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Air Fryer Tofu

Crispy tofu in the air fryer is a speedy weeknight dinner.

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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. 

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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 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.

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?

How to Press Tofu

I purchase “high protein” tofu that isn’t packed in a lot of water. When using it, I don’t actually press the tofu before air frying it. But if you have some packed in water, follow along to learn how to press it.

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 takes about 18-23 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 11 ratings

Air Fryer Tofu

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time33 mins
Crispy tofu in the air fryer is a speedy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu {drained and pressed}
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch {or potato starch or arrowroot powder}
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil {optional}
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • sesame seeds {optional}

Instructions

  • Cut pressed tofu slices into cubes and put into a medium bowl. Toss to coat the tofu with soy sauce and sesame oil.
    1 lb extra firm tofu, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Sprinkle cornstarch over the top and gently toss to coat.
    1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Lightly spray the top of the tofu with olive oil spray (optional).
    1/4 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

Notes

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.
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer 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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27 comments on “Air Fryer Tofu”

  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?

    • 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

    • 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? 🙂

  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!

    • 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

  8. This looks absolutely delicious.. have to try it!

  9. i’m not going to lie… I had doubts. I mean… tofu. but it was shockingly good!5 stars

  10. Now I am going to search for air fryer to find out what they are. I think we would like this tofu recipe.5 stars

    • 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.