Prepare to be amazed by the ultra-tasty blend of flavors in this teriyaki tempeh recipe! It’s packed with wholesome ingredients and incredibly easy to make, coming together in as little as 20 minutes.
Ideal for weeknight dinners, this recipe creates delicious tempeh coated with a homemade teriyaki sauce, featuring a perfect harmony of sweet and savory notes. Made entirely of simple plant-based ingredients, it’ll quickly become one of your favorite meals!
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Ingredients for Teriyaki Tempeh
The ingredients I use for teriyaki tempeh are easily found at my local grocery store, and often I already have them on hand, so it’s easy to make this recipe without making a special trip out.
Everything you’ll need to make it includes:
- Tempeh: The star ingredient of this recipe, tempeh offers a soft-yet-chewy texture with a slightly nutty taste. As the tempeh cooks, it soaks up the savory, sweet, and umami-rich elements of the teriyaki sauce, creating a delightful medley of flavors in every bite.
- Vegetable oil: Pan-fry the tempeh to golden perfection in some cooking oil.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce forms the base of the teriyaki sauce, providing savory and umami elements that make this dish so irresistible. It adds depth and richness to the glaze without overwhelming other flavors.
- Mirin: This rice wine contributes a delicate sweetness to the teriyaki sauce, balancing the saltiness of your soy sauce. If you don’t have mirin, it can be replaced with half rice vinegar and half brown sugar.
- Brown sugar: Some brown sugar offers a warm, caramel-like sweetness which complements the mirin and enhances the dish's rich flavors. While I prefer brown sugar for this recipe, other sugar options/ substitutes can work (but I haven't tested them).
- Agave syrup: Liquid sweeteners like agave syrup ensures a smooth and consistent blend of flavors while also creating a glaze that beautifully clings to the tempeh. You can also use other liquid sweeteners or syrups.
- Corn starch: Starch is a thickening agent, giving the teriyaki sauce its desirable consistency. It helps coat the tempeh evenly and ensures that the sauce clings to each piece.
- Ginger and garlic: These aromatic powerhouses provide a delightful punch to the teriyaki sauce. Together, they infuse the sauce with depth and vibrancy, taking the flavors to new heights.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a tangy element to the teriyaki sauce. It provides a pleasant contrast to the richness of the other ingredients, brightening the overall taste and bringing balance to the dish.
- Sesame oil: A touch of sesame oil enhances the dish by making adding some flavorful fats.
- Water: Water thins out the sauce slightly helping achieve a desired consistency and melding all the flavors together harmoniously.
How to Make Teriyaki Tempeh
It’s super easy to make this teriyaki tempeh recipe! Just prepare the sauce, pan fry your tempeh, cook the tempeh in your teriyaki sauce, then serve! It’s an approachable recipe and truly doesn’t take long to prepare.
Step 1: Prepare Teriyaki Sauce
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, agave syrup, corn starch, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and water.
Set this teriyaki sauce aside.
Step 2: Cook Tempeh
Begin by cutting the tempeh into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they're evenly sized for consistent cooking.
Place a large pan over medium heat, then add some vegetable oil. As the oil warms, add tempeh pieces to your pan, gently arranging them to ensure each piece has space to make contact with the pan.
Toss the tempeh pieces in your pan to brown all sides. The browning process will take around 5 minutes.
Pour the prepared teriyaki sauce over your pan-fried tempeh and increase the heat to medium-high, letting the teriyaki sauce coat and begin to thicken on each piece of tempeh.
Maintain medium-high heat and continue cooking the tempeh and teriyaki sauce together for about 5 minutes. Stir this regularly to ensure the sauce doesn’t clump. Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and sticking to the tempeh.
Step 3: Serve
Arrange the cooked tempeh pieces on a plate with a generous helping of cooked rice and steamed vegetables (broccoli is my favorite).
For a final garnish, sprinkle some sesame seeds and sliced green onions over the dish, adding both a visual appeal and an extra layer of freshness.
How to Serve as a Balanced Vegan Meal
Teriyaki tempeh, on its own, is a good source of protein since tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It’s also a fairly good source of healthy fats from the tempeh and vegetable/ sesame oils, which will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
To round out the meal, you’ll want to pair it with other sources of carbohydrates and veggies.
I love to serve teriyaki sauce tempeh over a bed cooked rice or another grain which delivers energy-boosting carbohydrates. To finish off the meal, I typically aim for a green vegetable like broccoli, Bok choy or Brussels sprouts that deliver more nutrition and help to fill the bulk of my bowl or plate.
Garnishing your meal with seeds or green onions or fresh herbs is another great way to round out the nutritional content of your meal. Choose your favorite complimentary garnish and top this excellent meal according to your unique tastes!
Teriyaki Tempeh Recipe Variations
One of the best things about teriyaki tempeh is its versatility. It’s easy to customize it according to your taste preferences and experiment with new flavors. Some fun variations I’d like to try include:
- Spicy Kick: Add a dash of sriracha or red pepper flakes to the teriyaki sauce for a slightly spicier version.
- Citrus Twist: Squeeze some fresh lime or orange juice into the teriyaki sauce to infuse a delightful citrusy flavor.
- Tofu Teriyaki: You can prepare this recipe using cubed tofu instead of tempeh. Freezing then pressing the tofu before pan-frying will give the tofu a “meatier” texture.
I’ve also created some great tofu-based recipes like this one you may want to try. Served alongside some rice and veggies, I highly recommend:
How to Store Leftover Teriyaki Tempeh
If you happen to have any leftovers (which rarely happens in my household!), you can refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
To reheat, simply microwave or gently pan fry the tempeh until warmed through.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
- Small mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons
Pan Fried Tempeh
- 1 block tempeh (8 ounces, 227 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce (60 milliliters)
- 3 tablespoons mirin (45 milliliters)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar , lightly packed (25 grams)
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (15 milliliters)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (8 grams)
- 1 tablespoon ginger , finely minced or grated (15 grams)
- 1 tablespoon garlic , finely mined or pressed (10 grams)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (10 milliliters)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (10 milliliters)
- ⅓ cup water (80 milliliters)
Step 1: Prepare Teriyaki Sauce
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.¼ cup low sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon agave syrup, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ⅓ cup water
Step 2: Cook Tempeh
- Cut tempeh into bite-sized pieces.1 block tempeh
- Warm vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add tempeh and pan fry until lightly browned, tossing it around to brown on all sides (about 5 minutes).1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Add teriyaki sauce and cook over medium-high heat until sauce is thickened, stirring regularly (about 5 minutes).
Step 3: Serve
- Serve teriyaki tempeh with a side of cooked rice and vegetables (broccoli is a great choice). Optional to top with sesame seeds and/or sliced green onion.
More Vegan Main Meal Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.