Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

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Air Fryer Tofu | These tofu nuggets are easy, wholesome, and delicious. They come out so crispy and flavourful while being low fat, making them the perfect addition to grain bowls, wraps, or just about any meal. 5 ingredients are all it takes to make these quick and easy air fryer tofu nuggets.

Tofu nuggets in a bowl with a sauce.

These crispy tofu nuggets are the perfect protein rich dinner idea. They’re super easy to make and take only 8 minutes in the air fryer. Whether you’re a busy parent, a busy professional or someone who just loves easy vegan dinner ideas, this recipe is for you.

With 16 grams of protein per serving, these easy tofu nuggets are the perfect addition to a grain bowl, any wrap, or any main dish. They could also be enjoyed as vegan chicken nuggets, paired with your favourite dipping sauce. I recommend barbecue sauce, a splash of sesame oil and hot sauce mixed with vegan mayo for a spicy barbecue mayo.

This tofu nuggets recipe is super easy and make for the perfect air fried snack. They take about 15 minutes total, making them the perfect time-saving alternative to traditional cooking methods without compromising on flavour and texture.

How do you make tofu nuggets flavourful and crispy?

Marinate the tofu in veggie broth or ‘chicken-less broth’ and some soy sauce for 10 minutes, this will make the tofu itself really flavourful. Then, season the breadcrumbs with nutritional yeast, for a cheesy umami taste, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper.

Leave the rest up to the air fryer! The way the air circulates in the air fryer gets the outside of the nuggets brown and crispy while keeping the inside soft.

Close up of tofu nuggets.

What kind of tofu is best for air fryer?

Firm tofu or extra firm tofu works best for the air fryer and it’s the easiest to work with! The more water content in the tofu, the more likely it is to fall apart. Unlike soft or medium firm tofu, the extra firm has very little moisture, making it the ideal choice for air frying.

Ingredients

More about the ingredients in this recipe. The exact measurements are below.

Ingredients for air fryer tofu nuggets.
  • Extra firm tofu – I use extra firm tofu because of the texture and sturdiness, but firm will also work.
  • Veggie broth and soya sauce – To marinate the tofu pieces, the veggie broth infuses lots of earthy flavours, and the soya sauce simply amplifies the savoury flavour.
  • Flour and corn starch – For the batter. The cornstarch makes it airy and light. If you don’t have cornstarch you can use tapioca starch, or skip it.
  • Panko bread crumbs – Panko is super crispy and light, giving the tofu the perfect crunch. I really recommend using panko, but if you don’t have it, you can use regular breadcrumbs.
  • Nutritional yeast – It has a unique nutty, almost cheesy flavour. Used to season the breadcrumbs.
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and pepper – For seasoning the breadcrumbs, these spices create the perfect savoury flavour profile along with the nutritional yeast.

Instructions

  • Freezing and thawing the tofu gives it a meatier, ‘chicken like’ texture.

First, press the tofu! Drain the tofu package of the liquid, then wrap the tofu block in some paper towel or a clean kitchen towel and place it under a heavy object, like a cast iron pan. Let sit for 15 minutes and then unwrap.

Place the tofu block onto a cutting board horizontally. Cut into 6 even slices. Then cut each slice into 3 pieces. You should have 18 rectangular pieces. You could alternatively tear the tofu into pieces, giving it a rougher texture.

Marinating the tofu.

In a shallow dish, add the tofu cubes and cover with the veggie broth and soya sauce. Let sit for 10 minutes, flipping half way through.

Mixing the breadcrumbs with seasonings.

In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs and all of the seasonings. Mix together and then set aside.

Whisking the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and water, making sure to get rid of any clumps. Set aside.

Coating the tofu in the batter.

Using one hand, remove the tofu from the marinade and coat it in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Drop the tofu piece into the breadcrumb bowl.

Coating the tofu in the breadcrumbs.

Using your other hand, evenly cover the tofu piece in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to your air fryer basket or tray and gently cover with spray cooking spray, or gently brush with oil.

Air frying the tofu nuggets.

Bake for 8 minutes, flipping half way through. If you have a 2-tier air fryer, I suggest rotating the trays as well.

Enjoy the tofu cubes on their own with your favourite dipping sauce, or add to a grain bowl or veggie wrap.

For a crispy pan fried version of this recipe, try my Panko Tofu.

Tofu nuggets in a bowl with a sauce.

Tips for making air fryer tofu

  • Customize the spices: Add additional spices or dried herbs to the breadcrumbs, such as dried thyme, or some cayenne powder for some spice.
  • Press the tofu: Pressing the tofu is an essential step in making the perfect tofu. Drain the tofu package of its liquid, then wrap the tofu block in paper towel and place it under a heavy pan. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Use the wet hand dry hand method to keep your hands cleaner, and to prevent the breadcrumbs from clumping together.

What to serve with air fried tofu

Toss the tofu nuggets into any grain bowl or salad. Or, enjoy them as a crunchy addition to a wrap or sandwich.

For vegan chicken nuggets and fries, air fry or bake the fries according to the package instructions and serve them together with your favourite dipping sauce.

I recommend mixing barbecue sauce, a splash of sesame oil and hot sauce with vegan mayo for a delicious spicy barbecue mayo.

Other delicious dipping sauces include honey dill or honey mustard, chipotle sauce, or ketchup.

For a pan fried version of this recipe, try my Panko Tofu.

For more tofu recipes, try my vegan orange tofu or vegan chicken balls.

Substitutions

  • This recipe is vegan
  • To make them completely oil free, just skip spraying them with oil. They will turn out the same.
  • Firm tofu will also work in place of extra firm tofu. Medium firm tofu could work if you handle it very gently.
  • Experiment with seasonings: Use your favourite spices to season the breadcrumbs to your preferred taste.

Storage

Store the tofu nuggets covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. To store in the freezer, store in an air tight container and keep in the freezer for up to 4 months. Freezing will alter the texture of the tofu.

When stored, the coating will become soft due to moisture exposure, so to reheat them and crisp them up, bake them in the oven at 350°F or in the air fryer at 350F°- 400°F. Heat for 5-7 minutes, and keep an eye on them!

Tofu nuggets in a bowl with a sauce.

FAQ’s

Can tofu nuggets be part of meal prep?

Sure, make the tofu nuggets ahead of time and portion for meal prep. Make sure to separate them from other meal prep items to prevent sogginess. Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or enjoy cold.

What dipping sauce goes well with tofu nuggets?

Any dipping sauce works well with the humble flavours of tofu nuggets. Ketchup, barbecue sauce or honey mustard are well known favourites.

Air fryer tofu nuggets square image.

Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

5 from 1 vote
These tofu nuggets are easy, wholesome, and delicious. They come out so crispy and flavourful while being low fat, making them the perfect addition to grain bowls, wraps, or just about any meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 3

Equipment

  • 1 air fryer I use Instant Vortex Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 300 grams extra firm tofu firm will also work
  • cup veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons soya sauce
  • cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch tapioca starch will also work, or you can skip it altogether
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika regular paprika will also work
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • spray oil

Instructions
 

  • Press the tofu by draining the package of the liquid, then wrapping the tofu block in paper towel and placing it under a heavy pan for 15 minutes.
  • Using the air fry option on your air fryer, preheat it to 400°F. Line your air fryer trays with aluminum foil. If you have a basket air fryer, you may need to do 2 rounds.
  • With the tofu block placed horizontally in front of you, cut it into 6 even slices. Then cut each slice into 3 pieces.
  • In a shallow dish, add the tofu cubes and cover with the veggie broth and soya sauce. Let sit for 10 minutes, flipping half way through.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and water, getting rid of any clumps. Set aside.
  • In another small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and all of the seasonings. Set aside.
  • Using one hand, remove the tofu from the marinade and coat it in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Drop the tofu piece into the breadcrumb bowl.
  • Using your other hand, evenly cover the tofu piece in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to your air fryer tray and spray with oil.
  • Bake for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you have a 2-tier air fryer, rotate the trays as well.

Video

Notes

I use Instant Vortex Air fryer, which has 2 levels. For this recipe I did one round of baking. If you have a basket air fryer, you may need to do 2 rounds.
You can skip spraying or brushing the tofu with oil, they will come out roughly the same.
Instead of Panko breadcrumbs, you can use regular breadcrumbs.
If you tear the tofu into cubes instead of cutting them, they may take more or less time in the air fryer depending on their size.

Nutrition

Calories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 16gFat: 3gFiber: 3gSugar: 2g
Keyword air fryer tofu nuggets
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