Marinated tofu air fryer recipe that is gluten free but full of flavor with a killer Asian marinade takes these tofu bites out of this world delicious with a crispy outside and tender insides! This is how to air fry tofu without cornstarch y’all….
This marinated air fryer tofu recipe is amazing if I don’t say so myself. No breading required, just a to die for sauce to make crispy bites you can throw right into your mouth! Find this and more easy air fryer recipes here. (affiliate links present, originally published 5/22)
Ninja Foodi Tofu
It doesn’t matter what brand of pot you might have on your countertop. You can make these into tofu lettuce wraps either way. I have three different types and they all work the same as long as you preheat them first.
The only real differences between them is the size of the air fryer basket and color of the pot on the outside. I bought one just because it was white and would look pretty on my countertop. I just had to (guilty).
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
How to Air Fry Tofu Without Cornstarch
You don’t need to add much to this to make it taste amazing. Some toss cubes in flour or cornstarch which is not okay if you need an option that is gluten free. I will say you do need to add flavor, our marinade does that well.
How to Air Fry Tofu
My girls have been known to make this all by themselves when I am away. Of course they are teens so if yours are little you’d need to be present but these are a great after school snack for sure. Enjoy as is with salt and pepper when done or drizzle a sauce like our sweet and sour tofu.
It is hard to compare the two exactly as each cut of beef and/or chicken will vary it’s nutritional content. BUT it IS an excellent source of plant based protein and fiber without the cholesterol and saturated fat.
If you’ve never tried it there isn’t much flavor at all. That is why you really need to add your own twist to it. This tofu marinade brings it to an all new level of WOW if you ask us.
Two types, and then there are slight variations in those categories. Silken and regular are the 2. The first is soft, like silk. Regular has a variety of firmness. You want extra firm to air fry tofu.
How is tofu good for you?
It is a great source of protein, has all nine amino acids in it, and is also a fabulous plant source complete with iron and calcium.
Salt and Pepper Tofu Air Fryer
Ok so I was born and grew up in Hawaii and did eat a lot of rice and tofu there. I thought it was a “normal” every day food until I got older and lived in the states. I realized that wasn’t entirely true.
Some are a bit weirded out by it, and won’t even try. I will say the soft version isn’t my favorite BUT firm with a great sauce and crisped is amazing. There are TONS of different flavors you can add.
- I encourage you to try a few different tofu asian marinade creations and see which you like best.
The ingredients are pretty simple. Of course you could use jarred teriyaki sauce instead, or make our homemade teriyaki sauce we used to make Instant Pot teriyaki chicken thighs too.
You can also skip the sauce and instead make a simple coating that will allow sesame seeds to cover the outside. Our tofu nuggets version is great too, just a different texture.
Tofu air fryer recipe
Here are the basic ingredients we used this time. If you have a marinade of your own that you love then use that of course. In the case that you are saving on calories or just like plain and simple leave that out and just use a bit of oil and salt and pepper.
- Firm or extra firm (best) tofu
- Soy sauce
- Garlic chili sauce
- Sesame oil
- Minced garlic
- Sesame seeds and diced green onions are great as a garnish
The timing will vary just slightly depending on how crispy you want the outsides to be. The most important thing is to press down when wrapped in some paper towels or cheesecloth to eliminate moisture at the beginning.
If you love that crunchy deep fried taste, but not that oily taste on your food you’ll love this tofu recipe! If anything you can just lightly spritz olive oil to really crisp up the outsides but that’s not even necessary.
Which tofu is best for frying?
Well we are air frying but the same answer holds true. You want to choose the refrigerated package labeled extra-firm. This will ensure that it doesn’t fall apart when marinated or cooked.
It’s a great recipe that requires no breading and if you use Tamari or coconut aminos and a bit of garlic powder it would be a gluten free option.
- I will tell you these were so good my girls thought these were amazing!!
- It could be used as a quick meal, air fryer appetizer or pop into your mouth snack.
Crispy tofu air fryer
How Long to Air Fry Tofu
Here’s a quick rundown but there is a printable recipe card with all the ingredients necessary at the bottom of this post you should refer to. Wrap the tofu block in a light cheesecloth or a few paper towels that have been folded together.
- Press the tofu firmly but don’t break it apart. You want to remove as much moisture as possible with this step.
- Cut into 1″ tofu cubes and put into a shallow dish.
- In a bowl mix together your marinade ingredients and pour on top of your tofu bites. Leave for 5-10 minutes so it can soak up the sauce. For gluten free, use Tamari instead.
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Spray inside of basket and place pieces inside in a single layer. Set time to 12 minutes, at minute 6 flip each piece over. Take out when they’re as crispy as you’d like them to be (may cook up to 15 minutes total for extra crispy)
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions or chives.
This takes a total of just 20 minutes. Packed with protein they have tons of flavor with this Asian style sauce. I do not recommend after 6 minutes shaking the basket as they may break apart, just flip each one over.
How do you store leftover tofu?
If you have a bunch then only prepare what you’re going to cook. Once you press the water out you’ll need to eat it that day. If you just want to cook half put the other piece in a container with some cold water. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days and use at that time. Keeping any longer will change and break down the consistency.
Do you heat up tofu?
If you want to just warm up your leftover tofu you can put it into the oven at 325 degrees F for about 10 minutes. If cut into cubes it won’t take quite that long either. Looking for more easy under 30 minute recipes?
- We love these air fryer sweet potato chips alongside hamburgers.
- We have a bunch of air fryer chicken breast recipes to choose from. They go together quite well with these.
- OR serve them with some salmon in the air fryer.
Crispy tofu bites
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Tofu Air Fryer
- Wrap the tofu block in a light cheesecloth or a few paper towels that have been folded together, press firmly but don't break it apart. You want to remove as much moisture as possible with this step.
- Cut your tofu into 1" cubes and put into a shallow dish.
- In a bowl mix together your marinade ingredients and pour on top of your tofu bites. Leave for 5-10 minutes so it can soak up the sauce.
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Spray inside of basket and place pieces inside so they're not overlapping.
- Set time to 12 minutes, at minute 6 flip each piece over.
- Take out when they're as crispy as you'd like them to be and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions or chives.