Isa Chandra Moskowitz is right—vegans will make bacon out of anything. Eggplant, coconut, mushrooms and tempeh have all been used to recreate various crispy and salty bacon analogs. While some may balk at the concept, I happen to love it, as it shows that the smoky, savory and greasy quality of bacon—the aspects that make it so endearing to foodies and meat eaters—can be easily replicated using completely vegan ingredients.
This idea certainly isn’t mine, but I decided I’d try it out after after buying a huge bag of shiitake mushrooms in Chinatown late last week. I’ve seen two varieties of shiitakes in Boston—”flower mushrooms” (花菇) large, meaty ones with thick stems and “winter mushrooms” (冬菇) lighter, spongier ones with slender stems. I used the larger (and significantly cheaper) kind for making these, and they were perfect in this application. They came out of the oven crispy along the edges, and slightly chewier and succulent towards the center. Besides eating them as is, these would be perfect sprinkled on top of a vegan clam chowder or split pea soup, served alongside a tofu scramble or french toast, tossed in roasted brussel sprouts or used in a sandwich.Print
- Total Time: 1 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly
- Preheat oven to 350. Place a silpat over a baking sheet, set aside.
- Combine all of the ingredients except for the sliced shiitake into a shallow glass pyrex or bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add in the sliced shiitake, and stir gently to combine. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes to an hour.
- Place the shiitake in a single layer onto the silpat. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes*. Increase the heat to 375, then bake for 10 minutes more. Flip, then finish for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end to ensure they do not burn.
- Remove from the oven and place on paper towels to drain. As they drain, the edges will become crispy. Serve immediately.
*Baking times will differ based on the thickness and type of shiitake you are using. After baking for 15-20 minutes, just keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
wow, i'm shocked at how few ingredients go into making this! they look delicious and i REALLY need to try making them!
These were fun to make — I think they would go perfect with some of your gf pancakes! ; )
This looks delicious! Do you think I can make this with dry shiitake mushrooms? I barely see regular shiitake mushrooms at my local stores.
Thank you! I think using dry ones would work. I would rehydrate them fully, slice, rehydrate again, pat dry, then marinate. I think it would give a different texture than with fresh, but in a good way. Good luck!
Yes, I made some foray with dried shiitake. Just rehydrate first..
Simple never sounded more delicious! Hmmmm…wonder how it would taste atop of a vegan pancake cupcake with maple buttercream? I'll have to give it a try and let you know! 🙂 Thanks for posting! Netty
Netty, I like the way you think. : )
Do you think you could use baby portabellas?
I think they would work fine here — they are lighter and spongier (i.e. less "meaty") than shiitakes — so they may crisp up faster — just keep an eye on them to prevent burning — good luck!
Yes, I used baby bellas and doubled the marinade as Erin suggested in another comment–it was wonderful! I did keep a close eye on them and took them out of the oven a bit early.
I make this with just olive oil and sea salt and it really tastes like bacon
I'm thinking of adding some soy sauce and putting the shiitake in a dehydrator so it is shiitake jerky.
Freda Love Smith says
oh, YUM, this looks incredible! I just developed a split pea soup topped with tempeh "bacon" and now I want to try substituting these, it might be even better! Thank you.
These look divine! I can see so many ways to use these! Thanks for yet another delicious variation of "bacon".
Brilliant idea. Though unfortunately I've no idea where in the UK I can get 'liquid smoke'!
Liquid smoke isn't critical here — if you have some smoked paprika, that will do, but you'll still get a crispy and savory piece without these two things.
Bee Moon says
I use smoked salt aswell as smoked paprika, you can buy it in most UK supermarkets now ?
Wow, I just made these tonight and I am shocked at how closely they tasted like bacon. I even fooled my girlfriend (who isn't vegan) when I had her blindly try them and she thought she ate bacon! Thanks for the recipe!
Ha! I love it.
Incredibly good!!! Thank you!
The Old Painted Cottage says
I just made these for my family, and it simply blew everyone away! I swear not only tastes like bacon, but it tastes BETTER than bacon!!
So glad you enjoyed and thanks for the kind feedback! : )
Does it have to be sesame oil can I use something else?
You can add a little extra olive oil in place of the sesame oil.
Just my two cents, but I think the sesame oil gave it the "bacon-y" flavor. It was the smell that reminded me of bacon while it was cooking.
I replaced the sesame oil with more olive oil and it certainly still tasted like bacon to me! 🙂
Krystal Barker-Morris says
OMG I just made these tonight and they were AMAZING!!! Thank you soo much for this creative, tasty treat! I tell you I LOVE BACON, I mean Love it so I was praying this was gonna be good, and it was!!!! From a soul food sista this bacon is on Point! It will help me as I walk this plant based journey! Again thanks! Blessings
Thanks Krystal — so glad you enjoyed! : )
Just out of curiousity- do you know how long they'd last after making them?? They seem like they'd be good to sort of "have on hand".
I can't say for sure (I've demolished each batch I've made in one sitting), but I think that they could be refrigerated for a day or two, then recrisped in a hot skillet before serving again.
Are you referring to toasted sesame oil in the recipe?
toasted or plain will both work here.
I didn't seem to have enough liquid for the mushrooms, they only got wet on one side (I did use portabella) Do you think I should add more oil or some soy sauce? – Laura
Portabellas are more porous than shiitakes, so they will soak up more liquid. I think you could just double or triple the oils and still get a good result.
I made these with local organic shitakes and they were gone in a flash between me and the kids. I can't wait to see if they have flower mushrooms at our local asian market. I think a little thicker would make them absolutely divine. Love this recipe! Thank you!
Dawn | The Crispy Sage says
First – two cups was not nearly enough. More like 20 cups. These are so incredibly delicious. Second – I'd love to feature these in a recipe on my blog, with full credit of course. I'll shoot you an email!
I need to go get more shiitake mushrooms. LOL.
maria heppler says
Does it have to be shitakes? Can I use baby portebellas, or will the texture or taste be off?
Hi maria, shiitakes are best for this, but if you can't get your hands on them, portobellas should produce a similar result. But I can't guarantee since I've never tried it. I would think that since portos are less porous, you would need to up the marinade level — maybe double it? Good luck!
maria heppler says
Thanks. I bought some babies and will make a big batch of marinade.
maria heppler says
I just finished the baby bellas. If the shitakes are better, I will be in heaven. I had to use a double batch of marinade. I need to make more!!!!!!!!!! My kids love bacon and hate mushrooms. I guaranteed them that they will love these shrooms, if there are any left by the time I serve dinner.
April Exner Nycum says
Just made this with a vegan gram flour omelette. So fantastic! Thanks for the recipe:)
This looks so delicious, just the look alone. I can't wait to make it
Amazing recipe! These were the closest thing to actual bacon I've had in five years. The cooking time was too long for me, but your comment about checking after the first 25 minutes was spot on… if only I was better at following directions, I wouldn't have ended up with half a burnt batch! 🙂 Hopefully this will help the next person. I'm not sad that I'll have to try them again very soon!
Chris Worthy says
Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I've now made it several times and it is a hit! I've used several different kinds of mushrooms – all are delicious.
Thank you so very much for sharing this unbelievable recipe! Both myself and my omniverous partner thought this was truly indistinguishable from (very, very good) bacon. I liked it so much that I made it part of my recipe for vegan potato and leek soup!
Hello, Have I read the quantities correctly; is it one tablespoon of olive oil and everything else is measured in teaspoons? It does not seem to make much liquid; not enough to cover all of the mushrooms. I see another reply said to use twice as much oil. Is it only the olive oil that you double or do you use twice the amount of all the ingredients? Thanks.
Hi, if it's not enough liquid, feel free to double all of the marinade ingredients. I hope you enjoy!
OMG – I just tried this and I can not believe how close to bacon it is. I have tried substitutes in the frozen section of my market, and they sort of didn't sit well with me. I love the smell of bacon, and remember the taste being heaven, but the fake ones were always just a little odd to me. THIS…this is absolutely like heaven. The consistency, the taste…everything about it is exactly how I remember bacon. I tried a small batch with Shiitake I had left, and now am running to the market to get some more. Thanks so much for a superb recipe!!
awesome! So happy you like, Masselyn! 🙂
Thank you so much! Going vegan has never been so easy! One question, how can I do this in my dehydrator instead of my oven? Thanks again!
I am not sure this would work in a dehydrator, but if you try it out with good results, I’d love to know … good luck!
Just tried your recipe with a little tweaking: I used 2 dried smoked chipotle peppers and an assortment of already thinly sliced dehydrated mushrooms. I covered the smoked peppers in a pot with water, cooked them on low for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl I kept the dried mushrooms. After the smoked peppers softened, I poured that liquid over the dehydrated mushrooms. In 20 minutes the mushrooms were rehydrated. I drained and squeezed the liquid off the mushrooms. When that was done, I picked up your recipe, but added 1/4 tsp of maple syrup. Following the rest of your directions, it came out the way I expected. Never done this before, but your recipe was spot on. I can almost taste recipes when I read them, I knew this was a good one.Thanks for your amazing recipe. Thinking about trying eggplant and, coconut flakes too. Hmm
Arye, love your modifications and so happy you were able to create a vegan bacon to your liking! Thanks for sharing what you did. Isa Chandra has a great eggplant bacon recipe in the new edition of Vegan with a Vengeance:
Oh my. I tried making rice paper bacon and was disappointed. Then I came across this recipe and just ate half of the pan with nothing else. Thank you so much for sharing such a delicious recipe I believe my omnivore family member would also enjoy!
Sandy, so happy you enjoyed! PS, I’ve eaten it straight out of the pan too!
Well, I burnt them! BUT the tiny burnt pieces DO taste like bacon! Two of us ate them as condiments on a kale salad and loved it. Two didn’t like the burnt taste. So I’ll make these again, and watch more carefully. My other mistakes– I used shiitakes, but they were super small, which made even smaller bacon pieces. Nothing like the slices in the photo. Plus I waited to make it until the small shiitakes shrunk a bit in the fridge. 🙂 Can’t wait to try with larger mushrooms and I’ll use the tip to double the marinade. Thank you!!!! My vegan daughter thanks you, too!
your recipe is incredible!! I used big portobellos I marinated for a few hours in a ziplock bag.baked then rolled in a flour tortilla with romaine, sliced tomato and vegan mayo. absolutely fabulous!! I quadrupled the sauce with a pound of mushrooms. next time I will try it with shiitakes. thanks for this one, its a keeper!!
I love bacon and hate the fake bacon in the grocery store so I thought I would give this a try. I just did a few mushrooms (in case I didn’t like it) and just used olive oil, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. It was really, REALLY good – I ate every one like a snack!! I will make with sesame oil too next time. It was sort of a pain turning them and I think would take a long time to turn each one if you fix a lot, could you just stir them around rather than turn one at a time? Thanks so much for a great recipe and a bacon substitute I can actually embrace!
Pam, glad you enjoyed! The problem with stirring instead of flipping is that you’ll get uneven cooking. Maybe try a large spatula to slide under several mushrooms and flip that way?
I’m going to try putting them on a cooling rack on a sheet pan and see if that works without turning them like I do my fries – hope that works!
Also – how long can you keep these in refrigerator in sealed container?
Hi Pam, I know this is several years later, but did using the cooling rack work for you? I can only find dehydrated shiitake mushrooms and they work well with the recipe as written, but the pieces are so small that flipping each one individually is tedious.
I was dubious at first, but these are really delicious. Thanks for sharing!
Emily Edwards says
Just made these and they turned out DELICIOUS! A couple notes: I added some coco aminos and bourbon/brown sugar rub to mine. I had to make like triple the marinade recipe for one pack of pre-sliced shiitakes. Leading me to my next note: buy a lot of mushrooms, cause they shrink! Also, I only needed to cook mine for like 20ish minutes at 350. I will definitely be making these again, next time just buying way more shiitake. I’ll have to hunt down whole ones somewhere.
Diane K says
Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance…..having no patience at all and being hungry, I added the mushrooms to the seasonings (did add a little extra oil) and threw them in a non stick pan to sear on top of the stove. I hope my local grocery store can keep shiitakes in stock, because I will be making these WAY too often. Love them, thank you !
Wow, this looks both simple and delicious! I’ve made “bacon” out of tempeh before, but shiitake mushrooms would work well, can’t wait to give it a try
David G says
Looks like I’m late to the party! Wow I really like this recipe!! I added the bacon pieces to a potato soup with white beans and collard greens. It really brought a flavor and texture dimension that I enjoy!
Deborah Geary says
I have made this recipe more times than I can count. It is a winner EVERY time.
I just made it in the AIR FRYER!!! It turned out to be absolutely perfect, with no need for turning or stirring.
Thank you for all of your fabulous recipes, and your beautiful website!
Oh, great idea, I will have to try that! Thanks for your kinds words, and so happy you like the recipes. 🙂
What temparture in the airfryer and for about hoe long?
I was wondering about using an air fryer. What temperature did you cook them on? Did you do any substitutes? I don’t have the smoked liquid.