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Air Fryer Crispy Tofu

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Air fryer crispy tofu is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for a snack or meal prep. Crispy outside, chewy inside, and packed with flavor. 

air fryer cripsy tofu on a white plate with chopsticks

Have you ever had tofu that was just, eh, bland? Or soggy tofu? Well you’re in luck because this is NOT that recipe. I’ll teach you the trick to flavorful crispy tofu with 5 easy tips. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Air fryer tofu has all the crispiness of its deep fried counterpart, but a whole lot less oil. And best of all it only takes 20 minutes to air fry.

If you haven’t tried the air fryer yet, what are you waiting for?

chopsticks picking up air fryer cripsy tofu

This is the air fryer I have. Air fryers are a mini countertop convection oven that can make things like crispy pork belly, furikake salmon, and so much more.

Tofu is a blank canvas that is perfect for both sweet and savory marinades. This air fried tofu recipe uses a marinade that is made up of classic Hawai’i flavors that are a part of so many Hawaiian recipes. And you can’t go wrong with marinated tofu.

Cooking tofu in the air fryer only takes a few ingredients.

Air fryer crispy tofu ingredients

(Full recipe instructions and ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post)

  • Extra firm tofu. This can be found in the refrigerator section at most grocery stores. Be sure to get extra firm.
  • Shoyu. Shoyu is a Japanese style soy sauce that can be found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores as well.
  • Brown sugar. If you don’t have brown sugar you can also use granulated sugar.
  • Garlic. Just a few cloves go a long way.
  • Ginger. A classic addition to Hawaiian style marinades.
  • Cornstarch. You can opt for potato starch as well.
air fryer cripsy tofu ingredients

How to make tofu in the air fryer

  1. Press the tofu to remove excess liquid for at least 15 minutes, ideally for a few hours to overnight.
pressing tofu for air fryer cripsy tofu

2. Make the marinade. Add shoyu, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger to a small bowl and mix until well combined.

air fryer cripsy tofu marinade

Cut tofu into cubes and place in marinade. Marinate tofu for at least 15 minutes

tofu pieces for air fryer cripsy tofu

Preheat the air fryer to 400F. 

air fryer cripsy tofu marinating

Toss tofu with cornstarch.

air fryer cripsy tofu with cornstarch

Air fry the tofu. Place tofu in the air fryer in a single layer. Cook for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown, tossing the basket halfway through cooking.

Tips for the best air fryer crispy tofu

  • Tip 1: Use extra firm tofu. Extra firm tofu holds its shape best and prevents crumbling.
  • Tip 2: Press your tofu. This removes excess liquid and allows the tofu to crisp up. Too much excess liquid can cause steam to develop and prevent crisping.
  • Tip 3: Use cornstarch. Cornstarch absorbs moisture and creates a crispier coating.
  • Tip 4: Use an air fryer at a high temperature. The high temperature will allow the outside of the tofu to cook quickly and allow it to get crispy.
  • Tip 5: Shake the basket halfway through cooking. This allows air circulation around all pieces of tofu and creates a more even cooking process.
air fryer cripsy tofu on a white plate

FAQs

  • Do you have to press tofu before air frying?
  • Pressing tofu before air frying helps to create the most crispy tofu. If you are looking to get crispy tofu then I’d recommend pressing.
  • How to press tofu?
  • You can purchase a tofu press like this one. Don’t have a tofu press? Not to worry, you can easily press tofu using what you have at home. Wrap tofu in a paper towel, place on a plate, and place a heavy bottom pot/pan on the tofu. The weight of the pot/pan will push the excess liquid out and the paper towel will soak it up.
  • Can I use flour instead of cornstarch to coat tofu?
  • Yes. You can also use potato starch or gluten free flour. Cornstarch creates the most crisp.
  • How to keep tofu crispy?
  • Keep tofu in an open container while serving. This will prevent steam from developing and causing the tofu to get soggy. Also allow the tofu to cool completely before placing in a container.
  • How to store?
  • Once tofu has cooled, place in an airtight container. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

  • Can you freeze tofu?
  • Freezing tofu is okay, however this will change the texture. Frozen tofu has a more chewy texture, but allows a better absorption of marinades.
  • How to reheat?
  • To retain crispiness, reheat tofu in the air fryer, oven, or toaster oven. Using a microwave will warm up the tofu, however you will not have the crispiness.
  • Other great air fryer recipes

    air fryer cripsy tofu on a white plate with chopsticks

    Air Fryer Crispy Tofu

    Yield: 4 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Additional Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Air fryer crispy tofu is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for a snack or meal prep. Crispy outside, chewy inside, and packed with flavor.

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound extra firm tofu
    • ¼ cup shoyu
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • ½ inch piece of ginger, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    Instructions

    1. For the tofu: Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the water. Press tofu using a tofu press. If you don’t have a tofu press, place tofu on a paper towel set on a plate. Place another piece of paper towel over the tofu and place a heavy bottom pan, like a cast iron pan, over the tofu. Allow excess liquids to drain for at least 15 minutes.
    2. For the marinade: Add shoyu, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger to a small bowl. Mix until well combined.
    3. Once tofu has been pressed, cut tofu into bite sized cubes. Place tofu on a cutting board and cut your block in half height wise. Stack the two pieces back on each other and cut into 4 strips lengthwise and 4 strips width wise.
    4. Place the cubed up tofu in a baking dish or large bowl. Pour the marinade over and gently toss to combine. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
    5. Preheat the air fryer to 400F. 
    6. When you are ready to cook, sprinkle cornstarch over the tofu and toss to combine.
    7. Place tofu in the air fryer in a single layer. Cook for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown, tossing the basket halfway through cooking. ENJOY!

    Notes

    Tips for the best air fryer crispy tofu:

    Tip1: Use extra firm tofu. Extra firm tofu holds its shape best and prevents crumbling.

    • Tip 2: Press your tofu. This removes excess liquid and allows the tofu to crisp up. Too much excess liquid can cause steam to develop and prevent crisping.
    • Tip 3: Use cornstarch. Cornstarch absorbs moisture and creates a crispier coating.
    • Tip 4: Use an air fryer at a high temperature. The high temperature will allow the outside of the tofu to cook quickly and allow it to get crispy.
    • Tip 5: Shake the basket halfway through cooking. This allows air circulation around all pieces of tofu and creates a more even cooking process.

    Recommended Products

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 11g

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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    By on January 1st, 2022

    About Relle

    Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

    I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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