氣炸鍋椒鹽豆腐 Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu made in the Air Fryer is a life-changing, high protein, low-calorie vegan Chinese tofu snack you'd want to make over and over again! This classic Chinese-Cantonese crispy tofu appetizer is made with a few simple ingredients and is vegan, vegetarian, plant-based and gluten-free!
However, traditional salt and pepper tofu dishes in Chinese restaurants are deep-fried, making a typical meal low in calories and fat unhealthy.
After perfecting the recipe for Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Salt and Pepper Squid and Salt and Pepper Pork in the air fryer, making the delicious pork chops recipe was on my mind! After all, fried crispy pork chops are one of the famous Chinese dishes to order any night of the week!
> In This Post: Everything You'll Need For Air Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu
- > In This Post: Everything You'll Need For Air Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu
- What Type of Tofu To> In This Post: Everything You'll Need For Air Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu Use?
- How To Prepare The Tofu For Crispy Air Fryer Tofu?
- Ingredients and Substitutes
- How Long Should You Air Fry Tofu?
- Air Frying Tofu 101
- Salt and Pepper Tofu FAQ
- Best Air Fryer Method Tips
- > Recipe
- Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Tofu 氣炸鍋椒鹽豆腐
- More Air Fryer Recipes:
Check out this quick story summary of our recipe!
How Many Different Types Of Tofu Are There?
There are different types of tofu aside from the conventional soft tofu and firm tofu commonly referenced. There are also extra firm tofu, tofu puff, fried tofu, silken tube tofu, fried puff, dessert tofu, marinated pressed tofu, bean curds like the ones we used to make Air Fryer Bean Curds in 5 Minutes.
For example, firm or silken tofu is used for Mapo Tofu 2.0 and our Not So Spicy Mapo Tofu with Mushrooms recipes.
What Type of Tofu To> In This Post: Everything You'll Need For Air Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu Use?
We love using very firm tofu for this almost no oil Salt and Pepper Air Fry Tofu Canto dish. The firm blocks of tofu have a dense, meaty texture that is easy to cube and crumble.
This texture is one of the most versatile types of tofu and works excellent in air-fried, pan-fried, braised or stewed recipes like this salt and pepper tofu recipe.
Explore cooking with different varieties of tofus like Vegan Tofu Stir Fry with marinated dry tofu or our 10 Minute Tomato Tofu Soup.
How To Prepare The Tofu For Crispy Air Fryer Tofu?
First, drain the tofu from the package and pat dry with paper towels.
Secondly, let it rest on top of a paper towel on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes as you prepare the seasoning ingredients. If you have excess liquid, wrap the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel and put a wooden cutting board on top or weight it down with a heavy object like a heavy pan. Let the tofu press and drain until extra moisture is removed.
Thirdly, cube the block of tofu into 1-inch cubes. Don't worry if they are not perfectly uniform.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Tofu - one pack of firm tofu is ideal for an excellent crispy high protein low calorie vegan snack.
Cooking Spray - Use one or two tablespoons of cooking oil spray is enough to toss and evenly coat your tofu.
Batter - Go eggless for vegan option by mixing All-Purpose flour with corn starch, baking powder and salt with room temperature water.
Coating - Choose high-quality panko or gluten-free bread crumbs like this one for a gluten-free option.
Seasoning - Bird's eye chili, jalapeno, minced garlic, shallots, salt and ground white pepper.
White Pepper: Essential Pantry Ingredient to Chinese Cooking
When it comes to cooking Chinese cuisine, there are three essential factors: colour, smell and taste.
Ground white pepper 白胡椒粉 is the underrated workhorse. It has a distinctly bright and intense peppery flavour that heightens and complements salt.
Why is ground white pepper essential in Chinese cooking? For example, ground white pepper adds flavour, marries meats and poultry, removes fishiness, and spices up stir-fries. It is much different from black peppers and Sichuan peppercorns.
For instance, Sichuan peppercorns are known for their slow-numbing mala profile, allowing one to enjoy the nuances of a heated dish.
On the other hand, Black pepper is an ingredient to add flavour and spice to meat, fish, vegetables, salad dressings, soup, etc.
Cooking With Black Pepper as an Added Flavor to the overall dish. For instance, black pepper changes the flavour composition of a dish with an earthy zing.
How Long Should You Air Fry Tofu?
It takes approximately 20 minutes to air fry tofu at 390°F, tossing halfway so that the tofu is evenly crispy.
Depending on the air fryer model, you may want to adjust the cooking time, increase or reduce it by 1 to 2 minutes, and avoid burning the tofu. I use THIS air fryer, and my tofu comes out extra crispy and golden browned around the edges.
Air Frying Tofu 101
How to cook corn on the tofu in an air fryer? Here are some valuable tips for you to nail that perfect crispy bite.
First, drain and pat dry tofu with a paper towel.
Secondly, evenly coat the breaded salt and pepper tofu with cooking spray.
Then, batter and Coat each piece of tofu evenly with panko breadcrumbs. If you do not want to use panko, you can also coat the air fryer tofu with cornstarch.
Preheat the air fryer to 390F.
After that, arrange the battered tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd. You are better off repeating this process if you can't fit all the breaded tofu in the air fryer.
How long to cook cauliflower in the air fryer? Air Fry for 20 minutes (I use the Ninja Foodi, and I love it!). Flipping halfway and checking at the 10-minute mark.
In the meantime, at the halfway mark between air frying, season and toss the tofu with the dry seasoning: minced bird's eye chilli, jalapeno, garlic, shallots, salt and ground white pepper. Then, gently coat all sides.
After that, carefully remove from the air fryer, serve and enjoy.
Enjoy your perfectly crispy, golden, healthy and nearly oil-free salt and pepper tofu recipe with your favourite meal!
Salt and Pepper Tofu FAQ
Is Salt and Pepper Vegan?
Salt and Pepper Tofu is an excellent cheap high protein, low-calorie vegan snack. Enjoy this Chinese-style dry salt and pepper seasoning with a few healthy plant-based ingredients.
Is Fried Tofu Unhealthy?
Deep-fried tofu adds a lot of fat and oil calories to an otherwise low-calorie, high-protein ingredient like tofu. However, air frying tofu drastically cooks it with little to no added oil, keeping it a healthy food choice.
Does Tofu Soak Up Oil?
Tofu absorbs very little oil if prepared correctly.
Is Tofu Good For Weight Loss?
Tofu is a high-protein, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food rich in bone-building calcium and manganese. Tofu can help get you feeling satiated longer compared to meat.
Should I Add Salt To Tofu?
Salt and seasoning make an otherwise bland tasting tofu taste elevated and delicious. In addition, avoid oil in your tofu marinades and opt for dry seasoning spices, soy sauce, vinegar, or citrus juice.
What Is A Good Salt and Pepper Tofu Dipping Sauce?
Salt and Pepper Tofu do not require a dipping sauce. Enjoy the natural spiciness.
Best Air Fryer Method Tips
If you've never cooked with an air fryer before, this small kitchen appliance can be a little intimidating. However, I swear by its convenience and versatility and its use of rapidly circulating hot air to cook crispy food without using too much oil!
Here are a few tips for anyone who has (or is planning on getting) an air fryer!
1. What is the best temperate to air fry Tofu?
It is best to air fry tofu at 390F to mimic the high heat temperature of deep-frying in a wok. Don't worry! Your tofu will still be tender with just the right about of crispy edges.
2. How long should I air fry tofu or?
Depending on the size and the thickness of the tofu cubes you put into the air fryer, 20 minutes should cook it thoroughly with a beautiful golden brown. This also depends on the model of your air fryer. Therefore, you may want to reduce or increase the air frying time by one to two minutes.
3. Do I need to preheat the air fryer?
Based on experience, you should always preheat the air fryer before filling it with food. By doing this, the air fryer's temperature is more consistent, and your food will cook more evenly. Simply preheat your air fryer for two to three minutes before cooking.
4. How to choose the right air fryer?
Choosing the right air fryer for your kitchen depends on your lifestyle, available counter space, and if you intend to cook small or big batch meals. For instance, we like the supersized XL pressure cooker and 7.6L cooking pot that is big enough to cook a small chicken or one large head of broccoli inside like THIS air fryer!
Other Salt and Pepper Variations
Now that you know how to make this Salt and Pepper Squid recipe, you can also try these other popular dishes.
- Salt and Pepper Pork
- Salt and Pepper Squid
- Salt and Pepper Crispy Chicken
- Salt and Pepper Shrimp
- Salt and Pepper Cauliflower
The flavours are equally explosive, and every bite is addictive! These are just a few easy recipes immediately come to mind as excellent pairings!
Did you make this Savory Vegan High Protein Snack Recipe? I'd love to see how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @INSTANOMSS #INSTANOMSS
Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Tofu 氣炸鍋椒鹽豆腐
氣炸鍋椒鹽豆腐 Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu made in the Air Fryer is a life-changing, high protein, low-calorie vegan snack you'd want to make over and over again! This classic Chinese-Cantonese crispy tofu appetizer is made with a few simple ingredients and is vegan, vegetarian, plant-based and gluten-free!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 persons 1x
- Category: Appetizers, Snacks
- Method: Air Fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Diet: Vegan
500g Firm Tofu 硬豆腐
- ½ C AP Flour 麵粉
- 2 tsp Corn Starch 生粉
- 1 tsp Baking Powder 發粉
- 1 tsp Salt 鹽
- 1 tsp Ground White Pepper 胡椒粉
- ½ C water 水
- 2 C Panko breadcrumbs (or Gluten-Free breadcrumbs) 麵包糠
Salt and Pepper Seasoning
- 1 Bird's Eye Chili, minced 指天椒 切粒
- 1 Jalapeno, minced 墨西哥辣椒 切粒
- 5 cloves garlic, minced 蒜蓉 切粒
- 1 Shallot, minced 小蔥 切粒
- 1 tsp Ground White Pepper 胡椒粉
- 1 tsp Salt 鹽
- 50g Cilantro, rough chop 芫茜(香菜) 點綴
- 50g finely chopped green onions 蔥 點綴
- Drain and pat dry tofu with a paper towel.
- Let it rest on top of a paper towel on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes as you prepare the seasoning ingredients.
- Cube the block of tofu into 1-inch cubes. Don't worry if they are not perfectly uniform.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390F for 5 minutes.
- While the air fryer is preheating, prepare batter and breadcrumb coating.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all the dry batter ingredients. Mix well and then add in water. Mix well until you have a smooth pancake batter-like consistency. Add a little bit of water if the batter is too thick.
- Add panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.
- Dip each piece of tofu into the batter and then coat on the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the tofu pieces are evenly coated.
- Place breaded tofu pieces into the air fryer carefully. You may wish to line the air fryer with air fryer parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Air fry the tofu at 390F for 20 minutes (I use the Ninja Foodi, and I love it!). Flipping halfway and checking at the 10-minute mark.
- While the tofu is the air fryer, prepare the salt and pepper seasoning.
- Minced bird's eye chilli, jalapeno, garlic, and shallots.
- Add minced bird's eye chilli, jalapeno, garlic, shallots, and salt and ground white pepper in a small mixing bowl. Mix well. At this halfway mark between air frying, season and toss the tofu with the dry seasoning. Gently coat all sides.
- Carefully remove from the air fryer, serve and enjoy.
- Enjoy your perfectly crispy, golden, healthy and nearly oil-free salt and pepper tofu recipe with your favourite meal!
- 生粉加入鹽和胡椒粉調味拌勻， 麵包糠用煮食油拌勻。
- 放豆腐粒入氣炸鍋。 排好豆腐後，噴少許油在豆腐粒上面。可以放牛油紙在煎盤上。
- 豆腐粒氣炸了10分鐘，夾上碟。 將辣椒調味料與豆腐粒拌勻，放入氣炸鍋，如有剩調味料，灑在豆腐粒上面。
- 再次放豆腐粒和辣椒調味料入氣炸鍋。 排好豆腐後，噴少許油在豆腐粒上面。可以放牛油紙在煎盤上。
- This recipe was made in a Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure, Slow Cooker, Air Fryer.
- For even cooking, don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Arrange the salt and pepper breaded tofu in a single layer.
- Preheat the air fryer for a more even cooking heat distribution.
- Serving Size: 1 plate
- Calories: 231
- Sugar: 2.6 g
- Sodium: 1290.3 mg
- Fat: 7.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.5 g
- Protein: 16 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: tofu, salt and pepper, air fryer, chinese, cantonese, deep fried tofu, 氣炸鍋, 椒鹽豆腐, plant based, vegan, vegetarian, tofu
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More Air Fryer Recipes:
- Air Fryer Char Siu 氣炸鍋蜜汁叉燒
- Air Fryer Soy Garlic Chicken Wings 蒜蓉醬油雞翅 氣炸鍋
- TikTok Air Fryer Pasta Chips
- Air Fryer BBQ Pork Char Siu 氣炸鍋蜜汁叉燒
- Air Fryer Cauliflower 氣炸鍋菜花
- 15 Minutes Air Fryer Corn
- 5 Minute Air Fryer Bean Curd Sheets with Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry 氣炸鍋腐皮蒜蓉炒白菜
- Air Fryer Broccoli 氣炸鍋西蘭花
- 5 Minute Air Fryer Bean Curd Sheets with Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry 氣炸鍋腐皮蒜蓉炒白菜
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Crazy delicious tofu! I love making this crispy tofu for buddha bowls!
Love this high-protein meal. My tofu turned out great in an air fryer, thank you for all the tips!
Yummmm so crispy!
I just love this recipe - my new favourite way to enjoy tofu!
What a super recipe - it looks delicious! I don't eat a lot of tofu, but I think that's going to change once I've tied this.
once you try it you'll love it!
I love how crispy my tofu turned out!
Super crispy and poppable!
I underestimated my air fryer. It definitely brings it to a nice crispy coating.
haha Josh - your air fryer can do lots of things! It's our work horse in the kitchen 🙂
i knew you would!
This tofu recipe is crazy delicious! Definitely a staple recipe!
I can't agree more with you!
SImple and delicious. I'm going to give your recipe a try.
can't wait to see it!
tofu is my jam and this recipe is so good! delicious!
Tofu lovers rejoice in this!
I could snack on these all day! Perfectly crisp and delicious tofu.
i'm snacking on some as we speak 🙂
This is such a great high-protein appetizer or snack, thank you for the recipe!
i live for low calorie and high protein healthy tasty snacks!
i’ll be adding this to my dinner rotation! SO good
totally awesome to add on to rice bowls
Tasted great. Would recommend.
This looks so good.
What a great snack or appetiser, packed full of flavour, thank you!
this appy is the best!
I absolutely loved this tofu recipe!
Great air fryer tofu recipe. It's super crispy and full of flavour.
it's the perfect snacky!
I am so loving these salt and pepper tofu! They were always my favorite snacks growing up. It's so easy to make in the air fryer and turns out crispy.
they are zero guilt!
I love tofu so much, and I recently bought an air fryer. Thanks so much for sharing!
your tastebuds will love you!
Andrea White says
love how high protein this is! so good!
9grams in every serving!
So easy to make in the air fryer!
you can do it blind folded
We love tofu here and I've yet to try it prepared this way. Good idea, will give this a try.
There's so much life in this recipe! enjoy!
Great way to eat tofu in a new way!
she's here to stay!
I love air fryer dishes, and this looks stellar
me too! mess free clean up!
Brittany F. says
This is such a beautiful and flavorful dish. The balance of heat and salt is wonderful.
I know right? just the right amount of punch!
Kayla DiMaggio says
This salt and pepper tofu was so delicious! The air fryer made it the perfect easy dinner!
i bet it was a hit at home!