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Vegan tofu bacon is smoky, ‘meaty’, and absolutely delicious! Thin strips of tofu are baked with a savory-smoky marinade until they’re crispy and full of flavor. They’re ready in just 30 minutes and are a perfect addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

a pile of sauce-covered and baked vegan tofu bacon strips.
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Smoky Maple Tofu Bacon Strips

Bacon is a crispy, salty, and smoky breakfast staple all over North America. Now, vegans and vegetarians can indulge in this meaty must-have with this quick and easy tofu bacon recipe.

Unlike a lot of other vegan bacon recipes, ours doesn’t involve long marinating times. Instead, the tofu strips are first baked alone, then baked with a simple smoky marinade to infuse every bite with flavor. The process only takes 30 minutes so you get vegan bacon even faster!

The bacon tofu marinade is easy to make from pantry staple ingredients like soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. The flavors aren’t totally the same as maple smoked bacon, but the delicious layers of smoky, salty, and savory flavors in each bite are still too delicious to pass up.

The best part? This easy vegan bacon comes with endless uses! It’s a surefire way to add a boost of plant-based protein and a load of flavor to your savory vegan breakfasts, vegan BLTs, salads, vegetable wraps, and so much more.

Looking for more tofu recipes to try? Check out our tofu scramble, tofu sushi, buffalo tofu sandwich, and pineapple glazed tofu ham.

The Ingredients and Substitutes

vegan tofu bacon ingredients in individual white bowls.
  • Canola oil: We like greasing the baking pans with canola oil, but you can also use vegetable oil. 
  • Soy sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce to control the salty flavor, or use tamari or coconut aminos for gluten-free vegan bacon.
  • Water: To thin and dilute the tofu marinade slightly.
  • Maple syrup: Use real maple syrup for a classic maple bacon flavor.
  • Liquid smoke: This adds a nice smoky flavor that contributes to the bacon-like flavor of the tofu.  
  • Firm tofu: Of course! Opt for extra firm tofu for the most tender texture. Softer varieties, like medium firm and soft tofu, contain too much water for this recipe. Plain tempeh is a good alternative if you don’t have any tofu. 

Flavor Variations

Customize your vegan bacon by adding any of these flavor boosters to the marinade:

  • Spicy seasonings: Stir in some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, sriracha, or chili sauce. 
  • Smoky things: If you have smoked paprika or chipotle powder, add a pinch with the marinade ingredients to add a more intense smoky flavor. 
  • Savory spices: Curry powder, mustard powder, or Dijon mustard will give the tofu bacon a more robust taste. 
  • Aromatics: Like grated ginger and crushed garlic.
  • Herbs: Use fresh or dried basil, oregano, or rosemary to the marinade for a fresh and earthy flavor profile.

How to Make Vegan Tofu Bacon 

Remember to press the block of tofu before you get started to drain as much excess water as possible. The less water in your tofu, the crispier your vegan bacon will be!

  • Cut the tofu block in half lengthwise. 
  • Cut the halves into very thin strips.
slicing a brick of tofu with a knife.

We recommend slicing the tofu into thin strips about ⅛ inch thick, or as thinly as possible. You want the strips thin enough to crisp up and absorb the flavor, but not so thin that they fall apart or burn in the oven.

  • Lay the tofu strips in a prepared baking pan.
  • Bake the tofu strips.
thin slices of tofu on a baking sheet.
baked tofu strips on a baking sheet.
  • Meanwhile, stir the soy sauce, water, pure maple syrup, and liquid smoke in a small bowl.
  • Pour the marinade into the baking pan with the tofu.
vegan bacon marinade ingredients in individual jars.
whisking a tofu bacon marinade in a small white bowl.
pouring a vegan bacon marinade over baked tofu strips on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the tofu and marinade together until the strips are crispy and chewy and have absorbed most of the marinade.
  • Let the tofu bacon cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

FAQs

Do you need to marinate the tofu ahead of time?

Some vegan bacon tofu recipes involve soaking the tofu strips in the marinade ahead of time. We found that the tofu had a great flavor without marinating in advance, so it isn’t a necessary step for this recipe. However, if you have some extra time, you can soak the strips in the marinade for 1 to 4 hours before baking for 25 to 30 minutes.

Can I crumble the tofu instead?

Yes, you can crumble the brick of tofu to make tofu bacon bits instead. Just watch them carefully in the oven to make sure they don’t burn.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Always use extra firm tofu: Extra firm tofu has the least amount of moisture, which helps it crisp up and soak in the flavors from the tofu marinade. You can also use super firm tofu if you can find it.
  • Press the tofu: To press the brick of tofu, cover the block with paper towels or a dish towel, and place a heavy pan on top to drain the excess moisture. Make sure to blot it with a towel to soak up any water that comes to the surface. 
  • Bake in a shallow pan: Remember to bake the tofu in a shallow baking pan to prevent any spillage.
a pile of sauce-covered and baked vegan tofu bacon strips.

Serving Suggestions

This vegan bacon is so tasty and versatile, you can use it in endless recipes! Here are just a few suggestions:

Storage Instructions

Once the vegan bacon is cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week.

You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. Lay the bacon on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until the tofu strips are frozen solid. Transfer them to an airtight container and freeze.

Thaw the leftovers in the fridge overnight or reheat from frozen in the toaster oven or a regular oven on low heat. You can also reheat the strips in a skillet over medium heat on the stove.

strips of baked tofu bacon in a glass storage container.

More Easy Tofu Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Vegan Tofu Bacon

5 from 23 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Vegan tofu bacon is smoky, 'meaty', and absolutely delicious! Thin strips of tofu are baked with a savory-smoky marinade until they’re crispy and full of flavor. They’re ready in just about 30 minutes and are a perfect addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • ½ of a (16-ounce) package of extra firm tofu, pressed

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and lightly oil your 9×9 baking pans.
  • Cut a tofu block in half lengthwise (you will only be using half). Then cut into thin strips lengthwise about ⅛ inch thick, or as thinly as possible. Optionally, you may then cut these strips in half lengthwise. Place tofu on the prepared pans and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, pure maple syrup, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
  • Remove tofu from the oven, pour liquid blend into the banking pan, and place into the oven for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 5 more minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before using.

Notes

  • Always use extra firm tofu: Extra firm tofu has the least amount of moisture, which helps it crisp up and soak in the flavors from the tofu marinade. You can also use super firm tofu if you can find it.
  • Press the tofu: To press the brick of tofu, cover the block with paper towels or a dish towel, and place a heavy pan on top to drain the excess moisture. Make sure to blot it with a towel to soak up any water that comes to the surface. 
  • Bake in a shallow pan: Remember to bake the tofu in a shallow baking pan to prevent any spillage.

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 21gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2173mgPotassium: 471mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gCalcium: 100mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. I can’t wait to make this but how many servings, and ideally the portion size of a serving, does this make? I have to be very careful with carbs and there’s not enough information provided for me to know how much I can eat to reach the 20g of carbs. Thanks!

    1. Hi! The totality of this recipe makes the 20g of carbs and what you see on the nutrition label 🙂 Feel free to divide it into portions as needed! Enjoy 🙂