Go Back
+ servings
closeup photo of barbecue glazed tempeh in frying pan

BBQ Tempeh

Nisha Vora
This vegan BBQ tempeh is the BEST way to enjoy tempeh. The tempeh gets pan-fried until golden and crispy and then coated in a sweet but tangy and smoky BBQ sauce. And takes just 20 minutes!
5 from 29 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 3 to 4


  • 1 8-ounce block of tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil avocado oil, or other neutral-flavored oil for cooking
  • 1/3 batch of Vegan BBQ Sauce (recipe below) (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup BBQ sauce)


  • Slice the tempeh crosswise into ½-inch thick strips. Then, place each strip on its side and slice in half lengthwise to make it thinner.
    See the step-by-step photos in the blog for reference.
  • Optional - steam the tempeh. Place the tempeh pieces in a steamer basket fitted in a saucepan with a few inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and steam the tempeh for 10 minutes.
    Note: I typically steam tempeh to get rid of its characteristic bitter taste, but I find it unnecessary in this recipe, as the BBQ sauce is so bold in flavor.
  • Line a cutting board or plate with a few paper towels.
  • Cook the tempeh. Heat a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat with 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil. Once the oil is shimmering (it will take a few minutes), arrange the tempeh slices in a single layer.
    Cook for 3 ½ to 4 ½ minutes, until nicely golden brown on the bottom side.
    Brush the top side of each tempeh piece with the remaining oil or spray with cooking spray (I used avocado oil spray), then flip each piece and cook on the second side for 2 ½ to 4 more minutes until seared on the other side. Transfer to the paper towels.
    Turn the heat off and allow the pan to cool down for a few minutes.
  • Make the BBQ sauce (recipe below).
    Note: you do NOT need to simmer the BBQ sauce on the stove for a full 5 minutes, as in step #2 in the recipe card below. You will simmer it for a few minutes in the next step.
  • Return the frying pan to medium-low heat and pour in the BBQ Sauce. Allow the sauce to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until gently simmering, stirring with a silicone spatula. If the pan is too hot, the sauce will rapidly simmer, so lower the heat a touch.
    Add the tempeh back to the pan, and coat the tempeh in the sauce for a minute or two until very saucy. Enjoy!
Keyword BBQ, nut-free, tempeh
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!