This crispy air fryer tofu will change the way you think about tofu! Before you know it, you'll have perfectly crispy tofu bites packed with flavor and ready to serve with rice, salad, noodles, or any of your other favorite pairings.
I got an air fryer for my birthday back in June, and it has been nothing short of a game changer. ESPECIALLY when it comes to making tofu. It gets tofu way crispier than it ever gets in the oven, and in at least half the time. What's not to love?
I make tofu at least twice a week, and for months, I would tweak the recipe a little bit each time. Finally, I nailed it down so it's perfectly crispy, perfectly seasoned, and just tastes so darn good!
How would I describe my air fryer tofu?
- Just slightly spicy
My first air fryer tofu recipe
I've been a bit nervous sharing other tofu recipes since my first ever tofu recipe (my spicy honey garlic tofu bites) is one of my top three most popular of all time! I've always felt like I couldn't live up to that with other tofu recipes. So when I do share any of these recipes, you KNOW I've tested and tested and tested them.
And if you could see all the notes on my handwritten recipe you would know what I mean!
I want you to love this crispy air fryer tofu as much as you love my other tofu recipes, so please give these tips a read through before you make it.
- Use EXTRA-FIRM tofu! You just won't get the same result otherwise.
- You MUST press the tofu for at least half an hour. I wrap mine in a dish towel, place it on a cutting board, and top it with a cast-iron skillet and let it sit for an hour, but a half an hour will work if that's all you've got.
- Remember every air fryer is different! It might take some experimenting to find the exact right cooking time. The first time I made this recipe, I cooked them for 11 minutes. Then 12. Then 13. Then finally 14 when I discovered that was the perfect time in my air fryer! (Mine is the Instant Pot brand)
- Cut your tofu into SMALL bites! See how small the pieces are? You want them this size so they get crispy!
Woo, you made it through those quick tips! Now, let's talk about the ingredients you'll need.
- Extra-firm tofu
- Olive oil
- Tamari or soy sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground cayenne pepper
- Red pepper flakes
Yes–it's a lot of seasoning! But since we're not marinating the tofu, this brings a lot of flavor!
First, PRESS THE TOFU! Open the package of tofu and drain any excess liquid. Then, wrap the whole block in paper towels or a dish towel. Place it on top of a cutting board or another solid surface. Place something heavy on top (I use a cast-iron skillet) and let it sit for at LEAST 30 minutes. I prefer an hour for a crispier result.
Once your tofu is done being pressed, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. If you don't cut them into small pieces, they won't get as crispy.
Now, gently toss the tofu cubes in a large bowl with the olive oil and tamari (or soy sauce).
In a small bowl, mix all of the seasonings and cornstarch. Add half of this mixture to the tofu. Toss gently, then add the rest of the seasoning mix. Toss gently again.
Set your air fryer to 400F. Place your tofu cubes in the air fryer in a single layer so they aren't touching. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in 2 batches but one batch works for me.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, tossing at 12 minutes. I cook mine for 14 minutes and they're perfect. You want them to be very crispy, but not quite burnt.
Serve with quinoa, pasta, salad, rice, or your other favorite dinner ingredients!
The Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Recipe I Make Twice a Week
- Air fryer
- 16 oz extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika I usually use smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- PRESS THE TOFU: Wrap the block of tofu in paper towel or a dish towel. Place it on a solid surface and top it with a heavy object. Let it sit for at least half an hour.Cut the tofu into equal, small, bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the tofu with the olive oil and tamari (or soy sauce).
- Mix the cornstarch and all other seasonings in a small bowl.Add half of the seasoning to the tofu mixture. Gently toss. Add the rest of the seasoning and gently toss again.
- Set your air fryer to 400 F. When it's ready, place your tofu cubes in the air fryer in a single layer so they aren't touching. Bake for 12-15* minutes, tossing at 12 minutes. You want them to be very crispy, but not quite burnt.Serve them hot, on top of quinoa, rice, or your other favorite dinner ingredients.
There you have it. I hope you love these crispy air fryer tofu bites as much as I do and you see why I make them at least twice a week!