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Crispy tofu on a plate

Easy Crispy Tofu (3 Ways!)

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This Easy Crispy Tofu is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy tofu. Check out the three methods for the best crispy tofu ever!


Units Scale
  • 16-ounce (454 grams) block of super firm tofu (vacuum sealed, see note 1 for other)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other high heat oil), optional (see note 2 for oil-free)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or substitute breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, optional


  1. Prep tofu: If you did not buy super firm tofu (the kind that comes vacuum sealed), drain out all the water and press the block of tofu in either a tofu press or between two plates/cutting boards with a heavy weight on them for 20-30 minutes. Waterlogged tofu will not get very crispy. Cube your super firm or pressed tofu in 1 inch cubes.
  2. Mix wet ingredients with tofu: In a large wide bowl, add your tofu and pour the oil (if using) and soy sauce over it. Mix gently with a spatula.
  3. Make the dry mix: In a gallon size reusable food storage bag (or another large bowl or container), mix together the nutritional yeast, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, and spices. I use the bag because I can just close it up and shake it.
  4. Bread the tofu: Add the tofu to the bag (shake off excess liquid as you do), seal the top, and shake it very well to coat the tofu completely. If using a bowl, gently toss the tofu in the breading until completely coated.
  5. Air Fryer Method: Add breaded tofu cubes to your air fryer in a single layer. Set it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or 205 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes and shake the basket halfway through. Check the crispness. If you desire the tofu to be more crispy, cook for longer or you can give it a misting of avocado (or other) oil if you like and then cook it for a few more minutes. 20-22 minutes usually works perfectly for me.
  6. Oven Method: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius) while you prep your tofu. Place breaded tofu cubes on a baking tray lined either with a silicone baking mat (I find this gets the tofu crisper) or parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the tofu and rotating the pan halfway through.
  7. Pan Frying Method: Heat a few tablespoons of a neutral, high heat oil (I use either avocado or grapeseed oil) in a large skillet (preferably non-stick I like this nonstick skillet from AllClad) over high heat. Heat until it begins to shimmer, usually about 30-60 seconds. Add half the breaded tofu cubes, giving them some good breathing room. Line a plate on the counter with paper towels. Cook the tofu until browned on each side. I prefer a medium dark brown, but you can cook to your preference. I prefer to flip my tofu with silicone tipped tongs. Once cooked, place each cube on the lined plate. Once you’re through cooking that batch, add the remaining cubes and cook them.
  8. Serve: Serve up your crispy tofu however you like and enjoy! I like to serve mine with creamy tahini pasta but also basically anything from salads, potatoes, pastas, rice, or on its own.
  9. Chill: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days in an airtight container. I recommend reheating in the air fryer, pan, or oven to regain the crispy texture, although I have to say I really like the cold tofu… it’s not crisp anymore but it tastes really good anyway.


  • Note 1: Super firm tofu gets you the most crispy tofu for your buck. I’m talking about the kind in the vacuum-sealed plastic, not a tub full of water. If you only have firm or extra firm tofu (that comes in water), you can still make this deliciousness. Drain all the water from the package and then use a tofu press or two plates or cutting boards, paper towels, and a heavy weight (like books or a cast iron pan) to press the tofu for 20-30 minutes. Otherwise the tofu may turn out soggy--I speak from experience. I recommend the super firm tofu if you can find it--I can usually find it in my local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, Asian market, and even Costco.
  • Note 2: The oil is optional, BUT it will give you super crispy tofu. You absolutely can obtain crispy tofu without the oil, and when I’m just cooking it to have outside of a recipe, I don’t use oil. But adding it really will make it that much crispier. You can use any neutral high heat oil--I like to use avocado oil.
  • Note 3: The airfryer method is not the fastest method (pan frying is), but it’s my favorite for two reasons. It’s hands-off (I shake the basket once halfway through but otherwise I’m free to do other things) and it allows me to use less (or no) oil.
  • Note 4: You can flavor the “breading” (my method is no-fuss though) with any spices you like, and add it to any sauce such as homemade vegan sweet and sour sauce or vegan teriyaki sauce, or store bought is fine too… I guess… Just kidding. But I do prefer homemade sauce. For the spices, add anything you like. Often I will add paprika or smoked paprika. For Asian-inspired dishes I will add ground ginger. If putting in a curry, you could add turmeric or curry powder. I find layering the flavor to be very helpful with whatever dish I’m making. If watching sodium, leave out the salt.
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Tofu

Keywords: Vegan Tofu, Tofu, Crispy Tofu, Tofu Recipes