Orange Tofu (Air Fryer Recipe)
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Easy orange tofu recipe with pillowy soft center and caramelized crispy edges tossed in a thick and zesty orange sauce. It can be cooked in the air fryer without oil, pan fried or oven bake. Make it spicy with a pinch of red chili or keep it mild to your liking. Vegan, gluten free recipe.
Orange Tofu Recipe
Bursting with orange flavor and better than Panda Express, this tofu orange chicken is actually healthy and good for you, quick and easy to make and ready in 20 minutes.
A riff on the peanut tofu from the other day but with a completely different flavor profile. I still followed the basic prep of the tofu, got it perfectly crispy in the air fryer and tossed it in my homemade orange sauce.
A light dusting of tapioca helps the tofu develop a perfectly crisp thin crust without the need of any oil at all.
Preparing the Tofu:
- After pressing the tofu make sure to tear it into irregular bite size pieces. Do not cut it into perfect squares or triangles, you want a rustic texture with irregular curves and edges that will give you lots of caramelized little bits all over the surface.
- Toss with tapioca and air fry, bake or pan fry before coating it in that delicious sauce.
how to make the orange sauce / glaze:
- Whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, almond butter, orange peel and apple cider vinegar. Reduce on medium low flame for a couple of minutes, just until a thick and sticky texture is achieved.
- Note – You can make the glaze using almond, cashew or walnut butter but not peanut butter which would overwhelm it. It only works with a milder flavor nut butter like the ones mentioned. You really want the orange from both the juice and the peel to shine through and not get lost.
- Is tofu vegan? Absolutely 100% cruelty-free vegan recipe!
- Should I marinade the tofu? Not in this case, the marinade isn’t necessary as you’ll be tossing it all in a luscious glaze after all.
- What’s the best air fryer ? I only have experience with my Cuisinart Air Fryer and Breville which I absolutely love. They both double down as a spacious toaster and convection oven, we literally use it every day.
- Is soy healthy ? Spend some time with some unbiased scientific research papers on soy foods and you’ll be amazed at all the health benefits. Dr. Michael Greger breaks them down into short digestible videos over on the NutritionFacts.org website.
what to serve with:
- these favorite noodles
- steamed or roasted broccoli
- bell pepper stir fry
- sauteed asparagus & bok choy
- vegan fried rice
- fresh chives + sesame seeds
- a bowl of brown rice.
P.S. As always, if you make this recipe please come back here to rate it, snap a photo and tag me with #VeggieSociety on Instagram, it totally makes my day! ~ Florentina Xo’s
Orange Tofu ~ Air Fryer Recipe
Zesty orange tofu with pillowy soft center and caramelized crispy edges, cooked in the air fryer without oil then tossed in a thick orange glaze.Print Recipe
- 14 oz block firm tofu, organic non-GMO
- 1 tbsp tapioca
- sea salt to taste
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp almond butter, cashew or walnut
- 4 inch orange peel
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (or dried red chilis to taste)
Air fry the Tofu:
- Drain the tofu and wrap it in a tea towel patting dry as much of the moisture as possible. Place a heavy pan on top and allow to press at room temperature for a couple of hours.
- Use your hands and tear the tofu into irregular 1.5 inch pieces. Sprinkle with the tapioca and a pinch of sea salt and toss to coat well.
- Place the tofu in the air-fryer tray without touching each other. Air fry at 400”F for 14 minutes tossing half way. Do not overcook the tofu or it will dry out too much. Remove it from the air fryer as soon as the time is up even if you aren’t using it right away. (To avoid any crumbs falling in the bottom you can line the tray with parchment paper).
Make the Orange Sauce:
- Whisk all the glaze ingredients together until combined. Transfer to a skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook on medium flame until thick and sticky, about two minutes or so.
- Add the air fried tofu to the orange sauce and toss to coat well. Serve over noodles or a bed of rice garnished with the fresh chives, scallions, sesame seeds or extra red chili for heat.
- Coat the pressed tofu with a light spray of olive oil, a light dusting of tapioca or cornstarch and a good pinch of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet preferably without touching each other in one single layer. Bake the seasoned tofu in a preheated oven at 400”F for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and crispy to your liking flipping it half way. Toss with the orange glaze and serve.
Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1017mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 23.9mg | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 3.5mg
Servings: 2 people
Wow, I honestly didn’t expect this recipe to blow my mind by here I am mind blown and everything. I love al your air fried recipes and for giving me faith that I can live without oil and without meat. Really fantastic recipe at the top of my list to make at least once a week. 🤗
This was the most delicious tofu I’ve ever had. It’s going on my weekly rotation and I don’t see myself getting tired of it anytime soon. Bonus points for being an oil free recipe!
Can this recipe be modified to be made with out an air fryer ? Sorry if this is a dumb question! It looks so yummy but I don’t have an air fryer! Thank you
Hi Melody! Yes it definitely can, I’ll update the recipe to include the oven baked instructions. Meanwhile just use this: Coat the tofu with a light spray of olive oil, a light dusting of tapioca or cornstarch and a good pinch of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders and in my case smoked paprika. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet preferably without touching each other in one single layer.Bake in a preheated oven at 400”F for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and crispy to your liking flipping it half way.
This looks like a delicious recipe! We eat tofu in my house, but just to change things up occasionally, do you think cauliflower could be substituted for the tofu? And if so, do you have any suggestions on changes to be made – especially when it comes to the air fryer, which I’m still new to using (I have the same one you do, so at least I won’t have to figure out how to accommodate a different fryer on top of it all)?
Cauliflower would definitely work and I would follow the recipes as is. If desired you can cook the cauliflower longer depending on how well done you prefer it. My air-fryer door just broke so I need to fix it asap then I’ll do some cauliflower recipes too 🙂
Really enjoyed this. The tofu was superbly crispy! I’m new to air frying, and I would suggest leaving the parchment paper out of the air fryer while it preheats…I almost had a fire.
So glad you loved the recipe Dianne, and yes I always add the basket lined with parchment paper at the same time with the tofu. You don’t even need to use parchment paper at all if you don’t mind cleaning the bottom tray of any crumbs. The air circulated better that way anyway and you’ll end up with even crisper tofu 🙂
Do I zest the orange peel and put that in or just cook the orange peel in the sauce for a bit to get the flavor out of it?
I just cook the orange peel in the sauce to extract the flavor but you could zest it if you prefer.
Is it ok to skip the orange peel? I don’t have an orange h fortunately.
Yes it’s ok.
I am sure this is a dumb question but do I press the tofu for 2 hours exactly? Is this what causes the crispy consistency ? I am trying to make this for my wife who is not a vegan and I am so ready to become vegan that I am willing to make this recipe for her because she LOVES ORANGE CHICKEN and this would be a WONDERFUL LIFE SAVING SUBSTITUTE!!!
First of that is so sweet of you! The idea is to squeeze as much water out of the tofu as possible but no it doesn’t have to be 2 hours. With the air fryer you can actually increase cooking time and that will evaporate more of the moisture if tofu wasn’t pressed enough. You just need to keep an eye on it depending on the air fryer model you have and you might be able to get away even without pressing the tofu in the future. Let me know how it goes.