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Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

  • 17 min read

If you like Asian food, then this recipe might be right up your alley!

Air frying (or deep-frying) gives foods more texture than traditional cooking methods, which means they’re often better suited for crunchy dishes.

But what if you want something light and healthy?

That’s where air fried tofu comes into play.

This versatile product has been around since the 1960s, but it hasn’t caught on as much as other meat substitutes.

So why not try out this delicious air fried tofu in peanut sauce recipe instead?

How Do You Make Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

Air fried tofu works wonderfully when paired with flavors like peanuts or soy sauce.

Since it isn’t cooked like regular tofu, it doesn’t have any of the same textures or flavors associated with it.

For this recipe, you will need to start by making the tofu itself.

But by pairing it with an aromatic peanut butter sauce, you can create one tasty combination.

You can use store bought or homemade tofu depending on how confident you are in making your own.

If you decide to go with store bought, follow these steps to get started:

  • Cut off both ends of the block of tofu, then slice each piece horizontally so that you end up with eight triangles of tofu.
  • Place the sliced pieces onto a paper towel covered plate and pat them dry.
  • Heat two inches of oil over medium heat until hot enough to fry without burning the tofu. Once ready, add the tofu slices to the pan and let sit for about five minutes before flipping them halfway through cooking time.
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides, about ten minutes total.
  • Drain the excess oil from the pan using a slotted spoon, and place the tofu back onto the paper towels to soak up any remaining grease.

Peanut Sauce

Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

The next step is to prepare the peanut sauce.

For this portion of the preparation process, you will need to chop some ingredients.

Start by grabbing five tablespoons of natural creamy peanut butter.

Next, grab four cloves of garlic and three teaspoons of minced ginger root.

Then, mince all of those ingredients together, along with one tablespoon of sesame seeds.

You should also grab a cup of rice vinegar, one teaspoon of ground coriander, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and two teaspoons of sugar.

Finally, grab one tablespoon of lime juice and one tablespoon of fish sauce.

Mix everything together thoroughly before adding water to thin down the mixture slightly.

Tofu Preparation

Now that you have all of the ingredients prepared, you just have to assemble the finished product.

First, take your drained tofu and cut it into bite sized cubes.

Place them into a bowl and toss them in a little bit of vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together too much.

Next, combine half of the peanut sauce in a separate bowl.

Add a few drops of sesame oil to help bring out the flavor of the sauce a little bit more.

When you’ve got that done, pour the rest of the sauce into the other bowl.

Now, mix in the cubed tofu until it’s evenly coated with the sauce.

Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator while you prep the final stage of the recipe.

Final Steps

Take a small skillet and set it over high heat.

Once heated, remove it from the burner and transfer it to a cool area.

Coat the bottom of the skillet with a layer of olive oil.

Once the pan is cooled, place the coated tofu cubes into the pan.

Cook for about seven minutes, turning every couple of minutes until crispy on both sides.

Remove the pan from the stove and serve immediately.

Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce2

What Is The Best Way To Cook Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

This recipe calls for an air fryer, which can get really expensive.

But there are plenty of good deals available on air fryers from Amazon or Walmart.

You may also find them at restaurants, too.

You could use any type of pan you prefer, though.

If you don’t have one of these appliances, it’ll still work just fine.

Just remember that air fried tofu cooks fast, so take your time when preparing it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing this tasty recipe:

  • When you put the tofu pieces onto the baking sheet, leave room between each piece so that they won’t stick together.
  • Make sure the tofu isn’t touching anything else on the tray. Otherwise, it will overheat during the first round of cooking.
  • Use paper towels to remove excess oil after cooking.
  • Don’t forget to flip the tofu halfway through cooking.
  • After removing the tofu from the oven, let it cool completely before slicing it.

Now that you know everything about how to prepare air fried tofu in peanut sauce, here are some great ways to enjoy it.

What Are Some Tips For Making Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

The first step of any air fried tofu recipe is preparing the tofu itself.

The most popular option here is silken or extra firm tofu.

If you aren’t sure about how to choose between these two types, check our guide to choosing the right type of tofu.

You should also know that when shopping at an Asian grocer, you may find many different brands available.

Some contain additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), while others don’t.

In general, we recommend sticking with organic tofu products whenever possible.

Next, you need to cut the tofu into appropriate sizes.

We prefer using cubes because they’re easier to handle, plus cubes allow you to have more control over the final results.

But feel free to use whatever size works best for you.

Now let’s move onto the peanut sauce.

Here, you will need to decide whether you want to use store-bought peanuts or roasted peanuts.

Roasted peanuts tend to be slightly sweeter, so they’re great if you want to avoid artificial sweeteners.

Once you have all of your ingredients prepared, it’s time to start cooking.

First, place your skillet over medium heat.

Add your oil and wait until you see bubbles forming before adding your tofu pieces.

Cook them for 4 minutes per side, flipping once halfway through.

Once done, remove from heat and set aside.

This next part is crucial.

To prepare the peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients except for the soy sauce in a blender.

Blend well enough to form a smooth paste, then add the soy sauce and blend again.

Serve immediately after blending, preferably alongside the air fried tofu.

Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce3

How Can I Make Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce Healthier?

A lot of people have trouble digesting soy products, so using an alternative to tofu is helpful when preparing meals at home.

However, there are plenty of health benefits from eating air fried tofu.

For example, it contains all eight essential amino acids, meaning it provides complete proteins.

Plus, it also has fiber, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, folate, biotin, choline, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

The good news is that most of these nutrients come from natural sources.

You won’t find any artificial dyes or preservatives here either.

The only downside is that air fried tofu isn’t available at every grocery store, so you may need to do a bit of hunting online.

But once you get one, you can enjoy this tasty treat without worrying about its effects on your body.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

According to its website, the nutritional breakdown of one serving includes:

  • 14 grams of fat from soybean oil
  • 10 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 100 calories
  • 20 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • 5 grams of protein

That seems pretty good! But how do you get there?

And will air fried tofu in peanut sauce really taste great?

Let’s find out by taking a look at exactly what makes it so special.

How Long Does It Take To Air Fry Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

It takes about 12 minutes to air fry air fried tofu in peanut sauce.

You can also use this recipe to make air fried chicken or beef strips, too.

The only difference between those two recipes and this one would be how long it takes before the oil starts sizzling again after you add them to the pan.

With chicken or beef strips, you may need to let them sit longer until they start browning (about 10 minutes).

  • 10 Minutes
  • 15 Minutes
  • 20 Minutes
  • 25 Minutes

The longer you wait before adding the peanut sauce mixture to the pan, the thicker it will become.

Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients

Before starting any recipe that involves air frying anything, you should always prep all ingredients beforehand.

In particular, you’ll want to make sure your tofu is cut into thin slices so you have even pieces when you put it in the pan.

Plus, cutting it into thin slices makes it easier to flip each piece over once it’s done cooking.

You don’t necessarily need to do this, though.

If you can find pre-cut cubes of air fried tofu, you can skip this step altogether.

Step 2: Prepare Your Pan

Next, prepare your pan by coating it with nonstick spray.

Then, heat it up using medium-high heat.

When your pan is hot enough, pour in at least 3/4 cup of vegetable oil, depending on how big your pan is.

Step 3: Add Your Vegetables

Now that the pan is ready, place your vegetables in it.

Use whatever veggies you prefer, whether it’s broccoli florets, zucchini sticks, onion wedges, cherry tomatoes, etc.

Just remember to keep them separate from each other, so they don’t get mixed together.

Once everything is placed in the pan, give it a stir to ensure there aren’t any clumps of vegetables sticking together.

Once you see bubbles forming, remove the pan from the stove and set aside.

Step 4: Pour in Your Liquid

When your pan is empty, return it to the stove and turn down the heat to low.

Now, pour in your liquid of choice – either water, soy sauce, or peanut butter – and mix well to combine.

Make sure to stir constantly while doing this because you want to avoid lumps.

Step 5: Add Your Food

After mixing thoroughly, now you can add your tofu to the pan.

Since we’ve already prepared our pan and made sure it was coated with nonstick spray, the process here should go pretty smoothly.

Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, though.

We found the best way to handle this is to lay out the tofu slices in an alternating pattern, rather than lining up the whole block of tofu next to each other.

When you first add the tofu, it won’t move very quickly.

But as soon as the surface of the oil becomes dry, you’ll notice the tofu begin to float above the surface. Keep stirring and flipping the tofu until it turns golden brown, about three to four minutes per side.

Step 6: Remove From the Heat

Remove the pan from the heat once your tofu is fully cooked.

Then, immediately transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Place the remaining tofu slices back in the pan and repeat steps 4 through 6.

Serve on top of rice, noodles, or just eat plain!

This recipe works great with both regular and silken tofu.

However, if you choose to buy the latter type, I recommend making sure you read its label carefully before purchasing.

Some brands contain thickeners that could alter the consistency of the final dish.

What Are Some Other Ways To Cook Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

There are several different recipes you can use when making air fried tofu in peanut sauce.

One popular option is to make an appetizer salad by combining sliced tofu with vegetables and dressing it all up with a creamy peanut sauce.

There are also a few different types of sauces you can use – soy or tamari, hoisin or oyster sauce, chili garlic oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar…the list goes on.

To get started, let’s start off by looking at how to prepare air fried tofu in peanut sauce.

Then, we’ll answer questions about other options for cooking air fried tofu in peanut sauce.

  • Tossed Salad with Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

– The first step is to slice the tofu into cubes so that each cube fits in one bite.

You will need four large pieces of tofu per person, depending on their size.

If you have smaller people, adjust accordingly.

Next, toss them with a simple vinaigrette, cut veggies, and finish it off with a creamy peanut sauce.

  • BBQ Pork Bao Bites with Tofu + Peanut Sauce

  • – These baos are made from pork belly, wrapped in a fluffy egg roll skin, and served with BBQ sauce.

    In addition to the usual ingredients, they include crispy air fried tofu in peanut sauce, too.

    You could even add a little bit of sriracha here and there, if you prefer spicy flavors.

  • Kale Chips with Tofu + Peanut Sauce

  • – Kale chips are great because they don’t require any special equipment.

    They’re super crisp and very tasty.

    To create these kale chips, you simply put shredded kale inside a dehydrator tray and dry it until crispy.

    Once it’s dried, remove the leaves from the stem and place them in a bowl.

    Add a small amount of liquid smoke seasoning and mix well.

    Afterward, coat the kale leaves in a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

    Dehydrate again for another 10 minutes before serving with peanut sauce.

  • Baked Tofu with Peanut Butter Sauce

  • – A baked tofu dish that tastes just like a sandwich!

    If you love sandwiches, then this baked tofu is definitely worth trying.

    First, marinate the tofu slices in soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger powder for 30 minutes.

    Place the tofu slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

    Bake for 20 minutes at 450°F/230°C.

    Remove from the oven and spread peanut butter on top of each piece.

    Return to the oven for 5 more minutes while mixing together honey mustard, mayonnaise, and water.

    Serve warm.

  • Vegan Pad Thai with Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

  • – This vegan version of pad thai uses cashews, coconut milk, and peanuts instead of shrimp paste, fish sauce, and eggs.

    For the noodles, you should use jasmine rice.

    Start by sautéing onion, carrots, green beans, bell pepper, red chilies, cilantro, and mint in hot vegetable oil.

    When everything gets nice and tender, stir in the prepared rice.

    Finally, combine the mixture with the cashew cream, lime juice, palm sugar, and soy sauce.

    You can serve this over fresh basil leaves and topped with air fried tofu in peanut sauce.

    Enjoy!

  • Pad Thai with Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce – While the above video shows a vegan version of pad thai, this recipe calls for regular old shrimp paste and eggs. Combine ground beef, chicken, shallots, curry paste, soy sauce, white wine, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Stir in bean sprouts, snow peas, basil, and cashews. Mix together peanut sauce, rice vermicelli, and tofu before topping with the beef mixture.
  • Spicy Peanut Chicken Wings with Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce – Here’s another recipe that calls for shrimp paste. But rather than using it as a base, this recipe incorporates it into the wings themselves. First, marinate the wings overnight in seasoned flour, soy sauce, Sriracha, and Chinese five spice powder. Next, remove excess moisture by placing the wings in a dehydrator tray and drying them for 12 hours at 115 degrees F / 45 C. Once dehydrated, chop the wings, toss them in a pan with oil, garlic, and ginger, and sear them on high heat. Afterward, pour the wings back into the dehydrator tray and cool completely. Slice the cooled wings into strips and toss them with peanut sauce. Top with chopped peanuts and enjoy!
  • Can I Bake Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce?

    This is a question we get asked quite frequently.

    In fact, most of our readers have never seen or cooked air fried tofu before!

    But don’t worry – there’s nothing complicated about baking air fried tofu!

    You can use any pan type you prefer, but cast iron works best because it retains heat well.

    And just like regular fried tofu, you don’t need oil at all.

    As long as you keep an eye on the temperature so it doesn’t burn, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

    If you do notice it getting too hot, simply drop the temp down by turning off the oven fan until the temperature returns back to normal.

    You also don’t need to soak air fried tofu first, either.

    Just press it between two plates when you put it in the oven, and it will stay nice and firm.

    Plus, since it isn’t submerged in water or oil, it won’t absorb moisture from its surroundings.

    What Should I Serve Air Fried Tofu In Peanut Sauce With?

    You can eat this dish solo or pair it with rice to make a complete meal.

    But don’t forget about all of those vegetables too – broccoli, carrots, onion, green pepper… anything goes!

    It’s also great served over brown rice.

    Not only is it cheaper than white rice, but it’s healthier because it contains whole grains rather than refined carbohydrates.

    The best thing about this dish is how flexible it is.

    You can use whatever type of tofu you have on hand, so long as it’s firm enough to stay together when pressed between your fingers.

    If you’d prefer to stick to a specific brand, we recommend making sure it meets the USDA guidelines for “no artificial ingredients.”

    And if you need some ideas for sides, check out our guide to side dishes made from air fried tofu and these recipes for stir fry veggies made from air fried tofu.

    Air Fried Tofu in Peanut Sauce

    Crispy Air Fryer Tofu With Peanut Sauce

    Air fried tofu works wonderfully when paired with flavors like peanuts or soy sauce.
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Crispy Air Fryer Tofu With Peanut Sauce
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 234kcal

    Equipment

    • 1 Air fryer

    Ingredients

    For the crispy air fryer tofu

    • 10 oz tofu
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 3 tbsp soy sauce

    For the peanut sauce

    • 1 cup soy yogurt
    • 3 tbsp peanut butter
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
    • 1 large yellow bell pepper
    • 1 large onion

    Instructions

    • Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes if necessary. Or you can buy pre-pressed extra firm tofu.
    • Tofu should be chopped, then it should be combined with paprika, maple syrup, and soy sauce/tamari. 
      30 minutes or overnight marinade.
    • Place the tofu in the air fryer basket and cook for 10 to 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). 
      Halfway through, give the air fryer basket a shake.
    • Make the sauce in the interim. 
      Simply combine the lime juice, peanut butter, sriracha, and soy yogurt. 
      Then, combine again after adding the cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 12g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 12mg
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