The oven-baked version of this recipe originally appeared on my sister site: No Sweat Vegan
This Air Fryer Teriyaki Tofu has a quick homemade sauce and comes together in about 20 minutes! Serve it with rice and steamed broccoli for a healthy and delicious vegan meal the whole family will love.
Whenever I've ordered Tofu Teriyaki at a restaurant, I'm always disappointed to get bland squares of spongey tofu with a thin, watery sauce that won't stick. So when developing this recipe I wanted to be sure to get crunchy tofu with a chewy texture, and a flavorful sticky sauce that clings to the tofu. And boy did I ever hit the target on this one!
Cornstarch helps get the tofu chunks nice and crispy. While that's cooking in the air fryer, whisk together the ingredients for this simple, flavorful, and delicious homemade teriyaki sauce. Then toss the cooked tofu chunks in the sauce and that's it!
In just 20 minutes you can have a drool-worthy teriyaki tofu that's better than takeout. Not only is this a delicious vegan dish, but because of the meaty texture of the tofu, it's also a perfect dish for flexitarians or for people who are new to plant-based eating.
Here's what you need to make Teriyaki Tofu in the Air Fryer!
- super firm tofu: This comes vacuum sealed and doesn't need to be pressed. If you can't find it, substitute with extra-firm tofu that has been pressed for 20 to 30 minutes (this freeze/thaw method will help give an even more meaty texture).
- cornstarch: This will not only help make the tofu crispy and crunchy, but it will also help thicken the teriyaki sauce.
- soy sauce. For earthy saltiness.
- maple syrup: For sweetness.
- mirin or rice vinegar: Mirin adds a little depth to the sweetness of the sauce, but I've also made this with rice vinegar and it still tastes great!
- fresh ginger: I love fresh ginger, but I've tested this recipe with powdered ginger and it works out fine.
- garlic: As with the ginger, fresh garlic has more flavor, but granulated garlic will do in a pinch.
- Plus a little more cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry
See recipe card for quantities.
Here are step-by-step instructions with photos.
Break the tofu into jagged, uneven chunks over a mixing bowl.
Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top and gently mix to combine. (You can also drizzle a teaspoon of oil over top or spray with cooking oil, but this is optional).
Add the tofu to the air fryer. Set the temperature to 400F/200C and cook for 12 to 15 minutes (no need to preheat!).
When the tofu is crispy and lightly browned, it's done.
While the tofu is cooking, add the water, soy sauce, maple syrup, mirin or rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger, to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water.
Add the sauce to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Then whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook over medium heat, stirring as needed, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the tofu to the skillet and mix until the tofu is fully coated with the sauce.
Serve and enjoy right away!
Hint: I like to use a basket liner for this recipe. That way any tiny tofu crumbles don't fall through the grill. When you add the tofu to the sauce, those tiny crumbles will stick to the big pieces of tofu and add extra crispiness!
Here are some variations on this air fryer teriyaki tofu.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes before serving
- Cauliflower - swap out the tofu for cauliflower
See this oven-baked version of this recipe on my sister website No Sweat Vegan!
For this recipe, you'll need an air fryer, a large mixing bowl, two small mixing bowls, and a skillet. You will also need a whisk and or wooden spoon for mixing. For this recipe, I recommend using a basket-style liner to catch any little tofu crumbles that might otherwise fall through.
How to serve
There are several ways to serve this air-fried teriyaki tofu. Add it to a stir fry, teriyaki tacos, or as a stand-alone main dish with a side of rice and steamed veggies.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Don't worry if there are some little crumbles when you add the tofu to the lined air fryer basket. Later when you mix the tofu with the teriyaki sauce they will stick to the larger tofu chunks and add extra crunch!
Yes! Since most soy sauce has gluten, you'll want to choose a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. Also, be sure to check that your cornstarch doesn't contain any fillers.
Sure! I love making my own homemade teriyaki sauce, but if there's a brand you love or you just need to use up, go for it. Just heat up about a cup of the sauce in the skillet and proceed with the rest of the directions.
Choose the air fryer that best meets your needs. Consider things like price, size, and functionality. I personally love my Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Grill and Air Fryer, because it has a bigger capacity, which better suits my family of four.
For more info, see my post What Air Fryer Should I Buy? or check out Good Housekeeping's review of the Best Air Fryers of 2023.
Looking for more easy air fryer recipes like this? Try these:
Air Fryer Teriyaki Tofu
For the Air Fryer Tofu
- 14 oz super firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil or cooking spray optional
For the Sauce
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or mirin
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
Air Fryer and food safety tips
Here are a few safety tips for cooking with an air fryer.
- Cook food to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always use oven mitts or some protective hand covering when shaking the basket or removing food from the air fryer.
- Hot air comes out the back of the air fryer. Try to keep the back of the air fryer at least a hands length away from the wall, other ingredients, or anything else that could be damaged by heat.