Crispy Tofu Bacon - 10-Minute, No Marinate Recipe (2024)

This Vegetarian Bacon is my very favorite meatless bacon to make and eat – and honestly, this crispy tofu bacon might also just be my favorite plant-based protein hack of all time.

No marinating needed. No baking needed. Plus, we’re talking only five ingredients in this vegetarian bacon recipe – and that’s if you include the cooking oil!

Crispy Tofu Bacon - 10-Minute, No Marinate Recipe (1)

Table of Contents

  • About this Vegetarian Bacon Recipe
  • Why You’ll Love It
  • Ingredients
  • How to Make Vegetarian Bacon
  • What to Serve with Tofu Bacon
  • FULL, PRINTABLE RECIPE

About this Vegetarian Bacon Recipe

This easy tofu bacon recipe is wonderfully crispy and salty-smoky-slightly sweet. The thinner pieces cook up super crisp, while the thicker bits have some chew. Just like the real thing!

Many tofu bacon recipes call for pressing, marinating and baking, but once I discovered this 10-minute saute-then-sauce method for vegetarian bacon, there was no turning back.

No need for marinating because we have plenty of flavor without? Check. No waiting for the oven to warm up? Check check!

I’ve made a version of this incredible tofu bacon for years, though usually just for my Vegan BLTs. I’ve always been amazed by how easy the process is to make this vegetarian bacon, and when I started making more of a concerted effort to get more protein into my diet, I turned to tofu recipes like this tofu bacon.

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I love this vegeatarian bacon on breakfast sandwiches, salads, pizza, and – maybe best of all – just straight up.

Because it is goo-ooood.

Why You’ll Love It

Well, for one, it’s super fast and easy to make. For another, it’s delightfully smoky-salty-sweet just like real bacon.

Here’s what a couple of others – who have rated the recipe 5 stars – have to say about the recipe!

  • “I tried it last week and it was so delicious 🙂 Thank you for sharing this !! it was easy to make!”
  • “I’m new to experimenting with tofu… this was delicious! Even my husband, who’s a bacon snob, loved it!!! I followed the recipe and then put my skillet in a 375 oven for a few minutes. Crispy and delicious. Thank you!”

Ingredients

So what are we looking at, ingredient-wise? It’s such a simple list, and no liquid smoke is needed!

  • Extra-firm tofu – the firmer the better, sliced thin. Firmness can vary a lot by brands, so once you find a favorite, stick with it!
  • Olive oil – the better for your thin-sliced tofu to turn golden brown in! And we use a decent amount – 2 tablespoons – to keep the fat situation going. If we’re trying to replicate bacon, we need fat!
  • Soy sauce – This glorious ingredient adds umami, saltiness, and a bacon-y hue. Some people feel it might be a bit too salty, in which case, go for a low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari.
  • Pure maple syrup – To add a hint of maple-y sweetness and a touch of shine.
  • Smoked paprika – Another magic ingredient that lends smokiness to the situation.

How to Make Vegetarian Bacon

First-up, take half a block of extra-firm tofu and slice it as thin as you can. I feel pretty good if I can get 14 slices out of the half-block.

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Then, place the tofu in a layer of paper towels and press gently to remove some of the water. This is also a good time to mix up your sauce (I also do this when the tofu is cooking to save time) – just mix the soy sauce, maple syrup, and smoked paprika together in a little bowl and set aside.

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Then you cook up the tofu. Place a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering-hot, add the tofu. The tofu will bubble and spit as the moisture in the tofu hits the olive oil. This is good – you’re getting the moisture out so crispiness can happen!

Fry the tofu on one side until light-to-medium golden, then flip and cook on the other side. I like to use a super-thin cookie spatula or turner to help keep the tofu from breaking as much as possible (some brands of tofu are more fragile than others).

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Then, turn the heat to low and add your sauce. Cook for another minute, tossing and turning your cooked tofu in the sauce, until most of it has evaporated and all you have left is your delicious, perfectly crisped, wonderfully seasoned vegetarian bacon.

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At this point you can throw it on a platter and admire it. OR … devour!

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What to Serve with Tofu Bacon

  • TLT sandwiches with this vegan bacon are the bomb! If meat-eaters are joining you, this is a great one-dish-two-ways situation.
  • Vegans can enjoy club sandwiches with this tofu bacon too!
  • Crispy Banana Almond Butter Waffles with some of this vegan bacon on the side? Yes please.
  • I think this tofu bacon would be perfect alongside a hearty tofu scramble like this one.

Here’s the full, printable recipe. I hope you’ll be … bacon … it soon! (Forgive me.)

Crispy Tofu Bacon - 10-Minute, No Marinate Recipe (8)

4.77 from 13 votes

10-Minute Vegetarian Bacon

Prep: 3 minutes mins

Cook: 7 minutes mins

Author: Kare

Yield: 12 pieces

Wonderfully crispy and salty-smoky-slightly sweet, this vegetarian and vegan tofu bacon recipe hits all the right notes. And it cooks up in only 10 minutes!

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Ingredients

  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu, sliced thin* (half a 14-ounce block; aim for 12-14 slices, 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for cooking)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons soy sauce*** (2 tablespoons for good flavor but not too salty; 3 tablespoons if you like it salty [I think 3 tastes more like actual bacon])
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Slice your tofu.** Lay slices on a couple of layers of paper towels. Add another paper towel on top and press gently to extract some of the moisture from the tofu.

  • Place a large non-stick saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. If your burner runs hot like our high BTU burner on our gas stove, opt for lower – medium or even medium low. You know your stove best! You want to fry your tofu nicely, but you don't want your oil to burn.

  • Add olive oil to the pan.

  • When the oil is hot, lay the tofu slices in a single layer in the pan. The tofu will bubble, sizzle, and maybe even spit a bit so use caution, but know this will result in the easiest, most delicious tofu bacon of your life! Cook until light golden on one side, 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until light golden, 2 minutes or so.

  • While the tofu cooks, mix together the soy sauce, pure maple syrup, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.

  • When both sides of the tofu are golden and the slices are beginning to stiffen and look drier around the edges, reduce the heat to low. Reducing the heat is important to prevent burning! Then pour the soy sauce mixture over the tofu and toss the tofu slices until coated in the mixture. Cook, tossing gently, until the soy sauce is evaporated, about 1 more minute. Transfer to a clean plate to cool a bit and then enjoy!

  • Tofu bacon keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. But once it sits for a bit, it does lose its crispiness. Still delicious! Just not crisp anymore.

Notes

* Some extra firm tofu is still somewhat fragile, so when you slice it thin, it can break apart when cooking. I like to use a very thin spatula to carefully flip the tofu until it’s cooked enough to hold together. Honestly, the smaller, broken off pieces of tofu bacon are probably the tastiest, so personally I’m good with a few casualties.

** To save time, I heat the oil in the pan while I’m slicing my tofu. But I suggest saving that shortcut for after you’ve made this recipe a few times and are familiar with it. 🙂

***Soy Sauce Note:

Some people feel this recipe is a bit too salty with regular soy sauce. If that’s the case for you too, try a low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 4slices, Calories: 108kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 1288mg, Potassium: 131mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 62IU, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 1mg

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds. More about this here.

Breakfast Comfort Food Fast (20 Minutes or Less) Protein Packed Recipes

Crispy Tofu Bacon - 10-Minute, No Marinate Recipe (9)

About the AuthorKaren Troughton

Karen is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

More About Karen »

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32 Comments on “Crispy Vegetarian Bacon (Easy 10-Minute Recipe!)”

  1. Daniela Reply

    10 out of 10! So easy to make and so delicious 😋

    • Kare Reply

      Yay! I’m so glad this was a hit for you! We make it at least once per week here. 🙂

  2. Ana Reply

    One of the hardest things about being vegan, is not being able to eat bacon. This recipe sounds sooo good, and easy! I’m going to make it ASAP!

  3. Erica Reply

    Tried this yesterday and I loved it. It was so good and tasted just like Bacon. I enjoyed a BLT for the first time in a long time. Have you ever tried it with a low sodium soy sauce? Does it come out well?

    • Kare Reply

      I’m so glad this was a winner for you! Thank you for the review. Yes – sometimes I use tamari and it definitely helps cut down on the saltiness.

  4. Ching Reply

    I tried it last week and it was so delicious 🙂 Thank you for sharing this !! it was easy to make~!

  5. Judi Reply

    Do you think this could be put under the broiler at the end for a double dose of crisp?

    • Kare Reply

      Sure, I bet that would work! As always with broiling I’d keep a close eye. 🙂

  6. Lisa Reply

    I wanted a vegan BLT, but didn’t have marinade time for my go-to recipe, so I turned to this one. I added a squirt of ketchup and a few drops of liquid smoke; otherwise, I followed directions as written and was super happy with the result. Delicious! Thank you!

  7. John Reply

    I can hear the crunches just by looking at them. Those look extremely crispy. Also, the greatest part no marination is needed.

  8. Nancy Reply

    I’m new to experimenting with tofu… this was delicious! Even my husband, who’s a bacon snob, loved it!!! I followed the recipe and then put my skillet in a 375 oven for a few minutes. Crispy and delicious. Thank you!

    • Kare Reply

      I’m so glad it was a winner for you and that it passed the husband test too! Great idea to place the skillet in the oven for extra crisping. Tofu is such an amazing ingredient – so versatile! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a review.

  9. Bev Reply

    The taste is just okay — I give it a 2. I wouldn’t make it again because the mediocre taste was not worth the huge mess it made with all the splatters (and I used a tofu press to remove the moisture). It’s a clean up nightmare!

    • Kare Reply

      Thanks for your honest opinion. I don’t find it hard to clean up but I use a large non-stick pan.

  10. Jessica Reply

    I am on a restricted diet at the moment. Do you think omitting the syrup would hurt this?

    • Kare Reply

      The syrup adds a bit of shine and sweetness but I think it will be just fine without!

  11. Denise Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. For several years my go to has been rice paper bacon and I love the stuff but it’s a pain to make. I made your tofu bacon tonight and it’s fabulous!

    I do have to say it’s a little salty for me so next time I’ll use a little less soy sauce and a little more smoked paprika but I’m very impressed. I ate the entire pan of it myself!

    • Kare Reply

      Hi Denise! I’m glad this one was a success for you! I agree it can be on the salty side sometimes. I like to use Tamari which helps. Thank you so much for the review!

  12. Beth Reply

    Excellent! I had a craving for something savory to go with rainy night pancake supper and this was it.

    I cannot wait for next summer’s garden tomatoes, I have missed BLT’s so much and this recipe is The. Bomb.

    • Kare Reply

      This tofu bacon is SO good on BLTs! And even better with homegrown tomatoes … nothing better. 🙂

  13. Felix Reply

    This is a great alternative, especially for a fresh vegan like my friend. I made him try and he was like “oh yeah I can do these” haha

  14. Karen M Reply

    I’ve made this 3 times now and it’s my new favorite snack and addition to sandwiches. I think I like it better than actual bacon! Fantastic recipe! ( I do add a bit of liquid smoke to it).

  15. lesliemarie Reply

    We LOVED this tofu bacon!

    I only used 2 T of soy sauce and I thought that was perfect! I also seasoned the tofu as it crisped with a pinch of hickory smoked salt, then added some generous grinds of pepper to the pan as the tofu soaked up the maple-y soy sauce. Yummmmm.

    I used the tofu bacon for a vegetarian Cobb Salad. Besides the tofu bacon, I also used chickpeas instead of chicken. I topped the lettuce and tomatoes with crunchy vegs like cukes, cauliflower, celery, radish and red cabbage to add a satisfying crunch, and dressed it with home made bleu cheese dressing.

    VERY satisfying and delicious!

    • Karen Reply

      Thank you so much for the review – I’m so happy it was a hit! Hickory smoked salt?!!! I’ve got to get my hands on some of that. Yum!

  16. Rita Reply

    Can I use baked tofu for this recipe?

    • Karen Reply

      Yes, I have used pre-baked tofu and it works well. Cut the cooking time in half though.

  17. Samm Reply

    If you prep a little before hand, these will also have the consistency of not quite bacon, but more chewy and dense, almost like a chicken nugget. You gotta drain the tofu over night, slice it, then put it back in the container and freeze it overnight, then thaw THEN do this recipe. Thank me later.

  18. Shirley Noell Reply

    Where is all saturated fate derived from? I used coconut aminos instead of soy. Cut my soy with mandolin and work perfectly.

  19. Shirley Noell Reply

    Where is all saturated fate derived from? I used coconut aminos instead of soy. Cut my soy with mandolin and work perfectly.
    My slices are 3 “ long c 1-12” long

  20. Marysa Reply

    This is so interesting! I’ll have to give this a try. I would not have thought that you could use this kind of tofu for such a crispy outcome.

  21. Adrianna Reply

    This recipe is SO. GOOD. I’m a new vegan and I’ve been missing bacon, this is an amazing alternative and I’ll make it regularly for myself!

    • Karen Reply

      I’m so happy to hear you’re loving this one! I feel the same way about it. It’s amazing on so many things that call for bacon!

Crispy Tofu Bacon - 10-Minute, No Marinate Recipe (2024)

FAQs

Why won t my tofu get crispy? ›

If your crispy tofu isn't getting crispy, it could be because there is too much moisture in the tofu. Another issue could be the oil isn't hot enough to fry the tofu. Or you forgot to add the corn flour. These three reasons can cause your tofu to be soggy or not crisp up as much as you'd like.

Do you put cornstarch before or after marinating tofu? ›

If you want to bake the tofu instead, I recommend following my Baked Tofu post instructions – 400°F for 20 minutes, flipping in between. I would still recommend doing the marinade with cornstarch step afterwards (just heat up the pan a bit and add the tofu right after it comes out of the oven).

Should you marinate tofu before frying? ›

For the tastiest results, marinade the tofu overnight. Roll slices or cubes of marinated tofu in some rice flour, potato starch, corn flour or grated coconut before pan-frying for an extra-crispy crust. Be sure to use a non-stick pan with a generous amount of oil. Deep-frying is also an option.

What not to mix with tofu? ›

What to not serve with tofu? According to studies, a high volume consumption of tofu and spinach together can increase your risk of kidney stones. Tofu and spinach contain calcium and oxalic acid respectively and the combined can form kidney stones.

What can I coat tofu with instead of cornstarch? ›

If you want a crispy outer coating for your tofu, flour can be a great substitute for cornstarch. Simply coat the tofu cubes or slices with a dusting of all-purpose flour before frying. The flour helps create a light and crispy texture while ensuring the tofu stays tender on the inside.

How do you get cornstarch to stick to tofu? ›

A light coating of cornstarch will absorb even more moisture from the tofu's surface and contribute to a distinct coating. Sprinkle over the starch (potato starch, tapioca starch, and arrowroot all work too) a little bit at a time and toss the tofu, pressing gently so the starch adheres.

How much cornstarch to coat tofu? ›

Ingredients
  1. 1 (14- to 16-ounce) block. extra-firm tofu.
  2. 1 teaspoon. kosher salt.
  3. 3 tablespoons. cornstarch.
  4. 2 tablespoons. vegetable oil.

How much cornstarch for one block of tofu? ›

Ingredients
  1. 1 12 oz block medium, firm or extra-firm tofu.
  2. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. 1/3 cup cornstarch.
  4. optional: 1/2 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder.
  5. vegetable oil for frying.

What can I use instead of cornstarch? ›

Which one you use depends on the recipe, your needs, and what pantry staples you have on hand.
  • Potato Starch. Potato starch is the cornstarch substitute favorite of associate food editor Kendra Vaculin. ...
  • Rice Flour. ...
  • All-Purpose Flour. ...
  • Tapioca Flour. ...
  • Arrowroot Powder. ...
  • Xanthan Gum.
Jun 13, 2022

How do you make tofu taste good quickly? ›

Marinate it: Tofu can be marinated in a variety of flavorful sauces or spices. You can use soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and other seasonings to make a simple marinade. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to a few hours) before cooking or grilling.

What happens if you don't drain tofu before cooking? ›

Here's the thing: even though tofu might be labeled firm or extra-firm, it contains a lot of water. This excess water can cause the tofu to crumble when you cook it, and it will also have a hard time crisping up. But when you press tofu, you remove the excess moisture.

How do you speed up marinating tofu? ›

If you're short on time, slice the tofu into thinner pieces, 1/3” (8 mm) or so, so it gets seasoned faster. Transfer the tofu into the container by making the pieces “stand” (see the picture below). Use your hand to gently separate the tofu slices, so the marinade will seep between the tofu pieces.

Why can't you eat spinach and tofu together? ›

- It is said that tofu cannot be eaten together with spinach at the same time. As tofu and spinach contain calcium and oxalic acid respectively, the combination of the two will form kidney stones. But in fact, only prolonged and volumionous consumption of tofu and spinach at the same time will pose this risk.

Why can't you eat a lot of tofu? ›

Potential Risks of Tofu

Some people believe that eating too much soy can increase the risk of breast cancer, disrupt thyroid function, or "feminize" men (who naturally have lower estrogen levels than women) due to the estrogen-like isoflavones. However, the research is "mixed and inconclusive," according to Iu.

Is tofu a high inflammatory food? ›

Tofu and tempeh.

Studies suggest people who eat soy-based foods have lower odds of inflammation-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Nuts and legumes, Tree nuts like almonds and walnuts, along with peanuts, are rich in unsaturated fats, along with anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.

How do you fix soggy tofu? ›

Drain and pressing out excess water: Tofu that's been packed in water retains a lot of moisture, even when it's been drained and patted dry. Getting that extra liquid out will give you firmer tofu that will soak up the flavors of marinades and hold up better in the skillet or on the grill.

Why is my tofu so mushy after cooking? ›

The tofu is too soft, too water logged (it'll just steam,) to large or cold for the oil, oil not a proper temp. Purchase extra firm tofu, let it sit in a colander or cheese cloth, slice it in wide strips or slightly larger then playing dice size squares, make sure oil is hot enough so that it begins to bro...

How long to press tofu for crispy? ›

How long does it take to press tofu? It takes around half an hour to press the tofu in preparation for cooking. It's simple to do and requires very little effort. You only need a plate, some absorbent fabric or paper, such as clean tea-towels or kitchen paper, and a weight – we often use a frying pan.

How do you fix extra firm tofu? ›

Instructions. Step 1: Press extra firm tofu for at least 30 minutes and cut into cubes. Add a small amount of oil to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add tofu to pan and brown on each side for about 1-2 minutes for a total of about 15 minutes.

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