This air fryer bang bang tofu is a riff off the classic chicken version and features perfectly crispy air fryer tofu coated in a sweet and spicy bang bang sauce.
Allow me to introduce you to your newest snack addiction. One of those snacks that will undoubtedly turn into an entire meal, but is 100% worth it.
We’re doing a spin on bang bang chicken, a classic Chinese street food, only today we’re giving tofu it’s time to shine. Plus pulling off this entire deal in the air fryer which is an automatic win.
Our current level of obsession with this tofu is so high, we’ve made it about 3 times in the last two weeks and each time it doesn’t last more than about 10 minutes.
Y’all, if you can get away without eating half the batch of this goodness solo, please share your secrets. All my self control goes completely out the window when it comes to this tofu.
This Bang Bang Tofu Features…
- Perfectly crispy air fried tofu.
- A sweet, creamy, and spicy sauce coating the crispy tofu.
- Minutes to make and the best appetizer.
Making The Bang Bang Tofu
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Sweet chili sauce
- Hot sauce
- Pan spray
How to Prepare Tofu
Prepare the tofu for pressing by cutting the tofu in half width-wise. Lay the two tofu slabs in a single layer on a kitchen towel, place another kitchen towel on top, and arrange on a plate.
Now place something heavy on top of the tofu (like a bowl of fruit or a medium-weight book) and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes. Once the tofu has been pressed, you’re ready to dice it into cubes and proceed with cooking.
Why press tofu? Even extra-firm tofu is packaged in liquid and pressing the tofu ensures that it will fry up crispy.
Tips for Perfect Bang Bang Tofu
- Cut tofu into uniform size – make sure all the tofu is the same size so it cooks evenly.
- Preheat air fryer – you want the air fryer already hot when you’re ready to add the tofu. We recommend preheating for 3 minutes.
- Spray air fryer basket and tofu with pan spray – since we’re relying on convection to make the tofu crispy, this added little bit of fat is essential for browning the tofu and getting a nice crisp on the outside.
- Shake basket halfway through cooking – this allows the tofu to evenly crisp up on all sides.
- Immediately sauce tofu – this tofu is best if served immediately after frying. Transfer the tofu to a large bowl and toss well with the sauce and green onions until evenly coated.
Follow these instructions for a different spin on this recipe!
- Adjust the heat level – for a spicier tofu, add a little more hot sauce or smoked paprika to taste. For a milder version, use regular paprika, start with less hot sauce and taste as you go.
- Use chicken – this recipe is easy to adapt to a meat version! You will need about 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-in cubes. Coat the chicken per recipe instructions and air fry until crispy and chicken registers 165F.
- Make it a meal – bang bang tofu is typically served as an appetizer or snack, but you can totally make this an entire meal by pairing some steamed veggies and noodles/rice on the side!
Make Ahead Instructions
Looking for some time-savers? Follow these make ahead instructions!
- Press tofu – this is the most helpful way to save time with this recipe. We typically press the tofu in the morning for 30-60 minutes, dice it into cubes, and store in the fridge until it’s time to fry it.
- Make the bang bang sauce – the sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in fridge.
Note that since this tofu is made in the air fryer and gets coated in sauce, it does not reheat very well and is best if enjoyed immediately after assembly.
We are literally obsessed with this tofu and it’s not super hard to see why. The tofu is mind-blowingly crispy, perfectly dressed in that creamy, spicy sauce, and every bit as good as the meat version.
Just be warned, once you start eating this tofu it’s literally impossible to stop. We strongly recommend a double batch!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch this tofu made step-by-step on Google web stories.
More tofu recipes you will want to try next!
Air Fryer Bang Bang Tofu
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Bang Bang Sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 brick (12 oz) extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30-60 min and cut into 1-in cubes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
- Pan spray for air frying
- Sliced scallion for topping
Bang Bang Sauce
- In a medium bowl, combine all sauce ingredients until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and store in fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat a 4-qt air fryer to 400F for 3 minutes.
- Toss pressed tofu with cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a large bowl until evenly coated.
- Spray the basket of air fryer well with pan spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in air fryer, making sure to space tofu apart so it is not touching other pieces. Spray tofu well with pan spray.
- Air fry tofu at 400F 10-12 minutes, shaking basket halfway through cooking, until tofu is a deep golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer tofu to a large bowl and toss with bang bang sauce until evenly coated. Top with scallions and serve tofu immediately. Enjoy!