This salt and pepper tofu is a restaurant copycat recipe that has been made healthier! Made with just 4 ingredients, it’s fuss free and baked in the air fryer!
Salt and Pepper Tofu
If I could choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Chinese food. Growing up, our family would order takeout from our local restaurant at least once a week. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started making my own versions of my favorite dishes at home.
Salt and pepper tofu is one of my all time favorite Chinese restaurant dishes to order. It’s the kind of tofu dish that would impress even those who aren’t tofu fans. See, unlike other tofu dishes, it ticks all the boxes in terms of taste and texture. It’s crispy and crunchy on the outside, while soft and fluffy on the inside. It’s salty and has a kick from the pepper, without being overpowering.
Traditional salt and pepper tofu are generally deep fried, but we are giving it a healthier makeover by cooking them in the air fryer instead! You cut down on a ton of fat and also a ton of mess- All you do is slice it up and pop it in the air fryer and voila- Crispy salt and pepper tofu in under 20 minutes!
How do you make air fryer salt and pepper tofu
- Firm tofu– Use either firm or extra firm tofu. You can try a softer kind, but you risk it breaking apart when mixed with the cornstarch and spices.
- Olive oil– To coat the tofu in before adding the spices. Any neutral flavored oil can be used.
- Corn starch– Makes the tofu extra crispy and crunchy on the outside, while staying soft and fluffy on the inside.
- Salt and pepper– Simple spices but that is all you need!
Start by slicing up your tofu into bite sized cubes. Place them into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well, so it coats all the tofu. Next, sprinkle the corn starch, salt, and pepper and mix very well, until completely combined.
Now, grease an air fryer basket. Place a single layer of the tofu into it and bake at 200C/400F for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Remove the tofu from the air fryer and serve immediately.
Can I bake these instead of using an air fryer?
If you don’t own an air fryer, you can bake them in the oven instead. Place the tofu on a lined baking sheet and bake them in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Tips to make the best salt and pepper tofu
- Be sure to mix the cornstarch into the tofu very thoroughly, otherwise, clumps of the starch will form on the tofu.
- Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. When baked, the spice mix can often slip off, so double check the taste before serving.
- For a spicy kick, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or sprinkle red pepper flakes once it has been baked.
Storing and freezing tofu
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered. The tofu will keep well for up to 1 week.
- To freeze: Place tofu in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Either microwave the tofu for 30 seconds or place it back into the air fryer and crisp up at 200C/400F for 4 minutes.
More vegan main course dishes to try
Salt and Pepper Tofu
- 1 block firm tofu 450 grams
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Slice your tofu into bite sized cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and mix well, until all the tofu is coated. Add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, and mix until combined.
- Transfer the coated tofu into an air fryer basket. Place in the air fryer and cook at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove the tofu from the air fryer and place onto a plate and serve immediately.