This Crispy Air Fried Tofu is a kitchen staple that's perfect to have in your back pocket for an easy snack or boost of plant based protein in any meal!
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A fast and versatile tofu recipe is really the key to complete an easy and budget friendly meal. This Air Fried Tofu is completely gluten free & vegan!
Air fryer tofu is my go to plant based protein source. It's super versatile, meal prep friendly and takes no time at all to make! This crispy air fried tofu recipe is the best option for snacking, topping salads, soups and rice bowls.
Toss it in your favorite sauce, like this 5 minute General Tso's sauce to zhush it up, and place over a bowl or rice with some steamed broccoli for a complete & delicious meal!
Five Simple Ingredients
Five simple ingredients are all you'll need for this easy plant based protein!
- extra firm tofu
- tamari or soy sauce
- maple syrup
- liquid smoke optional for a delightful smoky flavor
- nutritional yeast
The Importance of Pressing Tofu
For the best results, the type of tofu you use and pressing it really matters. Removing as much water from the tofu as possible allows it to act as a sponge and to absorb all the flavors of your marinade.
If you are looking to save time you can use Super Firm Tofu and continue with the recipe without pressing. However, the cost for Super Firm Tofu is often double the price, if not more, so you'll have to decide what's best for you.
Instead, I encourage the use of Extra Firm Tofu that has been pressed well. Keep the budget in check and get crispy tofu every time with these methods.
How to Press Tofu
Heavy books & Towels: I'm sure every tofu connoisseur has used this method. Simply drain the tofu, cover with a clean towel and press with any heavy recipe books, pans, or whatever you can find and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better!
Tofu Press: I was an avid "recipe book & towel" presser for years, until I finally gave in and got a proper press. Let me say, the difference is much more than I expected! This Tofuture press, removes an amazing amount of liquid, takes about half the time and is so easy to use.
Both methods work, but my choice is definitely the Tofu Press!
How to make Air Fryer Tofu
A couple simple steps is all it takes to get tofu that is crisp & smoky with a tender inside!
1. Lightly prepare your air fryer basket with a light spray of oil and then add your tofu in a single layer, avoiding overlap as much as possible.
2. Cook at 380°F for about 12-18 minutes until tofu reaches your desired level of crispiness. Time will be dependent on how large the tofu is cut.
Enjoy your tofu however you please! Toss in General Tso's Sauce for an easy meal, enjoy as a snack, or add to a salad or rice bowl for an easy lunch or weeknight meal!
Crispy Air Fryer Tofu is the most versatile and easy way to add a boost of protein to any meal!
Tips & FAQ
- Don't overcrowd - Try not to over crowd your air fryer for the crispiest results!
- How long should I marinate my tofu? If you tofu is pressed well, it will absorb all the marinade ingredients pretty quickly after mixing. When most the liquid is absorbed from the dish, toss with nutritional yeast and cook!
- Can I sub Nutritional Yeast? The nutritional yeast adds a savory flavor and crispy edge that is important to this recipe. You may substitute ½ tablespoon cornstarch, but may need to add a hearty spray of oil over top to help it crisp and prevent a cakey layer on the outside of your tofu.
- Liquid Smoke- The liquid smoke is completely optional, however, it adds a unexpected and delicious smokiness that is just to die for. I hope you'll give it a go!
- Why won't my tofu absorb all the marinade? If you are having this issue, your tofu was not pressed long enough. The more water removed from the tofu, the better chance it has to soak up all that flavorful goodness.
- To troubleshoot- Let your tofu sit in the marinade for 10 minutes longer then drain, toss in the nutritional yeast and then cook. Cook time may take a bit longer, so just keep an eye on it.
Any left over tofu will keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below! Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @samcookskindness !
How to make Air Fried Tofu
- 1 block extra firm tofu (16oz) drained and pressed well
- 1½ tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke optional for smoky flavor
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- oil based cooking spray optional
- Cut pressed tofu into cubes and add to a medium bowl. Drizzle over tamari, syrup and liquid smoke (if using). Gently stir to coat tofu.
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast over tofu and gently stir to coat.
How to cook tofu in the Air Fryer
- Lightly prepare your air fryer basket with a light spray of oil and then add your tofu in a single layer, avoiding overlap as much as possible. Optionally, you can give the tofu a quick spray of oil over top at this point.
- Cook at 380°F for about 12-18 minutes until tofu reaches your desired level of crispiness. (Note- If your tofu cubes are small start checking them for doneness around the 10 minute mark.)
How to bake tofu in the Oven
- Set oven to 400°F. On a parchment covered baking sheet, arrange tofu in a single layer.
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip tofu and bake an additional 10- 15 minutes to desired crispiness.