Last Updated on May 22, 2021 by Ed Joven
How to cook Crispy Air-Fried Spicy Tofu
If you are craving some crispy tofu without all the oil, air-fried tofu is the answer! The air fryer uses very little fat, and your tofu will be crisp without the need for adding cornstarch. These tasty tofu cubes are perfect for salads, sandwiches, rice bowls, meat substitutes for stir-fries, or on their own as a snack.
We’ve included two versions of crispy air-fried tofu so that you can pick the one that you like the best. The method is identical for both recipes; it’s just the marinade ingredients that differ.
We’ve also added a recipe for a sweet garlic sauce which is delicious with air-fried tofu!
For all of these recipes, though, a few things are important:
- Use super-firm or extra-firm tofu. Any other type of tofu won’t be as crispy, as it has more moisture. This brings us to the second most important thing to remember…
- Press your tofu before you marinate it. Tofu is like a sponge: the more moisture you press out of it before you cook it, the better it will absorb the flavors of your marinade. You can press your tofu between two plates with a weight on top (this will take 20 to 30 minutes). If you make tofu often, you may want to consider using a tofu press, which will do the job in 5 minutes.
- Don’t crowd your air fryer basket. You want your tofu cubes to be in a single layer for the best results. If there’s too much tofu to do that, cook them in batches.
- Toss your tofu a few times while it’s in the air fryer. Tossing your tofu will help it crisp evenly since the air fryer is circulating air around your food. You can pull out the basket and give it a good shake before putting it back into the air fryer.
On to the recipe!
Crispy Air-Fried Spicy Tofu
This recipe serves 8 people.
- 8 ounces of super-firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional, if you want your tofu to be extra-spicy)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (canola, peanut, sunflower, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Place the tofu along with your chosen marinade ingredients in a bowl. Toss to mix well and let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes (even an hour or two).
- Now put the tofu cubes inside the air fryer basket in a single layer. One eight-ounce package of tofu should fit in one layer nicely. Put the basket in the air fryer.
- Put your air fryer on 375 degrees F and air fry your tofu for 10 to 18 minutes. If you prefer tofu that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, cook it for 10 to 12 minutes. For chewier tofu that has more of a meat-like texture, cook it for 16 to 18 minutes. Experiment to see what you like best – you can always taste one of the cubes after 12 minutes and see what you think.
Sweet Garlic Chili Sauce
This recipe makes just over one cup of sauce.
- 3/4 cup of either chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (use maple syrup if you’re vegan)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 3 pcs finger chili
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (or an alternative)
- 1 tablespoon water
- Put the chicken or vegetable broth, honey or maple syrup, soy sauce or tamari, garlic, finger chili and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat. Simmer the sauce, stirring as you go, for 5 minutes.
- In a separate, small bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch together. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and let the sauce simmer to thicken. You should need about 5 minutes or so.
- When your tofu is done in the air fryer, put it into a bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of the sauce.
- Serve your tofu with the rest of the sauce drizzled over the top, if desired.
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