Make crispy air fryer tofu with a spicy peanut sauce and lots of vegetables for a vegan dinner that’s simple, but feels fancy! This tofu is super flavourful, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Also gluten-free and ready in under 30 minutes!
I think we’ve all had an unfortunate experience with tofu here and there. Whether lacking in flavor, dry, or soggy, it may have changed your perception of tofu altogether. But fear not, because this air fryer tofu recipe will change your mind once again! It achieves the perfect balance between flavor and crispiness. And it’s so easy to make, too - no fancy ingredients or preparation steps!
In general, I love air frying absolutely everything, and it's an exceptional way to make tofu taste good. The air fryer has quickly become one of my favorite kitchen tools, as it’s a great way to make anything taste better. And of course, crispy food is just the best in general. Give this amazing tofu recipe a go for dinner, and I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Crispy air fryer tofu
This crispy air fryer tofu achieves the perfect balance between flavor and crispiness. It has just the right amount of crunch without being dry. The inside, meanwhile, is spongy and soft, and infused with the simple spicy marinade.
Speaking of the marinade, you need just 3 ingredients to make it: paprika, tamari or soy sauce, and maple syrup. Despite the simplicity, it perfectly accompanies the neutrally- flavoured tofu base. You can then go ahead and serve it with any dip or sauce of your choice. Here I made a spicy peanut sauce with vegetables, but something like chunky guacamole or homemade dairy-free sour cream would also make a fantastic option!
How to make crispy tofu in the air fryer
You want to start by pressing your tofu for at least 30 minutes if necessary. Or you can buy pre-pressed extra firm tofu. Simply use a tofu press, or place a frying pan on top of the tofu, followed by more heavy objects such as tins or books.
Next, cube the tofu and mix it together with the paprika, maple syrup and soy sauce/tamari. I would recommend marinading it for 30 minutes, or even leave it in the fridge overnight. This will ensure the best results in terms of flavor.
Now transfer the tofu to the air fryer basket and air fry for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees C/400 F. Shake the air fryer basket half way through. Now, it’s ready to serve!
How to make crispy tofu in the oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also make this crispy tofu in the oven. Simply line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/350 F. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the baking tray, and bake for around 15 minutes, until perfectly crispy.
Spicy lime peanut sauce
I absolutely love serving air fryer tofu with this peanut sauce. It features just a handful of ingredients and accompanies the tofu perfectly.
In order to make it, simply stir together soy yogurt, peanut butter, sriracha and lime juice. Then, add vegetables of your choice for extra texture and crunch. I added fresh cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and an onion. But other options, such as zucchini, would also work really well.
Tips and substitutions
- Make sure to press the tofu really well, especially if not using extra firm tofu. Water-logged tofu definitely will not turn out as crispy!
- Don’t keep it in the air fryer for much longer than about 12-15 minutes, as it can become dry quite fast if not careful.
- This air fryer tofu keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- You can also use the same marinade for ingredients such as chickpeas, tempeh and vegetables, either baking them or also putting them in the air fryer.
Other tofu recipes you will love
- You must try making mac and cheese with tofu!
- My 'honey' BBQ tofu is a dinnertime favorite.
- You can't go wrong with sweet and sour tofu.
- Start the morning with scrambled tofu!
- Tofu noodles with asparagus make a fantastic lunch.
- Mixing bowl x 2
- Air fryer
For the crispy air fryer tofu
- 10 oz extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
For the spicy peanut sauce
- 1 cup soy yogurt
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp lime juice (juice of ½ lime)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 large onion diced
- Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes if necessary. Or you can buy pre-pressed extra firm tofu.
- Cube the tofu and mix it together with the paprika, maple syrup and soy sauce/tamari. Marinade for 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Transfer the tofu to the air fryer basket and air fry for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees C/400 F. Shake the air fryer basket half way through.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Simply mix together the soy yogurt, peanut butter, sriracha and lime juice. Then, add the cherry tomatoes, bell pepper and onion and mix once again.
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