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Crispy and easy Air Fryer Tofu is a speedy weeknight dinner. Packed with flavor this crispy air fried tofu is the most delicious vegan or vegetarian recipe you can make in under 25 minutes. 

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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.

Because this is the recipe that has converted many 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.

Need something delicious to serve with this air fryer tofu recipe? 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, Garlic Butter Rice, Instant Pot Jasmine Rice, or Air Fryer Egg Rolls?


You’ll find a detailed list with measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, but let’s walk through what you need for this recipe:

  • Tofu (yep! Shocked?) – I prefer firm or extra firm for this recipe
  • Oil – olive, avocado, or use your favorite
  • Cornstarch – to give your tofu some awesome crunch
  • Flavor squad – toasted sesame oil and soy sauce to get this party started
tofu, cornstarch, olive oil, and sesame sauce in a bowl.

How to Make Air Fryer Tofu

You’ll start by pressing the tofu if necessary (more on this in a second). Next up, cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces. I aim for ~1-inch cubes.

Add the tofu to a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch over the top. Gently toss the tofu to coat (Pro tip: a silicone spatula makes this easier) with the cornstarch.

Next up, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and olive oil and gently stir it to distribute.

a bowl of seasoned tofu cubes with a spoon in it.

Brush some olive oil over your air fryer basket, and add the tofu cubes in a single layer. Cook it at 390F for 9 minutes, then after shaking the basket, continue to cook, checking on the tofu every 5-7 minutes.

The cooking time will vary because everyone prefers their tofu at a different level of crispiness. Take it out of the air fryer when it looks perfect to you.

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

How to Press Tofu

Drain the water from the tofu, and cut each of the tofu bricks into even slices.

Place the slices on a clean towel. Top with another towel and place another towel over that and place something heavy (I use my dutch oven) on the top. Press the tofu for ~30 minutes.

2 photos showing how to press tofu

How Long Does it Take to Air Fry Tofu?

Using the air fryer takes about 18-23 minutes. It depends on how long you pressed the tofu and how crispy you like it.

Air Fryer Tofu Without Cornstarch

While this recipe does call for cornstarch, it is possible to make it without using any cornstarch. You can sub in potato starch or potato starch or leave it out entirely.

To make your air fried tofu without cornstarch, follow the steps in the printable recipe card below, but eliminate step 2. To get your tofu crispy without the cornstarch, you may need to cook it for an additional 1-5 minutes.

How to Store Leftover Air Fried Tofu

Allow any leftover crispy tofu to fully cool and then store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To reheat, pop the tofu back into the air fryer and cook it at 360F for 3 minutes.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • You can fry the tofu 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 the finished crispy air fryer tofu with your favorite sauce. I love the (plant-based) peanut sauce from this Peanut Butter Chicken.
  • If you need a gluten-free version, use coconut aminos instead of soy sausce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an Air Fryer the Healthiest way to cook tofu?

Using an air fryer is definitely the healthiest way to fry tofu. Unlike tofu deep-fried in oil, the air fryer gives you a wonderfully crispy texture with 1 tsp of olive oil.

What can I do to make my tofu extra crispy?

Everyone loves crispy tofu and extra crispy is even better! You can increase the amount of cornstarch used prior to cooking, or do a double-breading technique.

To double-bread the tofu, toss the cubes with cornstarch, then olive oil, and then sprinkle another 1-2 tsp of cornstarch over the cubes.

Can I add extra spices or ingredients to fried tofu?

Yes, absolutely! Season the tofu cubes to your preference. Use it as the base for your favorite sauces or flavoring.

Try the vegan orange sauce from our Air Fryer Orange Chicken, Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce, or your favorite bottled sauce with this air fryer tofu recipe.

You can also use the flavoring from this Buffalo Tofu or Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu.

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


One serving of tofu in the air fryer has 1 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

5 from 13 ratings

Air Fryer Tofu Recipe

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 33 minutes
Crispy and easy air fryer tofu is a speedy weeknight dinner. Packed with flavor this crispy air fried tofu is the most delicious vegan or vegetarian recipe you can make in under 25 minutes. 


  • 1 lb extra firm tofu {drained and pressed}
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch {or potato starch or arrowroot powder}
  • 1 tsp olive oil {optional}
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • sesame seeds {optional}


  • Cut pressed tofu slices into cubes and put into a medium bowl.
    1 lb extra firm tofu
  • Sprinkle cornstarch over the top and gently toss to coat.
    1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Toss to coat the tofu with soy sauce, sesame oil, and (optional) olive oil.
    1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp olive oil
  • Lightly brush the air fryer basket with olive oil and then add the tofu.
  • 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.
    sesame seeds


Skillet 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.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 17gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 173mgPotassium: 349mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gCalcium: 70mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Fusion
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. I’m new to tofu world and wondering… if I like this method of cooking tofu, would I be able to air fry it with different marinades in the same way?

    1. Libbi, as long as the marinade isn’t too “soupy”, it should be fine.

      Our preference tends to be to use this as a base recipe and then add sauces after it has cooked.

  2. This recipe is the BEST! My 7th grade son dislikes almost all food that isn’t a carb (aka noodles and pizza) and he LOVES this recipe and literally made it twice yesterday. When even a 7th grader can make it and he devours all his protein, Mama is a happy camper! Plus, he got to tell his science teacher he made tofu, which she had never had before (sending her this recipe too :).5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m sooooo glad you both like it so much!

      Not sure if you have Trader Joe’s near you, but they have a “high protein” tofu that is the only one we buy now. You don’t have to press it and it has 5g more of protein that extra firm.

  3. Super crispy tofu!! I must admit to being a little skeptical about the whole tofu thing in general but I really enjoyed it! Will be made again – thank you!5 stars

  4. This looks great! Do you think I can freeze the air fried tofu or do I have to store it in the fridge and eat it within a few days? 🙂

    1. I have not tried to freeze it so I’m not sure. If you do try it, please let me know and I’ll update the post with your experience.

  5. So I haven’t tried it yet so don’t quote me- but I recently learned that if you freeze tofu and let it defrost all the water will come out of it so you don’t need to press it! I currently have tofu in the freezer so curious to see if this is true and save some time!

    1. Huh! If you try it, let me know how it works.

      I just tried a new kind of tofu from Trader Joe’s that barely had ANY water in it. It was extra firm and high-protein. Tasted totally normal but was much faster to press.

  6. Yum! Thanks so much! I really love tofu prepared this way. Your orange sauce goes nicely with this. Thanks for upping my cooking game!5 stars

  7. So I half made this. I realized (sadly) that I didn’t have all the ingredients for the orange sauce, so I fried the tofu in my air fryer and made peanut sauce for it. It was delicious and toddler approved! The tofu was perfectly fried. The towel/cast iron tip was pure gold. 5 stars

    1. There is a link to one in the post. It takes you to Amazon where you can read reviews, etc. Basically, it is an oil-less crisper that you can use to “fry” things. It works a bit like a convection oven to makes things super crispy using just air.