Cook at 390 degrees F, checking and shaking the basket every 9 minutes.
  • The tofu will be done when it has reached your desired level of crispiness (~18-23 minutes).
  • Toss finished tofu with your favorite sauce.

Skillet Tofu Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet and add a high-heat oil like coconut. 
  • Add half of the tofu to the skillet, and turn to coat, allowing it to crisp up. Transfer to a plate lined with a few paper towels. Then repeat with the rest of the tofu.

Notes

*honey - use 1/2 tsp of sugar, maple syrup, or omit to make vegan.
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Tofu {Crispy Fried Tofu}
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 157 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 173mg8%
Potassium 349mg10%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 17g34%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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23 comments on “Air Fryer Tofu {Crispy Fried Tofu}”

  1. Looks nothing like the picture. The picture looks like it has some sort of sauce but this is super dry and crispy when it comes out. I struggled to find something to dip it in.

    • Hi Katie, it IS tossed with a sauce. You’ll see a note in the “pro tips/recipe notes”: Toss finished tofu with your favorite sauce. Try the (vegan) sauce from our Instant Pot Orange Chicken drizzled over the tofu. It’s SOOO good. Or use this Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce for a great flavor.

      Hope that helps. This fried tofu is a blank slate to “sauce” as you will. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, their bottled curry sauces are delicious and fast!

  2. So easy and delicious! As a vegetarian who is currently living at home for college (thanks pandemic) finding easy, balanced meals is hard! Loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again! 

    • The pandemic sure has been so fun for life changes, huh? 🙁

      So glad this recipe helped make a tough situation a little tastier. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!