This ultra crispy air fryer tofu is super flavorful and cooked through in just 13 minutes! Popular with kids and adults and an easy vegan recipe.
Just like our Easy Baked Tofu, this air fryer tofu is crispy and coated with a delicious seasoning blend that gives it so much flavor.
And the best part is that by cooking it in the air fryer, we reduce the cook time from 45 minutes to just 13 minutes. Yeah!
Reasons to ♡ air fryer tofu
- it has SO MUCH FLAVOR and is even kid-friendly
- you don’t need to make a sauce or marinade, simply season with a few spices
- it cooks in just 13 minutes
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Choose the right tofu
High in protein and containing all the essential amino acids, tofu is a great plant-based protein option.
Tofu is made from compressed soybean curds, and comes in many different varieties including including silken, regular, smoked and extra firm (among many other varieties!). We want our tofu to hold its shape while cooking, which is why you’ll need extra firm tofu for this recipe.
You may wish to choose non-GMO *, organic tofu, as the GMO soybean is usually sprayed with round-up (a herbicide) to kill off competing weeds, which has negative environmental implications (ref).
*Though I do wish to note (as a PhD in biochemistry), that in general GMO’s have an unfairly bad rep, and that we should do our research as to the type of genetic modification the crop has had and make an educated decision rather than avoiding all GMO’s.
Start by pressing the tofu
Pressing the tofu is important for a few different reasons: 1) it helps remove extra moisture from within the tofu, and this helps the tofu get nice and crispy; 2) it improves the flavor by pressing out the flavor-less liquid; 3) it helps the tofu retain it’s shape- unpressed tofu can be more delicate and may crumble in the air fryer.
To press the tofu, place tofu between paper towels and plates, then stack a heavy can on top (pictured above). Press for 30 minutes. You can also purchase a tofu press, which may be a good investment if you eat tofu often.
Choosing the right oil
Oil helps the surface of the tofu crisp up, but you want to make sure to pick the right one. When cooking in the air fryer, avocado oil is a great choice over olive oil. The reason? Because it has a higher smoke point. While olive oil can burn and smoke at 375°F, the smoke point of avocado oil is closer to 480°F (ref).
Other high smoke point oils that may be suitable for air fryer tofu include peanut oil (smoke point of 450°F), grapeseed oil (420°F), sunflower seed oil (420°F), vegetable oil (400°F) and even sesame oil (410°F) (ref).
Making the seasoning
The superstar hero of this crispy tofu recipe is the seasoning blend, which is made with simple pantry ingredients, but gives the tofu so much extra flavor.
Mix together paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. You can double or triple this recipe and store it for later (up to a year) in an air tight container! It works great on roasted vegetables, potatoes, and more.
How to cook tofu in the air fryer
- Press tofu for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat air fryer to 390°F/200°C.
- Toss tofu in avocado oil.
- Toss tofu in cornstarch until completely coated.
- Toss tofu in a seasoning blend of paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt.
- Add tofu to the basket of your air fryer. Cook, shaking the basket occasionally, for 13 minutes, or until tofu is crispy to your liking
Serve it with
Crispy tofu goes so well with a dip. Here are some tasty ideas:
- the peanut sauce from this Peanut Ginger Tofu Stir Fry
- Healthy Homemade Ranch Dressing
- One of these 7 Amazing Hummus Recipes
- Super Speedy Tzatziki
- Healthier Caesar Dressing
More air fryer recipes
- Crispy Air Fryer Sweet Potato Tots
- Air Fryer Chickpea Cauliflower Tacos
- Air Fryer Cauliflower (coming soon)
- Air Fryer Honey Lime Shrimp
- Air Fryer Thai Salmon Patties
Air Fryer Tofu
- 12 oz block extra firm tofu (350 g)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (see note 1)
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Press tofu:Sandwich between paper towels and two plates. Place a heavy object (like a 28 oz can) on the top plate. See photo in post for a visual. Press for 30 minutes or more.
- Heat air fryer to 200°C/ 390°F.
- Cut tofu into 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch cubes.
- Toss tofu in avocado oil, then in cornstarch.
- Toss tofu in all remaining spices until evenly coated, then place in the air fryer basket.
- Cook for 13 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
- Tofu is ready when it is firm on the outside. It should still be soft on the inside, as it hardens as it cools.
- Enjoy immediately!