The easiest, crispiest, absolute best tofu ever is hands-down this air fryer tofu. It’s quick and super simple, not to mention unbelievably versatile. Whether you snack on it as-is or use it in your favorite meatless recipes, once you know how to air fry tofu, you’ll never want to cook it any other way again.
🌱 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- The air fryer is definitely the best way to get ridiculously crispy tofu, so if that’s what you’re going for, you’re in the right place. I’ll walk you through the whole process beginning to end, including how to press a block of tofu so you set yourself up for air fryer tofu success. Even if you’ve never cooked tofu before, I guarantee you’ll end up with perfectly cooked, restaurant-quality tofu cubes every time you use this method.
- The whole process is really easy. Yes, even pressing the moisture out is really easy, and super hands off if you’ve got the right tools. Once the prep’s done, the actual cooking takes as little as 10 minutes, depending on just how crispy you like your tofu cubes.
- Think of this like a building-block recipe. An intro to air fryer tofu, if you will. See, tofu is sort of magical in that it takes on the flavor of whatever you marinate it in, or however you season it. We only used salt and oil in this recipe, which I love because it gives it a really delicious “deep fried” flavor, like you’d find with fried tofu in a Chinese restaurant. It’s great for tossing in a sauce or serving with something to dip it in. The method doesn’t change if you use other seasonings or if you marinate the tofu first, though. That means don’t hesitate to get creative and change things up every time you make it!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Do NOT skip the press! I know it takes a little bit of time, which isn’t ideal if you need air fryer tofu like RIGHT NOW. But believe me, pressing the tofu makes a massive difference in the end results. If you don’t squeeze out all that excess moisture, you’ll end up with soggy tofu that doesn’t crisp up and is all-around unpleasant.
- Make sure you’re not using silken tofu. Silken tofu is very soft and will absolutely fall apart on you if you try to press it at all. It’s not interchangeable with regular tofu and it won’t work in this recipe. Save the silken for when you need a creamy texture, like in a sauce or dessert.
- We’ve talked about this in our other air fryer posts, but it bears repeating: every air fryer is different. Even two of the exact same make and model sitting right next to each other in the same kitchen can behave totally differently. Make sure you keep an eye on your tofu and check the doneness frequently, especially the first couple of times you use this method. You may need a shorter or longer cook time than I did to get the same results.
♨️ More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Baked Potato
- Frozen Waffles in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs
- The Best Air Fryer Broccoli
- Air Fryer Bacon
- Easy Air Fryer Tuna Steak
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Pizza Rolls in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Crispy Air Fryer Turkey Bacon
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- 1 16-ounce block tofu firm or extra-firm, drained
- salt to taste
- Paper towels or clean dish towel
- Large plate or cutting board
- heavy skillet or tofu press
- Sharp knife
- Air fryer
- neutral spray oil safe for air fryers
- Large bowl or serving plates
To Prepare Tofu
- Wrap tofu completely in 2 layers of paper towels. Make sure all sides of tofu block are covered and place wrapped tofu on plate or cutting board.
- Place heavy skillet on top of wrapped tofu. Leave tofu under skillet 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove skillet, then unwrap tofu and discard paper towels. Wrap tofu in 2 layers of fresh, dry paper towels, making sure to cover all sides of tofu block completely.
- Return tofu to plate or cutting board, and place skillet on top of wrapped tofu. Leave tofu under skillet 30 minutes more.
- After second round of 30 minutes, remove skillet, then unwrap tofu and discard paper towels.
To Air Fry Tofu
- Preheat air fryer to 380° Fahrenheit.
- Cut pressed tofu block into evenly-sized cubes. Pat cubes completely dry on all sides with paper towels, then liberally sprinkle salt over all sides of tofu cubes.
- Place tofu cubes in air fryer basket, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding basket. Spray cubes lightly with neutral spray oil, then shake basket to toss tofu in spray oil.
- Place basket in air fryer. Air fry tofu 5 minutes, then remove basket. Shake basket to toss tofu and check doneness.
- Return basket to air fryer and fry tofu 5 minutes more. Repeat process, air frying tofu for 5 minutes then shaking basket and checking doneness, until desired doneness is achieved. See Notes for recommended cooking times.
- When satisfied with doneness of tofu, carefully remove basket from air fryer and transfer tofu to large bowl or serving plates. Toss tofu in sauce if desired, or serve tofu immediately with desired sides and preferred dipping sauce.
- To get crispy, golden tofu, it’s absolutely imperative you drain and press the tofu block.
- Seasoning: Feel free to marinate or season your tofu any way you like before air frying it! We intentionally kept things simple here and used on oil and salt, as this is intended to be a foundational recipe that you can customize however you like or use in other recipes.
Suggested Cook Times
- 10 Minutes Total: for tofu that’s golden in color and crispy on the edges (pictured in this post).
- 15 Minutes Total: for tofu that’s crispy all over but still a little soft.
- 20 Minutes Total: for tofu that’s very crispy and very firm, almost like it’s been commercially deep fried. Not recommended for tofu eaten on its own, but great to use in a saucy stir fry.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.