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This easy, satisfying, flavorful Air Fryer Tempeh is a delicious way to make amazing smoky tempeh! It’s perfect for adding to other meals, or eating for a snack with dipping sauce. Tempeh cubes are marinated and then cooked in the air fryer until crispy. It’s a dish everyone will love!
I’m a huge fan of tempeh – it’s got great texture, it’s vegan and vegetarian, it’s gluten free, and it has tons of protein so it works great as a delicious plant based alternative for meat in most dishes.
Cooking tempeh in an air fryer is a great way to get an amazingly flavorful and crispy dish. You won’t be able to stop eating these smoky tempeh cubes dipped in sauce, in a stir fry, with vegetables, or in other dishes. It also happens to be vegan, gluten free, and is ready in less than 30 minutes!
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You can cook this hearty protein in a variety of ways, but I love this easy air fryer method – which guarantees perfectly cooked tempeh every time!
👩🏽🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Great alternative for non meat eaters
- Easy air fryer recipe
- Smoky flavors
- Kid friendly
- Simple vegan dish that’s also gluten free!
- A wonderful protein source
- 30-minute recipe!
This air fryer tempeh recipe calls for simple ingredients easily found at your local grocery store! For more details on instructions and nutritional info, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tempeh: You can find this plant protein at any grocery store or a specialty whole foods store. It’s made from fermented whole soybeans, and this fermentation process binds the soy beans into compact cakes. It’s different than tofu, which is made from soy milk (not whole soybeans), that’s processed into blocks. Tempeh is best cooked while at room temperature. To keep this recipe gluten free, make sure the tempeh you buy is gluten free certified.
Olive Oil: This mild oil is perfect for the marinade, and it will make this dish wonderfully crispy.
Coconut Aminos: This liquid is similar to soy sauce but isn’t, in fact, a soy product, and it’s a great gluten free alternative to using soy.
Maple Syrup: This syrup adds a touch of sweetness to the tempeh marinade.
Garlic Powder: A small amount of garlic is a great way to flavor cooked tempeh, and it has an earthy flavor that goes well with this dish.
Smoked Paprika: Smoked red bell peppers are ground into powder which is a delicious way to flavor this air fry tempeh.
Apple Cider Vinegar: A little vinegar balances the other flavors of this easy recipe and makes this dish stand out.
Salt And Black Pepper: Adding kosher salt is the best way to enhance and bring out the other flavors of the tempeh pieces. Be sure to use freshly ground pepper as it’s more potent and has a more robust flavor than pre-ground black pepper.
- Cooking Method: This easy air fryer tempeh recipe can also be made in a conventional oven, toaster oven, or steamed in a pot on the stove or in a mixing bowl in the microwave. If you use a traditional oven, lay parchment paper down on a baking sheet to ensure the tempeh cubes can be easily removed.
- Marinade: Marinated tempeh makes this recipe incredibly flavorful. You can change the marinade ingredients to match the dish you’ll serve it with. You can try buffalo sauce, peanut sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, or liquid smoke.
- Air Fryer Tempeh Strips: Instead of cubes, you can cut this plant protein into strips and use it in sandwiches, as plant-based bacon, or in other dishes that need a thinner protein.
- Seasonings: Try adding some additional seasonings to this air fried tempeh recipe, depending on what will complement the dish you’re making. Some options are cayenne pepper, chili powder, onion powder, ground fennel, coriander, cardamom, cumin, garam masala, curry powder, garlic, fenugreek, or dried chilis.
- Not Smoky: If you don’t like smoky flavors, you can easily change the smoky paprika to regular (non-smoked) paprika instead.
- Air Fryer Tofu: If you can’t find tempeh or would rather use tofu instead, that will also work great.
Here are brief instructions on how to make this tempeh in the airfryer. For a more detailed description, see the recipe card below.
Make The Marinade: Add all ingredients, except for the tempeh, into a mixing bowl and mix well.
Marinate The Tempeh: Gently mix the diced tempeh through the prepared sauce, ensuring it’s well coated. Marinate for 10 minutes.
Cook: Lightly spray the air fryer basket with spray oil and cook until lightly golden and crispy.
Serve: Cooking tempeh in the air fryer is the perfect healthy addition to any meal. Serve in your favorite dishes.
This airfryer tempeh can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat any leftovers in the airfryer for 3-4 minutes or until they’re hot all the way through.
Store any leftover marinade in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for three days. You can use this to marinate other foods or more tempeh.
This air fryer tempeh recipe is best served hot, and you can serve it with a side of vegan ranch, sweet potatoes, vegan bacon, or baked potatoes.
It’s also excellent in sheet pan dinners, stir fry, grain bowls, or a tempeh sandwich.
Nope, you don’t need to boil or steam this protein before frying it. It has great texture when you just pop it in the airfryer. Instead of being soft and mushy, air frying makes it crispy.
Tempeh and tofu are both healthy in their own way. Both are low in calories, high in protein, and are a healthy plant based protein to add to a variety of dishes. They have different textures – tempeh has a firm texture and is typically more firm than tofu, while tofu can have a firm or soft texture.
But technically, tempeh is healthier than tofu. Tempeh has more potassium, fiber, protein, and iron, and tofu has more calcium and is lower in calories. It is made with whole soy beans, so it’s less processed. Additionally, 1 cup of tempeh has 31 grams of protein whereas 1 cup of tofu has only 20 grams of protein.
Choose the option that you like best and that works best for the recipe you’re using. Either way, they’re both healthier alternatives than other types of protein.
💭 Expert Tips
Here are some tips to help you make the best crispy tempeh recipe you’ve ever had.
- Dice the tempeh evenly to cook it consistently in the airfryer.
- Use avocado oil or another neutral oil if you don’t have olive oil.
- Depending on the shape and size of your airfryer, you may need to cook this recipe in batches.
- Make sure that they’re all in a single layer, if possible, so they cook evenly. If you have an airfryer basket, stir or toss these crispy cubes during cooking.
🍲 More Air Fryer Recipes!
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📋 Recipe Card
Air Fryer Tempeh
- Add all ingredients, except for the tempeh, into a mixing bowl and mix well.
- Gently mix the diced tempeh through the prepared sauce ensuring well coated. Allow the tempeh to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F / 190 C.
- Lightly spray the air fryer basket with spray oil. Arrange the marinated diced tempeh in an even layer, ensuring the pieces don’t touch.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden and crispy.
- Remove and use in your favorite dishes or enjoy as a snack.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Tempeh is best served hot.
- Reheat leftovers in the air fryer for 3-4 minutes before serving.
- Cooking times may vary based on the appliance used.
- Make sure the tempeh is diced evenly, this helps with consistent cooking.