With simple ingredients and very little effort, you can enjoy this Easy Baked Tempeh in no time! Serve this vegan protein with grain bowls, salads, wraps, and so much more. Flavored with a simple, homemade Maple Mustard Marinade, this recipe is sure to become your new favorite plant-based staple.
Marinated baked tempeh has to be one of the most versatile plant-based main dishes out there. It works for any meal of the day and any season of the year.
Serve it with breakfast potatoes, avocado, and toast in the morning.
At dinnertime, serve baked tempeh over rice with whatever veggies you happen have on hand.
Not just for casual meals, this baked tempeh even works for Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. Serve it alongside my Sweet Potato Casserole — your vegan guests will thank you!
It's truly worthy of becoming a year-round mealtime staple, so let's get to it!
Here's what you'll need to make this baked tempeh recipe at home.
- Tempeh - look for tempeh in the refrigerated vegetarian foods section (often near the tofu). I use "original" tempeh for this recipe, but any variety works.
- Olive oil - I like regular olive oil (not extra virgin) for the marinade. If you prefer another type of liquid oil, feel free to substitute.
- Apple cider vinegar - substitute red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar if needed.
- Maple syrup - look for pure maple syrup for the best flavor.
- Dijon mustard - I like Dijon for marinades, but you can substitute any type of mustard you like.
- Soy sauce - Feel free to substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos if needed.
- Nutritional yeast - optional, but gives the marinade a nice, cheesy flavor. I find it near baking yeast or in the natural food aisle at most grocery stores.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried basil - optional, but adds some fresh herb flavor.
- Black pepper
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the exact quantities needed.
Here are the basic steps for how to prepare marinated baked tempeh. See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions and preparation tips.
Steam the tempeh for about 10 minutes, or until it's tender.
In the meantime, whisk together the marinade.
Once steamed, combine the tempeh and marinade and wait at least 30 minutes.
Spread the marinated tempeh on a baking sheet and bake at 375º Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Once baked, the tempeh will be crisp and golden brown on the outside, but still tender on the inside. Delicious!
Hint: Marinating tempeh is one of the best ways to amp up its flavor. Soak the steamed tempeh cubes in the marinade (use a mixing bowl or zip top bag) for at least 30-60 minutes. You can also store the marinating tempeh in the refrigerator overnight if you want to make this ahead of time. For food safety reasons, be sure to refrigerate the tempeh if you plan to marinate for two or more hours.
This baked tempeh is naturally vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free. You can also make it gluten-free with a simple swap, noted below.
- Gluten-free - use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Also, make sure that the tempeh you use is labeled as gluten-free. (Most tempeh is, but some brands incorporate additional grains, so it's important to double check.)
In case you want to change up the flavors of this recipe, here are a few ideas.
- Spicy - add crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, or sriracha to the marinade.
- Honey Mustard - use honey instead of maple syrup.
- Tofu - you can also use this Maple Mustard Marinade to flavor tofu. Find instructions for baking tofu in this post.
To steam the tempeh before you marinate and bake it, you'll need a steamer basket and a pot with a lid. (If you don't have a steamer basket, you can also steam tempeh in the microwave. Learn how in this Tempeh 101 post from Liv Vegan Strong.)
Use a mixing bowl to whisk together the marinade ingredients. You can use the same bowl to marinade the tempeh. (I sometimes like to marinade in a reusable zip top bag, especially if I'm making this recipe ahead of time.)
To bake the tempeh in the oven, you'll need a rimmed baking sheet. I like to line mine with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat for easy cleanup.
This recipe works great for meal prep!
Steam the tempeh and prepare the marinade up to one week ahead of time. Store the tempeh and marinade in separate airtight containers until the night before you plan to bake and serve.
The night before, combine the steamed tempeh and marinade in the same airtight container. Allow the tempeh to marinate in the fridge overnight.
On the day of, bake according to the recipe instructions.
See the storage instructions below if you want to fully prepare this recipe ahead of time.
Store fully prepared baked tempeh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can also freeze baked tempeh in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.
Steaming the tempeh removes some of its natural bitterness, makes it more tender, and helps it absorb more flavor from the marinade. Technically, you don't have to steam tempeh before you bake it, but I highly recommend this extra step!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Tempeh is usually made with fermented (cultured) soybeans and rice. Some brands include additional beans, grains, and flavors.
Steaming or boiling tempeh isn't necessary, but it improves the final flavor and texture after it is cooked.
First, cut the tempeh into pieces and steam it for about 10 minutes. Then, marinade the tempeh and bake at 375º Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.
Easy Baked Tempeh with Maple Marinade
- steamer basket and pot with lid
- mixing bowl
- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- 1 (8-ounce) block tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil or oil of choice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard or mustard of choice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Steam the tempeh: Place cubed tempeh in a steamer basket and set over a pot filled with 1 inch of water over medium heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Turn off heat and set aside. (See note.)
- Prepare the maple marinade: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, soy sauce or tamari, cider vinegar, mustard, nutritional yeast (if using), garlic powder, onion powder, basil (if using), and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. (You can do this step while the tempeh is steaming to save time.)
- Stir the steamed tempeh with the maple marinade until evenly coated and wait at least 30 minutes for the flavors to be absorbed. (See note.)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Transfer the marinated tempeh to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the tempeh. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 additional minutes (20 minutes total), or until the tempeh is golden brown and warmed through.