Air Fryer Tofu Wings Recipe & Guide

Welcome to the vegan answer to chicken wings! We’ve served these Air Fryer Tofu Wings for many occasions (to both vegans and non-vegans, young and old!) and they are a crowd-favorite every single time. With a crispy dairy-free buttermilk breading, sauce and serve these plant-based wings any way you like. If you haven’t tried air frying frozen tofu, you’re really in for a treat! This post is sponsored by our friends at Salton and their awesome 3-in-1 Flip and Cook Air Fryer, Grill & Dehydrator.

Head on close up photo of a large plate of vegan chicken wings and vegan ranch sauces in front of a Salton flip and cook basket in the background

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T and I have started our own Super Bowl tradition recently: Our annual tofu wing platter!

Every year, whether we’re spending it with friends or just the two of us, I batch prep and make a ridiculous amount of these vegan wings with various dipping sauces. It’s become something so fun that we look forward to every year!

Now, we’re thrilled to bring everything we have learned about making the perfect crispy tofu wings in an air fryer with you.

And we’re not just sharing knowledge! We’ve teamed up with Salton, our Headliner sponsor for Vegan Wing Week, to give away one of their 3-in-1 Flip and Cook Air Fryers!

This is super exciting because if there’s one thing that’s taken our air fried tofu wings to the next level, it’s this air fryer

More on why we love it a little later, but to enter: Simply leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite way you use (or would use) an air fryer!

Make sure you’re following both @theplantpowercouple and @saltongroup to be eligible to win. We’re pulling the winner on Saturday, February 10th 2024.

Why You’ll Love These Crispy Tofu Wings

We are convinced you and your entire family are going to love these tofu wings just as much as we do, and here’s why:

  • First, their amazing texture. If you’ve tried our Tofu Freezer Trick, you know it’s a game-changer for creating a meaty tofu texture. Add to that the air fryer, and it’s our two favorite tofu hacks combined!
  • Second, they’re versatile. In this post, we’re sharing our basic tofu wing recipe that can be adapted to create multiple versions.
  • And third, this recipe proves you don’t have to miss out on all that great game day food because you went vegan!
Overhead photo of a pile of bbq vegan wings on a round white plate next to a glass bowl of vegan bbq ranch and some celery and carrot sticks

Vegan Tofu Wings Ingredients

You’ll need just 8 simple ingredients to make these air fryer tofu wings.

  • Extra-firm tofu – Frozen in the package, defrosted, and pressed. We call this the tofu freezer trick, and it is an absolute necessity for that chickeny texture. Don’t skip this step!
  • Olive oil – An oil-based marinade is going to infuse flavor without adding water to the tofu and creates this beautiful fried technique without dousing it in a vat of hot oil.
  • Vegan chicken bouillon powder – We always use our homemade vegan bouillon powder!
  • Seasoned bread crumbs – Make sure you check the ingredients, as not all brands are vegan. You can also make your own breadcrumbs using our homemade Italian bread crumb recipe!
  • Tapioca starch – We find that tapioca starch works best, but you can also use  cornstarch.
  • Plain unsweetened non-dairy milk – It is crucial you use a non-dairy milk that is plain, unsweetened, and as neutral-tasting as possible. Soy milk, almond milk, any will work! We love the unsweetened line of milks from Elmhurst. Look for something with as few ingredients as possible to ensure best results.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This will turn the non-dairy milk into vegan buttermilk for our breading!
  • Vegan wing sauce of choice – See the section below for our ideas!

Wing Sauce Options

The great thing about this recipe is you can switch up the sauces to make different versions. Wing sauce recipes are often easily veganized using vegan butter, so you can really have fun with this part! 

Note: You’ll be making 1 lb of tofu wings per tofu block you use, so make sure you adjust the wing sauce you’re using for 1 lb of chicken wings.

Head on photo of a tower of 5 vegan wing sauces: lemon pepper, garlic parm, bbq, pineapple teriyaki, and buffalo

Here are some various wing sauce variations we’ve tried before:

  • Vegan Buffalo Wings
  • ​Hot Sauce Tofu Wings
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu Wings
  • BBQ Tofu Wings
  • Vegan Lemon Pepper Wet Wings
  • Vegan Garlic Parmesan Wings

Get our recipes for each of these sauces in our Tofu Wing Batch Cooking Guide that walks you through the process of batch-cooking these wings for an event like the Super Bowl!

Substitution Options

If you need to substitute an ingredient in this recipe, here are our best tips. 

For the extra firm tofu: Depending on the brand, you may be able to use firm tofu for this recipe. Super firm tofu could also work, although the texture will be different since those varieties often come vacuum-sealed rather than in water.

For the olive oil: Avocado oil, sunflower oil, and walnut oil are all great alternative options. We do not recommend making these oil-free, as it severely affects the texture. If you’d like to try it, we suggest cutting the oil amount in half and replacing it with water or vegetable broth. If you go this oil-free route, you will also have to extend the cooking time by at least 10-15 minutes.

For the bouillon powder: You can use half as much bouillon paste or ground-up bouillon cubes.

For the bread crumbs: Feel free to use gluten-free breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs. I would avoid panko bread crumbs for this particular recipe. We find panko breadcrumbs do not brown well in this recipe. I’ve also seen people use crunchy ground-up chickpeas as bread crumbs but haven’t tried it yet myself.

For the tapioca starch: Cornstarch also works (but the breading doesn’t stick as well in our experience).

To replace the non-dairy milk: In a pinch, you can use a little warm water to replace the non-dairy milk. 

For the apple cider vinegar: White vinegar, rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar can be used in a pinch!

A grid of 6 photos showing the process of freezing, marinating, and air frying tofu wings

How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Wings

These vegan air fryer chicken wings take a bit of planning in advance, but the actual process of making them is simple enough for first time tofu cooks!

Step 1: Prep your tofu.

First, freeze and defrost your tofu. Place the whole container (do not open it) in the freezer overnight. 

In the morning, when your tofu is fully frozen, remove it from the freezer and set it in a shallow dish on your counter to thaw. 

This will take several hours. When the tofu is thawed, squeeze it gently over the sink and press the excess water out with a tofu press or on paper towels with a heavy object on top to remove any excess liquid.

This is called our Tofu Freezer Trick, and we have an entire guide on it here on the blog! If you’re new to freezing tofu, this may help you understand more of the hows and whys.

Step 2: Marinate the tofu wings

Next, place your tofu on a cutting board and then use your hands to gently rip wing-shaped pieces off of it. Alternatively, you can also slice the tofu into sticks, triangles, or flat rectangles for other shape options. 

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour this over your tofu wings, making sure they are all nice and coated. Place them in your fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Step 3: Bread the tofu wings.

Now, it’s time to set up the breading station! 

When they’re finished marinating, remove the tofu pieces from the marinade and place them on a plate or cutting board or the lid of the container.

To the container where the tofu was marinating, add the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Swish the mixture gently to combine. 

Tip: If your tofu marinade is very thick at this point, swirl in a splash of hot water before adding the non-dairy milk and vinegar.

Then, get out two shallow bowls or pie plates. To one, add the starch. And to the other, add the breadcrumbs.

Once your breading station is set up, you’re ready to bread the tofu!

Dip each piece of tofu in the starch, then in the marinade/plant milk mix, then in the bread crumb mixture. Be sure to coat the tofu completely during each phase. Repeat for each wing!

Step 4: How to Air Fry Tofu Wings

Finally, add tofu wings to your air fryer basket, enough to fill a single layer on the bottom but not so many that they’re on top of each other. We find we can comfortably fit 1 block of tofu in our Salton Flip and Cook thanks to its rectangular shape. 

Air fry for 30 minutes at 350F, stopping to shake the jar gently every 10-15 minutes. When shaking the air fryer jar, you want to do this gently, just enough to loosen the pieces from the bottom. The tofu wings will be beautifully golden brown when ready!

Step 5: Sauce your plant-based wings!

Once your tofu wings are cooked, it’s time for the fun part!

Start by first adding the cooked tofu wings to a large mixing bowl and drizzling on half your sauce of choice. Toss to coat all the wings evenly. 

Then, drizzle the remaining sauce over the tofu and continue tossing to coat.

Head on photo of a Salton 3-in-1 Flip and Cook with glass jar

The Best Air Fryer for Tofu

We air fry a lot of tofu in this house, and we’ve tried a lot of air fryers. If I’m being honest, we’ve never *loved* any of them…but then we tried the 3-in-1 Flip and Cook from Salton!

We met the Salton team at The Inspired Home Show last year and knew this air fryer was something special from the moment we laid eyes on it! 

Seeing our excitement, Salton was kind enough to send us one to try out. We’ve been using this air fryer behind-the-scenes for the past year and are so excited to share our honest feedback with you!

Head on photo of a Salton air fryer with the glass basket pulled out and set in front of the rest of the machine.

Salton Air Fryer Review

We’ve been using this air fryer for almost 1 year, so we’ve been through a lot together. And I feel confident in saying it is the best air fryer we’ve ever used.

Why We Love It:

  • Absolutely beautiful. The sleek design and gorgeous glass jar make me feel like royalty when I walk into my kitchen each morning. I know aesthetics alone do not make a good kitchen appliance, but do not underestimate just how pretty this is.
  • Not only is it pretty, but it’s also functional! The borosilicate glass air fryer jar (“basket”) lets you actually see your food while it cooks. This is so important for cooking tofu in particular because it can brown up quickly!
  • No weird plastic smell like you get with other air fryers (No description necessary. Let’s just say, IYKYK.) The glass jar is ‘forever-chemicals’ free and includes a bonus frying rack that is also safe from non-stick coatings!
  • Dehydrator capability. How cool is this?! This machine has a dehydrator setting allowing you to dehydrate herbs, fruits, even vegan jerky! (Stay tuned for more on that last one!)
  • More room. We find the rectangular jar (4.9 quart) shape lets you fit more food into your air fryer without it taking up more room on our counter. A major win for small city kitchens like ours!
  • It turns into an indoor grill! This magical air fryer has a rotating base that flips 180 degrees, turning your air fryer into an indoor grill. Another win for small kitchens where you have to make hard decisions about what earns that space on your counter!
  • It can keep up with us. When we’re batch-cooking these wings for the Super Bowl, it’s important we have an air fryer that can keep up, and this one meets that challenge better than any other air fryer we’ve used!
  • Easily cleaned. The removable non-stick rack and wire rack make it easy to remove and clean in little time. Same with the glass jar basket! We’ve used other air fryers that just don’t feel like they ever get clean, but that’s not the case here.
  • Great price point. With all these features, great design, and the quality of the appliance, you’d think the price point would be out of this world, but it’s not! The Salton 3-in-1 Flip and Cook retails for around $199, making it a more accessible option than other popular brands that take up more room and have less functionality. (And let’s face it, aren’t nearly as pretty!)

Salton Air Fryer FAQ

How do you turn on a Salton air fryer? To turn on a Salton air fryer, simply plug it in and press the center on/off button.

Is Salton air fryer dishwasher safe? Yes, both the Salton air fryer jar and removable racks are dishwasher safe.

How do I clean my Salton air fryer? The borosilicate glass jar and removable racks are easily cleaned either by hand or in the dishwasher.

Overhead photo of a large oval white plate filled with various flavors of air fryer tofu wings and dairy-free ranch dips

How to Serve Air Fryer Tofu Wings

Serve these air fryer tofu wings immediately after saucing them on a platter with a variety of your favorite dipping sauce and veggies. They are perfect for game day or movie night at home with the family!

Dipping Sauce Ideas:

*Download our Tofu Wing Batch Cooking Guide for our exact method on turning 1 batch of our vegan ranch dip into 5 different dipping sauces for vegan wings!

How to Store Leftover Plant Based Wings

I love having tofu wing leftovers to portion into lunches with salads the rest of the week! Although, they’re so good you may want to download our batch cooking guide and make a triple batch!

In the fridge: Store leftover tofu wings in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

In the freezer: Store leftover tofu wings in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months! You can freeze them either before or after you sauce them – up to you. Make sure you let the wings cool fully before freezing. If freezing with the sauce on, you may need to freeze on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer-safe bag to keep them from sticking together in one big clump.

Reheat: We recommend reheating your tofu wings in the air fryer at 400F for 10-15 minutes for optimum crispiness! The sauce will soak into the breading when stored, so if you want a saucier wing, just toss them in a little extra sauce after reheating in the air fryer.

Overhead photo of a plate of lemon pepper tofu wings on a round white plate with a lemon wedge, carrots, celery, and a Salton air fryer inthe background

More Salton Air Fryer Recipes

This isn’t the only way we love to use our Salton air fryer! Here are more ideas:

We hope you’ll give this vegan tofu wing trick a try soon!

When you do, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please leave a star rating and review on the recipe below. This helps more people find our recipes, and we love when you bring us along for your kitchen adventures!

And don’t forget, you can win a Salton 3-in-1 Flip and Cook this week! Just comment on this post telling us your favorite way to use an air fryer (or how you would use it!). You must be following both @theplantpowercouple and @saltongroup to be eligible!

We’re pulling the winner on Saturday, February 10th 2024.

Good luck, my friend. And enjoy!

Head on close up photo of a large plate of vegan chicken wings and vegan ranch sauces

Air Fryer Tofu Wings

Brittany Roche
Welcome to the vegan answer to chicken wings! We’ve served these Air Fryer Tofu Wings for many occasions (to both vegans and non-vegans, young and old!) and they are a crowd-favorite every single time. With a crispy dairy-free buttermilk breading, sauce and serve these plant-based wings any way you like. If you haven’t tried air frying frozen tofu, you’re really in for a treat! This post is sponsored by our friends at Salton and their awesome 3-in-1 Flip and Cook Air Fryer, Grill & Dehydrator.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 13 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Air Fryer, American, tofu
Servings 5 servings
Calories 271 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the wings/marinade:

  • 1 16-oz package extra firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp veggie bouillon powder

For the breading:

Instructions
 

First, prep the tofu.

  • Freeze and defrost your tofu. Place the whole container (do not open it) in the freezer overnight.
  • In the morning, remove it from the freezer and set it in a shallow dish on your counter to thaw. This will take several hours.
  • When the tofu is thawed, squeeze it gently over the sink and press it with a tofu press or on paper towels to remove any excess liquid.

Next, marinate the tofu.

  • Place your tofu on a cutting board and use your hands to gently rip wing-shaped pieces off of it. Alternatively, you can also slice the tofu into sticks, triangles, or flat rectangles for other shape options.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour this over your tofu wings, making sure they are all nice and coated. Place them in your fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Then, set up the breading station.

  • Remove the tofu from the marinade and place it on a plate or cutting board or the lid of the container.
  • To the container where the tofu was marinating, add the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Swish the mixture gently to combine.
  • Get out two shallow bowls or pie plates. To one, add the starch. To the other, add the breadcrumbs.

Now, bread the tofu wings.

  • Dip each tofu wing in the starch, then in the marinade/plant milk mix, then in the bread crumb mixture. Be sure to coat the tofu completely during each phase. Repeat for each wing.

It’s time to air fry the vegan wings.

  • Add tofu wings to the air fryer basket, enough to fill the bottom but not so many that they’re on top of each other. We find we can comfortably fit 1 block of tofu in our Salton Flip and Cook Air Fryer.
  • Air fry for 10 minutes at 350F. Stop to shake gently, just enough to loosen the pieces from the bottom of the basket, and air fry another 10 minutes. Then, stop to shake gently again and air fry for a final 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Finally, bring it together.

  • Add the cooked tofu wings to a large mixing bowl and drizzle on half your sauce of choice (see notes for options).
  • Toss to coat all the wings evenly. Then, drizzle the remaining sauce over the tofu and continue tossing to coat.
  • Serve these air fryer tofu wings immediately on a platter with your favorite dipping sauces and veggie sticks!

Notes

Wing Sauce Options

The great thing about this recipe is you can switch up the sauces to make different versions. Wing sauce recipes are often easily veganized using vegan butter, so you can really have fun with this part! 
Note: You’ll be making 1 lb of tofu wings per tofu block you use, so make sure you adjust the wing sauce you’re using for 1 lb of chicken wings.
Here are some various wing sauce variations we’ve tried:
  • Vegan Buffalo Wings
  • ​Hot Sauce Tofu Wings
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu Wings
  • BBQ Tofu Wings
  • Vegan Lemon Pepper Wet Wings
  • Vegan Garlic Parmesan Wings
Get our recipes for each of these sauces in our Tofu Wing Batch Cooking Guide that walks you through the process of batch-cooking these wings for an event like the Super Bowl!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25the recipeCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 9gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gSodium: 885mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 46IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
Keyword air fried tofu, air fryer tofu, crispy air fryer tofu, tofu recipe
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