Tempeh Bacon

Savory, flavorful, and just a little bit sweet, this tempeh bacon-alternative is a delicious way to add some protein to your plate.

When I started eating a more plant-based diet, the first question most friends asked was, “But what about bacon?!?” The short answer: nothing is quite the same as that greasy breakfast treat. But when you start shifting your expectations and enjoying new foods – like tempeh – for their own intrinsic goodness, you start to appreciate a wider world. This tempeh bacon seeks not to replace true bacon, but to provide a vegan bacon alternative that offers complimentary flavors. The two do not taste the same, but they can still fill a similar umami void in your culinary repertoire.

Jump to Recipe

I usually make this recipe when we have fresh tomatoes in our garden and BLT sandwiches are on the menu for dinner. But you need not limit the possibilities of this recipe! This tempeh bacon would be delicious when served with avocado toast for breakfast, on a club sandwich for lunch, or – if you’re a vegetarian – on a cheesy egg burrito at any time of the day.

Strips of reddish orange vegan tempeh bacon rest on a sheet of parchment paper.

One of the first times I made this recipe, it was for an omnivorous group of friends. I expected to have a big pile of tempeh bacon leftovers to use throughout the week, but my friends had other ideas. They decided to try adding both tempeh bacon and traditional bacon to their BLT sandwiches – and met with great success. Even my mostly-carnivorous husband declared tempeh to be “not that bad”, which is a win in my book.

This tempeh bacon is gluten-free, dairy-free, and, naturally, both vegan and vegetarian. As always, since we are using several processed ingredients, so be sure to read their labels to make sure they live up to your dietary goals.

Tempeh Bacon Ingredients

Our tempeh bacon uses a few basic ingredients – most of which will be combined to make the marinade.

  • Tempeh – While this ingredient may sound exotic, you’ll probably find it near the tofu in your local grocery store. While it does bear some similarity to tofu, this high-protein, fermented, soy-based product is less processed than its squishy cousin, and it offers a more robust texture.
  • Soy sauce – or tamari, or coconut aminos. Use whatever form of almost-soy-sauce best fits your dietary needs.
  • Maple syrup
  • Avocado oil
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder

Making Tempeh Bacon

Start by unpackaging your tempeh and slicing it in half lengthwise, so you have two wide, flat strips. (It helps if you use a longer knife for this part. Be careful not to cut your fingers!) Next, slice your tempeh into smaller, more bite-size pieces. Transfer your tempeh into a wide, flat dish before moving on to the marinade.

Combine your dry spices in a small bowl. Douse the spices with the soy sauce and avocado oil, whisking together to ensure making sure everything dissolves into a homogenous sauce.

Pour the marinade over your tempeh, making sure that each piece is evenly coated. After a few minutes, turn over each slice to make sure every inch has spent some time resting in the marinade. Let your tempeh marinate for at least 30 minutes. (You are welcome to let it rest longer – perhaps preparing this before you leave for work in the morning so that it’s ready when you arrive home, or right before bed so you can wake up to a tempeh bacon breakfast.)

When you are ready to cook the tempeh bacon, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lay your tempeh out in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes total, flipping halfway through.

Strips of reddish orange vegan tempeh bacon rest on a sheet of parchment paper.

Voila! Your tempeh bacon has been baked, and it is now ready to eat. I like serving mine on a piece of toasted bread that has been topped with vegan mayonnaise, fresh lettuce, and hand-picked garden tomatoes. I suppose this would be a…TLT? Tempeh lettuce tomato sandwich? Whatever you want to call it, it sure is delicious.

I hope you enjoy this tempeh bacon at home! How did it turn out for you? What did you serve it with? If you made this at home, feel free to write a message in the comments below, or tag @WhiskAverseBaking in your posts on social media. As always, don’t forget to tap the “Pin It” button to save to your Pinterest boards – even if you’re not interested now, it might be a great recipe for later.

Tempeh “Bacon”

Savory, flavorful, and just a little bit sweet, this tempeh bacon-alternative is a delicious way to add some protein to your plate.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 14 slices


  • 8 oz. tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons tamari can substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cut tempeh into thin strips and place in a wide, flat dish.
  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour marinade over tempeh slices.
  • Allow tempeh to marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to 8 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay out tempeh in a single layer on parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 15 minutes, flip tempeh over, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot.
Keyword bacon, dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

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