This recipe for air fryer tofu is, hands down, the best way to get delicious, super crispy tofu with a soft middle! This recipe is easy to make, has terrific crunchy texture, and is done in about 12 minutes—so quick! For best results, use firm or extra firm tofu and press the tofu before cooking.
I resisted buying the oh-so-trendy air fryer for a looonngggg time. I truly didn’t understand how it could be so great. But, as a food blogger, I felt I had to try one out. For research, of course! And now that I have one in my kitchen, I am making all the air fryer recipes! It makes so many dishes fast and easy, while giving food an amazing texture (you HAVE to try my tender-inside-crisp-on-the-outside crispy air fryer cauliflower). I am 100% on the air fryer train.
This crispy tofu is my latest air fryer obsession! I have never been a huge fan of tofu’s texture, but this method of cooking gives tofu the perfect crisp outside and soft middle that we all want in a tofu dish. Even my husband who claims to not like tofu LOVES this recipe.
Pssst. If you looking for other tasty vegetarian dishes, you HAVE to try this flavorful Sheet Pan Orange Tofu & Veggies. As a self proclaimed iffy-tofu eater, I 100% endorse it! Or this Leek and Potato Soup. It is one of my family’s favorite meals and completely plant-based.
This air fryer tofu is quick to make and turns out perfect with a few tips and tricks. I walk you how to press your tofu (with no special gadgets) for the optimal texture. After your tofu is pressed, you quickly toss it with some corn starch, oil, and soy sauce to help you achieve that cravable crisp outside and tender inside. This crispy air fryer tofu is a perfect staple plant based protein to make to enjoy on top of salsa, pasta, rice, or on its own. The recipe as written is vegan, gluten free and dairy-free, but you can change up the flavorings to make this tofu fit your own personal taste!
Frequently asked questions
What type of tofu is best in the air fryer?
Firm or extra firm tofu is key for making this recipe crispy and perfect. Other tofu (especially silken) are much too soft and will either fall apart when pressed or will simply not get crisp and firm when cooked.
Do I have to press the tofu before cooking it in the air fryer?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Do not skip this step.
I know we are all looking for shortcuts in the kitchen (and this is quick tofu recipe), but skipping pressing your tofu should not be one of them when making this crispy air fryer tofu. Tofu is made and packaged with a lot of water. In order to achieve the perfect texture and consistency when making tofu, it needs to be pressed.
Pressing is low effort and does not require any fancy schmancy gear. Just some towels, a cutting board, and something heavy.
What does the arrowroot or cornstarch do?
The cornstarch or arrowroot powder helps the oil and coconut aminos stick to the air fryer tofu cubes and get that lovely crispy outside that you want and love.
What kind of air fryer do you use?
There are so many air fryers on the market, aren’t there? It is enough to make your head spin. When buying mine, I did a ton of research and asking around. And I finally settled on this one. It is on the smaller side, but it perfect for our small kitchen and small family.
If you have a bigger crew to cook for, this one is great for air frying for a crowd!
Dishes to enjoy with crispy tofu
If you are like me, you might find yourself popping this crispy air fryer tofu by the piece and not having any left to add to meal! But, if you can resist its incredible level of yum to actually get it on a plate, here are some dishes to add this delicious tofu too!
- A noodles dish
- Veggie fried rice
- Over a salad
- With rice and your favorite veggie
- With dipping sauce
Other vegetarian recipes to add to the rotation
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- Roasted Air Fryer Broccoli
- Sheet Pan Orange Tofu & Veggies
- Easy Veggie Fried Rice
Loving this easy tofu recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
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12 Minute Crispy Air Fryer Tofu
- Air Fryer
- 16 ounce block firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or soy sauce if gluten free isn't needed
- Cut tofu into cubes and arrange on a clean towel or paper towels.
- Place another towel on top of the tofu and place a cutting board on the towel. Place something heavy (I use my cast iron skillet) to weigh down and gently press out the moisture from the tofu. Let sit for for 15-30 minutes.
- Once tofu has been pressed, place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle tofu with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder. This will help the oil and coconut aminos stick to the tofu and give it that crisp outside. Toss the tofu piece in the cornstarch/arrowroot to coat. It’s ok if the tofu isn’t perfectly coated.
- Next, drizzle with oil and coconut aminos. Toss to coat again.
- Preheat air fryer to 375℉ for 3 minutes. Once warmed up, place tofu in air fryer basket in an even layer.
- Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, depending how crisp you want your tofu. Shake air fryer basket at the 5 minute mark to move tofu around so that it evenly cooks.
- Once done cooking, remove immediately from air fryer and enjoy as part of a stir fry, salad, over rice or with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Do not skip pressing tofu. Pressing is important for drawing out the extra liquid tofu is packaged with and vital to creating the crisp outside.
- If your air fryer only goes in increments of 10 degrees, cook tofu at 380℉.
- Be sure your tofu is firm or extra firm. This recipe will not work with silken tofu.
- All air fryers and taste preferences are different. Check your tofu after 10 minutes and see if your desired crispness is achieved. If not, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until it fits what you prefer.
- Don’t forget to shake the basket halfway through cooking! This helps to rotate the pieces of tofu so that they crisp up evenly.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
Made this recipe last night and it was a hit! So crispy and so easy to make. Will definitely be doubling the recipe next time so I have leftovers.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the tofu, Heather! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
This was super yummy! I threw it together last minute to have with some veggie noodles and it was perfect! I really like the how the outside texture turned out, even in with the noodles it kept that crisp outer layer.
I love the texture too, Jessie! And how quick this recipe is. It makes last minute veggie dinners a little easier. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
Amazing and so simple! Thank you for the air fryer recipe that will be on repeat at our house. Delicious!
Woohoooo! So glad you enjoyed it as much as we do, Ali!
Oh I just made this and it is awesome!!! Didn’t think it could be this crispy and amazing. this will become a regular and can’t wait to try different variations Thanks for sharing 🙏🏼💖
I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I’m excited to making this but I’m dying to know what is the sauce in the picture??
Ha! One of the most asked questions here and on Instagram! It is the *amazing* sriracha tahini sauce from The New Primal. I found it at Sprouts in California when I lived there but now buy it from Thrive Market since I can’t seem to find it anywhere here in Vermont.