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Air fryer sweet chili tofu

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This air fryer sweet chili tofu is a delicious healthy recipe that’s quick and easy to make. The crisp air fryer tofu nuggets are tossed in a flavorful, garlicky sweet chili glaze. This dish is 100% better than restaurant takeout.

PIN AIR FRYER SWEET CHILI TOFU

Crispy air fryer sweet chili tofu served in a bowl with white rice and broccoli.

Put away the deep fryer. Crisping up tofu in an air fryer is very simple to do. The nuggets are so crisp and tasty it’s hard to believe they weren’t actually deep fried in oil. And this is the BEST air fryer recipe for sweet chili tofu.

The savory glaze features the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Overall, this takeout dish features an outstanding meaty texture and deeply-flavorful umami taste that really satisfies.

Make sweet chili tofu a staple on your monthly meal plan rotation.

Pair this healthy entree with fluffy white rice, broccoli, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts. Garnish with a light sprinkling of sesame seeds. You can be confident this tasty lunch or dinner will have everyone reaching for seconds.

Sweet chili tofu garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. Served with white rice and broccoli.

ingredients

For Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

  • BLOCK EXTRA FIRM TOFU: This level of firmness contains less water than soft or silken varieties. It assures your air fryer tofu will be crisp rather than crumbly.
  • OLIVE OIL: This ingredient helps the cornstarch and salt stick to the surface of the tofu nuggets. If desired, use sesame oil instead.
  • SOY SAUCE: Adds umami flavor to Asian dishes.
  • CORNSTARCH: Helps make these air fryer tofu nuggets extra crispy.
  • SEA SALT: An indispensable seasoning that adds freshness to the dish.
Ingredients for crispy air fryer tofu.

For Garlicky Sweet Chili Glaze

  • SWEET CHILI SAUCE: Adds sweetness and spice to the Asian glaze.
  • SOY SAUCE: Enhances the glaze with a rich umami flavor.
  • RICE WINE VINEGAR OR WATER: Thins out the glaze so it’s not clumpy. During stay-at-home times, don’t head to the market to buy rice vinegar if you don’t already have it on hand. Use water instead.
  • SESAME OIL: Adds a toasty, nutty flavor.
  • GARLIC POWDER: Adds a bit of satisfying rustic flavor.
  • GROUND GINGER: Adds a touch of spiciness to Asian dishes. If you have fresh ginger root on hand, peel and mince it and use it instead.
  • CORNSTARCH: A thickener for the glaze that also helps the sauce slightly cling to the tofu.

Optional Garnishes

  • SESAME SEEDS: Either white or black.
  • GREEN ONION: Thinly sliced on a diagonal.
Sweet chili tofu nuggets sprinkled with white sesame seeds and freshly-sliced green onion.

RECIPE STEPS

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

RECIPE PREP: Place block of tofu between layers of paper towels. (Or use a tofu press.) Press down to express excess moisture. Repeat the process of releasing liquid until the tofu is as dry as possible.

  • STEP 1: Slice the block of tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer the nuggets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce. Toss to combine.
  • STEP 2: Add cornstarch and salt. Toss to combine.
  • STEP 3: Spray air fryer basket with olive oil to prevent sticking and encourage crisping. Arrange tofu in a single layer inside the basket. Take care not to overcrowd the basket. We want to make sure the heat can circulate well around the pieces to crisp them up.
  • STEP 4: Cook tofu nuggets at 400°F for 10 minutes. Transfer the crispy air fryer tofu to a large bowl.
How to make crispy air fryer tofu in 4 easy steps.

Garlicky Sweet-Chili Glaze

KITCHEN SMARTS: Get this dish prepped faster. While the tofu is air frying, assemble this quick easy glaze.

  • STEP 1: Add all ingredients for the glaze to a small saucepan. Place the pan on stovetop over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • STEP 2: Let the sauce cool until it’s no longer steaming (about 5 minutes). This will help prevent the crispy air fryer tofu from becoming soggy when tossed with the glaze.
Saucepan of homemade, garlicky, sweet chili glaze for crispy air fryer tofu nuggets.

ASSEMBLE SWEET CHILI TOFU

Pour the garlicky sweet chili glaze over the crispy tofu nuggets. Toss until the pieces are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve immediately. This homemade sweet chili tofu takes just like a stir-fried dish from an authentic Asian restaurant.

Large mixing bowl of air fryer tofu nuggets covered in flavorful sweet chili glaze.

RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly asked questions when making air fryer sweet chili tofu, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

WHY PRESS WATER OUT OF TOFU?

The process of expressing water from tofu helps this ingredient better hold its shape during cooking. It also improves the taste and texture. Seasonings applied to the tofu are less likely to be diluted. And the drier the tofu, the more crispy it can become during pan frying or air frying.

HOW TO PRESS TOFU WITHOUT A TOFU PRESS?

Wrap the block of tofu in paper towels, then in a lint-free kitchen towel or 2 tea towels. Place it in a large rimmed bowl, with a small cutting board on top. Put a heavy object like a large can of veggies or a book on top. Put it aside for 30 minutes to give liquid a chance to drain. Then press down on the tofu to extract as much water as possible.

IS AIR FRYER SWEET CHILI TOFU A MAKE-AHEAD RECIPE?

Crispy sweet chili tofu is best enjoyed as soon as its made. When leftovers are stored for later, they tend to become soggy. To make dinner prep easier, you can make the glaze in advance and refrigerate. Then rewarm when needed.

Bowl of crispy air fryer tofu nuggets glazed with a garlic sweet-chili sauce.

MORE ASIAN TAKEOUT recipes

If you loved this sweet chili tofu, you’ll also enjoy these flavorful Asian recipes. They’re easy to make and super savory. Print out your favorites for later, or pin them to Pinterest.

Air fryer sweet chili tofu served in a bowl with chopsticks.

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Crispy air fryer sweet chili tofu served in a bowl with white rice and broccoli.

Air Fryer Sweet Chili Tofu


Description

This sweet chili tofu is better than restaurant takeout. The crispy air fryer tofu nuggets are tossed in a delicious mouthwatering glaze. Make this easy recipe in under 30 minutes.


Ingredients

Units Scale

CRISPY AIR FRYER TOFU

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu (14 to 16 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

GARLICKY SWEET CHILI GLAZE

  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

GARNISHES

  • Sesame seeds (white or black)
  • Green onions, sliced on a diagonal

 


Instructions

CRISPY AIR FRYER TOFU

RECIPE PREP: Express liquid from the block of tofu. Use a tofu press or the manual method (see “Notes” below). We need the tofu as dry as possible so it can crisp up well in the air fryer.

  1. Slice the block of tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer the nuggets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce. Toss to combine. Add cornstarch and salt. Toss to combine. 
  2. Spray air fryer basket with olive oil. Arrange tofu in a single layer without overcrowding the basket. Cook tofu nuggets at 400°F for 10 minutes. Transfer the crispy air fryer tofu to a large bowl.

GARLICKY SWEET CHILI GLAZE

  1. Add all ingredients for the glaze to a small saucepan. Place the pan on stovetop over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
  2. Let the sauce cool until it’s no longer steaming (about 5 minutes). This will help prevent the crispy air fryer tofu from becoming soggy when tossed with the glaze.

ASSEMBLE SWEET CHILI TOFU

  1. Pour the garlicky sweet chili glaze over the crispy tofu nuggets. Toss until the pieces are evenly coated.
  2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve immediately. 

Notes

HOW TO PRESS TOFU WITHOUT A TOFU PRESS: Wrap the block of tofu in paper towels, then in a lint-free kitchen towel or 2 tea towels. Place it in a large rimmed bowl, with a small cutting board on top. Put a heavy object like a large can of veggies or a book on top. Put it aside for 30 minutes to give liquid a chance to drain. Then press down on the tofu to extract as much water as possible. 

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: Asian, Chinese

Keywords: Sweet Chili Tofu, Air Fryer Sweet Chili Tofu, Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets, Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

AIR FRYER SWEET CHILI TOFU > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Have you ever tried sweet chili tofu at an Asian restaurant? Would you like to make this delicious air fryer recipe at home? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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