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This air fryer tofu has the best quick marinade with Asian flare and is tossed in cornstarch for a light crispy coating. These small tofu bites are perfect for serving as an appetizer with a spicy mayo dipping sauce or as an entree with sides. Tofu is a fantastic source of protein and can be used as a tasty meat replacement. After pressing the tofu, this recipe cooks up in just 20 minutes in the air fryer.
Add these easy air fryer tofu bites to a salad or pasta, or combine them with some tasty side dishes for a healthy and flavorful meal. It is also really delicious as an appetizer and easy enough to make for a crowd. You can get creative and switch up the spices for different flavor possibilities to fit almost any pairing of recipes.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this crispy air fryer tofu
- Ingredients to make air fried tofu
- How to make crispy tofu in the air fryer
- Tips for making the Best air fried tofu
- Popular substitutions & additions
- What to serve with your crispy tofu bites
- How to store & reheat air fried tofu
- Frequently asked questions
- More Vegan dinner recipes:
- Air Fryer Tofu Recipe
Why you’ll love this crispy air fryer tofu
- The best crispy tofu bites. This recipe is similar to Asian fried cooking, flavored with an aromatic marinade and tossed in cornstarch for a light and crispy crunch.
- Made easily in an air fryer. These little bites crisp up perfectly in an air fryer, making for a quick and easy recipe.
- Cooks in just 20 minutes! When you want a quick bite or easy appetizer, air frying tofu takes much less time than oven baking, and the results are crave-worthy.
Ingredients to make air fried tofu
- Tofu: I use extra firm tofu and press it for about 20 minutes to squeeze out all the extra moisture. This helps to get the best texture for fried tofu.
- Cornstarch: Using cornstarch for this coating offers a light and crisp crunch on the outside as it soaks up extra moisture for a better cook. It also cooks a little faster than all-purpose flour and isn’t as heavy of a dredge.
- Soy sauce: Marinading the tofu in a quick soy sauce mixture infuses it with a bit of saltiness and rich flavor.
- Avocado oil: The oil helps to adhere the cornstarch to the tofu and makes for a crispier coating. You can use whatever oil you have on hand.
- Spices: garlic powder, ginger powder, chili powder, black pepper
- For serving: sliced green onions and a dipping sauce like spicy mayo or avocado crema.
How to make crispy tofu in the air fryer
After pressing the tofu and cutting it into cubes, this crispy air fried tofu recipe comes together in no time. A quick marinade, coating, and the air fryer cook this tasty tofu bite recipe to crispy perfection.
- Toss the cubed tofu with the soy sauce, oil, and spices, and let that soak in for a minute.
- Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss again until well-coated. Let it sit and toss again to coat and absorb the marinade fully.
How to Air Fry Tofu
- Place the coated tofu in a single layer of an air fryer basket. You may have to make this in batches depending on the size of your machine.
- Cook in a preheated air fryer and occasionally toss until brown and crispy.
Tips for making the Best air fried tofu
- Make sure to dry the tofu. I share my techniques in this tutorial on how to dry tofu (tutorial coming soon) using a heavy skillet on top of the tofu wrapped in a paper towel for 20 minutes to dry out the moisture. This is key to getting the ultimate crispy tofu.
- Make it in the oven. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make the tofu in the oven. I recommend setting the tofu on a wire rack over a baking sheet and baking them at 400˚F for 25 to 30 minutes. If you have the conventional option on your oven, definitely try that too.
- Preheat the air fryer first. A hot air fryer is essential to getting a crispy coating on these tofu cubes. It jump-starts the cooking process, so the outside starts to cook immediately while the insides warm up a bit slower.
- Toss twice for the best coating. The first dredge in the seasoned cornstarch mix adds an even layer all over. But the second toss in the cornstarch is the key to the crispest crunch on the outside of these tofu cubes. Let the tofu rest for about a minute, so any moisture from the first toss seeps through. Then, toss an extra layer of the coating once more to get the best crunch.
- Place tofu in an even layer and shake the air fryer basket. If they are overlapping, they won’t get crispy all over. I also like to give a good toss every 5 minutes to move the tofu bites around. Cook in a couple of batches if needed.
Popular substitutions & additions
- Swap out the spices. This tofu recipe is more Asian-inspired with spices, but you can easily change these for other flavors. For example, you can use a blend of Italian seasonings to make tofu bites and dip it in marinara sauce or over pasta.
- Exchange the oil. Any neutral oil will work here. The key to this ingredient is to help crisp up the coating.
- Substitute the cornstarch. Cornstarch is great for a light and crispy coating, but you could also use different types of flour, breadcrumbs, and even some parmesan for a cheesy bite.
What to serve with your crispy tofu bites
How to store & reheat air fried tofu
Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. To reheat, toss in the air fryer for about 4-5 minutes to heat through. You can also reheat them in a pan or in the oven.
How long will cooked tofu last in the fridge?
You can store leftover air fried tofu for up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze air fryer tofu?
Yes, you can freeze tofu before or after cooking, as long as it’s pressed. To freeze, place the marinated and coated pressed tofu cubes or cooled air-fried tofu bites on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Then, transfer to a zip-top bag and store for up to 3 months. Toss in the air fryer from frozen and shake the basket every few minutes until cooked through. It may take a few extra minutes to cook.
Frequently asked questions
Air fry at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, tossing the basket every 5 minutes for even cooking and until they’re brown and crispy.
If, after 20 minutes of cooking and tossing the tofu cubes in the air fryer, they’re still not crispy, then there are a few reasons why that may be.
First, the tofu wasn’t pressed long enough to exude enough moisture. Secondly, the basket is overcrowded and doesn’t have enough room to crisp up properly. And thirdly, the air fryer wasn’t preheated long enough. Making these adjustments should result in a crispy air-fried tofu bite.
Pressing the tofu to remove moisture is an important step to get a better texture when fried. Wrap the tofu in paper towels and set a heavy pan on top with a few cans. Let it sit like this for about 20 minutes to press all the extra liquid out.
This easy air fryer tofu recipe is full of flavor and has the best crispy crust and soft, chewy insides. These little bites are a great starter to serve guests with a dipping sauce or pairing it with sides for a meal. Either way, you’ll love this tofu recipe as a vegan-friendly protein option that tastes great and is easy to make!
More Vegan dinner recipes:
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Tofu Tacos
- Tempeh Tacos
- Creamy Vegan Cashew Tomato Pasta
- Red Lentil Curry
- Quinoa Burger
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
- Oven Roasted Chickpea Shawarma
- Cassava Stew (Yabeh)
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Air Fryer Tofu
- Toss the tofu with soy sauce, oil, garlic powder, ginger powder, chili powder and black pepper. Add cornstarch and toss until coated, let sit for a minute, toss again.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F.
- Carefully lift the tofu cubes out of the bowl and place on the hot air fryer basket. Air fry until the tofu is golden brown, shaking the basket every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.