The fact that you are eating vegan bacon instead of real bacon doesn’t mean that it should taste bland. There is a range of seasonings and seasoning blends to use for vegan bacon to make it taste amazing.
What are the best vegan bacon seasonings? The best seasonings to use for vegan bacon are smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder, smoked chili powder, cumin, mushroom seasoning, barbeque seasoning, and a delicious coconut bacon salt that you can make at home.
Continue reading to learn why these seasonings work so well for vegan bacon, what they taste like, and how to use them.
You will also learn about sauces and flavoring agents to use with these seasonings to make vegan bacon taste like real bacon!
What Is Vegan Bacon?
Vegan bacon is a plant-based substitute for bacon. It is good not only for people who want to avoid meat in their diet, but also for those who want that bacon flavor but with less fat, no cholesterol, and less sodium than real bacon.
Due to the ingredients that it’s made of, vegan bacon is also higher in protein and fiber than real bacon.
Commercially manufactured vegan bacon is usually made of pea or soy protein and may also contain wheat and potato. Brands may also use a variety of spices to achieve a flavor similar to real bacon.
You can make vegan bacon yourself too. Here’s what you can use to make vegan bacon:
- Carrot slices
- Rice paper
Best Vegan Bacon Seasonings
The key to making vegan bacon taste like the real thing is using the right spices. Bacon has three basic flavors: sweet, salty, and umami. In addition to these flavors, bacon can also taste a little smoky depending on the type you bought.
Using the right seasoning blend and sauces, you can make various foods taste like bacon!
Here are some of our favorite seasonings and seasoning blends to use for vegan bacon. Even if your goal is not to make vegan bacon taste like bacon, but only to make it taste good, you should definitely try these seasonings with vegan bacon.
1. Smoked Paprika
Smoked paprika is one of the most commonly used spices. You surely have it in your spice drawer.
Smoked paprika is a seasoning made from dried and smoked red peppers. It can be made from both sweet and spicy peppers.
If you want to make your vegan bacon taste more like real bacon, use the sweet variety. Smoked paprika has a hint of sweetness and a nice smoky aroma. You can use the spicy variety if you like your food with a bit of a spicy kick.
Use smoked paprika to season vegan bacon along with other spices. Don’t forget to add salt and something umami.
2. Onion And Garlic Powder
Using fresh garlic and onion is usually more preferable than using these ingredients in the powdered form. But not when you need to season vegan bacon.
Onion and garlic powders have very potent flavors and make vegan bacon taste richer almost instantly. Onion powder has a distinctive sweet and pungent flavor. Garlic powder, on the other hand, is savory, sweet, and only mildly garlicky.
Combine these two spices to create a complex flavor for vegan bacon. No matter what your vegan bacon is made of, it will surely benefit from these flavorful spices.
If you don’t like the combination of onion powder and garlic powder, use only one of the two spices.
3. Smoked Chili Powder
While most bacon is never smoked, we all experience a smoky flavor when we eat it. Vegan bacon, especially one you are making yourself using vegetable slices, rice paper, or tofu, will surely benefit from some smoky chili powder.
Unlike smoked paprika, smoked chili powder is made of more than one variety of smoked and dried chiles. It also often contains added ingredients like garlic powder and cumin.
Seasoning vegan bacon with smoked chili powder will give it a rich smoky and savory flavor with a hint of spiciness.
As chili powder is a mix of different spices, using it for vegan bacon yields a complex flavor with minimal effort. You don’t have to make a seasoning mix yourself and try to come up with seasoning combinations that work well.
4. Barbeque Seasoning
If you want vegan bacon to taste like real bacon, you should treat it like real meat. One of the best seasoning blends to use for vegan bacon is barbeque seasoning.
Barbeque seasoning is a blend of various spices. Using it for vegan bacon will give it a smoky, savory, and sweet flavor. As there is also brown sugar in the barbeque seasoning, it gives vegan bacon slices that signature sticky look and feel.
You can buy pre-made barbeque seasoning or make some yourself. Making barbeque seasoning at home is better as you can customize the ingredients and the amount of each seasoning you use.
Barbeque seasoning is typically a mix of salt, brown sugar, pepper, paprika, mustard powder, cumin, garlic and onion powders. To make your barbeque seasoning a little spicy, add cayenne pepper to it.
5. Mushroom Seasoning
Something that vegan bacon lacks is the umami flavor. When we think about foods high in umami compounds, mushrooms are one of the first foods to come to our minds.
If you are not allergic to mushrooms, mushroom seasoning is what we recommend you use to make vegan bacon more flavorful.
Mushroom seasoning is a seasoning blend made of dried mushrooms and salt. You can make it at home or buy pre-made mushroom seasoning. Either way, this seasoning will help you achieve a fabulous umami and meaty flavor.
Sprinkle mushroom seasoning on vegan bacon before or after cooking it. The flavor of this seasoning is so addicting that you will soon find yourself sprinkling it on all your vegan (and non-vegan) dishes.
6. Cumin Powder
If you like to come up with your own seasoning blends for vegan bacon, we highly recommend you use cumin too.
Ground cumin can be used in the preparation of vegan bacon along with such spices as paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and ground pepper.
Ground cumin has a warm flavor with hints of sweetness. It also has a strong savory flavor which is the main reason why it is so widely used in the preparation of spice mixes for meat.
7. Coconut Bacon Salt
Coconut bacon salt is not for everyone. But if you want to take your vegan bacon to the next level while also experiencing the taste of real bacon, then you should certainly make this seasoning mix at home!
Here is how to make coconut bacon salt:
- Get some unsweetened grated coconut.
- Mix it with soy sauce and maple syrup. You can also add a few drops of liquid smoke.
- Mix the coconut with these sweet, savory, and smoky liquids and bake it on low heat in the oven until the flakes dry.
- Blend the mixture to achieve a finer texture and mix with salt to taste.
Now you have all those bacon flavors you need in a single seasoning mix. And the best part is, you can customize all ingredients to achieve a flavor that suits your palate!
Once you have it ready, you can use coconut bacon salt for all your vegan dishes, including salads, pasta dishes, wraps, etc. It will work well for commercially manufactured vegan bacon or homemade bacon slices made of tofu or rice paper.
How Do You Make Vegan Bacon Taste Like Real Bacon?
If you are eating meat-free but still like how real meat tastes, here are a few sauces and flavoring agents to make vegan bacon taste like real bacon.
- Soy Sauce. Thanks to its sweet, salty, and savory flavor, soy sauce is a popular ingredient used in the preparation of vegan bacon.
- Maple Syrup. Maple syrup pairs well not only with real bacon but with vegan bacon too. It provides sweetness and a nice caramelization.
- Liquid Smoke. This is a water-soluble flavoring agent made from condensed wood smoke. If you can’t cook with wood smoke, liquid smoke is what you should use instead.
- Liquid smoke is often injected into bacon to give it a smoky flavor. Use liquid smoke and various seasonings to create a rich smoky flavor for vegan bacon.
- Note that liquid smoke is very concentrated. Use a very small amount of liquid smoke to marinade your vegan bacon slices whether they are made of rice paper, carrots, tofu, or other ingredients.
- Worcestershire Sauce. Another umami-flavored sauce to use in the preparation of vegan bacon. Worcestershire sauce has a complex flavor with sweet, spicy, and sour notes.
- MSG. Also known as monosodium glutamate, MSG is a flavor enhancer popularly used in the production of deli meats, canned food, and restaurant foods.
- MSG comes in the form of a powder and you can get it online and in stores.
- MSG enhances the umami flavor of savory foods which makes it perfect for vegan bacon.