How to Make Air Fryer Tempeh Recipes

Author: Jenny J Brown
July 7, 2023

How would you describe tempeh? Is it fermented soybeans or tofu? Or maybe something else entirely? The answer to this question might surprise you. Tempeh is a whole food plant grown from sprouted grains and has long been enjoyed worldwide.

Tempeh is delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare at home. In addition, it takes only 15 minutes to cook. There are several ways to enjoy tempeh, such as stir-fries, curries, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, and even desserts.

What is tempeh?

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Tempeh is similar to tofu but different in two ways: 1) it has a nutty, firm texture, and 2) it’s made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process rather than heat (as with tofu).

Tempeh is an excellent source of protein (at least 20% more than tofu), containing all essential amino acids — making it more easily digestible than other plant-based foods like grains or legumes.

In addition to its high protein content, tempeh also contains fiber—making it both filling and heart-healthy.

Nutrition information

The fermentation process used to make tempeh gives the bean several vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin K2 helps maintain bone health while also helping lower cholesterol levels.
  • Calcium promotes strong teeth and bones.
  • Potassium helps regulate blood pressure levels.
  • Phosphorus helps guard against osteoporosis (weakness in bones).
  • Magnesium regulates nerve function as well as keeps your heart beating regularly.
  • Iron for red blood cell production.
  • Zinc for immune system function.
  • Copper for red blood cell production and keeping your nerves functioning properly.

Why make tempeh in the air fryer?

Making tempeh is easy and fun, but why would you want to make it at home?

It was cheap. Making your tempeh is more affordable than buying it at the store, especially if you have a large family or live with others who like to snack on tempeh as I do.

You can customize your recipe for the perfect texture and flavor combination. There are so many different spices and seasonings; just look through our collection of vegetarian recipes for inspiration.

Once you’ve got a base method down pat, try making variations on your favorite dishes by adding different ingredients or changing their preparation methods (e.g., using another cooking technique).

It’s quick. Making tempeh from scratch takes about 30 minutes total—and since it’ll last in the refrigerator for several days without getting stale or moldy (since no mold spores are used), that means you’ll have plenty of time left over after learning how to make this tasty meat substitute before enjoying all those delicious creations later on down the line.


tempeh recipe
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  • 8 oz smoked tempeh cut into small cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Two tablespoons brown sugar
  • One tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Five cloves of garlic finely minced or grated or one teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Two teaspoons of ground ginger powder
  • Three tablespoons of oil of choice (canola, sunflower), divided


Cut the tempeh into 1-inch pieces.

Second, whisk together all the marinade ingredients besides the cornstarch in a separate dish. Put the tempeh in the fridge to marinate for at least 20 minutes after you pour the marinade over it.

Third, take the tempeh out of the marinade and scatter it evenly in the air fryer basket. Ten to fifteen minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. To cook in the oven, spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through or until the edges are nicely browned and crispy.

Put the remaining marinade in a skillet and heat it over medium. The marinade will benefit from a slurry that combines cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Combining and boiling after being stirred in.

Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, frequently stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens.

Put the cooked tempeh into the marinade and mix to coat. When the tempeh is cooked, the marinade will form a sticky covering that is both highly flavorful and difficult to remove.



  • To get the most out of tempeh, look for a fresh, firm brick.
  • Coconut aminos improve the tempeh’s flavor by giving it a savory umami note. If you don’t have any other sauce on hand, soy sauce will do in a pinch.
  • The toasted sesame oil gives the tempeh a deliciously subtle smokiness. If you want good results, use the toasted kind.
  • I experimented with a few other spice combinations, but plain old garlic powder goes a long way toward bringing everything together.
  • The two most essential seasonings are salt (to enhance the dish’s flavor) and oil (to make the food crispier). Oil or salt can be left out if you’re trying to cut back on those substances.


  • Step-1: Preheat the air fryer to 390F. Slice the tempeh into 1/2″-1″ cubes. Place into a mixing bowl.
  • Step-2: Add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Let sit and marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Step-3: Put the marinated tempeh in an air fry­ing pan or baking sheet.
  • Step-4: Air fry and enjoy


  • Prep Time:5 minutes
  • Cook Time:8 minutes
  • Total Time:13 minutes


  • Tempeh, 9 ounces (approximately – this was one package)
  • The equivalent of one tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Amount: 1 Tablespoon of Avocado Oil
  • 14 tsp of garlic powder (more to taste)
  • a dash of sriracha or tabasco sauce (optional)


Form the tempeh into cubes with sides of about 3/4 of an inch.

Set the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it on.

Put the tempeh cubes into a large bowl. Add the avocado oil, garlic powder, and sriracha/tabasco (if using) to the bowl. Toss everything together until evenly coated.

Place the tempeh in the air fryer, so it’s not touching other foods. Crispy tempeh can be baked for 6-9 minutes. Shake the air fryer basket halfway during the cooking time. The tempeh brand and the air fryer you use will affect the cooking time.

After the tempeh has finished frying, take it out of the air fryer and enjoy it as a snack or incorporate it into your favorite dishes.

How do you cook pre-packaged tempeh?

Pre-packaged tempeh has been around for a while, but it’s only recently become popular. The first version was made from soybeans and water.

Today, tempeh is made using fermented soybeans and rice bran. Tempeh has a high protein content, which makes it great for vegetarians who want to include meat substitutes in their diet.

Storage Tips

Any leftover air-fried tempeh can be refrigerated in an airtight container.

It will soften a bit, but it will keep for a few days, allowing you to use it as a snack or an ingredient later.

While reheating in the microwave is an option, rewarming the tempeh in the air fryer or a pan will help remove some excess moisture introduced during the microwave process.

Tips for Air fryer tempeh

Tempeh is a soy product that’s made from fermented soybeans. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and can be used as a substitute for meat in dishes like tacos and stir-fries.

Tempeh is high in protein (18 grams per serving), low in fat, and contains no cholesterol or gluten. It’s also a good source of iron and calcium for vegetarians or vegans who don’t eat animal products.

If you’re new to cooking with tempeh, try making one of these recipes: Air Fryer Garlic & Chive Tempeh with Sriracha Mayo (pictured above) or Easy Air Fryer Cashew Chicken Tacos With Cilantro Lime Slaw & Pickled Onions.

How to Make Air Fryer Tempeh Recipes [FAQs]

1. Do you need to boil tempeh before frying?

Tempeh needs to be boiled for 10 minutes before frying. This helps remove excess moisture from the tempeh, which makes it crunchier. Without cooking the tempeh, the outside dries out too quickly, causing the inside to become soggy.

2. Does tempeh need to be soaked?

Tempeh needs to be soaked for at least 2 hours to allow the water to penetrate the product. This helps soften the tempeh’s texture and makes it easier to slice. If you don’t soak the tempeh, the slices may crumble when you cut them.

3. Is tempeh healthier than tofu?

Tempeh is healthier than tofu because it contains less saturated fat. However, both types of soy products include high amounts of cholesterol. Soybeans are also rich sources of plant estrogens, which may increase the risk of breast cancer.

4. Is it better to boil or steam tempeh?

Tempeh should be steamed rather than boiled. Boiling causes the protein structure of the tempeh to break down. Steaming preserves the integrity of the protein structure.

5. Can u eat raw tempeh?

Yes, you can eat raw tempeh. Raw tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a mild taste. Tempeh can be eaten plain or used in recipes such as stir fries and salads.

6. How do you cook tempeh, so it’s not bitter?

Tempeh has a strong flavor, so you must marinate it for at least 1 hour before cooking. If you don’t want to use soy sauce, then try adding some tamari instead. Also, you may add garlic powder and onion powder to give it additional flavor.

7. Does cooking tempeh destroy probiotics?

Cooking tempeh destroys some of the bacteria found in probiotic foods. However, it doesn’t affect all types of probiotics equally. Some probiotics survive heat better than others. Therefore, checking food labels for “probiotic” claims is essential before buying them.


If you’re looking for a way to make delicious air fryer tempeh recipes, you’ve come to the right place. We have five great recipes to help you enjoy this tasty dish at home. You can make it in just 20 minutes and serve it with your favorite vegetables or add it to your favorite sandwich.

The best part is that all these recipes take less than 10 minutes to prepare before being cooked in the air fryer, so they are perfect if you don’t have much time on hand but still want something tasty and healthy.

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