5 Vegan Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Recipes Packed With Nearly Half of the Protein You Need in a Day

Photo: Stocksy/ Nataša Mandić
Imagine chicken nuggets and tofu had a lovechild. In our dream world (pun intended), you're envisioning one of these crispy air fryer tofu recipes that have a crunchy exterior, a pillowy-soft center, and taste like divine intervention when dunked in honey mustard.

Because tofu on its own has a very mild flavor profile, it’s by far one of the most versatile ingredients that can easily be doctored up in a million and one ways. Smoothies, stir fry, soups—the list goes on. However, one of our all-time favorite ways to serve this form of fermented soy is by making crispy air fryer tofu bites that are packed with loads of protein—almost half of the recommended daily amount, to be precise. (According to the USDA, for every 100 grams of raw, firm tofu, you’ll get about 17 grams of protein. And for context, the FDA's recommended daily amount of protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight for those over the age of eighteen.)

We won't waste are more of your precious tofu-frying time. Read on for some of the best crispy air fryer tofu recipes to bookmark ASAP.

5 delicious vegan crispy air fryer tofu recipes packed with protein

Crispy tofu air fryer recipe nuggets
Photo: Minimalist Baker

1. Crispy Tofu “Chicken” Nuggets

The perfect vegan chicken nuggets recipe doesn’t exis… until now, that is. These crispy baked (or air-fried) tofu nuggets by Minimalist Baker are the ideal combination of the three C’s: crunchy, chewy, and creamy. For that delicious crispy exterior, the recipe counts on a homemade cashew coating (packed with protein) to do the trick. And, of course, nuggets wouldn’t be complete without something to dunk them into. In this case, it’s a homemade two-ingredient vegan buttermilk made with dairy-free milk and a splash of acid from lemon or apple cider vinegar to mimic the delicious tang. For an eight-count order, you can expect to get a whopping 20 grams of protein, 446 grams of potassium, and 442 grams of calcium.

Get the recipe: Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets

Crispy tofu air fryer recipe air-fryer tofu
Photo: Love and Lemons

2. Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Sometimes the best things in life are plain and simple. Although this crispy air fryer tofu recipe by Love and Lemons is far from plain, it sure is simple. Made with only four pantry staple ingredients—tofu, oil, tamari, sriracha, and cornstarch—making these on the fly for dinner is basically a no-brainer. Best of all, the recipe is easily adaptable, and flavoring the crunchy bites as you please is the best part. Prepare to unload the condiment shelf to dip these into: mustard, ketchup, BBQ, we’re looking at you.

Get the recipe: Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Crispy tofu air fryer recipe Crispy-Air-Fryer-Tofu-23
Photo: Jessica in the Kitchen

3. Sesame Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Just when we thought we couldn’t love our trusty air fryer even more, we discovered this sesame crispy air fryer tofu recipe by Jessica in the Kitchen. The key to making this 10-minute recipe perfect every single time is by not overcrowding the air fryer. For best results, ensure the tofu pieces are evenly spread out without touching one another for maximum crispiness on every angle.

Get the recipe: Sesame Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Crispy tofu air fryer recipe Air-Fryer-Orange-Chicken9869
Photo: Jessica in the Kitchen

4. Air Fryer Orange Tofu

If orange chicken at Trader Joe’s is your must-have grocery staple, these air fryer orange tofu bites by Jessica in the Kitchen are the perfect vegan substitution. To make the sweet and tangy sauce, you only need a few ingredients like orange juice, maple syrup, ground ginger, and soy sauce. Pro tip: Make extra sauce for adding to other recipes in your weekly meal prep routine. BTW, this recipe is freezer-friendly, too. It can be kept in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for up to three months if kept in an airtight container.

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Orange Tofu

Crispy tofu air fryer recipe strips
Photo: Well Plated by Erin

5. Air Fryer Tofu “Chicken Strips”

If you prefer “chicken” strips over nuggets, this air fryer tofu recipe by Well Plated by Erin is calling your name. To ensure your strips are as crunchy as possible, you’ll want to press and drain your tofu ahead of time to remove as much moisture as possible. After all, isn’t the crispy, crunchy outside the best part?

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Tofu “Chicken Strips”

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