This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

This marinated tempeh recipe is an explosion of flavor! The zingy marinade makes a plant based meal everyone will love.

Marinated Tempeh
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Want a tasty plant based meal to mix things up? Try marinated tempeh! This vegan protein is often overlooked but has massive flavor when cooked correctly. We couldn’t stop sneaking bites of this one. Marinating tempeh gives it bold savory flavor when cooked up with soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger and garlic. Give it a quick sear in a pan and it tastes deliciously meaty, great for serving with rice or in a bowl meal. Tempeh is a favorite vegan dinner idea of ours because it’s so simple and tasty. (Are you a fan? Tell us in the comments below!)

How to make marinated tempeh

Marinating tempeh is smart because on its own, tempeh can be bland and slightly bitter. But dunk it in a flavor-popping marinade for just one hour, and it’s transformed! You can use the leftover marinade to make a thick, sticky sauce that comes together quickly in the pan. The steps are simple: you’ll just need to prep the tempeh in a timeframe where you have enough time for the marinading. Here’s an overview of what to do (or jump right to the recipe below):

  • Cut the tempeh. Cut the tempeh in half, then into either triangles or thin rectangles.
  • Soak in boiling water for 1 minute. This helps to remove some of the bitterness of the tempeh flavor.
  • Marinade the tempeh for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours). Whisk up the marinade ingredients (below), then marinade the tempeh for at least 1 hour, turning the pieces once.
  • Pan fry the tempeh about 2 minutes per side. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, then cook about 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden.
  • Add the reserved marinade with cornstarch. Mix in a little cornstarch to the reserved marinade, then add it to the pan and heat until thickened, about 1 minute.

More about tempeh

What is tempeh, anyway? Tempeh originated in Indonesia in the 1500’s. It’s a compressed cake of whole soybeans, and sometime grains like wheat or barley. To make it, the soybeans are soaked to soften them, then they’re cooked and slightly fermented before being formed into a firm patty or block. Since it’s made from whole soybeans, tempeh has a hearty texture and slightly nutty flavor that makes it an ideal meat substitute.

Because tempeh is so firm, it can withstand being fried or grilled without crumbling. It’s the exact opposite of the jiggly and mushy texture of tofu! It’s best prepared in thin slices versus large chunks, otherwise the chewy texture can be slightly off-putting. Read more at Tempeh vs Tofu.

Tempeh nutrition

Tempeh is a great source of plant based proteinTempeh has roughly 15 grams protein per serving. It also has lots of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and is free of cholesterol. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits—especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat!

Marinated Tempeh

Ways to serve marinated tempeh

Once you’ve made your marinated tempeh, the sky’s the limit on how to serve it! It’s hard to find great vegan proteins, and this one is a fantastic option. We rotate on and off with our baked tofu and crispy tofu. You can serve marinated tempeh with rice or quinoa and sauteed broccoli, or make it as a component of a bowl meal. Here are a few ideas:

How do you plan to serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

More tempeh recipes

There are many more tasty ways to serve this plant-based protein! Here are a few tempeh recipes we love:

This marinated tempeh recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Marinated Tempeh

Marinated Tempeh

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
Save Recipe


This marinated tempeh recipe is an explosion of flavor! This zingy marinade makes a plant based meal everyone will love.


  • 8 ounce package tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • For garnish: finely chopped parsley or sliced green onion, sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Carefully cut the tempeh in half lengthwise. Then lay down each rectangle and cut it into 8 triangles (see the photos above). 
  2. Place the tempeh in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the tempeh and allow it to sit for 1 minute (this helps to remove some of the bitterness in flavor). Then rinse it under cold water and drain. 
  3. In a wide shallow dish, whisk together the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, fresh ginger, and garlic. 
  4. Place the tempeh in the dish, dipping each side in the marinade. Place in the refrigerated and marinate for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours), turning the pieces at 30 minutes.
  5. To cook the tempeh, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Sauté the tempeh for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned on each side. Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining marinade. Add the marinade to the pan and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it is thickened. Serve immediately. 
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star