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Air fryer tofu or tofu nuggets are perfect appetizers. These are a great substitute for chicken nuggets in the vegan diet. This gives a chicken-like texture when cooked perfectly. Even an omnivore will love these nuggets.
Enjoy these tofu nuggets without oil. You can also bake these nuggets. But it’s difficult to heat up whole kitchen in summers. And air fryer plays magical role in baking them perfectly crispy. And that to in lesser time.
How to serve these air fryer tofu nuggets?
You will love these simple yet delicious nuggets. These are easy to make yet delicious in taste. Perfect vegan appetizers for any parties you are hosting. Again these are plant-based and oil-free nuggets.
Again these are great vegan snacks for kids as well. These are very much kids friendly. Adjust spices (spiciness) as per the taste for kids. My kid loves these tofu nuggets.
Though this is great as an appetizer as it is, I love to add them to the tacos. So when I make these tofu nuggets, I do other preparations for my tacos too. Or stuff them in sub and serve as a full meal. Add them to your dinner as sides. Completely versatile.
This goes well with any sauces, dips. To make this spicy, coat them with any hot sauce, buffalo sauce bang bang sauce, etc. Or serve them with classic tomato ketchup. My go-to dip for any appetizers.
How to make air fryer tofu?
You can make air fryer tofu in 2 ways. For nuggets, I do coat with bread crumbs, either panko or normal brown bread crumbs. 2nd method is just to put the tofu in marinade for flavor. and then air fry.
Tofu – extra firm or super firm tofu
Broth or marinade of choice
Batter – Flour, corn starch, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, plant-based milk
For coating – bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, pepper
Instruction to make tofu (nuggets)
For a more chicken-like texture the secret formula is freeze and thaw. This gives a more chewy chicken like nuggets. If you want a regular nugget, then no need to freeze.
Preparation:- Soak in marinade
Once you thaw it for few hours, takeout from the packet and press the tofu using 2 plates or a tofu press. This will remove the excess water and will add more space for marinade flavors. Now cut this into 2 slices. Then marinate in broth for at least 30 minutes.
If you don’t have broth, make your own marinade by mixing soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast (optional), and water.
Then take out the tofu slice and cut it into pieces or break it into bite-sized pieces. Shake off for excess liquid. Keep them on a plate.
Preheat the air fryer
Preheat the air fryer at 400 F 0r 200 C for 5 minutes.
Coating of the tofu
In a bowl add flour, corn starch, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt. Add plant-based milk to make a smooth batter of coating consistency. Sidewise in a plate add bread crumbs and add nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, and pepper as per taste.
Now take the pieces and dip it in the flour batter. Then roll it on bread crumbs to coat nicely. Repeat for all pieces. And keep them all on a dry plate.
Air fry the breaded tofu
Remove the air fryer basket and spray little oil to grease. However, you can skip this. They won’t be sticky at all. Place the breaded tofu inside the basket and place it in the air fryer. Start the air fryer at 400F for 15 minutes. Spray little oil or brush them lightly. Or skip it totally. Oil brings a little browning effect. But totally optional and you can make your oil-free tofu nuggets.
Now flip or shake in the midway at around 8 minutes mark. If you need some more crispy, increase 3 – 5 minutes more checking at every 2 minutes after that. Tofu nuggets are ready to serve.
Air fryer tofu without breadcrumbs
To make crispy tofu that is not breaded, follow the above steps, just skip the step on coating the tofu. Rest all instructions are the same. You can choose your own marinade mixture and customize it as per what flavor you need in your tofu. Tofu is normally bland in taste and absorbs flavors of spices from the marinade only. So the taste and flavor depend on the marinade mixture. Check out my other crispy tofu recipe here.
Air fry at 400F for 10 minutes flipping the midways. Spray oil on top or skip.
Crispy tofu is ready in just 10 minutes.
Recipe card for air fryer tofu
Air Fryer Tofu
- Mixing bowls
- Oil sprayer
- 1 block tofu extra firm
- 1 cup broth or marinade
Bread Crumb Mix
- 1 cup bread crumb panko or brown
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Freeze the tofu over night and thaw for 3 – 4 hours.
- Or use fresh tofu from refrigerator.
- Press excess water using tofu press.
- Slice the tofu into two pieces.
- Place them in broth and soak for 30 minutes.
- Then remove from the marinade and cut into pieces.
- Shake off excess liquid and place on a dry plate.
- In a mixing bowl, add flour, corn starch and spices mentioned above in ingredients list.
- Add plant-based milk or water to make batter of coating consistency.
Prepare bread crumb mix
- Sidewise in a plate add bread crumbs and add nutritional yeast, paprika, salt, and pepper as per taste. Mix well.
Preheat the air fryer
- Preheat the air fryer at 400 F or 200 C for 5 minutes.
Coat the Tofu
- Now take the pieces and dip it in the flour batter.
- Then roll it on bread crumbs to coat nicely.
- Repeat for all pieces. And keep them all on a dry plate.
Air fry the tofu nuggets
- Remove the air fryer basket and spray little oil to grease.
- However, you can skip this. They won't be sticky at all.
- Place the breaded tofu inside the basket and place it in the air fryer.
- Start the air fryer at 400F for 15 minutes. Spray little oil or brush them lightly. Or skip it totally.
- Flip them in the midways at 8 minutes mark.
- After 15 minutes, check the tofu nuggets.
- If you want more crispy, fry for 3 – 5 minutes more.
- Serve the nuggets with any dips or sauces.
Air fryer Tofu without breadcrumbs
- Marinate the tofu block with marinade mix or spice mix.
- Place them directly in the air fryer basket and spray a little oil.
- Air fry them for for 10 minutes.
- Flip or shake them in the midways at 5 minutes mark.
- Crispy tofu is ready to serve.