Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh, a soy-based vegan product, is turned into bacon with a lightly spiced, sweet and smoky marinade. It gets crispy and delicious in the oven or in the hot air fryer!

Tempeh Bacon takes me back to my teenage years when my older brother went vegan and got our whole family on board with this plant-based protein. Back then, we bought pre-marinated tempeh bacon, but I’ve discovered it’s easy to make at home.

Tempeh Bacon is a smoky, salty, and slightly sweet plant-based alternative to bacon. It’s easy to make at home and doesn’t require much hands-on time.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans (sometimes with other beans or grains) and a culture of Rhizopus Oligosporus, making it easily digestible. It’s tied into a firm, firm cake that’s sliced ​​and ready to cook.

It has a nutty and mushroom-like flavor and can be a bit bitter at times. For the mildest flavor, use when it’s nice and fresh before it’s allowed to overferment in the fridge.

There are more fermented tempehs out there and they have their uses, but for the purpose of this recipe you want a mild flavor that doesn’t compete with the marinade.

Tempeh is not a perfect substitute for bacon. If you try to slice it as thin as bacon, it tends to fall apart – I find 1/4 inch slices are the easiest to work with. It’s also not as greasy or crunchy as bacon, but it’s delicious on its own.

Sometimes tempeh is steamed or boiled to remove any bitter flavors. This is not necessary with this recipe as the marinade is heavily flavored. Tempeh bacon gets its smokiness from an old-fashioned ingredient, liquid smoke, which is typically used in homemade barbecue sauce, baked beans, pea soup, or any dish that could use a pinch of smoky, savory flavor.

Marinade Swaps and Substitutions

This marinade is easily customizable, whether you want to make it gluten-free, use a different sweetener or oil, or even add a little hot sauce for some heat:

  • Soy sauce is my favorite for the salty notes in the marinade, but you can use tamari or coconut aminos instead. Substitute low-sodium soy sauce if you want it to be less salty.
  • Agave nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, or brown sugar can be used in place of maple syrup.
  • A dash of hot sauce and a good amount of black pepper give just enough kick, but leave them out and add a little apple cider vinegar for a milder flavor.
  • I use olive oil because I have it on hand, but any cooking oil, like vegetable, canola, or grapeseed, that isn’t heavily flavored will work.
  • If you don’t want to use liquid smoke, use the same amount of smoked paprika powder.

How is tempeh bacon cooked?

For the easiest and most straightforward method, I like to bake tempeh bacon. During the last five minutes of cooking and again after it’s out of the oven, I brush a little of the marinade over the tempeh to give it a nice glossy glaze.

If you want extra crispy tempeh bacon, use an air fryer. Simply spray the tempeh with some oil and cook at 400ºF until nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Another option: Fry it in a pan with a little olive oil, about 3 minutes per side.

Serving suggestions for tempeh bacon

Serve tempeh bacon the same way you would bacon: alongside scrambled eggs or tofu for breakfast, top an avocado toast, or make a veggie BLT. It’s also great in breakfast burritos or chopped up and sprinkled over a salad. I wouldn’t recommend using it in soups or stews because tempeh is too lean, it can crumble and get mushy.

How to store tempeh bacon

Once the tempeh bacon is cooked, serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It will soften up a bit in the fridge – liven up its texture by frying in a dry pan until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

Tempeh Bacon

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
15 minutes

Time to marinate
60 minutes

total time
85 minutes

4 servings


  • 1 (8thOunce) package tempeh

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s redHot sauce or apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke or smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Slice tempeh:

    Slice the tempeh crosswise or lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips, depending on how long you want your “bacon” strips. Place the sliced ​​tempeh in a wide, shallow bowl.

  2. Make the marinade:

    In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, Frank’s RedHot sauce, liquid smoke, and black pepper until well combined. Pour the marinade over the tempeh, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.

  3. Bake tempeh:

    Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the marinated tempeh in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes. Reserve the marinade.

    When there are 5 minutes left, brush the tempeh with the marinade. Brush again after baking and serve warm.

nutritional information (per serving)
175 calories
10g Fat
12g carbohydrates
12g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!