6 Easy, Award-Winning Fake Bacon Recipes….Hard to Believe It’s This Simple!

photo 22

Creating the closest thing to bacon without using any animal-derived ingredients might seem like an impossible goal, so why even bother to go after it, you might ask?

Because I learned that it’s soo much easier than you think! Lately, I’ve noticed that we are being deluged with TV images of bacon-wrapped burgers, tacos, pizzas and every fast food you can think of. Let’s face it–that smokey, salty taste can add lots of flavor to many recipes and, of course, many people take pleasure in just feasting on strips of it.

Unknown-2As a person who does not eat meat, it’s always a challenge to create a new food that can evoke the same taste, flavor and texture of its inspiration. What a bonus that I have found a solution that is not only better for you and me, but better for animals and the planet we all share. As I journey along this vegan road, my experience has often been that it’s the flavorings and spices that meat-eaters put into and onto many meat, chicken, fish and shellfish recipes that gives it that distinct flavor. This idea was sort of an epiphany for me when I first stopped eating meat. It has really affected how I think about food now and how I cook what I cook. So why should bacon be any different?

fake your baconSo what makes bacon bacon?





OK, we can do that!

But I know we can do even better than that with these veggie ingredients!

We experimented with 5 different bases: tofu, tempeh, beans & buckwheat, shiitake mushrooms, and of all things, coconut. We agreed that one produced the best and most convincing Fake Bacon. And it turns out that the easiest recipe was the best!

5 bacons

I Couldn't Eat This

“Fake Your Bacon”

My assistant chef (my daughter and mad, cooking scientist) and I spent a day in the kitchen creating Fake Bacon these 5 different ways, then had a taste test. Yes, we admit that we had so much fun, tasting all day and laughing a lot. Each recipe had definite advantages, great flavors and many uses but the one that evoked the most bacon-y experience was Fake Bacon, from The Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller. (Leave it to people who are strict about never eating pork to come up with a great simple recipe!)

UnknownAll 5 recipes used an essential ingredient that I had never heard of and that now, I will never be without: Colgin Liquid Smoke. (No, this is not something you drink to quit cigarette smoking!) It is all-natural, vegan, gluten-free, contains no animal product. The ingredients are: water, natural hickory smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, caramel color and salt. It has 0 calories and zero everything else. So basically it’s just a smoke flavoring but boy, does it pack a punch!




Unknown-2Vegan American Princess Award for Easiest & Tastiest 4-Ingredient Fake Bacon Recipe


from The Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller

by Tamar Genger MA, RD 

photo 17Ingredients

  • 1 package tempeh, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 4 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • oil for frying.


  • 1. Marinate tempeh in liquid smoke and tamari mix for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Heat frying pan over high heat. Add oil and fry tempeh strips until browned on both sides about 10 minutes each.

Notes: It’s good to get this blackened –don’t be afraid to burn it! Could use a bit of added salt.

photo 5


Unknown-2• Vegan American Princess Award for Great Fake Bacon with a Touch of Sweetness 


from LunchBoxBunch

photo 19



  • 5 ounces tempeh (2/3 a standard 8 ounce pack)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a dash of cayenne
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (opt’l)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp thick black pepper
  • for pan: 2 tsp olive oil
  • *if you don’t have liquid smoke use these BBQ spice combos: (garlic, pepper, paprika and onion)


  • 1. Very thinly slice the tempeh.
  • 2. As thin as you can slice it without it falling apart.
  • 3. Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish.
  • 4. Soak tempeh in marinade for 1-2 minutes.
  • 5. Turn saute pan on high, add 1-2 tsp olive oil. Lay the tempeh flat on skillet. One layer only. Drizzle a bit of excess marinade onto skillet-it should be sizzling a lot now.
  • 6. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip. Allow to cook for another minute on other side-or until both sides are crisp and browned.
  • 7. Lay cooked tempeh on parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle with black pepper and thick sea salt to taste.
  • 8. For a crisper tempeh bacon, do not pour excess marinade in skillet, and allow all liquid to steam off of pan while cooking.

Notes: Used Liquid Smoke with this recipe and maple syrup.


Unknown-2Vegan American Princess Award for Best Fake Bacon Bits Recipe


From Olives for Dinner

photo 20Ingredients

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly


  • 1) Preheat oven to 350. Place a silpat over a baking sheet, set aside.
  • 2) Combine all of the ingredients except for the sliced shiitake into a shallow glass pyrex or bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • 3) Add in the sliced shiitake, and stir gently to combine. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes to an hour.
  • 4) Place the shiitake in a single layer onto the silpat. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes*. Increase the heat to 375, then bake for 10 minutes more. Flip, then finish for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end to ensure they do not burn.
  • 5) Remove from the oven and place on paper towels to drain. As they drain, the edges will become crispy. Serve immediately.
  •  *Baking times will differ based on the thickness and type of shiitake you are using. After baking for 15-20 minutes, just keep an eye on them to prevent burning ingredients

Notes: Shrinks down a lot! Great for sprinkling. I didn’t have a silpat so I used a baking sheet.


Unknown-2Vegan American Princess Award for Best Fake Bacon Shredded Topping for Snacking or a Punch of Flavor 


from Fettle Vegan

photo 7Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)


  • 1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • 2) Combine liquid smoke, braggs, maple syrup, and water in a large mixing bowl.
  • 3) Pour in flaked coconut, using a wooden spoon to gently toss the coconut in the liquid mixture. If adding smoked paprika, add and toss to coat evenly.
  • 4) Once the coconut is evenly coated, pour it onto a non-stick baking sheet and slide it the oven.
  • 5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to flip the ‘bacon’ about every 5 minutes so it cooks evenly. This stuff WILL burn if you’re not keeping an eye on it and regularly flipping it, so please do.
  • Coconut bacon can be stored in a sealed bag or container for up to a month, refrigerator optional.

Notes: Great for snacking on!


Unknown-2Vegan American Princess Award for Best Recipe for Beany Fake Bacon For Chips, Salsa and Guacamole


Amazing Homemade Vegan Bacon (adapted from No Meat Athlete) from Ordinary Vegetarian

photo 2Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans, or other small red beans
  • 1/3 cup whole grain buckwheat groats (not buckwheat flour)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (if no need to be soy-free, sub bragg’s, tamari, or soy sauce)*
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (may sub any oil you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1) Rinse the beans and buckwheat, place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight.
  •  2) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • 3) Drain and rinse the soaked beans and buckwheat.  Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade, along with all of the other ingredients. Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform, but not completely pureed.
  • 4) Line a 9 x 13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Place bacon batter in pan and spread evenly with a spatula. You may choose to spray another piece of parchment paper lightly with baking spray and press the paper on top of the mixture and flatten with your hands. Remove and discard the top piece of parchment paper, then use a spatula to spread over and fill in any bare spots.
  • 5) Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 24-32 strips, whatever size you prefer, I cut mine into 1 inch by 4 inches slices  
  • 6) At this point freeze any strips your don’t plan on eating immediately. Frozen strips can go straight into the skillet at a later date, no need to thaw first. To fry, heat a skillet with a small amount of oil and fry both sides to desired level of crispiness. You may also choose to fry slices in cooking spray, for a less crispy, but still very delicious result.

Notes: I used red beans and whole grain kasha. It’s nice to take slices and put on corn chips.


Unknown-2Vegan American Princess Award for Best Fake Bacon Recipe for Tofu-Lovers for Stir-Frys, Sandwiches and More


All Recipes by Holly Boxrud

photo 13Ingredients

  • 1 (7.5 ounce) package smoked firm tofu (or non-smoked)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 dash liquid smoke flavoring (1-2 tbs if using regular tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine


  • 1) Slice the thawed tofu into very thin slices (like bacon). In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast, water, maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, onion powder and garlic powder. Place the tofu strips into the bowl to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  • 2) Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly fry tofu strips until crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.

Notes: Slice as thinly as possible. I didn’t have smoked tofu so I added extra Liquid Smoke to the recipe.



The American Heart Association says this about the saturated fat in bacon and red meat:

Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Be aware, too, that many foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol – which raises your blood cholesterol even higher.



Thank You, Sources:

Colgin Liquid Smoke

The Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller Fake Bacon from Tempeh

Olives for Dinner Fake Bacon from Shiitake Mushrooms

Fettle Vegan Fake Bacon from Coconut

Ordinary Vegetarian Fake Bacon from Red Beans & Buckwheat

All Recipes by Holly Boxrud Fake Bacon from Tofu

LunchBoxBunch Fake Bacon from Tempeh and a Touch of Sweetness

I Know He Like This Blog Post!

I Know He Likes This Blog Post!

If you’ve tried different recipes to make Fake Bacon, please share with us!

xox Ellen








  1. michael natkin (of herbivoracious) has a good recipe for making bacon from royal trumpet mushrooms. i will try yours now too.

  2. What the... says:

    Seriously if you don’t believe in eating meat why do you try making everything that’s not meat taste like meat???? Really I don’t get it….

    • since you asked... says:

      Some of us don’t refrain from eat meat products because we don’t believe in eating meat. Some of us are actually allergic to pork, so faking bacon, in particular, is the only way we could eat it. It’s not the way meat tastes that turns people off of meat, by the way, so I really don’t get your line of reasoning.

    • SinthiaV says:

      Because we like the taste of meat but not the cruelty or heart disease.

    • Amber Van Sweden says:

      As a long time vegan, I eat meat free because of ethics & because I don’t care for the texture of meat & because animal protein doesn’t digest well for me. I do love the taste & smell of bacon but ethically, I don’t condone eating animals. That’s why I’m vegan but will occasionally indulge in a fake-bacon flavored, non meat treat.
      I hope that gives you a little better understanding as to the reasoning behind why people don’t eat meat but like to flavor things as meats some like 🙂

    • I’ve been vegetarian for 46 yrs and I do question that, too. I’ve joked that we all.know bacon is “a gateway drug.” I love tofu because I just really love tofu (really) for itself. I love sea veggies. I dislike tempeh. But things like bacon have elements that humans are biologically wired to crave for survival. There are about five or six foods that are actually physiologically addictive, and bacon has some of those. The foods are sugar, alcohol, chocolate/cocoa, cheese and meat. We need carbs, fats and protein as mammals. It isn’t just the taste. Cheese is actually the hardest to give up because it raises your serotonin levels in your brain more than milk. If you love the experience of bacon, but have extricated yourself from causing suffering and damaging the earth, it’s one way to get that hit. It’s got the fat, salt, sweet, smoky and “bite” many people crave. As a vegetarian I sometimes crave stuff that has chew or noise. But it’s kind, healthy and has a faster transit time, so it won’t leave you tired, sleepy or guilty, and doesn’t plug up your arteries.

      Here’s an idea: you don’t need to call it fake bacon. Think of it, as I do, as just one more new, interesting way to cook eggplant. You can only make ratatouille so many times before you get sick of it. Humans like variety. After you’ve eaten enough eggplant curry, Chinese style, Korean style, Mexican chili spices, Japanese flavor, Jewish recipe, Italian meatless bruschetta… you look for other recipes to keep up your interest in eggplant.

      I tell people that meat is meat, and that nothing vegetarian will ever sputter, bleed, smoke and have that salty, burned taste of a piece of steak with the fat. You’ll never get that from a portobello. But you can come close.

  3. I don’t miss bacon but I sometimes miss honey ham/ smoked ham but not enough to eat it again lol I find that “Bacos” brand non meat bacon bits are awesome for anything. Love it in salads and can find it in almost any grocery stores in the USA.

    • I’m not sure, but don’t I remember brand-name Bacos having colors and preservatives? I’ve seen generic bacon crumbles like that, without colors or preservatives, made with the same textured vegetable protein… at my food co-op and at two national health food chains. And you’re right, those crumbles take a boring salad and up the ante in texture and flavor! I’ve even put them on top of homemade pea soup, instead of ham hocks.

  4. ….. Vegetarian for 46 yrs and I tell people who ask: “I never said I didn’t like bacon, ask any vegetarian and they’ll tell you that bacon is a ‘gateway drug,’ I just choose not to eat animals for all sorts of valid reasons.” My bacon tofu recipe has more ingredients to give me that oily, sweet, salty, smokey flavor and the “tooth feel.” I know what to use to combine the two amino acids that create umame. I could use any recipe I want for any flavor or style, but usually end up making tofu bacon again, nothing like it. I bet if most people had to see, smell and hear how farm animals are raised and killed or, better yet, had to kill these pigs themselves, most wouldn’t be able to bear it. Be honest. My entire family died of cancer and I’m still kickin’, so maybe I accidentally picked a healthy lifestyle before any of them got sick. I chose it for economic, health, spiritual, financial and ecologic reasons… And was lucky my neighbors were already good vegetarians. It was an easy transition. Trust me, every time I drive by a McDonalds, a little voice tells me “go ahead, it’s just once, who will know, you’re an adult, you can afford it…” but luckily the traffic light changes and I move on. And by the way, we don’t have carnassial teeth (the old biology-is-destiny justification), we have odontoid teeth, and furthermore, we are also supposed to have cerebellar function. In other words, we should be able to use our brains to figure this out and rise above being just an impulsive animal. No, tofu is never gonna taste like a burnt, sputtering, smoky, salty, bleeding piece of steak under the broiler. But I am not more important than any other sentient being, not worth it to me, and it has worked out well for me. And I’m not a pale, weak, wimpy vegetarian. I understand minor proteins, I make luxurious dishes, I just automatically reach for different staples in my pantry than carnivores so it’s easy. I don’t think I have the right to cause others to suffer or go hungry just because I give in to gluttony, when I think of how many more people could be fed when I choose to live lower down on the food chain, it’s an easy decision.

    • We raised & killed ducks, turkey, chicken & yes pigs! When you live on acreage, and wild game is scarce, then you raise your own because you know it’s healthier than store bought. But for heath reasons I have now chosen plant based foods, not because of cruelty or any other reason. Don’t make judgements on others, and don’t push your beliefs on others. It’s a personal choice, and it’s a good choice for most. Stay positive & promote your experience, yes, I hate when people try to convince or shame anyone to convert!

      • Wow… not sure why you’re feeling so defensive and angry… If you feel guilt or shame, or think someone is “trying to convince” or “push” you, it didn’t come from us. I was addressing my own diet, and you don’t have to read or accept it, you’re free to reject anything you like. I never tell anyone what to do or be… but I domprovide information sometimes. I’m just here to get recipes for vegan bacon, trading ideas. Maybe examine your internal dialogue. I mean, examine why you’re visiting a vegan website, eh?

        And what a person slaughters and eats, is also a cultural thing. Italy eats horse meat the way Americans eat cows and pigs. Asians eat dog. Some places eat grubs for protein. Another eats fried grasshoppers. Some consider sheep brains to be a real delicacy. Some eat raw fish. And there are cultures that would be horrified about eating all those things. Some won’t eat pig, shellfish or beef.

        Vegan foods aren’t a healthier “belief system,” they’re really healthier. It kinda sounds, actually, like you’ve assumed and “judged” us!! You seem to have your own, strong opinions and want to speak for others, yourself. Saying eating meat is a good choice for most, is your subjective opinion, and science would have a lot to say about that. Every country that joins the developed world, increases their demand for animal protein. But we are supposed to have cerebellar function and think through better ways to live and share. So please… don’t assume what we mean, you’ve already misinterpreted, and please back your comments up with science. No need to be defensive or so angry! Wow.

  5. The real fakin bacon that you buy in the store is delish what is the recipie for that one its really good i have bought it many times. i read the ingredients on the package but still they don’t give you the spices they use on it. anyone know that exact recipie?

    • Hi Michelle,
      We’ve found that liquid smoke is the essential ingredient in making food taste bacon-like. Also maple syrup, soy sauce and salt seem to aadd to the bacon-like flavor.

  6. Thank you for reading! We appreciate your support! Let me know if you try these recipes and how You Fake Your Bacon!!!


  1. […] I get that people like the taste of bacon. I do too. I just don’t like the idea of killing a pig to enjoy it. Now there is no need because Ellen over at the Vegan American Princess has 6 Easy, Award Winning Fake Bacon Recipes! […]

  2. […] 6 Easy Award-Winning Fake Your Bacon Recipes […]

  3. […] blog Vegan American Princess tested fake bacon recipes with coconut, shiitake mushrooms, red bean, tempeh, and tofu, and found that all of […]

  4. […] blog Vegan American Princess tested fake bacon recipes with coconut, shiitake mushrooms, red bean, tempeh, and tofu, and found that all of […]

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