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Smoked Tempeh Bacon

Smoked Tempeh Bacon is delicious for breakfast or on a sandwich. The secret to this deliciously smokey meat substitute is the marinade that requires only 3 ingredients.

tempeh bacon in non stick pan on white background

When our daughter makes it home for a visit, we busy ourselves in the kitchen making all of her favorite vegan meals, and tempeh bacon is always on the list for breakfast.

Later in the day, I’ve seen her grab some off of the plate in the refrigerator for a snack. It is great on sandwiches too!

You’ll love this smoked tempeh bacon because it’s…

  • Full of flavor
  • Smokey
  • Nutty
  • Loaded with protein
  • Perfect for sandwiches
  • Super easy to make
  • Delicious

Easy Tempeh Marinade

This smoked tempeh marinade requires only 3 simple ingredients. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl, add tempeh, and allow to marinate a few hours or even overnight.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

tempeh half sliced on cutting board with ingredients in background

How to make smoked tempeh bacon

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients, and mix well.

Simply slice the tempeh into slabs. Some people like to steam their tempeh before marinating and cooking, but I have not found that necessary.

I am often asked which knives I use personally, and I have to say that it is Victorinox. They are the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives and the quality is excellent.

Next, add the three ingredients for the marinade to a bowl and whisk together well until blended.

soy sauce marinate in bowl with tempeh in background

Place the tempeh strips in a container or even a ziplock bag and pour the marinade over the top. Cover and seal well, place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Longer is better. I actually like to leave mine overnight.

Sliced tempeh in glass dish marinating on white background

Once marinated well, place the strips in a nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat and brown on both sides until golden. I love my Ozeri nonstick pan and use it almost every single day for recipes like this.

About 5 minutes on each side is a reasonable estimate. If baking in the oven, cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

smoked tempeh bacon in non stick pan

Once the tempeh is nice and brown, add it to stir-fries, sandwiches, bagels, and anything else you can think of.

We love it for breakfast either served with my Tofu Breakfast Scramble or on an English muffin or bagel.

*Originally published December 2014.

smoked tempeh bagel with greens on white plate with kiwi and orange slices

Plant-based vegan sausage makes a great addition when serving this for breakfast. It is one of the many products that I like to order from MamaSezz meal delivery service. It comes ready to heat and eat, and it can also be frozen.

Tips for making bacon tempeh

  • I used to steam my tempeh before preparing it for a recipe, but have found that it isn’t necessary. It does not taste bitter to me at all, so no steaming is required.
  • Simply place in a non-stick pan and cook until golden brown and slightly crisp.
  • Tempeh Bacon is also great on English Breakfast Muffins and Smoked Tempeh Sandwiches.
  • It also pairs well with my Tofu Breakfast Scramble.

Your Questions Answered:

  • Q: What is tempeh made of? Tempeh is a traditional soy product from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form and has a nutty, mushroom, meaty flavor.
  • Q: Where can I buy tempeh? Tempeh can be found in many US grocery stores in the produce section. In other countries, you should be able to purchase it at Asian markets or health food stores.
  • Q: Does tempeh bacon taste like regular bacon? It has a salty smokey flavor that will remind you of bacon, but it doesn’t taste like bacon and doesn’t have the crunch of fried pork bacon.
  • Q: Can you eat tempeh raw? Yes, tempeh can be eaten raw. Marinating and cooking are recommended to bring out even more flavor.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

Sliced tempeh on wooden board with cup of marinade in background

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

overhead photo of tempeh bacon in nonstick skillet on white background

Bacon Tempeh

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Smoked bacon tempeh is delicious for breakfast or on a sandwich. My adult daughter loves this recipe so, when she is visiting, I always try to make it for her


  • 8 oz package of tempeh, usually gluten-free, but check package
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari, gluten-free if needed
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients, and mix well.
  2. Slice tempeh into strips. Place slices into mixture and allow to marinate. The longer, the stronger the flavor will be. I like to leave it in the refrigerator overnight if possible, but at least 30 minutes is necessary.
  3. Add strips to sauté pan with a little bit of the marinade liquid and cook over medium-high heat until crispy on one side. Turn and brown on the other side.
  4. Add more of the marinade and cook until caramelized. About 5 minutes each side is a reasonable estimate. If baking in the oven, cook at 350 for 20-25 minutes.


Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 70Total Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2.5gProtein: 6g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Joan Withrow

Saturday 27th of March 2021

Hi Terri, I have bought tempeh before but never got around to using it, until today! I tried your "bacon" and was pleasantly surprised. Even my grandson said it was "decent". Will not be the last time I try it. Thanks for all you do!

Terri Edwards

Saturday 27th of March 2021

Hi Joan- Ha! That's so funny that your grandson didn't hate it, lol! Made me giggle for sure. I'm glad this recipe will be showing up on your table again. :)

Shirley Parran

Saturday 8th of August 2020

I did not steam first and it was a little bitter. It certainly doesn't taste like bacon but it was tasty. I think I will steam it next time. If at first you don't succeed...


Sunday 3rd of May 2020

I put it in the microwave for 170 seconds and it comes out perfect, depending on your microwave. Try a bit shorter at first.

Donna Hepburn

Monday 5th of February 2018

Hi Teri: how do you make tempeh???? I am in a small city, in Ontario, and I have never found tempeh in the super markets, but would love to try this recipe. :)

Monday 5th of February 2018

Donna, I haven't made tempeh myself, but there are kits you can purchase to do that. This is my Amazon Affiliate link to one so you can take a peek. If you try it, I would love to hear how it turns out.

Lauren Vaught

Thursday 1st of February 2018

Marinating my tempeh right now, and these flavors are great. I added black pepper for a bit of a zing! Roger will love this in a sandwich wrap on the golf course!

Thursday 1st of February 2018

Hi Lauren, I think you and Roger are going to love this! We eat it on Tempeh Lettuce & Tomato (TLT) sandwiches often.

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