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Vegan Bacon Bits

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Smoky, chewy, and packed with flavor, these Vegan Bacon Bits are so easy to make! Top baked potatoes, salads and more.


  • 6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (see note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil like grapeseed or soybean, optional (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke (or hickory) (or sub more smoked paprika)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon applewood spice rub or your fav. Spice rub, optional
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup TVP


  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (about 191 degrees Celsius) and line a half sheet baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Make the marinade: To a medium bowl, add all your marinade ingredients: soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, oil (if using), liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, spice rub, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Add TVP: Add the TVP to the bowl and stir well with a spoon or spatula until all of the TVP has been coated in the marinade.
  4. Marinate: Let the TVP sit for at least 8-10 minutes. If you’d like to marinate it more, cover and place in the fridge for up to 2-3 hours. I haven’t tried it for longer than that, so I don’t know how the TVP holds up. You could try it if you like!
  5. Add to a baking tray: When you’re ready to bake your TVP bacon bits, spread them out in a thin layer on the lined baking tray. You’ll want to spread them out across the surface as much as possible.
  6. Bake: Bake for 10-15 minutes, removing the tray and stirring them well every 4-5 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes for chewy bacon bits, slightly longer for crispy bacon bits, around 14-15 minutes. They’ll harden a bit more once chilled.
  7. Store: Storing these bacon bits is easy--let them cool after for at least 20 minutes, then transfer to an airtight jar or food container and store for up to 1 week in the fridge. Mine actually still tasted good after a week and a half, but every fridge is different, and it will depend on how moist or dry your batch is.
  8. Ideas on using vegan bacon bits: On top of vegan potato soup, on salads, on pasta (like vegan carbonara or vegan mac and cheese ), on a baked potato, in soups (on top or mixed in to soften a bit), in a plant based omelette or tofu scramble, etc.!


  • Note 1: I used reduced sodium soy sauce because regular is just too salty for me. However, use what you like. Definitely get some gluten-free tamari if you can’t have gluten. If you can’t have soy, you have a couple options: Coconut aminos (if choosing this, you may want to dial back or omit the maple syrup) or NoSoy which I haven’t personally tried but have heard good things about. I use a lot of coconut aminos when I’m not cooking for the blog simply because they’re lower in sodium than even the reduced sodium soy sauce.
  • Note 2: The reason for this addition is it just makes the TVP bacon bits taste a little richer and more like animal bacon bits because oil is fatty like animal bacon is. But it tastes good without it, too.
  • Note 3: You can substitute more smoked paprika if you prefer, but a dash of liquid smoke goes a long way here in making these mushrooms taste like bacon. I highly recommend using mesquite liquid smoke, but the hickory or other flavors are good too.
  • Note 4: Freshly cracked black pepper, please! I used to think it was overrated until I actually started doing it (*cough* making my husband do it), and now I can’t go back to regular pre-ground black pepper. This flavor is SO much better.
  • Note 5: This is actually the same marinade as my Portobello bacon recipe--it’s so versatile!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Ingredient
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Can Be Oil-Free, Vegan Bacon Bits