If you’re craving a smoky vegan bacon substitute, here is a recipe for you! This recipe is relatively simple to make and will take your meat alternatives to another level. 

Vegan Bacon in a cast iron pan

Try it thinly sliced, eat it as is or pop it into another recipe. I love having a batch of the in the fridge as it’s a super useful ingredient to have around. 

Why you’ll love this vegan bacon substitute recipe

  • Totally tasty with the smoky, salty goodness you’d expect from a bacon alternative.
  • If you’re going to the trouble of making your own homemade meat alternatives, this one is relatively easy to make.
  • Can be added to a number of different recipes. When you have a dish that needs a little added savory depth of flavor, you can turn to your vegan bacon alternative for the answer.
  • Overflowing with healthy and wholesome ingredients that your body will thank you for!

Looking for more recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Ingredients and substitution notes 

There are a ton of ingredients in this recipe, here’s what you could maybe switch out.

Dry ingredients

  • Vital Wheat Gluten: It’s a high-protein flour, made from wheat and has a chewy texture.
  • Nutritional Yeast: This adds a cheesy, umami flavor to the vegan bacon alternative.
  • Hickory Smoke Powder: This gives the bacon a smoky flavor. You could substitute it with liquid smoke or smoked paprika for a similar taste.
  • Onion Powder: This adds a savory flavor to the vegan bacon alternative. You could substitute it with garlic powder.
  • Dried Mushroom Powder: This adds a meaty, umami flavor to the bacon. You could substitute it with other dried mushroom powders like shiitake or porcini.

Wet ingredients 

  • Water: This is used to hydrate the vital wheat gluten and create the seitan dough. You could substitute it with vegetable broth for more flavor.
  • Olive Oil: This adds moisture and richness to the vegan bacon alternative. You could substitute it with another oil like canola or avocado oil.
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos: This is a vegan alternative to soy sauce and adds a salty, savory flavor to the bacon alternative. You could substitute it with tamari or soy sauce.
  • Maple Syrup: This adds sweetness and helps to balance the salty and savory flavors in the vegan bacon alternative. You could substitute it with agave nectar or brown sugar.
  • Tomato Paste: This adds a depth of flavor to the bacon alternative.
  • Oil: This helps to create a shiny and crispy glaze. You could substitute it with melted vegan butter or coconut oil.
  • Salt: This helps to enhance the flavors in the glaze. You could use less or omit it if you’re watching your sodium intake.
  • Grains of Paradise: This is a spice that has a peppery, citrusy flavor.

Vegan Bacon recipe variations and add-ins

  • Spicy Bacon: Add 1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, or chipotle powder to the dry ingredients for a spicier flavor.
  • Herb Bacon: Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or sage to the dry ingredients for an herby flavor.
  • Smoky Bacon: Add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid smoke to the wet ingredients for a smokier flavor.
  • Mushroom Bacon: Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped mushrooms to the wet ingredients for an extra savory flavor and texture.

Top tips for making Vegan Bacon

Here are some pro tips and tricks to making the best version of this recipe possible:

  • Mix the dry ingredients well: It’s important to mix the dry ingredients well to ensure that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout the vegan bacon.
  • Let the dough rest: Letting the dough rest for 10-15 minutes before shaping it can help the gluten relax and make it easier to shape.
  • Use a sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to slice the bacon thinly and evenly for the best texture.
  • Store the bacon properly: Store the vegan bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Vegan bacon served in a cast iron pan

Make ahead instructions and storage

The vegan bacon substitute can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. 

To store the vegan bacon substitute, transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. In the refrigerator, the bacon will last for up to 1 week. In the freezer, it will last for up to 3 months.

To reheat the vegan bacon, brown it in a pan with a little oil.

Serving suggestions 

Here are some tasty ideas on what to do with your vegan bacon substitute:

  • Use it as a topping for vegan mac and cheese or loaded baked potatoes
  • Crumble it over a salad for added texture and flavor
  • Make a vegan BLT sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and vegan mayo
  • Use it as a pizza topping along with vegan cheese and your favorite veggies
  • Add it to vegan carbonara pasta for a smoky and savory twist
  • Use it as a filling for vegan breakfast burritos or sandwiches
  • Chop it up and add it to tofu scramble
  • Add it to vegan potato soup or corn chowder for a smoky flavor


What is vegan bacon substitute made of?

Vegan bacon substitutes are made from a variety of plant-based ingredients such as tempeh, tofu, seitan, coconut, mushroom, eggplant, carrots, and even rice paper. 

These ingredients are flavored and seasoned to create a smoky, salty, and savory taste that mimics the flavor and texture of traditional bacon.

Is vegan bacon substitute healthy?

Vegan bacon substitutes can be a healthy alternative to traditional bacon, as they are typically lower in saturated fat and calories. 

However, it’s important to read the ingredients list and nutritional information before purchasing, as some brands may contain high levels of sodium or added sugars. Also, like any processed food, vegan bacon should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Wrapping It Up

When the craving hits, you know what to do. 

No more trying to figure out how to add smoky savory goodness to your dishes. Here’s a bacon vegan substitute you’ll love!

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Vegan Bacon Substitute

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Chef Ani


If you’re craving a smoky vegan bacon substitute, here is a recipe for you. This recipe is relatively simple to make and will take your meat alternatives to another level. 



Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon hickory smoke powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried mushroom powder (ground dried mushrooms)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste


  • 1 tablespoon maple
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grains of paradise (black pepper substitute) 
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoke powder


In a medium bowl, add all dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
In a separate jar, add all wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir.
Knead until a dough forms. If the dough seems too loose, add an additional tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.
Divide into 4 pieces. Form into logs.
Make the glaze by adding all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
Add about a teaspoon of glaze to each log and gently spread out over the surface.
Wrap in foil, making sure the edges are well sealed.
Add to baking pan.
Bake at 360F for 40 min.
Store in fridge overnight.
Slice thinly.

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