Learn just how easy it is to make tempeh in the Air Fryer! This Air Fryer Tempeh recipe is fast, easy, and yields perfectly crisp tempeh every time. Ready in just 10 minutes, you'll have countless ways to use this delicious plant-based protein.
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It's no secret that we're big fans of tempeh here on HNL.
We've got Tempeh Tacos, Tempeh Bolognese, and Tempeh Bacon to name just a few of our favourite recipes. But today I'm going to show you how to make Air Fryer Tempeh, which is so fast, so easy, and so crispy, I think it'll become your new favourite way to make tempeh.
If you want to bake your tempeh or try cooking it another way, be sure to check out this post all about How to Cook Tempeh. You'll find instructions for oven baked, pan fry, skillet, steaming, crumbling, and more.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is fermented soy food originally from Indonesia.
Tempeh is traditionally made with whole soybeans fermented with the mold Rhizopus oligosporus in a process similar to cheese making. The fermentation process makes digestion easier and nutrients like zinc, calcium, and iron are more bio available than in non-fermented soy products like tofu.
Tempeh is a great source of plant-based protein. Because the soy beans in tempeh are still in their whole form, all of the dietary fiber is still intact. Think of tofu as the white bread of the soy world and tempeh as its healthier whole grain cousin.
Where to buy tempeh
Look for fresh tempeh in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. It’s usually together with the tofu and meat-replacement products. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry tempeh, try a natural foods store instead.
You may also find tempeh in the freezer section. I like to bulk-buy tempeh when it’s on sale and toss it right into the freezer, where it’ll keep for about six months.
All you need to make Air Fryer Tempeh is:
- Tempeh --> That one's pretty obvious, right?
- Oil --> I like using neutral and heat-safe avocado oil here.
- Salt and black pepper --> Optional, but recommended.
You're going to need an Air Fryer in order to make Air Fryer Tempeh, right?! This is the model that I have, but if you have a big family I'd recommend choosing one with a larger basket.
How to make Air Fryer Tempeh
You'll find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but let's take a quick look together. This recipe has just two easy steps:
Step 1: Slice your tempeh into cubes, place it in a mixing bowl, and toss it with oil.
Step 2: Place the cubed tempeh in a single layer in the air fryer basket, and air fry your tempeh.
It takes about 10 minutes for perfectly crisp, golden brown tempeh.
Note - you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer and how much tempeh you want to make.
Air Fryer Tempeh has a great texture that's crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. I love using it in meal bowls (related: how to make a meal bowl without a recipe), wraps, on top of salad, over rice, thinner tempeh strips in sandwiches, tempeh slices in stir-fries, and more.
I love the nutty taste of tempeh on its own, but if you prefer marinated tempeh, the crisp exterior of Air Fryer Tempeh does a great job at soaking up flavors. For this reason I tend to prefer adding the sauce to my tempeh AFTER it's been air fried, like in this Tempeh Teriyaki recipe.
You can also marinate the tempeh before you fry it - just make sure it's drained well before you add it to your air fryer. I do find that some marinades have a tendency to burn in in the air fryer, so keep a close eye on your tempeh if that's the case.
Marindade / Sauce ideas:
Be sure to check out our collection of Vegan Tempeh Recipes for more inspiration.
Looking for more Air Fryer Recipes? Try these!
- Crispy Tofu Nuggets
- Air Fryer Falafel
- Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- Air Fryer Nachos
- Air Fryer Carrots
- 15 Vegetarian Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Tempeh
- Air Fryer
- 8 ounces tempeh cubed
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
- salt and pepper
- Cube the tempeh and toss with the avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pre-heat your air fryer to 375°F /190°C
- Place the tempeh cubes into the air fryer, and air fry for 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, until golden brown on all sides.
- Add sauce or marinade to the fried tempeh if desired and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak it up.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- Note - you can add the sauce either before or after the tempeh is air fried, but I find it soaks up better after the tempeh has been fried.
- If you want to marinate the tempeh before frying, let it soak in the marinate for at least 10 minutes but up to overnight.