Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

4.62 from 13 votes

Have you been looking for the perfect tofu nugget recipe? Look no further! These crispy air fryer tofu nuggets are the best and so easy to make.

air fryer tofu nugget being dipped into ketchup
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Tofu is one of my favorite versatile vegetarian proteins, but texture is very important.

It is naturally very soft, so you have to cook it right to be able to get that firm and meaty texture instead of a soft and mushy one.

These air fryer nuggets are insanely crispy, and are the best meat like texture nugget that I have ever made.

The inside is very similar to the texture of store bought vegetarian chicken nuggets!

a bite taken out of a tofu nugget to show the meaty texture

Why should I freeze tofu?

This recipe has one different, but very important step: freezing the tofu.

Never heard of freezing tofu? Me neither until recently!

When I read that freezing tofu resulted in a much more meaty texture that did not fall apart, I just knew I had to try it!

As Food52 explains, “When the tofu freezes, its water turns to ice crystals, which create small, sponge-like holes that remain once the tofu is thawed and the ice turns into water.”

The result? Firmer and chewier tofu that soaks up sauces and dips like a dream!

How to freeze tofu

Drain a block of extra firm tofu and wrap it in a dish towel.

Place something heavy, such as a cast iron skillet on top and press for 10 minutes to remove some of the liquid.

Place the tofu in a container or ziploc bag and freeze until solid.

a block of frozen tofu

How to make air fryer tofu nuggets

Ok, so now you have frozen your tofu, what is next?

Remove your tofu from the freezer and place on a plate. Microwave for 3 – 5 minutes, until thawed.

Place the tofu in a dish towel again and press out the remaining liquid, this should only take around 30 seconds thanks to freezing the tofu!

Next, tear your block of tofu into bite sized pieces.

frozen tofu torn into bite sized pieces in a bowl

The breading for these air fryer tofu nuggets will be panko bread crumbs.

To make the batter for dipping, in a bowl you will combine the flour, water, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and nutritional yeast.

torn tofu, batter, and panko bread crumbs in separate bowls

Dip each tofu nugget in the batter, shake off any excess, then dip in the panko bread crumbs to coat.

Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray.

Place the breaded tofu bites into the air fryer basket.

breaded tofu nuggets in the air fryer basket

How long you will air fry will depend on your air fryer model.

I did 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then shook the tofu around before air frying an additional 3 – 5 minutes and they were super crispy!

I just can’t get over how incredible the texture was! These nuggets are super crispy on the outside, and incredibly “meaty” on the inside.

These would be divine dipped in my homemade chick fil a sauce!

air fryer tofu nugget being dipped into ketchup

More tofu recipes you might like

a bite taken out of a tofu nugget to show the meaty texture
tofu nugget dipped in ketchup
image with text "air fryer tofu nuggets"
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air fryer tofu nugget being dipped into ketchup
4.62 from 13 votes

Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets

By: Joy Shull
These crispy air fryer tofu nuggets have a delicious hearty texture and taste amazing with your favorite dipping sauce!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, frozen (see instructions)

For the batter

  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

For the breading

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions 

  • Drain a block of tofu and place on a dish towel, then place something heavy on it such as a cast iron skillet, for 10 minutes
  • Place the tofu in a container or bag and freeze until solid.
  • Once frozen, remove the tofu block from the freezer and microwave for 3 – 5 minutes, until thawed.
  • Place the tofu block on a towel and press out the remaining water using your hands or something heavy. This should only take 30 seconds since the tofu has been frozen.
  • Mix the flour, water, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and nutritional yeast in a medium sized bowl
  • Place the panko bread crumbs in a separate bowl
  • Tear the tofu into bite sized pieces
  • Dip each piece of tofu in the batter, shake off any excess, then roll in the panko bread crumbs
  • Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray, then place the breaded tofu bites into the basket
  • Repeat batter and breading until all tofu is coated and placed in the air fryer
  • Air fry the tofu nuggets at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then shake and flip the tofu
  • Air fry an additional 3 – 8 minutes until browned and crispy.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 757mg, Potassium: 250mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 0.3IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 3mg
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5 Comments

  1. This recipe is perfect. I’ve always been kind of ho-hum on tofu and I’m realizing it’s because I clearly haven’t been preparing it correctly. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  2. Great recipe. Nice and crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Thank you for sharing!