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Learn how to cook perfect and delicious tempeh with this easy method! Featuring a simple, flavorful marinade, and the option to either bake or sauté.

spooning marinade over cooked tempeh

What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • It’s a complete plant-based protein source! Loaded with essential vitamins, including B12, tempeh is the perfect addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • You can customize it to take on your favorite flavors! This simple method for how to cook tempeh ensures it absorbs as much flavor as possible. The recipe features a simple marinade that you can change up to suit your personal preferences.
  • It’s super easy! Simply steam, marinate, then cook your tempeh however you’d like. If going the baked route, this method becomes super hands-off!

Key Ingredients

Tempeh – For those unfamiliar with tempeh, it is fermented soybeans pressed into a cake. It sometime includes various grains, such as brown rice, to give the tempeh an even heartier texture. And while most commonly made from soybeans, tempeh can be made from other various beans as well. Tempeh is chewy and nutty, and takes on whatever flavors you serve it with. In this case, it takes on the tangy flavors from our delicious marinade!

Soy Sauce – Tempeh has a tendency to be slightly bitter, therefore the tanginess from soy sauce helps to conceal that sometimes unpleasant taste right up! Soy sauce produces a very strong and flavorful tempeh, which tastes delicious in a variety of meals.

Maple Syrup – The maple syrup offers a little sweetness to balance out the savory soy sauce. If not vegan, you can use honey instead of the maple syrup in this recipe!

Chef’s Tips

  • Have fun experimenting with how to best cook and flavor your tempeh! Add or remove any spices you’d like. And if you’ve never cooked tempeh before, try both the sauté and baking methods, then decided which one you like best.
  • Feel free to cut your tempeh into whatever shapes or sizes you’d like. The only requirement here is to make sure your tempeh pieces are all even in size, this will ensure even cooking!
  • Marinate the tempeh for as little as 30 minutes, or for as long as 8 hours. The longer you marinate it, then the more flavorful it will become! However, I have found just an hour in the marinade leads to extremely flavorful tempeh.
cooked tempeh on a plate with sliced scallions and sesame seeds

More Plant-Based Recipes You’ll Love

Recipe By: Sam Guarnieri

How to Cook Tempeh

Prep 5 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 25 minutes
Learn how to cook perfect and delicious tempeh with this easy method! Featuring a simple, flavorful marinade, and the option to either bake or sauté.
4 servings


  • Steamer basket
  • Medium bowl
  • baking sheet
  • Large skillet


  • 8 ounces tempeh cut into even-sized cubes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Place tempeh in a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes.
  • Mix together soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper in a large bowl. Place tempeh into bowl with marinade, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

For Baked Tempeh

  • Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet.
  • Arrange tempeh on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and crispy. Toss with remaining marinade, then serve immediately.
    how to cook tempeh step 2a

For Sautéed Tempeh

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in tempeh and sauté for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy. Toss with remaining marinade, then serve immediately.
    how to cook tempeh step 2b

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 189calProtein: 14gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 812mgPotassium: 256mgTotal Carbs: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gNet Carbs: 15gVitamin A: 1IUCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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