Air Fryer Tofu Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

This air fried tofu is the easiest most delicious way to make a good for you flavorful show stopping veggie dinner at home on a weekday in your air fryer. No cornstarch needed for those perfect crispy edges drizzled with our mango basil sauce or your choice of garlicky tzatziki or chimichurri.

Air Fryer Tofu

Air Fryer Tofu

Flavor packed with caramelized crispy edges, these air fryer tofu steaks are sure to become a hit with the whole family. Drizzled with a zesty basil mango sauce and served with spoonfuls of tropical mango salsa over a bed of heirloom black rice, this will become your go to favorite vegan meal.

You can even prep everything in advance and just turn on the air fryer when dinner time rolls around.

Air Fryer Tofu Steaks

What is air frying?

Air frying tofu and veggies is probably the easiest way to get a nutritious meal on the table faster than it would take you to preheat a standard oven. In a nutshell air frying is nothing but convection baking. It’s the millennial’s favorite kitchen appliance, it heats up way faster than your standard oven and there really isn’t any need for oil (besides maybe lightly spraying the basket to prevent sticking). It’s a convenient appliance that makes healthy cooking at home a breeze, it’s what we millennials do, it’s our thing I guess.

If you are still debating on which one to get, I suggest you go for the biggest one that doubles down as a toaster and broiler with a large basket. I have been through a couple (they broke within a year) and the best one that’s lasted the longest and that we use daily is the Breville Smart Oven Pro. I love their large trays and the fact that you can use 3 at once which is a huge benefit for batch cooking and to prevent overcrowding any food.

tofu steaks

About the Tofu

To PRESS or Not to PRESS? – It’s very important to start with an extra firm block and press out the excess water as much as possible. Take your time and do this step or press it a couple of days in advance to have ready to go last minute. Alternatively you could get away “without pressing” by using the “high protein tofu blocks” from Wildwood which is super firm with very little water content. A quick wrap and a squeeze in a tea towel is all that’s needed with this one.

Because I sliced mine into thick tofu steaks, I also lightly scored the top to create a diamond patter and allow the marinade to permeate through those cuts..

If you are looking for smaller crispier pieces to maybe dip in our cashew queso or coat in a bbq or sweet chili sauce, you could actually slice the tofu blocks into one inch thick sticks or cubes. Once removed from the marinade give them a light coating of corn starch to create a light crust and air fry @400”F for 13 to 15 minutes. Alternatively make these crispy air fried tofu nuggets or vegan chicken nuggets recipe and bring out the dipping sauces.

Tofu Steaks

The Marinade

You are going to love this marinade with Asian flair! It’s brimming with umami flavor from tamari, a little sweetness from maple syrup and a touch of smokiness from smoked paprika and liquid smoke. Give it a good 30 minutes on the counter or refrigerate overnight and bring out to room temperature before cooking.

best tofu steaks

Ingredient Notes + FAQs

  • Do I need a tofu press? – NO, but if you have one use it. I have a huge 6 pound can of jackfruit that perfectly does the job for me. You could use a heavy cast iron pot or a stack of books, get creative with whatever is handy in your kitchen.
  • Can I use silken tofu? – The only silken tofu that can work here is the Mori-Nu shelf stable extra firm which does not require pressing. However it is best to use a super firm block if available.
  • Leftovers + Reheating – Any leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed cold in a salad. Alternatively you can reheat under the broiler or microwave for a minute or so.

air fried tofu

How long to air fry tofu?

  • 1 inch tofu steaks – 23 to 25 minutes @400″ F.
  • 1 inch cubes – 13 to 15 minutes @400″ F.

Serving Suggestions

how to make air fryer tofu

Air Fryer Tofu

Air Fryer Tofu Recipe

This air fried tofu is the easiest most delicious way to make a good for you flavorful show stopping veggie dinner at home on a weekday. (No cornstarch needed)
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Marinade:30 minutes
Total Time:1 hour


  • Air Fryer


  • 16 oz block extra firm tofu (or Wildwood high protein tofu)


Mango Salsa

  • 1 yellow mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1 red or green chili pepper chopped
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves sliced or torn
  • 1 lime
  • sea salt to taste


  • Remove the tofu from its package and drain all the water. Slice the block into 4 pieces about 1 inch thick or so.
    16 oz block extra firm tofu
  • Line a large plate with a lint free towel and place the tofu on top. Fold the sides of the towel over the tofu and press with the palm of your hands to absorb as much liquid as possible. Add a heavy item on top like a large can or heavy pot. Allow the tofu to press for a good half hour or so. (This step can be prepped a couple of days ahead if desired and refrigerated).
  • Using a sharp knife cut a few shallow diagonal slits in the wider side of each tofu fillet. For a diamond patter also score the tofu in the opposite direction.
  • In a shallow container combine the marinade ingredients.
    4 Tbsp tamari, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp liquid smoke, 2 Tbsp water, 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • Place the tofu fillets in the marinade with the scored side down. Move the container around as to allow the marinade to flow over the top and coat the tofu all over. Allow to marinade for 30 minutes flipping the tofu half way. (This can also be done overnight in the refrigerator, make sure to bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking).
  • Preheat your air-fryer to 400”F.
  • Lightly brush or spray the air fryer basket with oil or line with a piece of parchment paper. Alternatively you can oil one side of each tofu fillet to prevent sticking.
  • Place the marinated tofu inside the air fryer basket with the scored side up. Air fry for 23 to 25 minutes until you notice a little caramelization around the edges.
  • While the tofu is cooking you can make the mango salsa and the basil mango sauce. These can also be prepped in advance. Serve the tofu over a bed of rice drizzled with the basil mango sauce and mango salsa on top.
  • Mango Salsa
  • Peel and dice the mango into small cubes. Combine with the red onion, chili pepper, a good squeeze of lime juice and basil. Season to taste with sea salt and extra lime as desired.
    1 yellow mango, 1 red or green chili pepper, 1/2 red onion, 1/4 cup basil leaves, 1 lime, sea salt to taste


Air Fryer Tofu Cooking Times
  • 1 inch thick tofu steaks - 23 to 25 minutes @400" F.
  • 1 inch cubes - 13 to 15 minutes @400" F.


Serving: 1tofu steak | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 878IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: air fryer tofu, tofu steaks
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 146kcal
Author: Florentina

Similar Posts


  1. Just spreading the love, that you can get perfectly pressed tofu by soaking it in a pot of just-boiled water for 45 seconds. Drain and VOILA! I don’t know why this isn’t common knowledge.

    1. Thanks for sharing that tip Jenny. I am still not having great success with this method, In my experience I had to let it drain for quite a while after dunking in the hot water. I still ended up wrapping it in a tea towel and pressing with a tomato can for 30 min. I’d love to get this to work, I will try again soon ~ Florentina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating