I want to give you this vegan rice paper bacon recipe today because it is one of the coolest things I have come across in a while and it’s absolutely DELICIOUS.
Bafflingly realistic in appearance, the rice paper bacon is made with a straightforward but ingenious process. After learning about this technique, I got around to making it with my personal favorite ‘bacon-inspired’ marinade and it did not last very long in my kitchen. So I made it a couple more times, even attempting to make a video, and took some nice photographs so that I could share it with you.
What’s the catch? There is no catch! This 100% vegan rice paper bacon is made totally from scratch, and totally from plants. So for anyone who enjoyed the crispy texture and smoky, super umami flavor of the ‘real thing’, but doesn’t want to eat meat anymore, I hope you will give this a try. No, this vegan bacon is not *exactly like bacon*. But out of all of the substitutes I’ve tried so far, this one does the best job of capturing the characteristics of the ‘real thing’ that I personally enjoyed the most. Go in without too many expectations, play around with it, and make it your own. 🙂
There are 3 easy steps to making your own rice paper bacon:
- Whisk up an easy smoky-sweet marinade
- Cut sheets of rice paper into strips, dip them quickly in water to soften and stick them together, and then generously coat them in the marinade
- Bake, fry, or microwave (yes, microwave!) them into crispy vegan bacon deliciousness
Set aside an hour next weekend and whip up a big batch. The rice paper bacon strips will stay crispy for a couple of days if stored correctly (see the recipe notes). I myself made avocado-vegan mayo-rice paper bacon sandwiches and they were incredibly moreish.
P.S. if this recipe sets your heart a-flutter and you want to branch out into even more cruelty-free recipes inspired by the flavor and texture of bacon, you’ll want to stay tuned. Next month I will be sharing a review and giveaway of a new all-vegan, bacony cookbook: Baconish , by Leinana Two Moons.
I’m experimenting with filming some live-action footage to include with future recipes! Unfortunately I was an idiot and positioned the camera behind my back, so I was blocking the lens with my arms for most of the film. What can I say, I am new to the studio life. I have a few snapshots of the process, though.
UPDATE 4/20/16: A reader suggested hydrating two sheets of rice paper all at once, then using scissors to cut it into strips. I will be trying that method next time – I think it’s an even easier way to make the recipe come together.
What is rice paper? I’m referring to the rice paper used for wrapping spring rolls, not the kind for calligraphy. You can find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
Vegan Rice Paper Bacon
- rice paper (there should be enough marinade to make 8 sheets of rice paper's worth of rice paper bacon, possibly more)
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (this only gives a slight sweetness to round out the flavors, but you can feel free to omit or reduce it)
- generous pinch of ground black pepper
- pinch of paprika (I used hot Spanish paprika)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (See notes for microwave instructions)
- Whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade in a wide bowl until the nutritional yeast is incorporated well; prepare a second wide bowl filled partway with water.
- Prepare a metal, oven-safe rack with a sheet of parchment paper. (Skip this if microwaving).
- Cut rice paper into thick strips, or to the size that you want. Note that the strips will shrink in size a little bit when cooking. Some brands of rice paper will crack a little bit when you cut them; Use a large, very sharp knife to minimize this.
- Take two strips and stack them. Holding them together, dip them very quickly into the water. (UPDATE: if you have kitchen scissors, try dipping 2 whole rice paper sheets stacked together into the water, then cutting them into strips instead. I don't recommend cutting wet rice paper with a knife, it's not as easy as it seems). They should then start to stick together on their own. Gently squeeze excess water from the fused pair of rice paper strips.
- Dip the fused pair of rice paper strips into the marinade and coat it fairly generously; place it onto the parchment paper.
- Repeat with additional rice paper/rice paper strips until the rack is filled. NB: Periodically stop to whisk the marinade again and re-emulsify it; the oil will start to separate over time.
- Bake for about 7 to 9 minutes, or until crisp. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the tray partway through. The strips can burn easily, so keep an eye on it and take them out as soon as they're done. The end result will be mostly crispy with some slightly chewy parts. 🙂
- Once fully cooled, store leftover rice paper bacon in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It will stay pretty crispy. But it probably won't survive 3 days without being eaten 🙂
Enjoy plant-based, cruelty-free meat analogues? Then you might also want to try my BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Sandwiches, or my Jackfruit “Carnitas”!
Rice paper bacon recipe adapted from the Danish blog, Veganer.
Katherine whitby says
How would you cook this in an air fryer?
Josa Mendoza says
The consistency is perfect! Would love to find one of these recipes that actually tasted like bacon. I’m considering buying that bacon seasoning on Amazon I’m trying that when I make these
Fabulous recipe! Modify the seasoning a little bit and it turns into “chicken skins”! Do the exact method above, but soak the sheets in water for 20 seconds (until they are more goo-ey), and add these to the marinade: “Simply Organic Turkey Rub” and “McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple Seasoning” (both on Amazon). YUM!
This turned out SOOO good!
This sounds delicious! Fortunately but unfortunately in this case, we had to stop using oils for health reasons. Do you think it’s possible to make this recipe without the oil or do you know of a substitute I could possibly use in its place? Thanks
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
I don’t think this recipe comes out well without oil, sorry! Without oil the marinade won’t emulsify well, it will burn quickly and lack the richness that gives it a slight bacon resemblance.
I have been making rice paper bacon without the oil for a few years and it comes out fine. You might need to add a little extra soy sauce or water to get the right consistency. Sometimes I need to cook it a little longer to crisp up more, just watch it so it doesn’t burn.
YES! I have used unsweetened applesauce in place of the oil and it works great! 🙂
Linda D says
Just made this—both ways; oven and microwave. Both were REALLY good! I couldn’t find liquid smoke so I used a smoked barbecue herb seasoning, which worked great. Immediately made a BLT on GF toast. I haven’t had one of those in YEARS and I am very happy! Mind you, I haven’t had bacon in 40 years so not at all sure if this really tastes like bacon, but in any case—it is delicious! Put the leftovers in the fridge—looking forward to seeing how thy hold up. Thank you!
This recipe is crazy good and easy! I double up on the rice paper and use a pizza cutter to make strips. So simple!
This is absolutely delicious!! I will be making regularly. My hubby happily eats whatever I make, but still yearns for bacon. I couldn’t keep him from eating this!
I used the pizza cutter method for cutting. I also tried combining 3 sheets of rice paper rather than two. (I read this suggestion on another recipe) That make the edges crispy and the middle chewing- just the way I liked it in my meat-eating days.
Thank you for an awesome recipe!
Can these be reheated? I wanted to see if I could make ahead so as to reduce cooking time when I’m ravenously hungry for bfast in the morning! Thanks!!!
I made this recipe twice in 24 hours because the is soooo good! I roughly followed the recipe and added some smoked salt, too. This is a game changer to crispy and chewy bacon 😍 it worked just as well in the oven as it did in a pan 💚💚💚
janet clark says
I really do not like Nutritional Yeast, what can I put in instead please.
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
You can just leave it out
I went the rice paper, put them together on the cutting board, then used a pizza roller to cut them. I used smoked paprika (that’s all I had) and a drop of yellow mustard to keep the marinade together.
It turned out really good. I will make again. Maybe a bit of sesame oil???
To make it easier for me, I wet the two sheets whole, stuck them together, then marinaded them before placing them on the cutting board and using a pizza wheel to cut into strips. Worked great and saved a lot of back-and-forth. The marinade prior to baking tasted a lot like bacon, but not as much after. My batch kinda tasted like a potato chip, but I couldn’t figure out which flavor. Worked well on my sandwich. Thanks for the recipe!
Carol Eagan says
I placed the sheets in warm water first to soften, put one on top of the other, and used my butcher knife to cut strips. Easy peasy. Found that I needed to add more marinade to the strips in the pan before baking, so I added more with a spoon which helped deepen the flavor. I also used her suggestion of painting on balsamic vinegar for the marbeling.
We made this tonight to use some left over rice paper we had. We left out the syrup as we don’t like sweet bacon! It came out really well. We used it as “bacon bits” over some dishes and were very happy with the results. I think it would also do well anywhere you want a little salty/smokey/crispy taste. I don’t think it would do well where bacon was the “star” of the show, like Bacon & eggs, or on a BLT.
Linda D says
Just made BLTs—actually really yummy. Then again I have r eaten bacon in 40 years so maybe not the best judge!
*haven’t eaten bacon!
I made these today and the flavor and texture was very good except they seemed salty. I used Braggs liquid aminos, which has no added salt and is considered low sodium. Has anyone else had this issue?
I found it to be suuuuper salty, which made them very hard to enjoy.
It’s true the Braggs liquid aminos doesn’t have added salt but it certainly isn’t low sodium. In fact, I find it to be much saltier than soy sauce! Try comparing the nutritional facts tables. Statements made on the front of packaging labels can be intentionally misleading!
Nicholas Burgess says
How do you make this recipe whole food plant based oil free? As I try to follow a whole food plant based diet.
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
The oil is pretty crucial to this recipe IMO, but you can check the comments to see if anyone else made it without oil successfully.
Did you try the recipe without oil? I was hoping to leave it out.
I made it without the oil and cooked in the air fryer. We liked it. They had some chewy and some crispy areas. Not bacon but certainly not bad. I will add it to sandwiches tonight.
I made it tonight in the toaster oven. No syrup, no oil. Ended up rotating the pan and was about 11–12 min of cooking. Like it much better on a BLT vs. solo.
We have made this a few times, and while it is good and does the trick, there is a weird taste after it is cooked. Perhaps it is the brand of liquid smoke that I use, but it adds a chemical taste that is not present in the marinade before it is baked.
Also! I found the easiest ways to get strips is to fold and break the rice paper. The brand I use breaks in decently straight lines.