Air Fryer Tofu

$3.02 recipe / $1.51 serving
by Jess - Budget Bytes
4.34 from 3 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

This budget-friendly protein-packed tofu is begging to be the center of attention at your dinner table. If you’re looking to fire up a Meatless Monday tradition, or you’ve been on the tofu train for a long time, this Air Fryer Tofu is super easy and tastes great. I toss extra firm tofu in a simple soy sauce marinade and then drizzle with honey, sesame seeds, and green onions after it’s crisped up in the air fryer. The texture comes out perfect and the flavor profile is an easy hit with tofu experts and novices alike!

air fryer tofu on a white plate with a bowl of sweet chili dipping sauce.

I remember when my relationship with tofu first started about 20 years ago. Tofu could be found in a big bucket of water in the bottom of a cooler at the health food store, and I had to fish it out with tongs. I remember thinking, “What IS this stuff?!” The various options for firm, extra firm, soft, or silken were hard to come by back then, but now tofu is experiencing a much-deserved Renaissance!

You can find tofu everywhere– and the variety! (Swoon.) Already marinated, soft, extra firm, cut into chicken-like shapes, you name it. Even your local Walmart or Aldi probably has it. We don’t have to break the bank at luxury grocery stores to find it any longer and thank goodness that container full of tofu and water is a thing of the past.

What is Air Fryer Tofu?

Delightfully crispy on the outside with a delightfully chewy center, this Air Fryer Tofu is good enough to convert anyone into a tofu lover. The freezing step of the tofu is one you won’t want to skip! It gives it a dense texture that holds up great with all kinds of sauces. I attempted many different recipes for Air Fryer Tofu, trying to keep things as easy and inexpensive as possible. This recipe yielded the best result every time!

You can add whatever herbs or seasonings you like to this recipe, but the soy sauce and sesame oil are keepers; they add umami and savory notes to otherwise bland tofu. Tofu is so versatile and easy to add flavor to with whatever marinade ingredients you like best.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make crispy air fryer tofu:

  • Extra Firm Tofu: This type of tofu holds up best to air frying. It holds its shape well, and it has a chewier texture than firm or regular tofu.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds tons of umami flavor to the tofu.
  • Sesame Oil: Adds a hint of nuttiness to the tofu and helps it brown in the air fryer.
  • Cornstarch: Absorbs excess moisture to create a super crispy coating. My recipe calls for much less than other recipes I have seen and this helps the texture big time!
  • Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness!
  • Sesame Seeds: Add a great crunch to the tofu.
  • Green Onion: Adds a pop of fresh onion flavor.

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to serve this crispy air fryer tofu is over this delicious coconut rice! The slightly sweet and nutty flavor pairs so well with the savory, crispy tofu! For dipping, I love this sweet chili sauce (pictured) or homemade sweet and sour sauce.

Tips and Notes

  • Extra firm or super firm tofu works best. Firm tofu will also work, but the texture won’t be quite as dense. I do not recommend regular or silken tofu for this recipe, as neither holds up well.
  • Don’t skip freezing the tofu! It creates a denser, spongier texture that has a meatier chew.
  • If you like your tofu crunchier (and less chewy), you can press it between clean kitchen towels using a tofu press, a stack of books, or a heavy pan for 30-60 minutes to remove excess moisture.
overhead view of air fryer tofu in an air fryer basket.
Share this recipe

Air Fryer Tofu

4.34 from 3 votes
If you’re looking to fire up a Meatless Monday tradition, this Air Fryer Tofu is super easy and tastes great.
air fryer tofu on a white plate with a bowl of sweet chili dipping sauce.
Servings 2 (1/2 block or 8 oz. of tofu per serving)
Prep 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. extra firm tofu ($1.69)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce ($0.59)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil ($0.33)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.06)
  • 1 tsp honey ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame seeds ($0.14)
  • 1 green onion, sliced ($0.16)

Instructions 

  • Pat dry and freeze 1 block of extra firm tofu for 1 hour, minimum.* Remove the tofu from the freezer and allow it to thaw to the point where it can be cut with a knife.
  • Dice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Gather soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
  • Toss the cubed tofu with soy sauce and sesame oil. Then, lightly dust the dressed tofu with cornstarch, tossing or stirring until each piece is lightly covered.
  • Transfer to an air fryer basket and fry at 400°F for 10 minutes, shaking halfway through.
  • Garnish with a drizzle of honey, sesame seeds, and sliced green onions. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or over a bed of white rice.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Equipment

Notes

*I did not press my tofu for this recipe, but you can if you would like it to be more crunchy and less chewy.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5blockCalories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 20gFat: 11gSodium: 1765mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Email Me This Recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
overhead view of air fryer tofu with sweet chili dipping sauce on a white plate.

how to make Air Fryer Tofu – step by step photos

comparing frozen and thawed tofu (left) to refrigerated tofu (right).

Pat dry and freeze 1 (16-oz.) block of extra firm tofu for 1 hour, minimum.* Remove the tofu from the freezer and allow it to thaw to the point where it can be cut with a knife. (Notice the difference in texture with the frozen tofu on the left and the unfrozen on the right.)

diced tofu next to bowls of sesame oil, soy sauce, and cornstarch on a cutting board.

Dice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Gather 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch.

pouring cornstarch over diced tofu in a white bowl.

Toss the cubed tofu with soy sauce and sesame oil. Then, lightly dust the dressed tofu with cornstarch, tossing or stirring until each piece is lightly covered.

tofu cubes in an air fryer basket.

Transfer to an air fryer basket and fry at 400°F for 10 minutes, shaking halfway through.

cooked crispy tofu cubes in an air fryer basket.

Garnish with 1 tsp honey, 1/4 tsp sesame seeds, and 1 sliced green onion. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or over a bed of white rice.

dipping a cube of air fryer tofu in sweet chili dipping sauce with chopsticks.

Wonderfully chewy and crisp, this air fryer tofu is sure to be a hit!

Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. This made a very wet/soft/squishy tofu texture. My husband liked it, but as a pickier texture person I usually only eat crispy tofu. I had to deep fry this to get it to a more tolerated consistency for me, where I normally like air fried tofu! If you are a tofu beginner and concerned about texture, I HIGHLY recommend pressing this to remove excess moisture. I also had to cook this much longer than 10 minutes in our air fryer.

  2. Would potato starch vs. cornstarch work as a substitute? I’m needing to use up an excess/stash & would appreciate your expert thoughts & advice here as always. Your advice is very helpful. Thank you.