Air-Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu with Sizzling Sesame Oil

Air-Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu with Sizzling Sesame Oil

Salt and pepper tofu is a vegan alternative to the popular Chinese dish. The tofu is briefly marinated then air fried instead of pan fried for a healthier meal.

45 mins total time

20 mins active time


Serves 4



  • 1½ lb firm tofu
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz) soy sauce
  • 2 clove garlic

    minced, divided

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions

    thinly sliced

  • 1 red serrano or fresnos chili

    thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  • 1Press the tofu between sheets of paper towels then let stand for 10 minutes to dry out. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 2Place the marinade ingredients listed below in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  • 3The oven will preheat. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 4Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Add to the marinade and gently stir to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes to marinate, stirring occasionally.
  • 5Drain the tofu in a sieve. To absorb the excess marinade, lay paper towels on a cutting board and place the air fry basket on top. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in the basket. For even airflow, ensure the pieces are not touching.
  • 6Once preheated, place the basket in rack position 3 and start the timer.
  • 7The tofu should be browned. If not, give it a bit more.
  • 8Place a small saucepan over high heat and add the remaining sesame oil. When it just begins to smoke, add the onions and chili and cook stirring, for 2 minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the remaining garlic, salt, pepper and sesame seeds and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
  • 9Add the tofu to the chili mixture and stir.
  • 10Serve with steamed rice.