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Popcorn Tofu: Vegan Recipe in Air Fryer or Oven

Popcorn tofu
Foto: Lorna P / Utopia

Popcorn tofu is crispy and delicious, eaten as a snack with dips and sauces or served with rice and vegetables. It can be made using an oven or an air fryer — learn how here.

Yummy popcorn tofu is a tasty vegan snack that uses plant-based milk, breadcrumbs, cornstarch and other seasonings to create tofu which is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It takes less than forty minutes to make using an oven or air fryer, which are a healthier alternative to deep friers, and can be served with a range of dips, sauces or sides.

Learn more about the health benefits of tofu and try this delicious popcorn tofu recipe yourself.

Popcorn Tofu Recipe

Prepare 3 separate bowls for the breadcrumbs, cornstarch and milk mixtures
Prepare 3 separate bowls for the breadcrumbs, cornstarch and milk mixtures
(Foto: Lorna P / Utopia )

Yield: 4 servings


  • 14 oz. block firm tofu 
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (such as oat milk or soy milk)


  1. Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel and place a large, heavy pan on the top of it to press out excess liquid. Leave for thirty minutes. 
  2. Remove the tofu from the kitchen towel and chop it into one-inch cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the yeast, breadcrumbs, vegetable oil, pepper, sea salt, and paprika. Put the cornstarch in another bowl. In a third bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar and plant-based milk.
  4. Toss each piece of tofu in the cornstarch first, then dip it in the milk. Repeat the proces, then dip in the breadcrumbs.
  5. Place the tofu on a parchment paper substitute on a baking tray. If desired, spray with some cooking oil for extra crispiness. Bake at 395°F for thirty to forty minutes, turning partway through.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve with sauce, dip or rice and vegetables.

Air fryer method:

  1. Prepare the tofu as above, until the end of step four.
  2. Instead of placing the tofu on a baking tray, place it in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer. Air fry for six minutes at 350°F, then remove the basket and flip each piece of tofu. Air fry again for a further six minutes, until each side is golden brown and crispy.
  3. Complete step 6.

Popcorn tofu can be stored in the refrigerator for five days and reheated in the oven at 325°F for eight minutes, until piping hot, or in the air fryer at 300°F for five minutes. Popcorn tofu also tastes great cold and can be eaten straight from the fridge. You can freeze it for up to a month and just reheat it in the oven at 350°F for ten minutes, or air fry it at 300°F for five minutes. Do not microwave, as it will ruin the texture.

Serving Suggestions for Vegan Popcorn Tofu

This is how the tofu should look before entering the oven.
This is how the tofu should look before entering the oven.
(Foto: Lorna P / Utopia)

While you can enjoy popcorn tofu plain, there are many great additions to this crispy treat.

  1. Sauces — Popcorn tofu can be served as a snack and goes great with a range of sauces such as sweet chili sauce, wasabi mayo, homemade tomato ketchup, hot sauce, vegan barbecue sauce, vegan honey mustard, vegan cheese sauce, and ranch dressing.
  2. Dips — There’s a huge range of healthy vegan dips which taste great with popcorn tofu and can be made at home like hummus, salsa, pumpkin dip, black bean dip, vegan buffalo chicken dip, vegan cashew queso, Greek eggplant dip, and avocado dip.
  3. Barbecue seasoning — Combine a third of a teaspoon of barbecue sauce with two tablespoons of melted vegan butter. When the popcorn tofu is cooked, remove it from the oven and brush each piece with the seasoning sauce, then put it back in the oven for another five minutes, until crispy. Check out some other ways to season tofu.
  4. Main courses — Popcorn tofu can also be included in a variety of main courses such as in tortillas or wraps, in a salad, or served with rice and vegetables.

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