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Crispy Air Fried Tofu

No cornstarch needed to make this deliciously crispy tofu recipe! This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it’s straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).

Crispy tofu recipe in an air fryer - This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it's straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).

It’s the conundrum every tofu-eater has had at some point…”HOW do I get my tofu crispy??” Because anyone who knows what the magic of crispy tofu is like will also understand the turmoil of never getting your tofu just right.

Well no more, friends! I’ve unlocked the secret to ridiculously crispy tofu…air frying!

What the heck is air frying? Great question: it’s essentially cooking food really hot with air, so that the outside of your food becomes crispy (like it was fried) (but with way less fat). We’ve air fried French fries and fried “chicken” and avocados and now…we air fry tofu.

(Curious about which air fryer is right for you? We rounded up the best air fryers here.)

How to Make Crispy Tofu Video

Crispy tofu cubes on white background

Crispy Tofu Ingredients

There are two main components to this crispy tofu: the tofu (duh), and the marinade.

  • Tofu: Use extra-firm tofu, which has more water squeezed out of it than the soft or silken varieties. Less water = more crisp!
  • Soy sauce: Soy (or tamari for gluten-free) adds a rich and salty flavor that levels up your tofu.
  • Oil: We’ll use a blend of sesame/olive oil to add flavor and enhance the crispiness. I wouldn’t recomend cutting out the oil completely, but you could use sprayable oil if you’re looking to reduce fat.
  • Garlic: I use this for quick and simple flavor in the marinade. Feel free to go crazy with it and at your own blend of spices or herbs!
  • A tofu press: You’ll want to press water out of your tofu before cooking it. I love this tofu press (though you could also use a heavy pan).
Crispy tofu recipe being marinaded - This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it's straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).
Crispy tofu recipe being marinaded - This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it's straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).

How to Make Air Fried Crispy Tofu

Okay, I sort of lied before. There are actually two secrets to making crispy tofu without cornstarch or bread crumbs.

Secret 1 – Press the tofu: Pressing your tofu before cooking with it removes moisture (which would otherwise make for soggy, not-at-all-crispy tofu). I recently got this tofu press and absolutely love it, but you can also press your tofu by setting a heavy pan (like a cast iron) on top of your tofu and letting the moisture drain out.

Secret 2 – Air frying: My newest cooking obsession and ultimate way to cook anything that needs to be crispy, air frying! I use this air fryer which has held up well with the many (many) kitchen experiments I’ve thrown in it.

Crispy tofu recipe in an air fryer - This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it's straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).

Serve this crispy tofu with

Crispy tofu recipe in a white bowl - This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it's straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).

Crispy Air Fried Tofu

No cornstarch needed to make this deliciously crispy tofu recipe! This vegan air fried tofu tastes like it’s straight from the deep fryer (while being way lower in fat).
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fried tofu, air fryer tofu, crispy tofu
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Vegan, Vegetarian
Time: 45 minutes or less
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.58 from 209 votes


  • 1 16-oz block extra-firm tofu 453 g
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil* 15 mL
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
  • 1 clove garlic minced


  • Press: Press tofu for at least 15 minutes, using either a or by setting a heavy pan on top of it, letting the moisture drain. When finished, cut tofu into bite-sized blocks and transfer to a bowl.
  • Flavor: Combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over tofu and toss to coat. Let tofu marinate for an additional 15 minutes.
  • AirFry: Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (190 C). Add tofu blocks to your air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to promote even cooking.


  • *You can sub the sesame oil for olive oil if needed.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer or a pan for a few minutes. 
  • Which air fryer is right for you? We rounded up the best air fryers here.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.3g | Protein: 11.1g | Fat: 13.2g | Saturated Fat: 1.9g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 460mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 460mg | Iron: 7mg
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Which air fryer is best?

Not sure which air fryer is best? Here are a few of our favorites (complete list of best air fryers here).

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Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Recipe Rating

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for a great idea, I often bake tofu slabs but I’ll try the airfryer now too. I think there is a typo in your recipe instructions – temp. 375 deg F is more like 190 deg C, not 300.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks for pointing that out Dan!! 😀

  2. tofu man says:

    amazing and just what I was looking for. 5/5 would press on my tofu again5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear! 😀

  3. Mike says:

    I just did 2 batches using your recipe. The first batch I followed your directions to the letter. It turned out GREAT. The second batch I increased the temp to 400 for 15 mins and the bites got darker & crispier. I think I like that better. Thanks for the great inspiration!!! I do love tofu.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy you liked it, Mike! I’ll have to try it a bit hotter next time, sounds great! 😀

  4. MikeL says:

    Delicious! Until air fryers, I never cared for tofu. Now,…I’m addicted to air fried tofu…and YOUR recipe is so, so good! Thank you.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      YAY! So happy to hear we have a new lover of tofu and air fryers in our midst 😀 Glad you liked the recipe!

  5. Vivian Cutler says:

    HI Sarah
    I bought the exact Air Fryer you mentioned in this recipe.
    I am trying to figure out how to Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees.
    I looked in the directions and I couldn’t figure it out.
    Will you please help me?

    I just put it on 375 degrees and started the Tofu air frying.
    I will keep checking on it till. It looks done.
    I can’t wait to see what happens!!!

    Thanks so much,

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Vivian! Yay for the new air fryer! When you set it to your desired temperature, it will take about 5 minutes and then it will beep to let you know it has reached the temp (that’s what mine does anyways!). With that said, you can get away without preheating with most air frying 🙂

  6. Sara says:

    Turned out AWESOME! Hubby said he wanted to just stick some in a baggy and eat them as a snack. The only thing I did differently was I started with frozen tofu (just threw unopened package into the freezer when I bought it.. ), put the block-o-tofu in a pot of boiling water for 20-25min, grabbed it between two spatulas and squeezed what water I could out, put it on some paper towels and gently squeezed additional water out. Then cut then up and put them in the marinade. They pretty much immediately soaked it all up so after maybe 5min, I cooked them like your instructions say to.
    I discovered that by doing the frozen to boiling bit, it totally changes the tofu texture into something our family likes WAY better- it becomes more “meaty” like instead of jello-like lol and they generally cook/crisp up faster and don’t retain nearly as much water.
    But anyhoo..
    This recipe is bloody awesome 🙂 I added them (what I could salvage anyway from my hubby stealing the crispy little buggers ) to this Singapore noodle recipe (the base for the sauce has some of the same ingredients as this recipe so they went really well together).

    My hubby liked this stand alone tofu so much though he asked how I made them and started jotting notes down in his phone lol

    Thank you so much! The air frier is amazing.. SO much easier than cooking them on the stove.. and SO much better with this marinate too!5 stars

    1. Sarah Bond says:

      YES! Frozen tofu is the BEST! So happy you guys liked it. Budget Bytes has some awesome recipes, so I’m sure you all were eating like kings. Enjoy! 😀

  7. Jose says:

    I loved it! It was easy and very tasty. I cut out one tablespoon of oil and it still came out nice. I’ll definitely be making this again.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Jose! 😀

  8. Macy says:

    I just got an Air Fryer for Christmas and this was the first recipe I made with it! It turned out great and I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Macy! Enjoy your new air fryer! 😀

  9. Rachelle says:

    Wow, I tried this for dinner tonight and it is fantastic.. Thank you for the thorough instructions and the tips5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it, Rachelle! 😀

  10. Dolores says:

    OMG this recipe is perfection.

    This is my second day with my airfryer and I just made 2 batches of this, yum.

    I also added some chipotle seasoning to give it a little kick and it’s wonderful.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Yay! So happy you liked it, Dolores! Sounds delish with the chipotle!

  11. Honey Covin says:

    The flavor was good, but the tofu pieces did not crisp up, and they were cooked for 20 minutes. Not sure why they did not turn out as expected3 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Sorry to hear it! Did you make sure the tofu was super dry (i.e. with paper towels and/or a tofu press)? That’s usually the difference between crispy tofu and “meh”.

  12. Patsy says:

    Do you have to refrigerate any not eaten?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep, it’s best to keep this in the fridge!

  13. Georgia says:

    Impressed! I made a miso mushroom dish that was good on its own but still needed a little somethin-somethin’ added to it. This was that somethin’! Easy to make, nice crisp to the tofu. And I like the subtleness of the sauce. Perfect and will be making again! Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it, Georgia! That miso mushroom dish also sounds amazing. 😀

  14. Katy says:

    Great Recipe! I had to make many tweaks though due to my own errors and equipment. I accidentally got too impatient when pressing my tofu and squashed it. It also might not have been the right firmness to start anyway… So now with half-smooshed tofu it was difficult to make cubes and so I settled on a few small cubes and lots of crumbles. My air fryer also happens to be a multipurpose pressure cooker, and the rack that it came with for airfrying is almost always has gaps too wide, so my tofu just sat at the bottom. I preheated by air fryer for five minutes at 375, then cooked my marinated tofu for 6 minutes at 385. Stirred, reset for 6 minutes at 385. It wasn’t looking crunchy yet (and a bit wet still) so I sprinkled some cornstarch on it and stirred, then reset for 7 more minutes at 390. It came out nice and golden brown and crispy! A lot of the crumbles stuck together but it didn’t really affect how I was using them. In the future I would actually cook them just a few minutes longer.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear you could make it work, crumbles and all! I’ve had that before with some tofu – it could have just been too soft or the brand. Thanks for dropping in to let us know how it went! 😀

  15. Tracy says:

    Followed your recipe exactly and the tofu turned out delicious! I recently received an air fryer as a gift and ran across your recipe online. You didn’t specify soft, med or firm tofu. I used soft because I love PF Chang’s so much, crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth inside. I’ve never been able to duplicate it, until now! Thank you for your recipe!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy you liked it, Tracy!! 😀 The tofu firmness indeed doesn’t matter a ton for this recipe. I like firm, but soft is also tasty!

  16. Tamara says:

    Haven’t made it yet because I have a question. I’m new to cooking vegan or vegetarian meals. I have all of the ingredients on hand and an air fryer. What could I eat with this? Can you recommend a side or something I can put it on? Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Great question, Tamara! I like this as a main with veggies on the side (like air fryer veggies). You can also add it into curries (like in place of chickpeas in this tikka masala, or this Thai curry). Or you can use it to add some protein and pizzazz to salads and pasta dishes (like these zucchini noodles). 😀

  17. Steve says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Great recipe. I’m on a diet so trying to figure out the calories. It looks like you are saying 212 calories for a 4 oz serving, or 848 for 16 ounces. My extra firm TOFU, without the oils, is 400 calories for 16 oz, and most TOFUs seem to be in the 350-400 cal, 16 oz range. Am I reading your nutrition facts wrong?


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Steve! Thanks so much for pointing that out, I think the numbers were a little off, as you mentioned. I’ve updated the nutrition information to reflect a more accurate calorie count (though you can safely add the calories from your specific tofu + about 200 from oils, and that will give you a good indication as well). Thanks again for dropping in!

  18. Kris says:

    It was the best and healthiest crispy tofu I ever had….and the soy-sauce gave it that crispiness and the color like a deep fried tofu without any oil.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it, Kris! 😀

  19. Esther says:

    OMG!!! Thank you so much!!! This will definitely be a permanent guest in our house 🙂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it! Enjoy! 😀

  20. Micha says:

    I’m stunned. Pressing tofu, who’d’ve guessed. Good thing I came across this recipe because it would’ve been a disaster otherwise. I dropped the temperature to 180 C for the second batch and that worked just as well for crispiness, but the garlic didn’t burn so that was a plus. The sound the cubes made when I shook them in a dish… I never thought tofu could sound like crystal bells.

    Anyway. Thanks so much. Gonna scour your site now for more unsuspected heavenly bites.5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw, so happy to hear you liked it, Micha! 😀

  21. Roops says:

    I got impatient with not enough pressing and drying of the tofu so it did crumble a bit but nevertheless it turned out soo amazing & tasty! The flavours were great. paired it with garlic salmon & voila perfect lunch!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it! Enjoy! 😀

  22. Julie says:

    Not sure what happened, I feel like i followed the recipe properly, but I had 6 minutes left on the time and they somehow burned. Not at all crispy.1 star

    1. Sarah says:

      Sorry to hear it, Julie! Every air fryer is a little different, so you may just need to reduce the temperature a bit next time.

  23. yoopervegan says:

    this was yummy. used chili garlic paste instead of the garlic. will make again5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Yummm I’ll have to try with some chili garlic! 😀

  24. Bri says:

    This turned out delicious.
    Unfortunately I. didn’t have extra-firm tofu but it still works with firm if you cook it for a little longer.
    I added some franks hot sauce to the marinade but overall the recipe alone is delicious 🙂5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear that it worked with firm tofu, enjoy! 😀

  25. Janet Pettibone says:

    I made this per the recipe, pressed the tofu for 20 minutes, marinated 20 minutes
    .. I dont like it at all. No flavor, just awful. Crispy yes, flavorful, not at all. Wasteful.1 star

    1. Sarah says:

      Sorry to hear you didn’t like it, Janet!

  26. Joyce says:

    I am late into the Air Frying phenom, and honestly had given up on crispy tofu in a pan or oven as it never came out right. Tried this recipe and OMG perfectly crisp on the outside, still a bit tender on the inside – I am so hooked! I was ill-prepared and just sprayed the pressed tofu with cooking spray, next time will season it. Thank you for this recipe!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      YAY! Welcome to the air frying train, where everything is more delicious! 😛

  27. Barbara says:

    Perfect! Love how it came out. So simple. Cut the oils to 1.5 tsp each, and they still came out great. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it, Barbara! Enjoy! 😀