Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets
These super crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets are unbelievably tasty, healthy, and only take 30 minutes to make! They’re seasoned and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. You can serve the vegetarian nuggets with your favourite dipping sauce or on top of your favourite salads and bowls.
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy plant-based version of crispy chicken nuggets, you’ve come to the right place! This is a fantastic way to enjoy tofu, and it’s far from boring or bland. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love this air fryer tofu nuggets recipe that takes 30 minutes or less to make!
Are these Tofu Nuggets Healthy?
As a dietitian, I absolutely consider these air fryer tofu nuggets healthy. Here’s why:
- They’re high in protein, which is important for developing and supporting muscle mass, as well as helping to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating.
- Tofu is a wonderful plant-based protein alternative to meat. As I mentioned, it’s high protein, but it’s also rich in iron, calcium, and is also a source of magnesium, vitamin B6, and zinc. Oh, and it’s also a lot cheaper to buy than meat!
- The soy protein in tofu may also be beneficial for heart health (by reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol), symptoms of menopause, and breast cancer prevention, thanks to their isoflavone content.
- They’re low in saturated fat. Many crispy foods like fast-food chicken nuggets or even store-bought tofu nuggets tend to be higher in saturated fat, which is something we generally want to eat smaller amounts of. These homemade nuggets use avocado oil (and only a little bit!), which is a source of unsaturated [healthy] fats.
What is Tofu Anyways?
Tofu is made from soybeans, either fresh or dried. It is made by soaking, boiling, and straining the soybeans to made a liquid. Then, calcium or magnesium is added to “set” or curdle the liquid. These curds are then pressed into the white blocks of tofu that we see in the store.
The firmness of tofu will depend on how much liquid has been pressed out of the curds. Interesting, right?
This recipe calls for extra-firm tofu, but you can also buy tofu in firm, soft, or silken tofu varieties.
Ingredients for Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets:
To make this vegetarian crispy air fryer tofu recipe, you’ll need:
- Extra-firm tofu
- Whole wheat flour (can use all-purpose flour)
- Whole wheat panko crumbs (can use regular panko crumbs)
- Spices including paprika, garlic powder, and chipotle powder (can substitute the chipotle powder with cayenne pepper if you prefer)
- Avocado oil spray
Equipment You’ll Need:
Of course to make air fryer tofu you need an air fryer! This is the air fryer that I have, and I love it.
I do find that when using this air fryer, I have to cook this recipe in two batches (it has a 4 litre basket), but if you have an air fryer with a larger basket (like this one) you may be able to cook the tofu in just one batch.
How to Make Crispy Tofu Nuggets in the Air Fryer:
To make these breaded tofu nuggets in the air fryer, there are a few simple steps to follow.
- Start by chopping the tofu into 2-3cm cubes.
- Grab 3 medium bowls. Add the flour to one bowl, beat the egg into another, and in the last bowl stir the panko crumbs with the spices.
- Toss each tofu cube in the flour, then dredge it in the egg mixture, and lastly roll it in the panko mixture until coated. Add to a plate, then repeat for all remaining tofu cubes.
- Add prepared tofu nuggets to your air fryer basket (you may need to do 2 batches), and spray the nuggets with avocado oil spray.
- Air fry at 375F for 8 minutes, flipping halfway, until crisp and golden brown. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce or on top of salads or bowls, and enjoy!
Can You Make These Tofu Nuggets in the Oven?
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can easily make this recipe using your oven.
You can follow the recipe and preparation instructions below, but instead of using an air fryer, bake the tofu nuggets on a baking sheet in the oven at 425F for 25 minutes, flipping halfway.
Storage Tips & More:
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. When you’re ready, reheat leftovers and serve.
If you need dipping sauce suggestions, here are a few of my favourites:
- Chipotle Ranch Dressing (this is what I used)
- Traditional Ranch Dressing
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Buffalo Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try the recipe, let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review in the comments below. Oh, and be sure to take a photo and tag me on @hannahmagee_rd so I can see!
Crispy Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets
- Chop the tofu into 2-3 cm cubes.
- Grab 3 medium bowls. Pour the flour into one, beat the egg into another, and in the third bowl stir together the panko crumbs and spices.
- Toss each tofu cube in the flour until coated, then dip it into the egg, followed by tossing each tofu cube in the panko mixture until completely coated. Repeat for all tofu cubes.
- Preheat air fryer to 375F (if your air fryer needs preheated), then line your air fryer basket with the prepared tofu nuggets. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook them in 2 batches.
- Spray the tofu nuggets with avocado oil spray, then air fry them at 375F for 8 minutes, flipping halfway, until crisp and golden brown.
- Serve tofu nuggets immediately with your dip of choice, or on top of your favourite salads or bowls!