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Cravings for smoky and salty are satisfied in this shiitake bacon recipe! Use this genius vegan mushroom bacon to top soups, salads, and more.

Shiitake bacon
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Trying to eat plant based but still craving bacon? We’re here for you. Shiitake bacon to the rescue! Yes, making vegetarian and vegan mushroom bacon is a thing. Mushroom bacon? Yes, it’s absolutely worth trying too! It’s smoky, savory, salty, and it has the best chewy texture. Use it for topping soups, salads, sandwiches, and even pizza! It will satisfy that salt craving like no other.

Loaded potato soup
Loaded potato soup is a great way to enjoy this tasty topper.

Wait, what’s shiitake bacon?

Alex and I don’t eat a lot of plant based meat substitutes, because most of them are processed foods. But guess what: there are lots of whole food plant based (WFBP) bacon recipes! Alex and I have made a few different vegan bacon recipes over the years. Our coconut bacon is weirdly bacon-textured, crisp in spots and chewy in others. Tempeh bacon is larger and works alongside a tofu scramble or for sandwiches like our BLT.

Our latest greatest in the plant based meat substitute is this shiitake bacon! It combines savory shiitake mushrooms with savory flavorings into something that tastes oddly similar to the real thing. What are the flavor secrets?


Ingredients in shiitake bacon

Contrary to what you might think, the ingredients in shiitake bacon are pretty simple! Just a handful of ingredients transforms into a smoky, salty vegetarian condiment. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Shiitake mushrooms. The shiitake mushroom is full of meaty, savory flavor.
  • Smoked paprika (pimentón). Here’s what lends the smoky flavor. (We’ve got 20 more smoked paprika recipes to use up a jar!)
  • Soy sauce. Soy sauce brings in the savory element. Use liquid aminos for soy free.
  • Cayenne (optional). A pinch of cayenne brings a back-end heat! Omit if you can’t handle spice.
  • Flaky sea salt. Using flaky salt adds a crunch and texture.

To make it, all you’ll do is saute the mushrooms 3 minutes, then add the flavoring and cook 5 more minutes. That’s it! Delicious, savory shiitake bacon in just 15 minutes total.

Pan of shiitake bacon

Ways to use shiitake bacon

There are so many ways to use shiitake bacon! We’re already ready to make about 100 more recipes using it. But here are our top ways:

pan with vegan bacon recipe

Other ways to make vegan bacon

There are a few other ways to make vegan bacon outside of using mushrooms! Here are our other favorite methods:

  • Coconut bacon. Large unsweetened coconut flakes are perfect for vegan bacon! The coconut is infused with a smoky flavor and is reminiscent of the crispy and fatty texture of bacon.
  • Tempeh bacon. Use soy-based tempeh as a canvas for your bacon. This one is protein packed and great for BLTs and alongside scrambles.

More mushroom recipes!

If you love mushrooms (or even if you don’t!), we have lots more fantastic mushroom recipes that might interest you. Here are some of our favorite ways to get all the nutritional benefits of mushrooms:

This recipe is…

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

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Shiitake bacon

Shiitake Bacon

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1 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup (4 small servings) 1x


Cravings for smoky and salty are satisfied in this shiitake bacon recipe! Use this genius vegan mushroom bacon to top soups, salads, and more.


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola or sunflower)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt (or substitute kosher salt)


  1. Thinly slice the mushrooms. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, mushrooms, smoked paprika and cayenne.
  2. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes on medium until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soy sauce and sprinkle with the salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes on low without stirring, until bottom side is dry and slightly blackened.
  • Category: Garnish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan (Plant Based)

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 for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Jennifer Eccles says:

    Nope! This was absolutely nothing like real bacon!

  2. Phoebad says:

    Can this be stored? Frozen? Canned? Sounds like a great thing to make a batch of and then keep around to use up as needed!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! We have not tested frozen but it would likely work! Try freezing it in a freezer safe bag. We do this with our Coconut Bacon and it works like a charm.