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Tempeh Bacon is an easy and delicious vegan bacon substitute. It’s smoky in flavor, made with minimal ingredients and ready in under 10 minutes!
Tempeh bacon is my favorite way to eat tempeh, and today I thought I’d share how to make your own at home!
See, some grocery stores sell bacon-flavored tempeh, but others only sell plain tempeh. The downside is that plain tempeh doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but the upside is that it’s easy to customize and create your own marinade.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, and it binds whole bean together into a block that can easily be sliced. On its own, it has a mild nutty flavor, but the texture of it allows it to easily absorb any flavoring you pair it with.
Tempeh is used in many vegan recipes in place of bacon, and though it doesn’t taste exactly like bacon, it’s REALLY delicious and easy to add to salads, pasta, sandwiches, or enjoy alongside your savory breakfast.
Tempeh – plain
Soy sauce – can sub tamari
Maple syrup – no substitutions
Garlic powder – no substitutions, though can omit if you’re in a pinch
Liquid smoke – optional. This ingredient is trickier to find, and not necessarily a pantry staple, which is why it’s optional. If you have some, definitely use it, but if you don’t, I wouldn’t worry about it, as I don’t think it’s 100% necessary.
Step 1: Slice tempeh. Place tempeh on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice it into thin strips.
Step 2: Pan-sear. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and cook on 1 minute per side.
Step 3: Make marinade. While the tempeh is cooking, whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together.
Step 4: Simmer tempeh in marinade. Once the tofu is slightly golden on both sides, reduce heat to low and add the water. Then, immediately pour in the marinade and let the it simmer for about 3 minutes, flipping the tempeh half way through.
- Liquid smoke is optional. Many vegan bacon recipes call for liquid smoke. However, not all grocery stores sell it, and to be honest, I thought this tempeh bacon tasted delicious even without it. If you’re able to find some and want to use it, great!
- I used Lightlife tempeh. Other brands of tempeh include vinegar in the ingredients, which does impact the flavor. I preferred using tempeh without it.
- Storage: while tempeh bacon tastes best fresh, you can prep it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Add tempeh bacon to these recipes:
More vegan recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- 8 oz. plain tempeh sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke optional
- Slice tempeh into thin strips; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh and pan-sear for 1 minute, then flip over and pan-sear for 1 minute on the other side.
- While tempeh is cooking, make the marinade: whisk soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt, pepper and liquid smoke (if using) together; set aside.
- Reduce heat to low, then add the water to the skillet. Immediately pour in the marinade and let tempeh cook in the marinade for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip over and cook for 1 minute. The sauce should thicken a bit, and the tempeh should be coated.