January 29, 2023

Are you looking for an easy tempeh recipe that is versatile enough to use in many different recipes? Try this smoky marinated tempeh recipe!

During the market season, we bring a tempeh to the farmers market that we marinate and then smoke in a smoker. But we don't sell it in the winter months. So I wanted to share a simplified smoky tempeh recipe that is easy for you to do at home. I've been using this recipe for years and it's my goto when I want a bacon-flavored tempeh.

What's in Smoky Marinated Tempeh?

ingredients for smoky marinated tempeh: liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, tamari, vegetable broth, garlic, tempeh.

The ingredients for this Smoky Marinated Tempeh recipe are mostly pantry staples and easy to find at most grocery stores.

  • tempeh (I used our Black Beauty in this recipe but any variety works)
  • vegetable broth (I keep Better Than Bouillon in my fridge but use what you've got)
  • tamari (keepin' it gluten-free!)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • liquid smoke (most grocery stores carry this but if you use it a lot it makes sense to order a bigger container online [Amazon affiliate link] - that's where I got this big container)
  • fresh garlic cloves

Substitutions you could make in this recipe

I keep gluten-free tamari around so I can easily accommodate my gluten-free friends. You can use soy sauce, Bragg Liquid Aminos or coconut aminos instead if that is what you have on hand. Coconut aminos add a bit of sweetness, so keep that in mind. 

If you don't have liquid smoke or can't find it, try smoked paprika. Replace the liquid smoke with one teaspoon of smoked paprika and add two more tablespoons of vegetable broth to keep the amount of liquid the same.

No fresh garlic? No problem! Substitute 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for the two cloves of fresh garlic.

Would you rather have a salty-sweet smoky tempeh? Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the marinade.

More tempeh recipes you might enjoy

How do you make Smoky Marinated Tempeh?

Making this recipe is super easy. 

First, stir together all the marinade ingredients in a container big enough to hold it and the tempeh.

smoky tempeh marinade in a glass container.

Next, cut tempeh into your preferred shape (slices, cubes, planks, whatever!) Add to the marinade and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

sliced tempeh in a container with smoky tempeh marinade.

Spread the tempeh in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with a reusable baking mat or parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes at 400ºF flipping halfway through until lightly browned on each side.

slices of marinated smoky tempeh spread out on a baking sheet.

Alternatively, you can pan-fry in a little oil or air-fry the tempeh pieces. If you happen to be firing up a grill, throw it on there!

How do you use this tempeh?

a baking sheet with sliced smoky marinated tempeh on it.

This smoky tempeh is versatile and can be popped into so many different dishes. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it:

  • TLT: tempeh, lettuce & tomato sandwich!
  • Salad: add it to your favorite salad as the protein to make it a full meal
  • Breakfast sandwich: an english muffin, folded Just Egg, smoky tempeh & vegan cheese slice
  • Crumble it on top of your favorite baked beans
  • Add it to your favorite creamy pasta dish like mushroom strogonoff or mac & cheese
  • Use it as a component to your favorite ramen
  • Along side tofu scramble, pancakes, waffles, etc.

a baking sheet with sliced smoky marinated tempeh on it.

Smoky Marinated Tempeh

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

No, it's not the same as bacon, but the smoky flavor makes it a nice stand-in. Try it on your favorite breakfast sandwich or to top a salad!


  • 8 oz. Luv Tempeh Black Beauty
  • 3⁄4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Slice the tempeh into 1/4" thick pieces. Set aside.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to a container large enough to hold it and the tempeh. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the tempeh to the container, make sure the pieces all get coated with the marinade, and put in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  5. Add tempeh to a baking sheet covered with a reusable baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for another 10 minutes until lightly browned on each side.


Alternatively, pan fry in a non-stick pan or in a little oil.

This smoky tempeh marinade recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It has depth of flavor without being heavily seasoned and will appeal to many different palates. Try it out for yourself and see how many different ways it can help you incorporate tempeh into your meals.

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