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The Plant-Based Wonder: What Does Tempeh Taste Like?

You’re probably on this page for two reasons: trying to get into vegan food or understanding tempeh’s taste profile.

In recent years tempeh has become quite popular among plant-based food enthusiasts.

As many plans to reduce meat consumption, this soy-based food item has taken center stage.

In fact, it has become popular among the vegetarian community.

So, what exactly is tempeh? Not many might be aware, but it’s a traditional Indonesian food prepared through fermentation.

Continue reading as we delve into its taste profile, variants, and how to cook it.

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh, also known as tempe, is a famous Indonesian food that is made from soybeans.

It’s either made from cooked or fresh soybeans and proceeds to fermentation.

A fungus called Rhizopus oligosporus has been added, in which the mold grows, thus resulting in producing white mycelia.

It helps in binding the beans and producing an edible cake.

Appearance-wise, it may look odd, but it is pretty nutritious.

It’s a rich source of protein and fiber, providing several health benefits.

It has a firm texture compared to tofu and makes an excellent meat substitute.

It’s not surprising that this traditional Indonesian food has become quite well-known among vegans.

You may also include this in your meal even if you’re non-veg, as it’s a healthy food.

Tempeh may not taste like meat, but it has a chewy texture that makes you feel like you are having meat.

What Does Tempeh Taste Like?

Some may think tempeh taste like tofu since both are predominantly made of soybeans.

But it is quite different both in taste and texture.

They may slightly share similar taste profiles since both are relatively bland on their own.

However, when it comes to texture, tempeh is chewy, while tofu is soft.

The taste of tempeh may also vary based on different varieties.

Some are made with water and soybeans, which have a mild taste.

You may also make this plant-based food with millet, brown rice, and barley.

Store-bought tempeh may have a slight hint of sourness and bitterness, while homemade ones are milder but have a refreshing taste.

Tempeh also has an earthy and nutty flavor and is a good absorbent.

So, when mixed with other ingredients, its bland taste gets more flavorful.

Some people also say tempeh shares a similar taste profile with umami and mushroom.

The opinions may be divisive since it’s subjective.

However, that doesn’t change the fact it’s a great food item that blends into any recipe.

It’s rare to find protein in plant-based food.

However, in this case, it’s packed with proteins which are found mainly in meat and fish.

It simply deserves to be an excellent substitute for meat.

The combination of fiber and protein keeps you satiated for an extended time, which helps in weight management.

It’s also rich in iron which is vital for your bone health.

How to Cook and Serve Tempeh?

Tempeh has a bland taste, making it a versatile ingredient to blend with other ingredients.

It leaves you with ample options where you can use your creative cooking skill.

For instance, you may deep fry tempeh, resulting in a crispy outer shell and tender inside, just like chicken nuggets.

Another incredible way is to skewer them by cutting them into cubes.

Or, you may marinate the tempeh and then pan-fry or grill it.

Suppose you’re making a sandwich or a burger, substitute tempeh with meat or veg patties.

It also makes an excellent ingredient in soups and stews.

Check below some of the recipes that you can make with tempeh:

  • Tempeh fritters: It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t require fancy ingredients. All you need is to cut the tempeh equally and then bread it. Next, deep fry it, which results in crispy tempeh cakes. .
  • Roasted tempeh: Got apple cider, maple syrup, and soy sauce in your pantry? If so, make roasted tempeh that will keep you craving more. Expect a burst of flavors in your mouth with this recipe.
  • Baked tempeh: Who says you can’t bake tempeh? All you need is to make a blend with ingredients like sriracha, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil, and rice vinegar. Marinate tempeh slices in this blend and then bake. We suggest you steam the tempeh first before baking for an incredible outcome.


Whether you’re a vegan or not, tempeh is worth trying if it’s available in your place.

It’s an excellent food item and nutritious too.

Include this in your meal routine if you’re on a balanced diet.

You may substitute this with tofu despite not being similar in texture or taste profile.

Both have a bland flavor and are made of soybeans.

Hence, you may use these food items alternatively.

Besides, both are beneficial to your health and excellent meat substitutes.

what does tempeh taste like

What Does Tempeh Taste Like? Does it Taste Good?

Andrew Gray
Interested in trying tempeh but unsure about its taste? Wondering if it's delicious? Here's an overview of what tempeh tastes like and whether it's enjoyable.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


  • Tempeh
  • Ingredients from your favorite recipes


  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
  • Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!
Keyword Recipe: What Does Tempeh Taste Like
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