You'll love how easy it is to make crispy tofu in your air fryer without any oil. Serve it with a fresh lemon sauce you can make in minutes. Once you try this quick and simple method, you may never want to prepare tofu any other way.
If you've ever wondered why the tofu you prepare at home pales in comparison to what you've tried in restaurants, you've come to the right place. The secrets to making scrumptious golden nuggets of tofu without oil are in this easy air fryer recipe.
Why you'll love this recipe
- You only need 5 ingredients and less than 45 minutes to make it.
- The tofu tastes like the deep-fried version you get in restaurants, yet it's oil-free.
- You'll want to lick your plate to enjoy every last bit of the incredible lemon sauce.
For the tofu:
- Extra-firm tofu
- Tamari (or soy sauce, if you do not need to follow a gluten-free diet)
- Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
For the lemon sauce:
- Lemon (both the zest and the juice)
- Organic sugar
- Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cut the tofu into cubes and marinate in tamari and cornstarch for 15 minutes.
- Air fry the tofu.
- Quickly simmer the tofu in the lemon sauce and serve.
Ever wonder why the plant-based meals you see on Facebook and Instagram look so mouth-watering and inviting while yours are bland and boring?
You need the FREE Instant Flavor guide
Lemon tofu is delicious served with rice or your favorite grain. Or try it on a bed of spinach, chard, or baby kale. There's no need to cook the greens since they will wilt from the heat of the sauce. In addition, these veggie sides pair well with this citrusy dish:
While best enjoyed right away, leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days and microwaved to reheat.
Cornstarch works in two ways: It makes food crispy, and it thickens sauces. It this recipe, we're using it for both coating the tofu before air frying and for thickening the lemon sauce.
If you want the tofu to be crispy, it's best to press it to remove any excess moisture. However, if you use super-firm tofu instead of extra-firm tofu, you do not need to press it. My favorite is Hodo Foods organic firm tofu which already has the extra moisture removed. I get it delivered in my Imperfect Foods box.
Tofu is sold already cooked, and you can eat it straight from the package if you want. When air frying tofu, we want it to be browned and crispy on the outside. If after 10 minutes it's not done to your liking, cook it for 2 to 5 minutes longer, checking every couple of minutes.
More air fryer recipes
Do you love air frying?
Whether you are new to using this handy appliance or experienced and looking for more recipes, check out my recommendations for the best air fryer cookbooks for vegans.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Air Fried Tofu with Lemon Sauce
- Cut the tofu in cubes.
- Place the tofu cubes in a quart-size plastic zipper storage bag. (Or use a glass storage container with a lid.) Add the tamari and seal the bag. Shake the bag until all the tofu is coated with the tamari.
- Add the tablespoon of cornstarch to the bag. Shake again until the tofu is coated. Set the tofu aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile add all the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and mix with a spoon. Set aside.
- Place the tofu in the air fryer in a single layer. If you have a basket-style model, you will probably need to do this in two batches.
- Cook the tofu at 390 degrees for 10 minutes, shaking it after 5 minutes. If it's not browned and crispy enough, cook it for 2 to 5 minutes longer, checking every couple of minutes.
- After you're done cooking the batches of tofu, add it all to a skillet over medium-high heat. Give the sauce a stir and pour it over the tofu. Stir the tofu and sauce until the sauce has thickened and the tofu is heated through.
- Serve immediately with rice and steamed vegetables, if desired.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
Want to learn the 5 Secrets to Cooking the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Way? Join the the FREE 5-day mini course and get the secrets delivered to your inbox.
This post was updated to provide better information. The recipe is unchanged.