Easy, flavorful air fryer tofu is perfectly crispy, just like deep fried, without cups and cups of oil. Serve it up with rice or noodles or on your dinner salad!
Wondering how to get your tofu crispy without boiling it in oil or baking it for close to an hour? Air fryer tofu takes half the time it takes to make baked tofu, and you get a crispier result than baking.
What is an air fryer?
If you're new to air frying, it's basically some kind of magic. The air fryer uses circulating, super hot air to "fry" your food.
An air fryer is sort of a super-charged convection oven that makes food delicious and crispy with little to no oil. Because of its small size, it heats up quickly, meaning no waiting for it to preheat and a faster cooking time.
This crispy air fryer tofu is a great recipe to get you started with your air fryer and a staple recipe in my house.
Basically anything you can make in the oven, you can make more quickly in the air fryer with crispier results. I love using mine to make this tofu and to make:
Y'all, my family eats this air fryer tofu at least two to three times a week. We use it in sushi bowls, mashed potato bowls, on top of salads...anywhere you want some crispy tofu.
It is super quick, easy, and so, so delicious!
You need about five minutes to slice the tofu and toss it in the marinade, then another 10 minutes or so to marinate and 20 minutes to air fry.
In a pinch, you can even reduce the marinating time to save yourself some time. Your tofu will have a milder flavor, but it will still have that perfect texture.
This recipe is really all about the cornstarch. Tossing the marinated tofu in cornstarch before frying is what gives it that crispy coating you crave.
Yes, you can get a somewhat crispy tofu without cornstarch, but if you truly want that deep fried-style texture, cornstarch is your friend. I sometimes make this recipe without the cornstarch. It's still delightful, but it's definitely not as crispy.
Think of the marinade in the recipe card below as a jumping-off point. I like this particular marinade because it has only five ingredients that I almost always have in my kitchen, and it tastes amazing.
But please don't feel beholden to these flavors!
You can really adapt your own air fryer tofu recipe with any flavors that you like.
Feel free to marinate in your favorite sauce or dressing to customize it, as long as the total liquid amount is about the same. Three tablespoons to a quarter cup is ideal.
Here are some variations to try:
- ¼ cup of your favorite homemade or bottled vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
Whatever marinade you choose, that cornstarch is what's going to bring the restaurant-style crispiness to this party.
I mean, really, how would you NOT want to use it?
My family loves piling air fryer tofu onto a grain bowl with our favorite veggies.
To make a grain bowl, start with your favorite whole grain (or noodles!), then pile on raw and/or cooked veggies of your choice. Add some green onion, avocado, and a good sauce, and you have got supper in a flash.
Here are some easy sauce recipes that work great in this kind of situation:
It's also lovely as a main dish with mashed potatoes and your favorite veggie or a kale salad on the side. Or stuff it into a pita pocket or wrap for tofu on the go.
For a lovely, light meal, dish up your tofu over salad greens with your favorite salad toppings and dressing. It's delightful in a Seaweed Salad, too!
Air fryer tofu recipe
- 1 block firm tofu - pressed and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil - (Or 2 extra teaspoons soy sauce. See note.)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch - or potato starch
- In a large bowl, toss together the tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside to marinate for 10-30 minutes.1 block firm tofu, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Toss the marinated tofu with the cornstarch, then pour into the basket of your air fryer. Cook on 370° F for 20 minutes, shaking after 10 minutes. See note about cooking time.1 tablespoon cornstarch
I just made this and HAD to leave a comment OH MY GOODNESS this is so delicious. This just became a weekly meal prep STAPLE. you have to try this even if you arent a big fan of tofu.
Thank you so much, Hannah! I'm delighted to hear it!
Wow first recipe I made with my new airfryer! It's so good I can't stop eating it! Thank you so much. Definitely will be in my regular rotation
That is great to hear, Kortneii! Enjoy your new air fryer!
seeing the number of people saying that this was their first air fryer recipe, i decided to make it mine too. it was very simple, enough that i made it between and around other recipes and a work meeting, and it was all stuff i already had on hand.
and the results are to DIE for! i ate one piece and rushed into the other room with the bowl, demanding that people try a piece. that meant i had to share it, unfortunately, but i can always make more. next time i'll be sure to hoard it all to myself.
Oh I love to hear this! Sorry that you had to share lol. Thank you for coming back to leave a rating and a comment - I appreciate it so much!
My goodness there are a lot of comments and stars and now I know why. I just made these for a quick lunch side for my family. My son said, "Um-mm, mom, you mastered the fried tofu!" I just smiled and took the compliment but I will tell them it was you after I bask for a minute. I did exactly what you said and I used a small fine sieve to sprinkle, toss, sprinkle, toss until the tofu(just firm, not extra firm, which surprised me) was evenly coated with the one TBS of cornstarch...totally worked! Perfectly crispy outside and lusciously soft on the inside. Thank you!!!!!!!
Aw, bask away, Marna! I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed it!
First time using the air fryer and also the EZ Press tofu water extractor that I bought after watching your excellent video on how to use it Find it here. It works great, very easy, and I'm glad to own it.
The crispy tofu is good! Obviously any marinade would work. I try to stay away from salt, so maybe next time I'll mix sesame oil, garlic, ginger, onion (powder and/or finely chopped fresh) and what else. I let it marinate about 15 minutes and then tossed in 1T of cornstarch and mixed it GOOD until it disappeared and then a little more (maybe 1t) and mixed good again. Shook the basket after 10 minutes (actually used a spoon to mix it up good) and again after 10 more minutes and then cooked it 5 more minutes. IT'S GOOD!! Crispy. More filling that I realized it would be. It'll probably be good tomorrow cold. A very nice maiden voyage with air fryer and I'm sure I'll be making this again. Hey, I have the tofu press!!
I made tofu 4 the the first time with this recipe I mistakenly mixed the cornstarch with the marinade and it still came out crispy and delicious ? thanks for the recipe I love trying new ideas in my air fryer my favorite new kitchen appliance
Oh, I am so glad to hear it! Welcome to the delicious world of tofu. Thank you for coming back to rate and comment -- that means a lot to me!
This is the first recipe I tried in my new air fryer, and it’s definitely going to be a regular in our house. The texture is so good! Thank you!
I love to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to come back and rate and comment - I appreciate it so much!
Yay, you wrote this on my birthday, and this meal will be my first one ever cooked in my air fryer, toaster oven too!
Happy birthday! Those air fryer toasters sometimes cook even more quickly than standalone air fryers, so keep a close eye on your tofu!
I’m going to try this tonight but am wondering if I need to drain/press the moisture out of the tofu? My daughter always does. I did buy firm. Thank you!
I would press, if you have time.
Yummy, simple and affordable! Doesn't take much time to get a nice crisp flavorful tofu
Could you give me an idea on how to cook these wonderful tofu recipes without a air fryer?
You are in luck! I have a baked crispy tofu recipe coming soooooon! Check back in two weeks for that recipe. :)
Perfect. Have you bookmarked. I had some wonderful marinated tofu in town years ago, thought I'd squish some extra firm organic tofu with a brick, then fix marinade and bake it and finish under the broiler. I'm no expert, so I will be watching for your recipe! Appreciate all you do to educate us.
I too have walked away from animal products due to ethical Reason. but I won't like I am running out of idea and I've always failed at making Tofu, which I absolutely love. so I decided to make it in the air fryer. OMG, why didn't anyone tell me this sooner. I did a little ginger, soy sauce, garlic and BANG!!!! what a hit.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Magdalena!
For those that have trouble getting a nice coating with the cornstarch. Try sifting it over the blocks to get an even coating...sift one side then flip for the other.
First time I have made anything Tofu. It turned out very good. I might have tried too hard to cover in the cornstarch because I could really taste it. Any suggestions on making the flavor more explosive? Seemed to be a little tame. Thank you for a recipe I will be toying with and making often. Next time I'm adding some orange citrus flavor.
If you could, would you touch on the subject of why Tofu is good for you? Is it any better than chicken breast? I'm new to Tofu and would like to make use of it in other dishes.
Thank you for the note, Frank! As far as the flavor, I am not sure what to recommend there. I find this recipe very flavorful, but I do like the idea of adding orange. Maybe the excess cornstarch masked the flavor?
I eat tofu instead of chicken, because I do not eat any animal products at all. My reasons are ethical, so the health angle is out of the scope of my blog. I'd recommend The Vegan RD for questions like that one.
Such an easy receipe. I make this at least 1x a week and I even add mushrooms to the sauce and air fryer the tofu & mushrooms together!
Oh my gosh, I have GOT to try it with mushrooms! I bet they crisp up like magic.
Marinate a few hours if you can, throw in an air fryer making sure to shake every 4-5 mins until super crispy. I coated mine with nutritional yeast after they were done. Smaller squares of tofu = a more crispy result in the end & larger squares are more chewy.
Lisa R West
Instead of shaking 1/2 way through could I use my rotisserie for my air fryer?
That's a good question! I haven't worked with that style of air fryer, so it's hard to say. If the rotisserie turns it while it's cooking, you should be fine.
This is a health nutritional breakdown comparing the two.
WOW! I made your air fryer tofu last night and it was a huge hit! Even my son (who doesn't eat anything) enjoyed your tofu. What a great recipe, what a great find! I didn't have seasoned rice vinegar, so I used balsamic vinegar. I didn't have toasted sesame oil, so I used olive oil. And the tofu was still excellent! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. This is going into my weekly dinner line-up.
Ooh what a great idea to use balsamic and olive oil - I bet that would be great with spaghetti and some sauteed greens. Thank you for taking the time to come back and review - I appreciate it so much!
I am so excited to get home and start cooking with your recipes. I just bought my air fryer and was looking for some interesting go to recipes with tofu. Hubby might actually try it. Haha. Thank you so much for making something my mind was making so complicated, easy...
Enjoy it, Rita! I love when I can convert a tofu skeptic. :D
Do you still have to dry the tofu for this recipe?
I'm not sure what you mean by dry the tofu. I prefer the final texture if you press first - is that what you're asking about?
i made this for the second time after hubby 'asked* for it as the protein in his "creation" for dinner last night - he loves it, so do i, and it is going to be the standard for all tofu dishes in this household!
Oh my gosh, I am honored! Enjoy your tofu adventures!
OMG. First time ever. How delicious is that. Thanks so much for the recipe. I didn’t change anything. Perfect.
Thank you so much, Michael!
OMG!! Made this for Myself...still couldn't get Hubby to try Tofu yet. It was AMAZING! I NO longer have to get it at my favorite Chinese restaurant anymore. I can now do my own Crispy Tofu exactly as I like it!!
Thank you so much, Jacqueline! I am delighted. And thank you for taking time to leave a comment and review - that means a lot to me!
Would this work with soft tofu or would it not hold up in the air fryer?
I haven't tried this, so I'm not totally sure. For soft tofu, I'd line the basket with parchment paper, do a single layer of tofu (no stacking), and skip shaking. I don't think the tofu would withstand a good shake, but it might work with this modified process.
You are awesome for posting this! I just tried it tonight, and I am hooked. Your marinade was super tasty also. Thank you again, this is going in the favourites box.
Hooray! Thank you so much, Laurie!
Not sure if this is way too obvious, but I made the panko crusted tofu and after it sat out for a while, it lost some of its crispness. I just put it back into the air fryer for a couple minutes and it tasted like it did the first time.
Yes, that will happen if it sits for a bit. Good plan, putting it back into the air fryer. Thank you!
Hello! My husband and I eat a low carb diet and we love tofu. Instead of cornstarch, we used flaxseed meal and it was absolutely delicious especially mixed with the curry sauce we made! Thank you!
Oh cool! I'm glad to hear that flax meal worked in place of the cornstarch. Smart!
What's in the curry sauce?
I make this but I add miso paste. And some chili if you like spice.
Ooh I bed miso makes it extra tasty! I wish my family liked spice more - I always have to add spicy seasonings to just my own bowl.
I just made this sans oil and it’s delish! I only pressed the tofu for an hour and it came out so good. I used low sodium soy sauce and dipped in sweet Chile sauce. This is going to be a total go too. More air fryer recipes?
I'm so happy to hear that and that you're looking for more! I have tons of air fryer recipes! Here are 50ish of my faves: https://www.glueandglitter.com/2016/09/06/vegan-air-fryer-recipes/
This is soooooo good! New favorite way to prepare tofu!
Hi, quick question- how many servings is the tofu recipe for? Trying to input the recipe into MyFitnessPal for tracking.
Oh no problem. 4 servings.
This is delicious and super easy! I’ve tried a couple different recipes for basic Air Fryer tofu and this is by far my favorite. Only note, I usually shave off two min of cooking time so it isn’t quite so crispy. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Ooh that’s good to know!
It is a awesome recipe. We make it very easily for us but it is nice and testy. There is a sort way and sort time we ca made it. We can packed for our mini travel on nest holiday.
Thanks for the recipe. I tried making this today and it didn't turn out as expected. The tofu was very chewy and not crispy at all.
I'm sorry to hear that, Tabatha! I'm happy to help troubleshoot, if you like.
Two questions: Could you use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch? Would leftovers keep in the frig?
I haven't tried arrowroot, but it's worth a shot! It keeps but looses the crispiness. It's still good the next day, though!
Sabrina @ Familynano
Oh wow, this seems so cool! A healthier alternative to frying!
Thank for sharing, Becky :)
Totally - it's my new obsession for sure! Enjoy it, Sabrina!
Looks great! Is the air fryer basket large enough to double the amount of tofu? Still deciding whether to get one and, if so, what size to get. Thanks!
That's a good question! I've only cooked 1 block at a time in the 3.7 qt, but there's def room for more. I would guess that 2 would fit but I don't want to guarantee!
Made this today, crisped up fine. My 11 year old ate almost the whole block lol
Aah I love to hear that! My 4yo is obsessed with tofu, and he is super into this recipe too!