These Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets made in the basket of your air fryer have the perfect crunchy texture and delicious taste. They are made with simple ingredients like extra-firm tofu, cooking spray, nutritional yeast and loaded with flavorful spices.
Tofu is such a versatile ingredient. Like we can actually make a piece of tofu taste like a chicken nugget now, crazy.
This is one of the best air fryer recipes for those following vegan diets, I can guarantee it will blow any air fryer skeptic out of the water. The texture of the tofu is achieved by freezing the tofu, then pressing out the excess water, then air frying till golden brown.
Making these tofu nuggets in the air fryer is my favorite way, but another great way is in the oven. The hot air in the air fryer does make the cooking a little bit more even, but the difference isn’t huge.
Serve these up with ketchup, buffalo sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce. These are sure to be a new favorite snack!
Table of Contents
INGREDIENTS FOR CRISPY AIR FRYER TOFU NUGGETS
You will need the following ingredients listed below to make the tofu recipe (the exact measurements and full recipe are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Extra firm block of tofu – extra firm tofu is a requirement for this recipe. Avoid using silken tofu.
- Nutritional yeast
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Poultry spice
- Red chili flakes
- Salt & black pepper
- Water – can use a non-dairy milk alternative here as well such as soy milk or cashew milk.
- Soy sauce – gluten free if desired.
- Optional – panko breadcrumbs, corn starch, chili powder, hot sauce, bbq sauce, or sweet chili sauce.
HOW TO FREEZE TOFU BLOCK
Freezing tofu creates a much more meaty texture that doesn’t fall apart as easily as regular tofu pieces. As a result you get more chewy and firm tofu that can soak up sauces a lot better.
Toss the tofu in the freezer (with the package on). The night before you want to make the tofu take it out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
The next day when prepping, make sure you wrap the tofu in layers of paper towels or a kitchen towel and press out the moisture with a stack of heavy books or plates.
HOW TO MAKE THE AIR FRYER TOFU NUGGETS RECIPE
Freeze the tofu in the package. The night before you’re going to make this recipe, place it in the refrigerator to defrost.
Remove tofu packaging and place on a plate. Wrap in paper towel and stack heavy plates or books on top to press out all the excess moisture.
Add the nutritional yeast, all spices, water, and soy sauce to a large bowl. Break apart the tofu into uneven chunks.
Evenly coat each piece and use tongs to place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. I made the recipe in two batches.
Air fryer at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, flipping vegan tofu nuggets half way through.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce immediately.
CAN I USE AN OVEN TO BAKE THESE BITE-SIZED PIECES?
Yes you can use a traditional oven. You will have to bake them for about twice as long, but it will yield similar results.
Add the tofu to a baking sheet with the paste and some olive oil spray and you will yield crispy vegan nuggets. The only issue you may have is they will not be cooked as evenly, as an air fryer can cook all sides evenly.
DO I HAVE TO DO THE TOFU PRESS STEP?
Yes, that is crucial to get the correct texture. You want to get out as much moisture as possible.
COULD I ADD A BREAD CRUMB MIXTURE TO THE OUTSIDE TO MAKE BREADED TOFU?
Yes, you absolutely could. After tossing the tofu cubes in the paste you could toss them into panko bread crumbs, all-purpose flour, almond flour, crushed corn flakes, or crushed rice krispie cereal.
HOW TO STORE THE LEFTOVER VEGAN CHICKEN NUGGETS
You can store the tofu bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. To reheat them you can add them back to the air fryer basket.
The only downside to these flavorful nuggets is that they dry out quickly. They are best made fresh and not so much for meal prep.
Other Delicious Savoury Appetizers You May Like To Try
- Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese
- Gluten Free Pizza Bites
- KFC Style Popcorn Chicken Recipe (Vegan)
- The Best Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings (Gluten Free, Easy)
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- 1 pacakge extra firm tofu, 350g
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt + pepper
- To achieve the meaty texture from the tofu you must freeze the tofu. Place the tofu in the freezer (in the package). The night before you're ready to make the tofu nuggets, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw.
- Wrap the tofu in paper towel or a kitchen towel and place a stack of heavy plates or books over it to press out all the excess moisture. Approximately 15-30 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, water, and all the spices. This creates the batter we will be coating the tofu with. If the batter is too thick you can add more water.
- Break the tofu into chunks using your hands. The rougher the edges the better, as they will hold the paste better.
- Place the chunks in the batter and mix, being careful not to break the tofu too much. Then place the tofu in the air fryer in a single layer. Do not add extra batter to the basket as it will burn.
- Air fry at 400F for 10-15 minutes, flipping half way through. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 602mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 6gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g
The nutrition information provided is calculated based on industry-standard software and should be used as a general guide only. The information may vary depending on ingredient substitutions, cooking techniques, and individual serving sizes. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the nutritional information provided. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for personalized medical or nutritional advice.
I love to bake, cook, exercise, and document all of the above. Nutrition is not low fat. It is not low calorie. It’s not feeling deprived or being hungry all the time. It’s nourishing your body with real, whole foods so that you are consistently satisfied and energized to live your life to the fullest! Read more…