Ridiculously Good Air Fryer Tofu Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Ridiculously Good Air Fryer Tofu

46 reviews / 4.9 average

The crispiest air fryer tofu – in 15 minutes! Extremely easy, incredibly versatile, and an absolute weeknight go-to.

This Air Fryer Tofu Is Bonkers Amazing.

This crispy, craggly 15-minute tofu is honestly blowing my mind.

There’s only so much you can do with tofu to get it to knock your socks off, but OH MY! the texture! Like, I can’t even believe you can get this kind of delightful crisp and ruggedy crunch with such low effort and energy.

Why I love this:

  • You get a crispity, crackly golden exterior that looks and tastes like it’s breaded and fried
  • There’s lots of savory saltiness without any one distinct flavor, making it extremely versatile for use in tons of recipes
  • It is an absolutely elite canvas for sauces – they cling to every nook, cranny, and crevice of that golden exterior

AND! If you buy the vacuum-packed tofu, there is no pressing. I repeat: NO PRESSING!

You’re just ripping apart a block of tofu, tossing it in a quick little batter of sorts, and air frying for less than 15 minutes. Holy. Smokes.

This air fryer tofu is already affectionately known in my life as AFT, like the vegetarian cousin to the air fryer chicken (AFC): both extremely easy, versatile, and an absolute go-to that I make multiple times each week.

  • Toss it in a curry – yes.
  • Sauce it up and add it to a rice bowl – yes.
  • Throw into a noodle stir-fry – absolutely.
  • Dip it in your favorite sauce like a chicken nugget – big yes. My girls love this. I especially love it with this incredible gochujang sauce.

My favorite sauce for this at the moment is the gochujang sauce from the air fryer chicken post – yep, still on that train. I’ll include it again in the notes of the recipe. I just toss the crispified tofu with a bit of the sauce and it melts right in and it is divine. Have fun!

Welcome To My House! Let’s Make This Air Fryer Tofu.

1

Whisk up your sauce.

Cornstarch, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and oil. Add a pinch of spice mix. Voila! It’s your batter.

Whisking up spices in a bowl.

2

Rip Your Tofu and Toss It In.

I like to rip the tofu apart because it gets those fun craggly edges that hold onto all the batter. So just… rip, toss it in, and give it a gentle stir to coat.

Tossing tofu in batter in a bowl.

3

Air Fry for 10-15 Minutes.

I typically do 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Then give it a shake, and finish for another 5 minutes to get it extra nice and golden.

Air fried tofu in an air fryer basket.

Watch How To Make This Air Fryer Tofu

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A picture of Ridiculously Good Air Fryer Tofu

Ridiculously Good Air Fryer Tofu


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 34 servings 1x

Description

The crispiest air fryer tofu – in 15 minutes! Extremely easy, incredibly versatile, and an absolute weeknight go-to.


Ingredients

Scale

Air Fryer Tofu:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (look for one that is vacuum-packed so you don’t have to press it! see note 1)

The Batter:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (see note 2)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 23 teaspoons all-purpose spice blend (see note 3)

For Serving:

  • your favorite sauce for serving (see note 4)

Instructions

  1. Mix The Batter: In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the nutritional yeast, cornstarch, soy sauce, oil, and spices into a batter. It should be fairly loose and runny.
  2. Coat The Tofu: Tear the tofu into chunks and place them directly into the batter bowl. Using a wide spatula, gently toss the tofu in tbe batter until it’s entirely coated.
  3. Air Fry: Air fry at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes (see Note 5). Stop and give it a shake. And now air fry at 400 again for another 5 minutes until you reach your desired level of golden crispiness!
  4. Sauce and Serve: To serve, toss the tofu your favorite sauce for a recipe (curries! stir fries! rice bowls!) or just pop these guys into some dipping sauce like a little nugget. Incredible.

Notes

Note 1 on Tofu: The vacuum sealed extra firm tofu is amazing because it’s not only firm but drier than the kind that comes sitting in water. If you can’t find the vacuum sealed tofu packages, that’s fine – look for extra firm tofu and then press the tofu for a bit to remove excess moisture. To do this, I cut the block of tofu into a few slices, lay them flat with paper towels on top and bottom, and set a heavy pan on top for a few minutes. I find that this tofu also crumbles more easily – so when you’re tossing the tofu in the batter, use a wide spatula and just make a few gentle turns in the bowl to avoid crumbling the tofu entirely (but don’t worry, some breaking is normal and will form delicious crumbles – promise).

Note 2a on Making This Without Nutritional Yeast: Change the ingredient amounts to what’s listed below.

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2–3 teaspoons all-purpose spice blend (see note 3)

Note 2b on Making This Without Nutritional Yeast (Photo): The photo below shows two versions – the top is made with only cornstarch, and the bottom is the original with cornstarch and nutritional yeast. Here are the main differences:

  • Cornstarch only version doesn’t coat quite as evenly – it has a slightly more spotty exterior.
  • Nutritional yeast version covers really evenly, makes it super golden, and gives it a uniquely salty, nutty, umami flavor.

Note 3 on Spices: I use and love this rotisserie chicken seasoning for both the air fryer chicken and now this air fryer tofu. If you don’t have a spice blend that you like, use 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. And if you are using a spice blend that doesn’t have salt, you may want to add an extra pinch of salt to the tofu batter.

Note 4 on Sauces: I have been hung up on this gochujang sauce for a minute. It’s so good to toss with the crispy tofu. Mix the following: 1/2 cup mayo, 2 tablespooons gochujang sauce (not paste), 1 clove grated garlic, a shot of soy sauce, a dash of rice vinegar, and salt and pepp. I cover the tofu in sauce and toss it together after the tofu is done let it sort of melt in so it creates almost a glaze-like consistency on the outside of the tofu. It’s SO good on a rice bowl. Other sauces I like: this store-bought mango chutney, this honey mustard, or this peanut sauce.

Note 5 on Air Fryer Temp: I have both a Cosori 4 quart air fryer as well as a Ninja 5 quart air fryer (affiliate links). My Cosori does this tofu perfectly at 400 degrees with the timing above, while the Ninja does it perfectly at 390 degrees. If you stop and shake the tofu after 8 minutes and you feel like it’s a tad too dark golden at 400, just reduce the temp slightly for the last 5 to find your perfect temp. I would shoot for anything in the 375-400 range. Air fryer temps and performance will vary slightly!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tofu recipe, air fryer tofu, crispy tofu, quick and easy tofu, vegetarian recipe

Frequently Asked Questions About Air Fryer Tofu

Can you make this in the oven?

Yes! Baking the tofu at 400 degrees for 20 minutes should achieve a similar effect. Here’s how to turned out with our testing.

Can you make this without nutritional yeast?

Yes! You can either replace it with an additional tablespoon of cornstarch, or an equal value of breadcrumbs. If you use a bit of extra cornstarch, your batter might be a bit thicker, more like a paste. That’s fine, just coat the tofu as best as you can and it’ll still air fry up with lots of nice texture for you.

Can I use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch?

Yes! It should work the same.

Does air fryer tofu keep as leftovers?

Yes! As with any “fried” food, it will lose a bit of its crispiness and the texture changes a bit, especially if it has already been tossed or served in a sauce. That said, I have never not liked it when re-toasted in the air fryer or re-heated. 🙂

How can I do this with meat?

I’ve got a recipe for that! Here’s some Ridiculously Good Air Fryer Chicken (similar recipe, but with chicken).

Three Bomb Sauces For Your Air Fryer Tofu

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83 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I was so excited to try this tonight after seeing your post on Instagram. However, my batter came out like a paste. I couldn’t get it runny for anything! Any tips?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Totally agree, I think there is an ingredient missing! I had to add some water to thin out so I could actually coat the tofu. Flavor is delicious though!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Ok I’m glad it’s not just me not being able to follow a recipe. Mine is complete paste and I measured everything. I’m still eating them and they’re still yummy!

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Something is definitely missing in the recipe LOL…I GOT A THICK PASTE! Without having to add double the oil, I would add a bit of cornstarch at a time and go from there until the author can maybe adjust the recipe 😁

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Also mine came out like a paste…actually like a newtonian liquid: the more you mix it the thicker it was getting…if I let it set, it was getting more liquid…is that supposed to be the consistency?

    3. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Jessy,

      Have you ever experimented with making Tofu at home sauteed in black bean sauce? And if you did, how did it taste? 🙂

    4. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Made this tonight and it was so delicious!!! However my batter was super thick, any suggestions as to get it more runny?

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I had to thin mine with water. 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce did nothing and even after a Tbsp of water it was still thiccccc.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I am obsessed with this recipe. I’ve never written a review for a recipe before but I can’t get over how good this is! Even my extremely picky 7 year old who is in feeding therapy LOVED these little tofu nuggets. She dipped them in Chick-fil-A sauce and was going back for seconds. I was shocked and so happy! My husband and I ate it with quinoa, air fryer roasted broccoli and panang curry sauce from Target. Delicious! Can’t want to try the gochuchang sauce. Thank you for this recipe! Never thought tofu could taste this good. And a note on the consistency.. mine was also very paste like but I just added water til it was more runny and it worked great!

    5. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hey Jessy! We retested this again, and if the batter is too pastey, adding another 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce should loosen it up a bit!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was delicious but extremely salty! Almost to the point of being inedible. I will make this again because the flavour was great, but highly recommend lowering the salt content either by subbing the soy partially or for a reduced sodium variety OR using less nutritional yeast due to the salty flavour it imparts.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This came out great!! The batter coated the tofu well, it wasn’t too paste-y for me and I followed the recipe to a t!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Totally addictive!! The absolute best tofu recipe I’ve tried. Are usually cook it to add To a dish but usually end up eating it on its own. I’ve changed the spices each time I’ve made it and it’s always perfect. My favorite is a Mexican inspired spice mix with cumin. I also use frozen tofu since I keep it in my freezer. Definitely a keeper recipe!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Tofu is a healthy source f protein, especially health for females. Because it’s meatless, it’s also a great source of food for helping anyone lose weight and accelerate their metabolism, thus helping a person to avoid eating the wrong foods. I used to eat this back in the 1990’s back in the New York days, as my former best friend and I used to visit Perelandra Natural Food store in downtown Brooklyn, nearby the Brooklyn Supreme Court. 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made these last night and I’m seriously considering making them again. I left out the seasoning bc I used the nuggets to make general tso’s tofu but next time I’m going to try it. I ended up cooking mine about 5 minutes longer. The batter was kind of paste-like as others had mentioned but I was able to coat everything by gently stirring

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Unreal. I’ve been making tofu for 15 years and I have never been able to achieve texture like this. It is chewy without being rubber-like. I made it without nutritional yeast, but I’ll be getting some ASAP. I also cut the oil in half.

    10/10, Lindsay!!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love POY tofu recipes! I tried this recipe twice, once without nutritional yeast and then with it. Both times my tofu did not turn out crispy. My batter was also super thick. Really disappointed as I was hoping for the same results. Any suggestions are appreciated!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So good! Great texture and crunch! The best chicken nugget vibes ive had as a vegetarian that’s not creepy fake meat with loads of ingredients. TJ’s high protein extra firm tofu worked perfectly. Will be making all the time!!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was AMAZING! I’ve never had tofu before, but I love the air fryer chicken so I gave it a try and WOW! My husband was so surprised at how delicious it was!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hannah,

      Tofu is by far a healthy protein source. This source of soy protein is especially beneficial for women, as Tofu may help to balance Estrogen in a woman. How long have you been eating Tofu for if I may ask? 🙂

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Coming in here while the second half cooks because I can’t stop eating this standing here while the rest of my meal comes together. Holy moly. This is so good.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My oven has an air fryer setting, any idea what temperature I should use?

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wow, what a fantastic recipe for air fryer tofu! I tried it out last night, and it was delicious. The crispiness of the tofu was spot on, and the flavors were so satisfying. Thank you for sharing such a wonderfully simple yet ridiculously good recipe! It’s going to be a regular on my menu from now on. Keep those amazing recipes coming!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This air fryer tofu recipe is a game-changer! Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside – it’s unbelievably delicious. The air fryer technique adds the perfect crunch without all the extra oil, making it a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. Plus, it’s so versatile – I love adding it to salads, stir-fries, or simply enjoying it as a snack. Thanks for sharing this ridiculously good recipe! Can’t wait to try it again and again. For more tasty recipes, Visit Tiny Foods
    Kitchen!”

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This air fryer tofu recipe looks fantastic! Especially for busy weeknights, having a quick and easy way to get crispy tofu is a game-changer. The cornstarch coating sounds like it delivers the perfect level of crisp, and the gochujang sauce option is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    As my son said, “Delicioso!” Loved the crunch factor on the tofu. Quick & easy. I added the tofu to a rice bowl along with quick stir-fried veggies (shredded cabbage, match stick carrots, edamame & spinach) and the gochujang sauce. I did add a little extra drizzle of both soy sauce & water to thin out the batter a bit more to make it easier to coat. Measured everything exactly as the recipe said. I bought the vacuumed-packed extra-firm tofu, so it was less liquidy than other tofu. I’ve also made your tofu crunch recipe, which we also love. Thanks

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These are SO yum!! The first I made they were too thick like other have commented. So did 2 TBSP cornstarch and 3 TBSP soy sauce – this was a much better consistency for the batter. Also, I did not let it sit at all. I had the tofu ready, then made the sauce. Added and tossed the tofu immediately – much better!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is ridiculously good. Similar to the way I’d been making baked tofu already but the nutritional yeast really adds something. I used this tofu to make your crunchy roll bowls which are already a favorite of mine and I cannot recommend enough!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love crispy tofu. What people need to understand is while you can crisp up the outside of the tofu with batter and flavor, the inside is still going to taste like tofu. I know a lot of people say it doesn’t have any taste, but it does. It tastes like tofu. And no matter how many times I tried to make it taste like something different by marinating, it still taste like tofu. I like the taste, and I love breading and adding sauces.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    A truly amazing recipe that is a game changer for a way to make delicious tofu that really improves in the texture department, and flavor with a quick sauce on top (we did sriracha mayo) will be in the permanent rotation from now on

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wow! I typically make tofu about once a week, but this was by far the best texture and taste I’ve been able to achieve! My husband and I devoured it. It will be in the new weekly rotation. It would be excellent with just about any sauce 🙂 yum!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this last night, and it was amazing. I think the recipe might need a slight adjustment b/c that much cornstarch results in a thick paste. Instead of adding extra soy sauce (which would make it saltier!), I added a little bit of water to thin it out. I also did less salt in the spice mix, knowing that there would already be a lot of salt in the soy sauce. But holy moley, this was amazing. I used nutritional yeast, and I do think it takes it to another umami level. I think I’m going to make it again tonight 🙂

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You’re not kidding, damn that was good. My non-vegetarian husband came in and said, did you cook fried food? He took a bite and was instantly smitten too. Thanks for another keeper!