Air frying tofu is one of my favorite ways to prepare tofu for recipes because it’s super quick and turns out crispy without even using oil.
If you are looking to add a few more vegetarian or plant-based meals to your weeknights, knowing how to air fry tofu will help you out!
Related: How to Prepare Tofu (3 Ways)
First off, when I’ve had friends start eating tofu for the first time they usually have questions like “Is tofu healthy?” or “Isn’t tofu bad for you?”
I certainly don’t think you should eat it exclusively, as there are lots of great protein sources in the world.
But, tofu and soy in general are pretty great, and you can read an article that Lindsey (one of the dietitians we worked with on our cookbook) wrote, called Is Soy Safe?
Air Fried Tofu Recipes:
- How to Build the Perfect Stir Fry
- Red Curry
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Massaman Curry
- Easy Pad Thai (this recipe has shrimp, which you can substitute for tofu)
- Pad See Ew
- Simple Yellow Curry
A few tips and notes about cooking with tofu:
Can you eat tofu raw? Technically, yes. I’ve personally never eaten it cold or straight from the container, but you could. Like, you can add tofu right into homemade miso soup (although that still warms it).
What I find comforting about this is, unlike most meat, you don’t have to worry about if you are cooking tofu enough. It’s safe to eat as is, so you can experience with air frying times to get the level of crispiness you prefer.
Do I have to drain and press tofu? I would recommend you do. I have tried air frying tofu without pressing it (to drain away excess moisture) and although it works fine, it doesn’t get quite as crispy.
Can I air fry tofu with no oil? Yes! See the recipe card below for exactly how I air fry tofu, but I think it’s better to air fry without any oil at all.
Can I air fry tofu without cornstarch? Yes! Again, I recommend and prefer this. As you can see in the photo below, adding cornstarch or arrow root powder to your tofu before air frying can make it stick.
My favorite brands/ types for the air fryer are brands where the tofu is packaged with some liquid (as opposed to snuggly packaged in the container without liquid surrounding it).
You’ll also want to use extra firm tofu for air frying.
Try to keep your pieces of tofu in one layer and not touching each other when air frying. It’s OK if they touch a little, although they may stick together some. If they do so, you’ll have to separate them after cooking.
But as much as possible, try not to overcrowd your air fryer basket.
No extra ingredients—just crispy tofu ready for use! xo. Emma
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- 1 package tofu (extra firm)
- Drain the tofu from the package liquid.
- Using paper towels or clean kitchen towels (that will not leave lint) press the tofu, removing excess liquid. I usually place the tofu before two plates and set something semi-heavy on top of the upper place like a heavy bowl or cookbook.
- Cut the drained tofu into bite-sized cubes.
- Air fry at 390°F for 10-12 minutes. Halfway through, pause the air fryer and toss the cubes.
Fastest way to make crispy tofu!
Perfect! I just switched from the air fryer in my toaster oven because it never worked according to the instructions. I now have a stand alone. I’m also new to tofu. Your guide was exactly right for cubes. Have you done sticks (‘fish stick’ size)? Can you use a rack so more can be cooked at once? If so, do you increase the time? Thank you.
Do you flavor the tofu? If so how/ when? Thank you!
i love cooking tofu in my air fryer! it’s the only way i ever want to cook it now. it gets perfectly crispy.
I gave up on trying to make tofu myself after one attempt years ago but this makes me want to try again. I never would have thought to use my air fryer!
This is random but Emma- can you please get an Instant Pot?! I got one for Christmas and would love to get more recipe ideas for vegetarian/vegan and healthy(ish) things to cook in it!
That crispy color!
This looks delicious. I am not a big fan of certain tofu food, but I will try anything. Never cook it before either. Thanks for sharing .
This looks so good! I totally need to try this!
This looks really tasty actually. I do like tofu but I never cook it myself. That fryer looks great too!
Debs @ tiger-mint.com
This is such a good idea! Tofu can be so tricky to cook with, I’ve only tried making a fried veggie dish in the air-fryer and it was so good. Adding this to the list!
My family eats tofu a lot (we’re Asian, after all!) and this would be a perfect new way to serve it up! Too bad I don’t have an air-fryer 🙁 I’ve wanted one for sooo long but it’s too bulky for our tiny apartment!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I have the Dash brand compact air fryer and it’s awesome for tight kitchens. I highly recommend it.
I haven’t found the perfect technique to prepare tofu yet, maybe this one is the key! Thanks for the tip!