Air Fryer Crunchy Five Spice Tofu

This Five Spice Tofu is a great topping for congee or rice bowls, a flavourful filling for bao or sandwiches, or just for snacking on. It’s super easy and quick to make in an air fryer. Bake it in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer; it just takes a while longer.

This Crunchy Five Spice Tofu is:

  • crunchy (duh!),
  • flavourful with a mix of sweet, tangy and savory,
  • aromatic,
  • a great source of protein, and
  • super quick to make!

Video Tutorial for Air Fryer Crunchy Five Spice Tofu


The trick to this recipe is squeezing the excess water out of your extra firm tofu before mixing it with marinade. Tofu is like a sponge, filled with tiny pockets that are filled with water. Put the tofu in a clean kitchen towel (choose a lint-free one) and squeeze it. The water will be forced out of the tofu, leaving those pockets with room to absorb the flavours in the marinade.

Then, transfer the tofu to your prepared air fryer and cook for 20 minutes. Depending on how large or small your tofu crumbles are, you will have super crunchy crumbs or hefty chunks that are crispy around the edges and tender on the inside.

Got a bunch of Chinese Five Spice Powder? Use it in these recipes:

Printable recipe for Air Fryer Crunchy Five Spice Tofu

Air Fryer Crunchy Five Spice Tofu
This Air Fryer Crunchy Five Spice Tofu is excellent as a topping for congee or rice bowls or as a filling for bao or sandwiches. It's super flavourful with aromatic Chinese Five Spice powder, savory dark soy sauce, tangy Chinese black vinegar, and sweet maple syrup. Best of all, it's quick and easy to make in your air fryer.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 1 12oz (350g) block extra firm tofu
  2. 2 tablespoons oil
  1. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  2. 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
  3. 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
  4. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  5. 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Drain the tofu. Wrap it up in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it to remove excess water. This will cause the tofu to crumble into chunks too. Add the tofu to the marinade and mix gently until all the marinade is absorbed. Drizzle the oil over the tofu and mix gently.
  3. Prepare your air fryer basket with some oil so that the tofu doesn't stick. Transfer the tofu to your air fryer basket and cook at 400°F (205°) for 20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway.
  1. You can bake this in the oven if you don't have an air fryer. Bake for 20 minutes at first, check on the tofu and bake for longer until it's as crispy as you desire.
Mary's Test Kitchen http://www.marystestkitchen.com/

This recipe originally appeared in the video


Showing 2 comments
  • Nico,e

    Is there something I can substitute for the black vinegar? That’s not something I can find easily.

    • Mary

      You can use balsamic vinegar. It’s similar. But if you get a chance to try Chinese black vinegar, I highly recommend giving it a go. There’s something unique about it. Have fun!

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