Crispy, smoky, shiitake bacon takes just minutes to make in the oven. And you only need five ingredients to make it!
Shiitake bacon gives you all of the smoky-sweet-salty-toothsomeness of bacon, but no animals harmed!
The great thing about shiitake mushrooms is that -- when you cook them until crispy -- they get a really nice, chewy texture that's similar to animal bacon.
Now you just need to add the remaining elements that make up bacon's flavor and texture:
When you're making vegan bacon, you want to hit all of those same notes using plant based ingredients.
The flavoring mix that I use for this shiitake bacon is similar to the one I use in my cashew bacon. Instead of molasses and salt, though, I use maple syrup and soy sauce here.
The mix of soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke hits that salty-sweet-smoky spot, and you get bacon's crisp greasiness from a dash of olive oil
Ingredients and substitutions
- shiitake mushrooms - Tender shiitake mushrooms have such a perfect texture for making into vegan bacon! You can use other sliced mushrooms instead, but the baking time will vary.
- soy sauce - Adds the salty element of bacon flavor. Feel free to use tamari, shoyu, or liquid aminos instead, if needed.
- maple syrup - This brings the sweet note you get in conventional bacon. You can sub agave nectar.
- liquid smoke - This is just condensation from the steam created when you burn wood. It's an all natural ingredient that's great for adding a smoky flavor to recipes like this shiitake bacon as well as things like beans and vegan sausage.
- olive oil - Traditional bacon is greasy, so a little bit of oil helps imitate that texture. You can use neutral-tasting oils, like sunflower or canola oil, instead.
How to make shiitake bacon
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat the mushrooms well in the bacon seasonings. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, spreading the mushrooms into a single layer.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are nice and crisp.
- Do make sure that your mushrooms are spread out into a single layer, so you'll get the most crisp results.
- Do not omit the oil. At the very least, spray the mushrooms with oil before baking. Bacon is supposed to be greasy!
Serving and storage directions
I like to serve shiitake bacon up over vegan grits, but you can really use it anywhere you'd use animal bacon.
- Pile that mushroom bacon onto a vegan BLT.
- Serve it alongside a tofu scramble.
- Sprinkle it on top of roasted vegetables for an umami punch.
- Toss it with crispy potato slices for a next-level appetizer.
- Use it in a kale breakfast bowl.
Store any leftover shiitake bacon in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to three days.
To reheat, toss leftovers back into a pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until crispy.
Frequently asked questions
Liquid smoke is the key to this mushroom bacon's smoky flavor. If you've never worked with this ingredient before, don't panic! It's available at most regular grocery stores.
I used to worry that liquid smoke was just a bottle full of artificial flavoring, but fear not! It's actually a totally natural ingredient.
Liquid smoke is basically the steam that naturally occurs when you burn wood. To make liquid smoke, companies just use tubing to collect that steam, which turns to condensation when it cools.
How neat, right?
Yes! Just use gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce, and you're good to go.
More vegan bacon recipes
Smoky shiitake mushroom bacon
- 5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms ¼" thick strips
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat the mushrooms well in the bacon seasonings. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, spreading the mushrooms into a single layer.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are nice and crisp.