Here’s how to make something that tastes like bacon — but isn’t bacon

So long, bacon. Wikimedia Commons

Today the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that processed meats like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs cause cancer.

What fun Monday morning news.

Because processed meats like bacon are delicious, everyone freaked out.

Though reports that say ‘eating bacon is as bad as smoking cigarettes’ aren’t exactly true, you may still be asking yourself — how can I get that bacon flavour without actually having to eat bacon?

We turned to the wizards of Pinterest to find the best fake bacon recipes and how to make them.

Many of the vegans and vegetarians on the site have been honing their “facon” for years and have plenty of tricks and tips to share. We’ve yet to try these recipes for ourselves, there do seem to be four common hacks to making everything from coconut flakes to seitan, a type of wheat gluten, taste like bacon.

Salty Flavour

Cheese bacon paprika

Bacon is really salty, so whatever recipe you go with, don’t be afraid of using a heavy hand with your salt. For his “Bacun,” Chef Skye Michael Conroy used soy sauce and sea salt to add that necessary flavour to his recipe.

Meanwhile, Brothers Green Eats, a vegetarian YouTube channel, makes its fake bacon with strips of melted shredded cheese that add that salty taste. The brothers place the shredded cheese in two rows in a frying pan, heat them until browned and crispy, and then flavour it with a healthy dose of smoked paprika. They say the taste is “spot on.” 


Cooking oil is really important for making fake bacon get that crispy snap that regular bacon gets from all its fattening grease.

Most recipes call for a neutral cooking oil so that it doesn’t compete with your smoky flavour. Canola oil or peanut oil are safe bets to try.

Smoky Flavour

The blog Vegan American Princess tested fake bacon recipes with coconut, shiitake mushrooms, red bean, tempeh, and tofu, and found that all of them called for Colgin Liquid Smoke. It’s a vegan and gluten-free flavoring that has that smoky flavour that people usually associate with bacon.

Smoked paprika and onion powder are two other highly recommended ingredients to get that umami flavour. The Kitchn has an intriguing recipe for crispy breadcrumbs sautéed in olive oil and butter with smoked paprika and salt to give them that bacony taste.


Every single recipe we found, from bacon-flavored coconut flakes to fake bacon tempeh, got their best results by making the final product crispy. It disguises the texture of whatever you’re trying to “turn into” bacon and will help sell your fake meat product as the real thing.

And if all else fails, you can always try to get your hands on dulse, the seaweed that supposedly tastes like bacon.

Did we miss your favourite fake bacon recipe? Email us at [email protected]

NOW WATCH: The World Health Organisation says there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that bacon causes cancer