Dig into the best crispy vegan tofu bacon recipe with intense umami flavor courtesy of our no marinade, no oil, blending, and baking sheet hack.
This post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. Below, you'll find a handy table of contents with links. But if you're in a rush, please use the link at the top to jump to the recipe card at the end!
🥓 A non-traditional approach
What separates this vegan bacon recipe from the rest pack in the process. And it's so simple! The traditional tofu bacon method of placing tofu slices in marinade ingredients and waiting eons for the flavor to absorb is over.
After many, many trials, this is our favorite way to make bacon because it's more intense than marinated tofu or even tempeh bacon.
Here’s our game changer: Blending the tofu with the ingredients, spreading it, and baking it. Flip it, slice it, and bake up amazing smoky tofu bacon. It’s a two-step we’re going to dance together. Rest assured, it’s not bungle-bound – it’s your new way of making yummy vegan bacon.
📋 Key ingredients & notes
Tofu: The ingredient measures are based on an 8-ounce (250 gram) block of tofu. Firm or extra firm tofu works best for this recipe.
Soy sauce: Regular or low sodium soy sauce adds umami flavor and color. Tamari has a deep flavor like dark soy sauce, so it's a good option. Liquid aminos or coconut aminos can also be used. Replace soy sauce with tamari for gluten-free bacon.
Liquid smoke: In general, liquid smoke is condensed wood smoke. Unsurprisingly, most brands are vegan. Smoked paprika is the best substitute (use 2 teaspoons). If you use hot smoked paprika, then skip the cayenne powder. You probably won't need it. Chipotle powder also has a smoky flavor and can be used as well.
Maple syrup: Maple flavor is a bacon classic. If you want extra sweetness, add 2 tablespoons, rather than just 1.
Apple cider vinegar: Only use a little, but vinegar adds refreshing flavor. If you don’t have it, you can leave it out or use rice vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice.
Dry spices: A combination of onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add cayenne if you want more of a spicy flavor or add extra black pepper for more peppery tofu bacon.
Extra ingredients. The best part about this great recipe is that you can adjust a few ingredients and make it your own. For example, if you want cheesy bacon, consider adding nutritional yeast. Add a little coconut extract for coconut bacon. Ramp the spicy heat up or down with chili flakes or coarsely ground black pepper.
🥄Instructions & notes
- Press the tofu if it has excess water. Allow 10 minutes for the excess moisture to release. Use a tofu press or wrap the tofu block in a paper towel and place it on a plate with another plate or flat surface on top. Put a heavy object on top to weigh it down.
Tip: A little extra moisture won't hurt because you are blending the tofu, so you may want to wrap it in a paper towel and press it with your hands.
- Place the tofu and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth mixture. The top side of the tofu will have a creamy light brown color. Don't worry. It will darken during the baking process.
Tip: Slice tofu into quarters for easier processing.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) before adding the tofu. This helps it to cook more evenly (especially the middle).
- You'll need 2 pieces of parchment paper for this recipe. Use the first to line your baking tray. Set the other aside for later.
- Spread the tofu using the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread the tofu mixture on the parchment paper about ¼ of an inch thick. Keep it as even as possible, so the edges don't burn, and the middle sets up.
Tip: Although it doesn’t need to be perfectly square, use a spatula or other square-edged object to even up the edges.
- Place the tofu in the oven and let it bake for about 25 minutes until it begins to brown and firm up. Keep an eye on it. You don't want the edges to burn.
Tip. Don't panic if your tofu cracks a little or you have a few air pockets. This can happen during the spreading process. Once you slice it and continue baking, you won't notice. And imperfect slices will still taste great.
🔪 Flipping & slicing
- When the tofu is brown on top and firm, remove the baking tray from the oven and place it somewhere it won’t burn the surface.
- Lay the clean piece of parchment paper over the top of the tofu. Then lay a cutting mat, cutting board, or another baking tray over the top.
- Grasp the edges of the baking tray (with the tofu) and mat on top. Be careful. The baking tray will be hot. Flip the tray over. Remove the baking tray and set it aside.
- Gently peel the parchment paper away from the tofu. You may have to work the edges so that the tofu doesn’t stick. Practice patience. It releases as it cools.
- Slice the tofu into bacon strips. Make the tofu pieces as big as you like.
- Slide the parchment paper with the tofu strips back onto the baking tray. If you've used a baking tray to flip it over, just use that.
- Separate the bacon slices to that the sides can brown.
- Place the tofu back into the oven and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes until it is brown.
Tip: Actual baking time will depend on your oven’s ‘real’ temperature, moisture in the tofu, and how crispy you like your bacon. The bacon will get a bit crispier as it cools.
💭 Common Questions
It’s highly recommended that you use parchment paper rather than a baking mat. Mats are great and more environmentally friendly; however, they generate some moisture that can prevent the tofu from firming up during the initial baking process. This can cause the tofu to fall apart after you flip it. You can, however, use a baking mat after flipping and slicing it. This will save you a piece of parchment.
If you have an air fryer that uses racks, not a basket, you can use that instead of the oven. Air fry at 375 F (190 C) for 15 minutes. Check it every 5 minutes until it is brown on top, and then flip it, slice it, and continue air frying it until it is crisp and brown.
For bacon slices, thicker than a ¼ of an inch spread the tofu evenly and lower the temperature to 375 F (180 C). Be careful to separate the slices so the edges brown. Plan for an additional 10 minutes to bake the top side and extra time after slicing it.
🍽 Serving & storage
Tofu bacon can be used just like the real thing (ok, there’s no bacon grease in ours). The obvious and a personal favorite is whipping up vegan mayo while the tofu bakes for legendary vegan BLT sandwiches.
But there is so much more. You can double the protein and serve it with your next tofu scramble. Tofu bacon makes a savory pizza topping along with hemp parmesan. Add it to bechamel sauce and turn it into bacon alfredo. Finally, it turns a hearty salad into a complete meal.
Store any leftover bacon slices in an airtight container for a week to 10 days. Eat them cold from the fridge on sandwiches or vegan bacon bits for salads or added to pasta.
It's best to wrap slices in foil and reheat them in the oven. You can also wrap them in a paper towel and reheat them in the microwave.
📖 Related recipes
Best Crispy Vegan Tofu Bacon Recipe
Dig into the best crispy vegan tofu bacon recipe with intense umami flavor using a no marinade, no oil, baking sheet hack.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Tofu
- Method: Blend & Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu (8 ounces/250 grams)
- ¼ cup soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Prep the tofu. If your tofu has excess moisture, press it using a tofu press. Press the tofu for 10 minutes. Alternatively, wrap the tofu in a paper towel and place it between 2 plates, weighing the top down. If you are using extra-firm tofu, you can skip this step.
- Blend the bacon. Quarter the block of tofu and add it, plus the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until the tofu is smooth.
- Spread the tofu. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread the tofu, about ¼ of an inch thick. Make it as evenly as possible. Use a spatula or another utensil with an edge to make the edges square for more uniform slicing. Spread the tofu mixture.
- Bake the bacon. Place the bacon in the center of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top lightly browns and becomes firm.
- Flip the tofu. Once the bacon is brown on top, remove it from the oven. Lay a fresh piece of parchment paper over the top. Then add something flat such as a chopping mat, cutting board, or another baking tray over the parchment paper. Grab both ends of the bottom baking tray and the other layers and flip the baking sheet over. The baking tray will be hot! Be mindful.
- Slice and separate. Carefully remove the top layer of parchment paper from the tofu. Slice the tofu into bacon-sized pieces (or what suits your needs). Slide the parchment paper and tofu slices onto the baking tray. Separate the bacon pieces so the sides can brown.
- Finish baking. Add the tofu back into the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until it is crisp and brown.
- The key to keeping the edges from getting too brown is to make them as thick as the middle or slightly thicker. Using a blunt edge like a spatula will help keep the edges from tapering off.
- If you make the bacon thicker, lower the baking temperature to 375 F (180 C) and bake the first side for an additional 10 minutes or longer until it browns. Be sure to separate the slices to let the edges brown.
- Store the bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week. Wrap it in foil to reheat it in the oven or reheat in the microwave.
Keywords: best crispy vegan tofu bacon recipe