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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).
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: 212kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.27 from 30 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Press: Press tofu for at least 15 minutes, using either a tofu press 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.
  • Air Fry: 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.

NOTES

  • *You can sub the sesame oil for olive oil if needed.
  • Curious about which air fryer is right for you? We rounded up the best air fryers here.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.2g | Protein: 16.5g | Fat: 15.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.3g | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 530mg | Iron: 2.9mg
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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).

More Air Fryer Recipes

Here are a few more air fryer recipes you'll love (find all of our vegetarian air fryer recipes here).

Hi, I’m Sarah!

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Comments (12)

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  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,
    Viv

    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 budgetbytes.com 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! 😀

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