How to make the best crispy tofu! We’ll show you how to make perfectly golden crispy tofu three different ways: baked, pan fried, and in the air fryer.
If you aren't using super firm tofu, start by pressing your tofu. This is optional, but helps with the texture. Wrap your block of tofu in a paper towel, place it on a plate or cutting board, and top with something heavy like a cast iron skillet with cans of beans on top or a kettle full of water. Press for at least 20 minutes. Discard the paper towel and proceed to the next step.
Cut the block of tofu into ¾" cubes and place in a medium sized bowl.
Whisk the sesame oil and soy sauce together and pour over your tofu cubes. Very gently toss to combine with a large spoon.* Add the flour, salt, and pepper and gently toss to combine again. Make sure all the cubes are coated in flour.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional for easy clean up).
Place the tofu cubes onto your baking sheet and spread in a single layer, making sure they are not overlapping on the pan.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the cubes over to brown on the other side. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat 2 Tbsp of grapeseed or vegetable oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu, making sure the cubes are in a single layer in the pan. Let the tofu pan-fry and do not flip or stir until the bottom has browned, about 5 minutes.
Flip the tofu cubes and let the other side brown without stirring, about another 5 minutes. When both sides have browned, go ahead and stir the tofu and brown the remaining sides, stirring often, until the cubes are golden brown.
Line a plate with paper towels and transfer the browned tofu to the plate to let some of the oil soak up.
Add the tofu cubes to your air fryer basket and make sure they aren't overlapping each other. You want a single layer of tofu cubes. If you have a small air fryer, you may need to cook the cubes in 2 batches.
Set the air fryer to 380° F for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, shake the tofu cubes in the basket and air fry for another 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
*You can marinate the tofu at this point if you'd like. Marinating the tofu in the sesame oil and soy sauce for 30 minutes will create more flavorful tofu.