We’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years and air fryer owners about 8 years, so we air fry a lot of tofu. In this post, we’re sharing our absolute go-to method for a basic air fryer tofu that can be used in a variety of dishes from stir fry to salads and wraps to a healthy grain and veggie bowl. You’ll need just a few common ingredients, and, unlike other recipes, this one is completely oil-free!
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We swear by our game-changing tofu freezer trick, but sometimes you don’t have time to freeze and marinate tofu. You need it now!
In these moments, I turn to our air fryer.
Air frying tofu is the quickest, easiest way to make deliciously crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside tofu!
It’s a beginner tofu cook’s dream. And you don’t even need oil most of the time!
If you’ve had trouble cooking tofu before, I highly recommend you give this air fryer method a try. I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years and vegetarian for years before that. I’ve made a LOT of bad tofu, so I know the struggle. This method is your redemption!
Why is this the best air fryer tofu?
- Our simple method is an easy way to add healthy plant-based protein to any dish.
- It’s easily adapted to suit whatever flavor/vibe you’re going for!
- We use super common ingredients – nothing fancy!
Easy Air Fryer Tofu Ingredients
You only need 4 common ingredients to make this simple recipe! We’ll go over some ingredient details here, but you can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Extra firm tofu – Cubed. For best results, press tofu before cubing.
- Cornstarch – See below for corn starch substitutions
- Vegan chicken bouillon powder – We use our homemade vegan bouillon powder, but you can use any seasoning of choice!
- Soy sauce – Optional, to add a little salty/savory flavor. Whether or not you’ll need this will depend on which seasoning you’re using. And if you’re coating the tofu in a sauce with big flavor, you may not need it. If I’m serving the recipe as-written, I use it.
How to Air Fry Tofu Without Cornstarch
You can easily make air fryer tofu without cornstarch! Simply sub another starch like arrowroot starch or tapioca starch. You can also follow our recipe for Air Fryer Sriracha Tofu for a completely starch-free method.
If you need an ingredient substitution, here are our best recommendations! Please remember, subbing an ingredient in any recipe may not always lead to an optimal result. Let us know if you try any of these (or other subs) in the comments!
For the extra firm tofu: Some varieties of Firm tofu (especially those found outside the US) will work fine with this recipe! Stay away from soft tofu and silken tofu of all kinds. This is not the recipe for that! We have not tried this with chickpea tofu or other non-soy tofus.
For the bouillon powder: Feel free to sub your favorite seasoning here depending on what you’re using the tofu for. Ranch seasoning or chili seasoning could be an interesting twist. Our Cheesy Garlic Blend could also be fun! If you still want that chickeny vibe, you can do ½ chicken seasoning ½ seasoning of choice. You can also just use a mix of whatever spices you have in your cabinet like garlic powder, black pepper, and onion powder. Have fun with this part!
For the soy sauce: You can sub tamari, liquid aminos, or a low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium if needed. Vegan worcestershire or sesame oil can also be used for a slightly different, beefier vibe. You can also add something like hot sauce or red miso broth!
How to Make This Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Recipe
This easy recipe may just be the simplest thing you’ve ever made in the air fryer! It’s a method we keep in our back pocket for busy work night dinners.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and bouillon powder with a small whisk or fork. Press and cube your block of tofu to remove excess moisture.
- Add the pressed and cubed tofu to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the cornstarch/bouillon mix and drizzle on the soy sauce. Use a rubber spatula to gently toss everything together until evenly coated.
- Add to your air fryer basket (ideally, in a single layer). Air fry at 370 degrees f for 25-30 minutes, stopping to shake the basket to detach them from the bottom every 5-10 minutes until they’re golden brown.
How to Serve Vegan Air Fryer Tofu
Serve immediately over rice or veggies. You can serve this tofu on its own or tossed in your favorite sauce like peanut sauce, coconut curry sauce, or even pesto!
You can also serve them like tofu nuggets for lunch or a snack alongside a dipping sauce like ranch, teriyaki sauce, pesto, or hot sauce!
Meal Serving Ideas:
- Cold Peanut Noodle Bowls
- Noodle or Rice Stir Fry
- Bowls with rice and seared green beans or roasted brussels sprouts
How to Store Leftover Tofu
You can store these crispy tofu cubes in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
I haven’t tried freezing this tofu after it’s cooked yet. It would probably work, but the tofu texture would change slightly, and you could risk it being too crumbly. Not that that would make it inedible though, so it’s worth a try!
FAQs About Quick Air Fryer Tofu
In this section, we’ll answer some of the most common air fried tofu questions! If you have a question we haven’t answered here, please leave it in the comments, so we can make this post a more complete resource for future readers!
Do I need a tofu press?
You do not need a tofu press to make tofu in the air fryer, but it can help! Personally, we do not use a tofu press. We just place our tofu on one of those roasting pans with a paper towels on top. Then, we place a small cutting board on top with a heavy tile on top of that.
You can also use a large book (one if fine, don’t pile them up). You just want a heavy object to create consistent weight on the tofu to gently press out the excess water without breaking it. We let it sit like this for 15-30 minutes before air frying!
Why is my tofu not crispy air fryer?
Your air fryer tofu may not be crispy because you’re cooking it at the wrong time/texture. We like to cook tofu at 375F for 25-30 minutes, stopping to shake the basket every 5-10 minutes.
For extra crispiness, you can try tossing the tofu in cornstarch and/or spraying the air fryer basket lightly with oil. You can also marinade the tofu in an olive oil based tofu marinade for 1-24 hours before air frying.
Can I put tofu in the air fryer?
Can you use flour instead of cornstarch for tofu?
How do you keep tofu from sticking to air fryer?
More Air-Fried Tofu Recipes:
If you’re excited to try more air fryer tofu recipes, we have a few to get you started!
I hope this crispy tofu recipe becomes just as much a staple in your home as it has in ours! And I can’t wait to hear all the magical ways you find to use it.
When you try the recipe, can you do me a favor? Leave a star rating and review on the recipe below. This helps our recipes reach more people like you and is an easy way to support our small business!
We also just can’t wait to hear about your experiences because we love when you invite us into your kitchen!
Oil Free Air Fryer Tofu
- Add to your air fryer basket (ideally, in an even layer). Air fry at 370 for 25-30 minutes, stopping to shake the basket to detach them from the bottom every 5-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately over rice or veggies. You can serve this tofu on its own or tossed in your favorite sauce like peanut sauce or curry! You can also store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days for snacking or serving on salads.
- Whether or not you’ll need this will depend on which seasoning you’re using. And if you’re coating the tofu in a sauce with big flavor, you may not need it. If I’m serving the recipe as-written, I use it.
- You can sub tamari, liquid aminos, or a low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium if needed. Vegan worcestershire or sesame oil can also be used for a slightly different, beefier vibe. You can also add something like hot sauce or red miso broth!