tempeh bacon on open face sandwich

Plant Based Tempeh Bacon

Homemade, smoky, with a hint of maple sweetness, this tempeh recipe is sure to wow even your most skeptical bacon lovers. As vegans go, many often say that they had trouble giving up bacon. We hear that “what about bacon?” question even more so from folks who are interested in eating a plant-based diet but aren’t quite there yet. Here I share a delicious Plant Based Bacon Recipe using tempeh that will become a staple in your kitchen.

But first, what is tempeh?

Tempeh is a fermented soy product. It is high in protein and less processed than tofu, making it a perfect whole food, plant-based ingredient. To be honest, when I first tried it I didn’t love it. It just seemed to have a bitter flavor that I didn’t like. Then I found Lightlife’s Smoky Tempeh and fell in love. It was just what I needed for sandwiches, pasta, and more. With that on the market, I didn’t need any other bacon recipe… until we started traveling!

Plant-Based Bacon Recipe

tempeh bacon on open face sandwich

Tempeh Bacon

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Tempeh simmered in a sweet and smoky sauce yields the PERFECT plant based bacon. Even the omnivores in your life will love it!


  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
  • 24 shakes smoked paprika
  • 24 shakes onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages of tempeh
  • 1/2 cup water (as needed)


  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, liquid smoke, liquid aminos, paprika, onion powder, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut tempeh in half horizontally, and then cut into 1/4" slices
  3. In a large saute pan or skillet, arrange tempeh so it is barely overlapping.
  4. Evenly pour sauce mixture over tempeh and add water, up to 1/2 cup, to ensure all the tempeh bacon is covered.
  5. Over medium heat, simmer tempeh bacon uncovered until all liquid is evaporated, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Store in air-tight container in the refridgerator.


This recipe can also be baked in a 350-degree oven in a shallow oven-proof dish for 25 to 35 minutes until liquid evaporates.

Favorite Recipes Using Tempeh Bacon

As I mentioned, we used to use the LightLife Smoky Tempeh, so we have many recipes that call for tempeh bacon as an ingredient. Now that we make our own, we use our version in many of our recipes.

Use this tempeh bacon in my favorite BLT, as a salad topping, or in one of my other favorites, these Twice Baked Potatoes. This plant-based bacon is so versatile and flavorful, you are likely to eat it as a snack too.

I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. Also, snap a pic and tag @veginspired #veginspiredfoodie on Instagram or Facebook, I love to see your creations!