Incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat, this teriyaki tempeh recipe will quickly become a staple weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!
We love tempeh in our house because it's a protein-packed, plant-based protein source that can be cooked in so many different ways. We love making tempeh bacon for sandwiches. We bake it in the oven to make baked peanut orange tempeh bites. We even pulse tempeh with some other ingredients to create tempeh meatballs to serve with spaghetti! Lastly, on busy weeknights we love to make this teriyaki tempeh as it comes together in a flash using a wok or saucepan! Pair this sweet and sour teriyaki tempeh with some coconut rice and roasted veggies and you'll have a balanced, delicious meal!
Why You'll Love This Recipe!
- This teriyaki tempeh is high in protein and flavor! So if you eat a plant-based diet, this recipe is a great way to include a lot of plant-based protein in a quick and easy way.
- If you like sweet and sour sauces, this is the recipe for you! Coconut sugar, maple syrup and white vinegar create the perfect balance of sweet and sour to make you want to go back for seconds.
- Not only do mom's love how easy it is to make this teriyaki tempeh recipe, kids will love recipe as well, making it a great meal idea for the whole family.
- This teriyaki tempeh pairs well with so many things. Use it as the protein source for buddha bowls, wraps, salads, noodle stir-fries and more!
- Tempeh - If you aren't familiar with tempeh, it's a fermented protein-source made from soy beans. As a plant-based eater, I love incorporating tempeh into my diet every week. The blocks of tempeh I used for this recipe are 250 grams or 8 ounces each.
- Soy Sauce - Soy sauce is traditionally used in teriyaki sauce, but if you are gluten-free, you can use Tamari.
- White Vinegar - White vinegar is a nice neutral, yet strong, vinegar that I feel most people have on hand. If you don't have white vinegar on hand, see my ideas for good substitutions below.
- Coconut Sugar - I love coconut sugar as it's a less processed form of dry sugar (although still processed) and doesn't give me a big sugar rush and crash. However, whatever dry sugar you have on hand should work. If you are using a different dry sugar such as white sugar, you may want to use quite a bit less as white sugar is a lots sweeter than coconut sugar.
- Ginger - I always have fresh ginger in my fridge as it's a main ingredient in so many Asian dishes. Plus, fresh ginger is always better than ground ginger, in my opinion.
- Corn Starch - Corn starch is what thickens this teriyaki sauce as you cook it, so don't omit this ingredient!
See the recipe card for full list of ingredients and quantities.
- Soy Sauce - If you can't eat gluten, you could use a gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari. If you can eat soy sauce, you can try using coconut aminos. However, I find coconut aminos to be sweet on its own so you may want to cut back on the amount of coconut sugar you use or at least omit the maple syrup.
- White Vinegar - In the case of this teriyaki sauce, I used white vinegar instead of mirin as I find more people have that on hand in their pantries. But traditionally mirin is used to make teriyaki sauce, so if you have some on hand, I'd recommend using it instead of the white vinegar. You can also try apple cider vinegar if you want, but I've personally never tried it in this recipe.
- Coconut Sugar - I personally love to use coconut sugar, but brown sugar or cane sugar would also work.
- Maple Syrup - If you want your teriyaki tempeh to be a little less sweet, you can omit the maple syrup all together. You can also substitute it for another liquid sweetener such as agave, rice syrup or honey, if you're not vegan.
How to Make Teriyaki Tempeh
Step 1: To make the sauce, combine all of the teriyaki sauce ingredients, except for the corn flour and cold water, into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sauce is heated through and the sugar has dissolved.
Step 3: Carefully pour the sauce over the tempeh and, if you have time, allow the tempeh to marinate covered in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Step 3: When you are ready to cook the tempeh, pour all the tempeh and teriyaki sauce into a wok and heat over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and cold water until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the tempeh and stir to combine. Continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, is glossy and sticks to the tempeh.
Step 4: Serve the teriyaki tempeh with steamed rice and whatever veggies you desire!
- Teriyaki sauce is pretty sweet, so if you prefer your meals less sweet, you can omit the maple syrup and even decrease the amount of coconut sugar if you want. You can always add more sugar, but you can't take it away!
- Blocks of tempeh can very in sizes so you may end up with too much sauce or not enough sauce. We prefer having extra sauce for this teriyaki tempeh because we can scoop the tempeh out of the sauce and then drizzle more sauce overtop if desired.
The length of time you can store teriyaki sauce depends on whether it's homemade or store-bought. An unopened bottle of store-bought teriyaki sauce can last for months or even years in a cool, dry, unlit place. Once you open teriyaki sauce, be sure to store it in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for a couple months. Homemade teriyaki sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Teriyaki is actually the combination of two Japanese words: "teri" means luster and "yaki" means grilled. Teriyaki sauce is like a sweet and sour sauce that is sticky and gooey once heated. Teriyaki dishes start by marinating ingredients in a sweet sauce and after marinating these ingredients are then roasted, grilled or broiled.
Yes! In general, teriyaki sauce is vegan. However, as there are lots of variations of teriyaki sauce now, some of which contain honey, which is not vegan. So just read the ingredient's label if needed!
There are lots of different ways to use teriyaki sauce. My favorite way is in this teriyaki tempeh recipe! However, you can also use it as a marinade for all kinds of protein sources and vegetables or as the sauce for stir-fries. Glaze cooked protein with it or dip dumplings, spring rolls and even seitan kebabs in it!
You can buy teriyaki sauce from most local grocery stores in either the international or condiments section. If you can't find it there, you can always check out an international or Asian grocery store. If it's still not available where you live, you can always order some online!
More Vegan Tempeh Recipes!
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Easy Teriyaki Tempeh
- 2 blocks tempeh 250 grams/8 ounces each
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce*
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced]
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ cup cold water
- Cut the tempeh into cubes and place them in a glass container.
- Combine all of the teriyaki sauce ingredients, except for the corn flour and cold water, into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sauce is heated through and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully pour the sauce over the tempeh and, if you have time, allow the tempeh to marinate covered in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- When you are ready to cook the tempeh, pour all the tempeh and teriyaki sauce into a wok or saucepan and heat over medium heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the tempeh and stir to combine. Continue stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, is glossy and sticks to the tempeh.
- Serve over rice with vegetables.
Jeannine Richman says
Was delicious and easy to make, I served it with adding steamed broccoli during the last minute after the cornstarch mixture was added to the sauce.
Faith VanderMolen says
Yum! Thanks for sharing!
How long should the tempeh cook exactly?
Faith VanderMolen says
Hi Lex! I'm guessing about 10 minutes or so. You can let the tempeh cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes before adding the cornstarch mixture and then just let everything cook until the sauce thickens, maybe about 5 more minutes. Hope that helps!