Crispy Asian Tofu (Easy Air Fryer Recipe)

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This crispy Asian Tofu is an easy recipe you can make in 20 minutes in the air fryer (which makes it extra crispy!) The tofu is coated in a delicious homemade Asian sauce that’s sweet, salty, and savory. This Asian tofu is perfect for stir fry or buddha bowls and will be your new favorite way to enjoy tofu.

crispy asian tofu with sesame seeds on top and a chopstick picking it up.

  • FLAVORFUL: The garlic, ginger, and hoisin sauce combined creates the perfect tofu marinade for our Asian tofu!
  • EASY: This is a great recipe for weeknights when you want an easy dinner and pairs perfectly with so many types of veggies and grains. You can even turn it into a delicious Asian Tofu Buddha Bowl and double the recipe for meal prep for lunch and dinner.
  • HIGH PROTEIN: Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein with 20g of protein per serving.
  • OIL FREE: This recipe contains NO OIL ( which is used in many crispy tofu recipes). The extra oil adds on lots of extra empty calories with no nutritional benefit whatsoever. You can have delicious crispy tofu without the need for any oil.
  • VEGAN, DAIRY-FREE, AND POTENTIALLY GLUTEN-FREE

I believe CRISPY tofu is the BEST way to enjoy tofu. The outside is flavorful and crispy with a soft, tender middle. This sauce is out of this world (like lick the bowl good!). If you’re not a tofu fan yet, you will be after trying this and I guarantee this will be one of the most flavorful tofu recipes you will ever try!

▶︎Try out these other delicious tofu recipes:

🍲Ingredients

  • Extra-firm tofu: Extra-firm tofu is the best type of tofu for this recipe. Do not use medium or silken tofu which are too soft. Extra firm tofu won’t be as wet as the other tofus and absorbs our sauce well. You can also find Super Firm Tofu at Trader Joe’s.
  • Hoisin sauce (if gluten-free use GF Hoisin Sauce): Hoisin sauce is a sweet and salty sauce that is a dark caramel color with flavors of red chili, garlic, and fermented soybean paste which gives it the sweetness. It can be found by the other Asian foods in the international aisle at the grocery store.

See recipe card for full list of ingredient and quantities.

⇨Tips for Crispy Tofu⇦

  • Press your tofu for 20 minutes to get rid of the excess moisture.
  • How to Press Tofu: just get a dishcloth and wrap it around your block of tofu. Place on a plate and then a cutting board (or something flat) on top of the tofu. Then find heavy object or two (such as a 3-4 cans or a large book) and place on top of the cutting board. Make sure it’s stable. (You can also buy a TOFU PRESS)
  • Use cornstarch: Not too much, not too little. Follow the recipe below for measurements. This coats the tofu and helps the crispy texture.
  • Air fry your tofu. This makes a big difference in the texture of your tofu. You can bake your tofu for a crispy texture but I think the air fryer is better. Stove-top tofu can be crispy but requires a lot of oil.

Looking for more delicious tofu recipes? You will love my mouthwatering sticky tofu recipe!

📝Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Add your tofu, cornstarch, and garlic powder to a gallon size bag. Shake gently until tofu is evenly coated.

Step 2: Place tofu to air fryer basket and spread in the basket in a single layer, avoiding overlap for the best results when cooking. (This may require two rounds of air frying if not all your tofu fits).

Air fry your tofu at 400F for 5 minutes, gently shake then air fry again for 5-7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Step 3: Stir together marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Heat a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add in your air-fried tofu and the sauce. Mix well until every tofu piece is coated with sauce.

Sauté for 2-3 minutes until sauce begins to caramelize.

Step 4: Serve tofu warm with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, cilantro, and/or green onion. Add the tofu to a bowl of rice, noodles, and/or veggies for a complete meal.

*Top with red pepper flakes for a little spice!

Love Asian-inspired recipes? Try out my Vegan Lo Mein with crispy asian tofu (it’s better than takeout!)

❓Recipe FAQs

How do I prevent the tofu from sticking to the air fryer basket?

1. Make sure the tofu is pressed well-drained. Excess moisture will cause sticking.
2. You can use a non-stick oil spray on the basket before adding the tofu.
3. The addition of cornstarch creates a protective layer to prevent sticking. The tofu in this recipe has a light coating of cornstarch and garlic powder.

Can I use frozen tofu in an air fryer?

Yes, you can use frozen tofu in an air fryer but make sure you let it thaw completely. Drain out any excess moisture and press it if necessary.

What temperature and time should I set my air fryer to cook Asian tofu?

You will cook your tofu 400 F or 204 C for 5 minutes, shake the basket, then cook for another 5-6 minutes until it is golden and crispy.

Can you overcook tofu in the airfryer?

Yes, it is possible to overcook tofu in the air fryer which will lead to a tofu that is too dry and tough, with a chewy or rubbery texture.
I recommend checking your tofu a few times as it is cooking to make sure it is not overcooking. Every air fryer is slightly different in terms of temperature and cook time.
FYI: The smaller the cubes of tofu, the faster they will cook! Adjust your cooking time if necessary.

How do I store leftover Asian tofu?

Store your leftover Asian tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat your crispy Asian air fryer tofu:
Microwave: ~ 30 seconds
Air fry: 400 F for 3-5 minutes
Pan-fry: On medium heat for 3-5 minutes
*Leftover tofu will not be as crispy the first day, but will still taste delicious from the marinade!

▶︎Looking for more quick recipes? Check out this list of 43+ lazy vegan lunches and dinners!

▶︎Not sure what to serve with this crispy tofu? You can use your air fryer to make some easy veggie sides! Check out this incredible list of air fryer vegetable recipes!


PRO TIPS


  • Tofu not getting crispy? If this is your first time making crispy tofu and it didn’t turn out as good as you hoped, don’t worry! You will learn how to make the best crispy tofu with practice. It took me years how learn the proper technique and now I’m sharing that with you!

Remember these key tips:

  1. Don’t skip pressing your tofu. Do this the night or morning before you make your recipe. (You can even leave it in the fridge overnight!)
  2. Don’t overfill your air fryer. If your tofu is not getting crispy, it may be too packed for the hot air to reach every surface of the tofu. Air fry your tofu in two batches and spread out your tofu cubes evenly.
  3. Let your tofu simmer in the sauce for a few minutes until it caramelized and gets even crispier! This only takes a few minutes but will be a game changer in the texture of your tofu (and flavor!)

What to Eat with Crispy Asian Air Fryer Tofu

Other ideas of what to serve with this tofu:

▶︎Want some more ideas? Check out 30+ Recipe Ideas of What to Serve with Tofu! These fried turnips are also seasoned to perfect and make a great side with this tofu.

♡ Did you love this recipe? ♡

Leave a ⭐️rating and ✏️comment below (I love to read them!) Tag us on Instagram with a photo or video of your dish 📸 @naturallieplantbased.

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crispy asian tofu in a bowl with brown rice, cilantro, and chopsticks.

Crispy Asian Tofu (Easy Air Fryer Recipe)

Allie Petersen
This easy crispy Asian tofu can be made in the air fryer in 10 minutes and is coated in a delicious homemade Asian sauce.
5 from 69 votes

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 105 kcal

Ingredients
  

Crispy Asian Tofu

Asian Sauce

Optional

  • sesame seeds
  • cilantro
  • green onion diced

Instructions
 

  • Cut your pressed tofu into 1 inch cubes. Place in a gallon size bag with cornstarch and garlic powder. Gently shake until coated.
    2 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 16 oz block extra firm tofu
  • Add tofu cubes to air fryer, avoiding too much overlap. Cook tofu in air fryer at 400F for 5 minutes, shake gently, then air fry for another 5-7 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.
  • Whisk your Asian sauce ingredients (hoisin sauce, soy sauce, minced garlic cloves, ginger paste, rice vinegar, water)
    2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1.5 tbsp soy sauce*, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp ginger paste*, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp water
  • In a medium size saucepan over low-medium heat, add in air-fried tofu with Asian sauce and mix well until tofu is evenly coated.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes until sauce starts to simmer, thicken, and caramelizes on the tofu.
  • Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion, or cilantro
    sesame seeds, green onion, cilantro
  • Serve over noodles, rice, veggies or enjoy by itself!

Notes

⭐️Make this bowl gluten-free: Swap the soy sauce for tamari and use a Tamari Hoisin Sauce  for a gluten-free version. 
⭐️Ginger paste is blended ginger you can find at the grocery store in a squeeze tube bottle. If you don’t have paste, you can use 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger for ever 1 teaspoon of ginger paste. 
Other tips:
  • Make sure to press your tofu (even if it’s extra firm) to create the best texture.
  • If you like things LESS SALTY you can use low sodium soy sauce instead of regular. I think the regular soy sauce compliments this tofu well, but some may prefer a low sodium version.
  • This recipe creates 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are and what you are serving this with. If you want to ensure leftovers, make sure to double this recipe! 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 9gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 0.2mgSodium: 570mgPotassium: 194mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Comment below & tag @naturallieplantbased on Instagram!

22 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this on the stove because I didn’t have an air fryer. Turned out great; crispy and flavorful!

  2. 5 stars
    Who knew tofu could be so good? With the Asian sauce, this tofu is kick a**. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! I had this with some sesame noodles and bok choy for dinner. It was delicious! The tofu was perfectly seasoned. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    This crispy Asian tofu was so good! It was delicious, easy to make, and the Asian sauce? It was perfect! I would recommend giving this a try!

  5. 5 stars
    My sons love tofu and everything with soy sauce. When I made this crispy tofu, they liked it so much they wanted me to make again. Honestly, it’s become my fave too because it was so easy to make. Literally just 5 minutes to prep and the tofu was ready in the next 10 minutes. Love love love it.

  6. 5 stars
    Yessss this totally solved my soggy tofu takeout problem, I love ordering crispy tofu on nights when I just want a quick dinner but by the time I open it at home it’s lost its texture :(, now I can make it at home and it is the best crispy tofu ever. I like it with a bit of a kick so I mixed it with some spicy kimchi and steam riced, great recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    I love this tofu recipe, it’s so easy to make and versatile. I mostly eat it as a stir fry with different types of veggies and it’s great!

    1. Hi Tom, I actually have not tried freezing leftovers, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. Freezing can actually improve texture of tofu to make it “meatier”.
      My only concern is it will probably lose its crispiness when reheated, but I’m sure the Asian sauce flavors will still be great!
      Report back if you try it out 🙂
      -Allie

  8. 5 stars
    This was seriously the best texture I’ve ever had in a tofu recipe. SO good! Crispy exterior, tender inside – I’ll be adding this to my weekly rotation for sure!

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