If you enjoy either tofu or easy air fryer recipes, I think you'll become smitten with this Crispy Air Fried Tofu! It's such a simple recipe to make and in my opinion it turns out as good or better than a restaurant appetizer. Winner!!
My daughter Samantha has always loved the tofu in miso soup, so much so that we began making at home last year. Since she is allergic to most meats we have been experimenting more with tofu at home.
I had the idea to make her a crispy tofu dish recently and tinkered with different methods. Air frying was hands down the best result both in taste, texture and ease of preparation.
This recipe is so easy that even a young teen like my daughter can make it on their own. She eats little meat due to food allergies of beef & pork. Another meatless favorite of hers is this Chickpea Stew.
The foundation of this Crispy Air Fried Tofu recipe is so simple, yet you can then take it and do so many things with it. For example, I drizzled my portion with honey and I loved it! I then decided that for me a Sriracha-honey drizzle would be the way to go, since I adore a sweet and spicy flavor profile.
Table of Contents
- Samantha really enjoyed this air fryer tofu recipe just as pictured, which of course made me so happy! You can however enjoy this recipe for Crispy Tofu over a simple salad, Asian flavored noodles or over rice.
What is Tofu?
- Tofu (or bean curd) is a protein rich low calorie food derived from a plant (soybeans) that are curdled and then pressed into blocks. Tofu easily takes on the flavor of what you cook with to flavor it.
- A great choice for vegetarians and vegans for protein.
- A ingredient staple in Chinese and Thai cooking.
- A good source or antioxidants, often touted as anti inflammatory. A good source of zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron.
- block of extra firm or firm tofu
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- chili with garlic sauce
- grapeseed, avocado or olive oil
Tips For Success:
- Gather the ingredients before you begin: Firm tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili with garlic sauce, honey and grapeseed or olive oil.
- As you know, tofu is sold packed in liquid to keep it fresh and moist, before cooking dry your tofu by setting folded paper towels below your tofu block and above it and then setting a heavy pan or cutting board on top. Allow it to press our much of the moisture for 20-25 minutes.
- Prepare your marinade as your tofu sits draining.
- Preheat your air fryer for 3-4 minutes to get it hot before you begin, this way your tofu will cook and crisp faster.
- Adding just a bit of honey to your marinade not only lends a subtle sweetness, it helps crisp it up.
- Enjoy just after air frying.
- Chili Garlic Sauce is one of my favorite ingredients for sauces, marinades and more. It adds incredible flavor. This is what it is. Find it on Amazon or in your grocers Asian food section.
If you enjoy vegetarian recipes one of my favorites happens to be my Zucchini Cakes, take a look!
Vegetarian recipes to try:
- Tomato Detox Soup - This good-for-you soup recipe may just be the BEST Tomato Soup recipe you have made yet!
- 5 Ingredient Hot Onion Dip - Everyone (and I mean everyone) will ask for this recipe!
- Air Fryer Potato Skins - Crispy, addictive and easy! Reducing food waste never tasted so good!
- Crispy Oven Smashed Potatoes - OMG delish!
Since I am not an R.D. nutritional data is provided by a nutritional calculator. Originally published in 202. Updated January 2023 with additional text, etc.
Crispy Air Fried Tofu
- air fryer
- 1 pound block of extra firm or firm tofu
- 3 TBS soy sauce
- 1 TBS sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey more to taste
- ½ TBS chili with garlic sauce
- 1 ½ TBS grapeseed or olive oil
- Set tofu between folded paper towels (on top and on bottom) and place a heavy wood cutting board or pan on top. This will help press out liquid. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes, changing the paper towel halfway through if necessary.
- As tofu sits to dry, combine marinade ingredients. Mixing the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, chili with garlic sauce and oil together with either a whisk or by shaking it in a mason jar (with lid) to emulsify. Set aside.
- Once tofu has most of the liquid pressed out, cut it with a sharp knife into bite-sized pieces by first cutting your block into 3 or 4 strips and then cutting those into squares or rectangles.
- Place tofu pieces into a shallow dish, pour marinade over them and use chopsticks or small tongs to turn them to ensure even coating. Allow them to sit for 10 minutes (or up to 30 minutes).
- Air fryers vary, if yours has a preheat option set it for 4-5 minutes. If it does not, just start it empty and let it run for 3-4 minutes at 350. Then carefully place your tofu (using tongs) into the basket, you don't want them touching one-another. allow space between each for the air to circulate. (You will most likley be making two batches, depending on the size of your air fryer). Set your air fryer to 400 degrees F and set the timer for 13 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking process, gently and quickly turn your tofu.
- Remove from air fryer, plate and if you wish, drizzle with just a bit of honey. Garnish with scallions, cilantro or parsley and enjoy! Serves 4 as an appetizer or two as an entree.