Air Fryer Tofu is deliciously crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, fragrantly garlicky with a little heat and a little sweetness, and makes ardent tofu lovers out of tofu haters. Bonus: it’s as easy as can be in the air fryer!
I’m not usually a big fan of tofu. It is often bland and even more often suffers textural issues.
Air Fryer Tofu though? That’s a completely different (plant-based) animal.
All of the common problems that plague tofu cookery are solved easily and ever-so-deliciously by cooking tofu in the air fryer. Of course, there are a couple of tricks, and I’m here to share them with you today.
Air Fryer Tofu Recipes
There are just four steps to this air fryer tofu recipe:
- Press the tofu.
- Cut the tofu.
- Marinate the tofu.
- Air fry the tofu.
And while it is really just that simple, there are a couple of tricks to help yield the very crispiest most flavourful air fryer tofu.
To begin with, you need to press tofu. Even if you start with extra firm (which I do), you still want to give it a 15 minute press.
I use this nifty little tofu press, but you don’t need a gadget. You can simply lay a clean, absorbent towel or a couple layers of paper towels on a rimmed sheet pan, cut the tofu into three pieces, and lay another towel or bundle of paper towels on top.
You’ll lay another sheet pan or plate on top of the towel covered tofu, and weigh this down with a couple of cans of tomatoes. Let it drain for 15 minutes and -TADA!- you have pressed tofu.
I’m about to clue you in on the most important thing to know about when it comes to how to get tofu to soak up flavours for your crispy tofu air fryer. Freeze your tofu.
I’m not kidding and it’s really not much work. When you get it home from the store, press it, drain it, cut it into the cubes you’ll be using, and freeze it on a plate before transferring it to a zipper top freezer back or freezer container.
When it is time to cook it, simply thaw the portion you’d like to cook in the microwave or in the refrigerator, then marinate. You’ll be shocked at how much more greedy the tofu is with the marinade.
Why does this work? Serious Eats tells us that when tofu is frozen, the curds become compacted and the water pockets are enlarged, leaving liquid much more room to drain freely when it thaws.
Translation: it also leaves more room to soak up all that deliciousness in your marinade.
You may be wondering how to marinate tofu and I am happy to tell you that it is one of the world’s easiest things to do. There’s no need to get complicated about it.
Our marinated tofu recipe delivers massive flavour with very little effort. We whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, honey, and some minced garlic and pour it over the pressed and cubed tofu.
All it takes once the marinade is poured over is 15 minutes of wait time. 15 measly minutes stand between tofu that tastes like styrofoam and tofu that tastes like heaven on earth.
In other words, I do NOT recommend skipping the marinade. It’s so little work for such a huge payoff.
Tofu in Air Fryer
Here’s where the magic happens. Tofu in air fryers is the simplest route, by far, to crispy tofu without the fuss of boiling oil.
Preheat your air fryer for a few minutes, transfer the marinated tofu to the air fryer basket, and let ‘er rip for 15 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 minutes to help expose the edges evenly to the heat and promote crisping.
That’s honestly it. That’s all it takes!
And folks, the crispy tofu air fryer effect is magical. You’re going to want to have tofu night regularly instead of eating it from time to time as a penance.
There is one other fun little side benefit to having made this crispy tofu air fryer style; you can store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator and reheat them over the next four or five days as you want to eat them.
That means you can have a stash of very snackable, crispy, delicious tofu cubes for salads, fast meals, or plain old snacking that tastes fresh-from-the-fryer.
Tofu isn’t the only thing that’s great out of the air fryer, though! Give our Best Way to Cook Salmon – Air Fryer Salmon a whirl!
Tofu Air Fryer
I highly recommend and use this particular air fryer in my own home. It’s roomy so you don’t have to make microscopic batches, has a dishwasher safe basket, and has held up to over a year of several-times-weekly use.
Need more great tofu recipes?
Air Fryer Tofu
Press tofu for 15 minutes to remove excess liquid. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.
If time allows, freeze the tofu overnight, then thaw. If time does not allow, you can proceed.
Add the marinade ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine, or whisk them together in a small measuring cup. Pour the marinade over the tofu and toss to coat before spreading it out into a single layer.
Cover and marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. In the last 5 minutes of marinating, preheat the air fryer to 400ºF.
Add the tofu to the preheated air-fryer basket. Set the air fryer for 375˚F and air fry for 15 minutes, shaking the basket every 5 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly and all edges crisp.
Garnish with a drizzle of honey and serve.
Air Fryer Tofu – Honey Sriracha Air Fryer Tofu
- 1 block extra firm tofu 14 ounces to 1 pound
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sriracha or chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- Press tofu for 15 minutes to remove excess liquid. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.
- If time allows, freeze the tofu overnight, then thaw. If time does not allow, you can proceed.
- Add the marinade ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine, or whisk them together in a small measuring cup. Pour the marinade over the tofu and toss to coat before spreading the cubes out into a single layer.
- Cover and marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. In the last 5 minutes of marinating, preheat the air fryer to 400ºF.
- When the air fryer is preheated, add the tofu into the air fryer basket. Set it for 375˚F and air fry for 15 minutes, shaking the basket every 5 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly and all edges crisp.
- Garnish immediately before serving with a drizzle of honey and serve.