These crispy air fryer tofu nuggets are a quick and easy vegetarian recipe. Tofu is seasoned and floured air fryer for healthy, crunchy, golden brown tofu that is ready in less than 15 minutes. This tofu is delicious served with dipping sauce or on top of salads or bowls.
This recipe is a great way to make restaurant quality fried tofu cubes at home! Using an air fryer means you can make breaded tofu that is crispy on the outside while still soft and creamy inside without adding any oil!
The air fryer is great at cooking simple dishes with only a few ingredients. Similar to my recipes for air fryer pork tenderloin or air fryer green beans this tofu recipe has only only a few ingredients and is easy to make.
Healthy Fried Tofu
Some people thing of tofu as only for vegetarians, but I love to use it. It is perfect for adding to salads or grain bowls to make them protein rich without adding a lot of calories.
But while you can eat tofu raw I don’t think it tastes very good. By cooking it in the air fryer I can get a nice crispy outer crunch.
Tofu also cooks very quickly in the air fryer with minimal clean up needed. Overall it is a quick and easy way for me to add protein to my meals so I can enjoy healthy, low calorie food.
How Does it Taste?
Tofu by itself doesn’t have a lot of taste. This recipe seasons it with just salt and pepper, so you mostly taste the crisp seasoning.
You can serve it with a dipping sauce, like soy sauce, peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce. It is great at soaking up the flavors of the food surrounding it.
What Kind of Tofu to Use?
There are lots and lots of varieties of tofu, all the way from silken to super firm. Tofu is categorized by its texture, which is basically determined by the amount of water in it.
For crispy tofu you want tofu that has the least amount of water possible. So use extra firm or super firm tofu for this recipe. The harder the tofu is the crispier it will get.
Do I have to Press it?
If you buy extra firm tofu you won’t have to press it. Pressing tofu sounds like too much effort to me and I like low effort meals.
But if all you can find is softer tofu you can press it and then make this recipe. Here is a blog post that describes how to press tofu.
This recipe is super simple! In addition to the tofu it uses:
Step By Step Instructions
1. Prep the Ingredients
Take the tofu out of the packaging and cut it evenly into 12 squares. Keeping the squares of tofu all about the same size ensures that they will cook evenly.
Then combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix. Put the eggs in a second bowl and stir them to mix and break them up.
2. Dip the Tofu
Dip the tofu into the flour mixture. Make sure to coat the pieces on all sides.
Dip a pastry brush in the egg mixture and brush egg over each tofu cube. Get the flour wet and coat the all the sides of the tofu.
If you don’t have a pastry brush you can drizzle the egg over top or dip the tofu cubes. A pastry brush will be the least messy way to coat the cubes.
3. Air Fry the Tofu
Put the tofu cubes into the air fryer basket, making sure to leave space between them for the air to circulate. You will probably need to cook the tofu in multiple batches.
Cook it at 350 F for 12 minutes. The tofu should be nicely golden brown and crispy. As always air fryers vary, so check the tofu after 10 minutes the first time you make this.
How to Store
The tofu will taste best if you serve it immediately. It will lose crispiness as it sits.
If you have extra store it covered in the refrigerator for about 3 days. It will soften in the refrigerator. You can reheat it in the air fryer for about 5 minutes to bring back some crispiness.
Can I Make This Gluten Free?
You can easily make this recipe gluten free by using a gluten free flour. A blended gluten free flour will probably give you the best results.
Can I Make This Vegan?
It is difficult to make breaded tofu vegan since the eggs are what gives this recipe its golden crispiness. The best option if you want vegan tofu is skip both the flour and egg.
Instead just toss the tofu cubes in your favorite spices and cook them as directed. They won’t have a crunchy outer coating, but they will still be crispy on the outside and tasty.
This is a very simple recipe seasoned with just salt and pepper. But you can definitely change things up and experiment with your favorite seasonings.
Here are some seasoning suggestions:
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika for hot and spicy tofu.
- Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for Italian flavored tofu.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning for a peppery seafood inspired flavor.
- Use 1/2 teaspoon of Caribbean jerk seasoning for sweet and spicy tofu.
How to Serve
I like to serve this on top of a salad or grain bowl. I just toss it with whatever salad dressing or sauce I am making! It is also great added to stir fry or noodles.
You can also serve it as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. Soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, chili sauce or peanut sauce are all great choices for dipping the tofu.
Including a variety of dipping sauces and serving it with air fryer egg rolls is a great way to include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices in an appetizer spread!
- 3 12.3 ounce hard tofu packages
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- Remove the tofu from the packages and cut each package evenly into 12 cubes.
- In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Then dip each tofu cube into the flour mixture, covering all the sides.
- In another bowl beat the eggs. Then brush egg over the cubes of tofu.
- Place the tofu in the air fryer, being careful to leave space between the cubes. Make more than one batch if necessary.
- Air fry at 350 F or 12 minutes.
- Serve with dipping sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
Nutrition facts are estimates.