This extra-crispy air fryer tofu is golden on the outside and soft on the inside without any cornstarch. It's just the perfect addition to vegan curries, salad bowls or wraps or just to nibble on as a snack.
If you've been wondering how to get tofu crispy without too much hassle, the answer is the air fryer.
Before I started making it in the air fryer, I used to bake it in the oven. While that's a good method, the texture is not the same as that of air-fried tofu.
Since the air fryer basically cooks food with really hot air in a contained environment, it's capable of turning tofu extra crispy with a minimal amount of fat and no cornstarch at all.
This air-fried tofu recipe is super versatile, and you can use it as a base for various tofu flavours.
You can easily adapt it according to the dish you intend to use the crispy tofu in, whether it's Indian, Chinese, Thai or anything else.
Why you'll love this crispy air fryer tofu
- You don't need any cornstarch (cornflour) to make this crispy tofu in the air fryer.
- Cleanup is a breeze. The air fryer basket is very easy to clean, so you don't have to worry about dealing with messy oven trays.
- It's crispier than oven-baked tofu, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make.
Ingredients and substitutions
Tofu - You'll need an extra firm tofu block for this recipe. Don't use silken tofu here — you need the kind of tofu that will keep its shape after pressing. I used a 400g tofu block from Cauldron.
Spices - I used a mix of Indian-style spices for this tofu recipe. However, this is an excellent base recipe, and you can flavour your cubed tofu to suit the recipe you intend to use it in.
Add soy sauce, tamari, Thai sweet chili sauce or sriracha or play with the ground spices as you wish. The possibilities are truly endless!
Oil - You only need a very small amount of oil so the spices stick to the tofu. Use any kind of neutral oil, olive oil or sesame oil.
How to cook tofu in an air fryer
Cut the tofu block into 1-inch cubes and place it in a bowl.
Add all the other ingredients and toss well to mix.
If you have time, allow it to stand for 30 minutes.
Place the tofu in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure there's a bit of space between the cubes. If your air fryer basket is small, you may need to do it in two batches.
Set the air fryer to 200°C/ 390°F and cook for 14 minutes, shaking the tofu halfway. If you want your tofu extra crispy, cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve the air-fried tofu with your favourite dipping sauces or use it in curries, stir-fries, salads or wraps.
Ways to use air fryer tofu
You can serve this air fryer fried tofu as a snack with your favourite plant-based dips. Alternatively, add it as a protein to your favourite vegan recipes.
- Use it in any of these vegan curries to up the protein intake and add a bit of extra crispiness.
- Add it to jackfruit stir fry or replace the oven-baked tofu in this garlic tofu stir fry with this air fried version.
- Use it any other recipes that call for oven-baked tofu, like this crispy orange tofu or this sweet and sour tofu.
- You can press and store the tofu for up to 3 days in an air-tight container in the fridge.
- The air fried tofu itself is best served fresh.
- You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days but the tofu won't be crispy anymore.
Recipe notes and tips
- It's essential to press the tofu for at least 30 minutes before you air fry it even if you're using the extra-firm variety. By removing all the extra water you can make sure it turns out extra crispy in the air fryer. If you don't press it, it can become soggy in the air fryer.
- Remember that the tofu will harden as it cools, so don't overdo it with the crispiness as you may end up with tofu bits that are too hard to chew.
- The exact timing to get the tofu crispy will depend on your air fryer.
- I cooked this in the Cosori Air Fryer XXL 5.5L.
If you liked this crispy air fryer tofu, here are some recipes to try with it:
- Vegan Tofu Massaman Curry
- Vegan Tofu Thai Red Curry
- Sweet and Sour Tofu
- Vegan Madras Curry with Crispy Tofu
- Vegan Malaysian Curry