This has really been my summer of Air Fryer experimentation. I know I’m late to the party but I’m making up for lost time, and I was especially thrilled with this Air Fryer Tofu. Perfectly golden and crispy, and glazed with a delectably sweet and spicy sauce, this is a winner! And so easy to make too, so let’s get into it.
Making Air Fryer Tofu
I use firm tofu for this and I first remove excess moisture by pressing it in paper towels. I’m generally not a lover of extra firm tofu since it’s missing the pillowiness (is that even a word) and creamy flavor that I crave. But in this instance, firm tofu works better because there’s less moisture to interfere with the frying process. Plus it’s more sturdy and less likely to break apart when you flip over the pieces during the air-frying process.
Then I make a simple marinade with pantry staples that do double duty as a dipping sauce.
Then pour over the tofu, making sure the tofu pieces are coated with the sauce, and let them marinade an hour or two, or even overnight.
When I’m ready to cook the tofu, I reserve the marinade and then add some cornstarch to the tofu to help it really crisp up.
When the tofu is done, it will be golden brown and crispy. Since air fryers, like ovens, can vary in power, you will need to keep an eye on your tofu. If you see that the tofu is getting too dark, lower the heat.
While it’s in the air fryer, I quickly turn the reserved marinade into a syrupy dipping sauce. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes until it is hot and bubbling. It’s pretty thick already so you will not need to reduce it.
I like to garnish with sesame seeds and some scallions.
This Air Fryer Tofu makes an excellent starter, or a fun protein packed snack. Make a double batch and use leftovers for grain bowls or a quick veggie stir fry. If you haven’t yet gotten into Air Frying, I give oven instructions in the notes. Make it this week and let me know what you think! And don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love seeing your creations!
Air Fryer Tofu
- Prep Time: 10 minutes (plus marinating time)
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: serves 4
- Category: small plates
- Cuisine: Korean
- 1 block firm tofu (about 14 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 3 Tablespoons ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons mirin
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Oil spray
- Scallions, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (I used a mix of white and black)
- Drain and wrap the tofu in a couple layers of paper towels. Gently press to eliminate excess water.
- Remove the paper towel and cut the tofu into bite size cubes, about 1 to 1 ½ inch squares.
- In a bowl, mix the sugar, ketchup, mirin, soy sauce, gochujang, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
- Gently transfer the tofu cubes to a storage bag (or container) and add the sauce.
- Seal the bag, squeezing out the air, and gently move the marinade and tofu around, until all the cubes are coated evenly.
- Marinate for an hour or two (or overnight).
- Take the tofu out of the bag and gently place the cubes on a plate. Do not discard the marinade.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch over the tofu generously, flip the tofu, and sprinkle again to coat the other side.
- Spray the air fryer with a cooking spray and add the tofu cubes to the air fryer, leaving a little space between each piece. Spray the tofu with the oil spray.
- Set the air fryer to 400ºF and air fry for 9 to 11 minutes.
- Open the air fryer and gently flip the tofu a few times every 3 minutes or so, so they don’t stick to the bottom and also brown evenly. The tofu is ready when it’s golden brown.
- While the tofu is frying, pour the marinade into a small saucepan.
- Heat the sauce over medium high heat for a couple of minutes until hot and syrupy.
- Pour into a small sauce dish.
- Transfer the tofu to a plate and top with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve Air Fryer Tofu immediately with the sauce on the side.
*You can also bake this tofu in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400. Put down a piece of parchment paper (which is less sticky than aluminum foil.) Spray your parchment paper with oil. Lay your prepared tofu on the paper and spray again with oil. Bake the tofu for 15-20 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through.
Keywords: tofu, vegan, air fryer, korean, gochujang, snacks, crispy