Sweet, smoky, delicious tempeh bacon that’s so quick and easy to make! Loaded with flavor, tempeh bacon is delicious in sandwiches, on salads, or just by itself. This might just be our favorite way to eat tempeh!
What Makes This Tempeh Bacon So Good
- The flavor is a little sweet, a little smokey, and a whole lot of amazing. It’s not quite the same as traditional bacon, but I find it really satisfies that craving!
- It’s got that incredible crunch you get from traditional bacon. Serve your tempeh bacon with fluffy vegan pancakes or vegan chili or chop it fine and mix it into your vegan broccoli cauliflower salad. I even like to use it for a vegan “B”LT!
- You can snack on it for a few days! Leftover tempeh bacon can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to one week, so you can make up several days’ worth at a time if you want. To reheat, just quickly pan fry it again in a little hot oil.
Key Ingredients for Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh – Tempeh is a great vegan alternative to traditional meats like bacon. It’s made from fermented soybeans, often with other beans and grains added in, too. It’s a great meatless source of protein that’s also high in fiber, not to mention other vitamins and nutrients like magnesium. Like tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in, making it incredibly versatile. It’s chewier than tofu, though, which is why it’s a great substitute for bacon.
Liquid Smoke – Like the name suggests, liquid smoke really is smoke-flavored liquid. It’s made by burning wood, then capturing the smoke and condensing it into a liquid. Liquid smoke is a kind of controversial ingredient, with some questioning its safety. It’s usually filtered twice to remove potential carcinogens, and you don’t need to use much in a recipe to really get that smoky flavor. If you’d rather not use liquid smoke, then you can either use smoked paprika in its place or just skip this ingredient entirely. You’ll lose the smoky aspect, but your tempeh bacon will still taste good!
- Be very, very careful while you’re cooking the tempeh in the marinade – it will burn quickly! The key is to flip it frequently so it’s never on one side for too long, and use the marinade as your guide.
- To slice the tempeh really thin, use a mandoline instead of a knife! The thinner your strips, the crispier your tempeh bacon will be.
- Instead of pan frying, you could bake your tempeh strips. Whisk together the sauce ingredients then add the tempeh strips, letting them marinate in the liquid for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours. After that, bake them for 15 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit, then flip them over and bake another 10-15 minutes or so. Keep an eye on the tempeh bacon strips for the last few minutes – you want them crispy but not burnt, so adjust the time as needed.
- Thin tempeh is delicate, so be gentle when you flip the slices over so they don’t break apart on you.
Other Meatless Recipes You’ll Love
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Coconut Bacon
- Chimichurri Tempeh
- Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Tofu and Broccoli
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- Small bowl + silicone spatula
- Large skillet
- In small bowl, stir together tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and pepper until well combined.
- Slice tempeh into short, thin strips, about 1-inch wide and ¼-inch thick.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add tempeh. Cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until crispy and browned, then flip and repeat on other side.
- Once tempeh is crispy on both sides, add marinade to skillet. Reduce heat to medium.
- Cook, flipping occasionally, until tempeh is evenly coated and sauce has thickened, approximately 1 to 3 minutes. Be very careful here as the tempeh will burn.
- Remove tempeh from skillet and serve hot.
- If you’d prefer not to use liquid smoke, you can use smoked paprika in its place or just skip this ingredient entirely. Your tempeh bacon won’t have the smoky flavor, but it’ll still taste good!
- Make it Gluten Free: Use a gluten-free tempeh, and make sure your maple syrup is gluten-free, too.
- Make it Keto: Use a keto-friendly liquid sweetener in place of the maple syrup.
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