Get ready to transform plain tofu into a crispy masterpiece with this Air Fryer Tofu recipe. You get all the perks of deep-fried tofu with almost none of the oil. This simple yet fail-proof dish showcases the magic of crispy tofu using extra-firm organic tofu, seasoned with a blend of fine sea salt, umami-rich seasoning, coconut aminos, and avocado oil.
Updated August 2023
Crispy and Flavorful Air Fryer Tofu: The Best Way to Cook Tofu
If you’re a fan of both air fryer creations and plant-based dishes, then get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this Air Fryer Tofu. This delightful dish takes the beloved tofu to new heights, transforming it into a crispy and flavorful treat that’s perfect for snacking, adding to salads, or even as a protein-rich main course.
With its irresistible crunch and enticing flavors, this air fried tofu recipe is a must-try recipe for both tofu enthusiasts and those looking to add more vegan options. It’s quick, easy, and gives you that deep-fried feel with very little oil and no cornstarch necessary. Plus, you don’t have to hover around a hot, bubbling pan to flip the tofu.
This dish’s versatility and ease of preparation make it a fantastic addition to your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re enjoying it as a snack, adding it to a salad, or incorporating it into a main course, this Air Fryer Tofu is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.
Why Choose the Air Fryer for Tofu Perfection
The air fryer has become a beloved kitchen appliance for good reason. It offers a healthier alternative to traditional frying, using significantly less oil while achieving that coveted crispy texture.
Incorporating tofu into your diet offers numerous health benefits, and the air fryer helps you elevate this nutritious ingredient into a flavorful and crispy delight. Whether you’re new to air frying or a seasoned pro, this gluten-free, vegan, low carb and keto dish is sure to impress with its mouthwatering taste and satisfying crunch. Here’s why the air fryer is the perfect match for your tofu creations:
- Crispiness: The air fryer’s rapid circulation of hot air ensures even cooking and a satisfying crunch without the need for excessive oil.
- Efficiency: With the air fryer’s precise temperature control, you can achieve consistent results every time, making it an ideal choice for cooking tofu to perfection.
- Versatility: Beyond tofu, the air fryer can cook a wide range of dishes, from veggies to meats, making it a versatile addition to any kitchen.
- Healthier Option: Using minimal oil reduces the overall calorie content while preserving the taste and texture you crave.
Ingredients You’ll Need
You only need a handful of ingredients to make flawless Air Fryer tofu. Don’t feel obligated to stick to the exact seasoning blend below – this recipe is easy to customize and you can change it up according to your taste.
- Extra-Firm Organic Tofu: The star of the show, tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein. Its neutral flavor acts as the perfect canvas for absorbing the marinade and seasonings, resulting in a tasty and textured dish.
- Fine Sea Salt: A pinch of fine sea salt enhances the overall taste of the tofu, bringing out its natural flavors and complementing the marinade.
- Trader Joe’s Mushroom Umami Seasoning: You can’t go wrong when using this unique multipurpose seasoniong from Trader Joe’s. This blend adds depth and richness to the tofu. If you don’t have this on hand, a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and black pepper will work beautifully.
- Coconut Aminos: Providing a touch of sweetness and umami, coconut aminos are a soy-free alternative to soy sauce. Feel free to use gluten-free tamari or low-sodium soy sauce if you prefer.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil not only prevents the tofu from sticking to the air fryer basket but also imparts a subtle richness to the tofu cubes. You can also use any other neutral oil of choice.
Instructions: How to make Air Fryer Tofu
- Press and Marinate: Start by pressing extra-firm organic tofu to remove excess moisture.
- Cut the tofu: Cut your tofu block into small 1.5″ cubes using a sharp knife.
- Marinate the tofu: Season with fine sea salt, mushroom umami seasoning (or alternative seasonings), coconut aminos, and avocado oil. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Prep the Air Fryer: Spray the air fryer basket with oil to prevent sticking.
- Cooking Time: Arrange the marinated tofu cubes in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook at 375°F for 13-15 minutes, tossing halfway through for even crispiness.
- Serve and Enjoy: Once golden and crispy, your Air Fryer Tofu is ready to be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or protein-rich addition to various dishes.
Tips for Success: Crunchy Perfection Awaits
Tofu is easy to work with, especially if you know all the ways to help it get nice and crispy. Be sure to check out the tips below!
- Drain the Tofu Well: If you don’t drain enough water out of your tofu, it won’t get crispy. We recommend pressing and draining it a second time after you cut it to make sure all of the excess moisture is removed.
- Marinating Time: Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes. This step infuses the tofu with flavor and ensures every bite is packed with taste. If you’d like, you can let your tofu marinate for as long as 2 days.
- Add Starch: You don’t need arrowroot starch or cornstarch to cook crispy tofu in the Air Fryer, but it certainly won’t hurt! A quick little coating before you cook it goes a long way.
- Single Layer Placement: Crowding your Air Fryer basket will cause your tofu to cook unevenly. When placing the tofu in the air fryer basket, make sure to arrange the cubes in a single layer. This allows for even cooking and ultimate crispiness.
- Flip it Up: Don’t forget to remove your Air Fryer basket and toss the tofu at least once about halfway through the cook time. If you forget to flip the tofu, one side will get crispier than the other.
- Batch Cooking: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook the tofu in batches. It’s worth the extra effort for that perfect crunch.
Serving Suggestions and Variations
Go ahead and add your air-fried tofu to any dish where you’d find some type of meat. Here are a few other options:
- Snack or Appetizer: Serve your crispy tofu as a protein-packed snack or appetizer with a dipping sauce on the side.
- Salads: Toss the tofu cubes into salads for an extra layer of texture and flavor like this Hearty Broccoli Salad or this Summer Pasta Salad.
- Stir-fries and Noodles: Incorporate into this tofu stir-fry or noodle dishes for a satisfying plant-based protein boost.
- Tacos, Burritos, Fajitas and Rice: Tacos and Fried Rice are a couple of our favorite dishes to incorporate crispy tofu into.
Storage and Freezer Instructions: Enjoy Now or Later
- To Store: While fresh tofu is best, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- To Reheat: To regain that crispy exterior, reheat the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet or air fryer basket at 375°F until piping hot.
- To Freeze: Keep in mind that freezing cooked tofu might alter its texture to be slightly spongy. However, if that’s not a concern, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Do I Have to Press Tofu Before Air Frying? Before you cut that block of tofu into cubes and air fry it up, you’ll have to press and drain it well. You can do this with a tofu press or by sandwiching the block between two heavy plates lined with paper towels for 10 minutes. With the pressure from the heavy plates, the paper towels will absorb the excess moisture from the tofu. It’s also helpful to drain the tofu once again after you cut it. The more moisture you remove from it, the crispier it will get. Any flat, heavy object can be used in place of the plates.
Q. What Kind of Tofu Should I Use? There are two distinct types of tofu – firm tofu and soft or silken tofu. Soft tofu is used in dishes like soup, mousse and pudding, while firm tofu is the meat substitute we’re working with today. There are a few different levels of firmness you can choose from – we recommend using extra-firm tofu for the best results.
Q: Can I use other seasonings if I don’t have mushroom umami seasoning? A: Absolutely! You can create a similar flavor profile using garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and black pepper.
Q: How do I store leftover tofu? A: Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. For reheating, place the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375°F until hot.
Q: Can I freeze cooked tofu? A: Freezing tofu may result in a slightly spongy texture. If that’s not a concern, freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
More healthy tofu recipes you will love:
- Teriyaki Tofu
- Sesame Tofu
- Orange Tofu
- Crispy Tofu Tenders
- Tofu Fries
- Tofu Nuggets
- Crispy Tofu Fries
- How to Cook Tofu
Get ready to transform plain tofu into a crispy masterpiece with this Air Fryer Tofu recipe. You get all the perks of deep-fried tofu with almost none of the oil. This simple yet fail-proof dish showcases the magic of crispy tofu using extra-firm organic tofu, seasoned with a blend of fine sea salt, umami-rich seasoning, coconut aminos, and avocado oil. Vegan, gluten-free, low carb and keto-friendly.
- 14-16 oz extra-firm organic tofu
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 tsp Trader Joe's mushroom umami seasoning , (or a combination of 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp onion powder + + 1/8 tsp dried thyme + 1/8 tsp black pepper)
- 2 tsp coconut aminos , can also sub with gluten-free Tamari or low sodium soy sauce, if not soy-free.
- 1 tbsp avocado oil , or any neutral oil of choice
Use a tofu press to remove excess moisture or place the block of tofu between two paper towel lined heavy plates or blocks for 10 minutes.
Cut into 1.5" cubes and season with salt, seasoning + coconut aminos. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 days covered in a resealable container in the fridge.
Spray air fryer basket with oil, then place the tofu in the basket in a single layer. You may have to work in batches.
Air fry at 375°F for 13-15 minutes or until golden and desired crispiness, tossing or flipping halfway through.
Serve and enjoy.
- To Store: Tofu is best enjoyed fresh, but cooled leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- To Reheat: Reheat tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375°F until it's very hot.
- To Freeze: Freezing cooked tofu may cause it to develop a spongy texture. If you're okay with that, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.