How to cook tempeh: complete guide and esay recipes

how to cook tempeh

Explains what tempeh is, outlines how to cook tempeh, different methods, correct preparation, and easy recipes to try out.

Find more fodd guides, tips and advice

What is tempeh?

Tempeh originally comes from Indonesia and is made from soybeans that are fermented with a noble mold. The soy product is a good source of protein and is therefore particularly popular with vegetarians and vegans as a meat substitute. Accordingly, it can be used instead of meat in many dishes. 

Tempeh also scores with a high mineral and fiber content – and that with few calories ! Another advantage of this product, which is popular in Asia, is one of the probiotic foods that are not only good for digestion, but also for the immune system. You can get tempeh in block form in health food stores and health food stores. 

Tempeh is often misunderstood. Think of tempeh as the fermented cousin of tofu. Both are made from soybeans. Tempeh is made through a fermentation process that involves soaking the soybeans. That means it is less processed and contains a lot of nutrients. It’s also quite high in fiber. I’ll go into all the details here, but to cut a long story short, I love tempeh as a vegan protein option. You just have to know how to use it.

Because of the texture of tempeh, it really soaks up the flavor and turns out nice and crispy on the outside while staying soft on the inside. 

Nutritional value

Tempeh is an ideal alternative as the nutritional values ​​are even better than those of meat. The fermentation also breaks down the proteins in such a way that they are more accessible to the body.

Ingredients of tempeh per 100 g:

  • 157 calories
  • 19.5 g protein (egg white)
  • 7.5 g fat
  • 1.8 g of carbohydrates
  • 6.5 grams of fiber
  • 142 mg calcium
  • 5 mg iron
  • 230 mg of phosphorus
  • 230 mg magnesium

Tempeh scores with its low calorie content, high fiber content and many minerals that are created during fermentation.

Buy tempeh or make it yourself?

Tempeh is usually available vacuum-packed or in glasses in health food stores, organic stores, well-stocked supermarkets and Asian shops – natural or smoked. DIY professionals can also try making tempeh themselves.

The following ingredients are required for this:

  • 500 g soybeans
  • water
  • Starter cultures (available in specialist shops or online)

Cook the soybeans for an hour to release the nutrients for the fungus to grow. Remove the cooking water and soak the beans in one and a half liters of cold water overnight.

Now bring the beans to the boil again to remove the bitter taste of the soybean. Then wash with cold water, place in a container, inoculate with the starter culture and cover with a kitchen towel. (According to a traditional recipe, the beans are wrapped in banana leaves.)

Let the beans stand at 20 to 37 ° C – preferably at room temperature – for 24 to 52 hours. Attention: The storage temperature must never exceed 42 ° C, otherwise undesirable bacteria can grow. When the starter culture ‘mushroom’ forms a compact mass with the beans, the tempeh is ready to be harvested.

During the rest period, the texture and taste of the soybean change, similar to cheese. The starter culture releases various ingredients such as B vitamins and folic acid as metabolic products. This is why tempeh does better nutritionally than non-fermented tofu.

Prepare tempeh: Here’s how

Tempeh has a slightly nutty taste, but only becomes really tasty when it is properly prepared.

  • Cut into pieces: especially recommended for soups
  • Cut into strips: ideal for grilling 
  • Crumble: e.g. B. to prepare vegetarian minced meat

How to cook tempeh: the basics

  • Tempeh has a firm consistency and must therefore be cooked before consumption. It is also a good idea to simmer the tempeh before frying, sautéing or baking in order to get the inside soft and the shell crispy. 
  • To do this, bring the water to a boil and put the tempeh in it whole. Cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, then pat dry. 

How to cook tempeh: Marinate

  • To intensify the taste of tempeh, you can cut it into small pieces or into slices and put it in a marinade of olive oil, spices and lemon juice in a closed container for at least 2 hours (preferably the whole night). If you like, you can also add chopped garlic.
  • Red wine vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup and soy sauce are also great marinades. 

Tip: It’s best to cut the tempeh into slices and cook it in a steamer for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat before marinating. This has the advantage that the pores of the soy mass open, which means that the marinade’s taste is better absorbed later. After marinating, the tempeh can be fried in oil and further marinade until it is nice and crispy.

How to cook tempeh: Bake

  • Apply some oil to a baking sheet with a kitchen brush and spread the tempeh over it.
  • Put the baking sheet in the preheated oven (180 degrees) and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes. The tempeh is ready as soon as it has turned a golden brown color. 

Tip: For a spicy taste, you can turn the tempeh strips beforehand on a plate with a spice mixture.

How to cook tempeh: Fry

  • Cut the tempeh into strips.
  • Put plenty of cooking oil in a deep pan and heat it to 200 degrees.
  • Then the tempeh strips are fried until crispy for 4 minutes.
  • So that the strips are not too greasy, they should drain on kitchen paper after frying. 

How to cook tempeh: Gado-Gado with peanut paste

how to cook tempeh

The Indonesian salad trumps with mung bean sprouts, tempeh and eggs. There is also a crunchy peanut paste. Delicious! Per serving Energy: 445 kcal, carbohydrates: 20 g, protein: 24 g, fat: 30 gRelated content 

ingredients for 6 servings


  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 Tablespoons of oil
  • 200 ml of broth or stock
  •  4 tbs peanut butter (crunchy)
  • 2 Teaspoon cane sugar
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (light, Indonesian)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (indonian soy sauce; ketjap manis)
  • 8 Tbsp lime juice

Salad ingredients

  • 300 Grams of beans (green)
  • salt
  • 100 Grams of mung bean sprouts
  • ½ Romaine lettuce
  • 1Bunch of watercress
  • 2 Mini cucumbers
  • 2 Carrots (thick)
  • 100 Grams of cherry tomatoes
  • 300 Grams of tempeh (fermented soybeans)
  • Peanut oil (for deep-frying)
  • 4 Organic eggs (cooked as soft as wax)
  • Fried onions (for sprinkling)


  2.  Peel the shallots and garlic. Clean and finely chop the chilli. Fry everything in oil for 2 minutes. Add the stock, peanut cream, sugar, coconut milk, fish sauce and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, bring to the boil. Cook the sauce over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Season with soy sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  4.  Boil the beans in salted water for 7 minutes. Add sprouts for the last minute. Drain, rinse with cold water. Clean romaine lettuce and cress, rinse, dry. Pluck the cress leaves, cut the romaine lettuce into small pieces.
  5.  Rinse the cucumbers, cut into long slices with the peeler, cut the remaining center piece into pieces if necessary. Peel the carrots and cut into fine strips. Rinse tomatoes, cut in half. Mix the vegetables, sprouts and salads in a large bowl, drizzle with the remaining lime juice.
  6.  Cut tempeh into pieces, fry in hot oil in portions until golden brown. Drain. Peel eggs, cut in half. Arrange everything, sprinkle with fried onions.

How to cook tempeh: Tempeh tomatoes with mango and chilli salsa

how to cook tempeh

Per serving Energy: 280 kcal, carbohydrates: 25 g, protein: 16 g, fat: 12 gRelated content 

ingredients for 4 servings

  • Tomatoes (large, e.g. ox heart tomatoes )
  • salt
  • black pepper (coarse)
  • 250 Grams of tempeh (fermented soy product as a meat substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 Sprigs of thyme
  • 1 Bunch of spring onions
  • Oil


  • 1 Mango (ripe)
  • 1 chili
  • 1 tbs agave nectar


  1.  Rinse the tomatoes, cut off a lid and remove the seeds and partitions. Leave a base about 2 cm thick at the bottom. If necessary, finely chop the firm tomato flesh from the inside and add to the filling later. Salt and pepper the hollowed out tomatoes.
  2.  Preheat the oven to 220 degrees, fan-assisted 200 degrees, gas mark 5.
  3.  Crumble the tempeh with your fingers. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the tempeh crumbs over a high heat for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and stir in.
  4.  Pluck the herbs from the stalk and chop. Cut the spring onions into fine rings and mix everything well with the tempeh and possibly the tomato meat. Pour the mixture into the tomatoes, put the lid on and place the tomatoes in a greased baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes.
  5. For the salsa:
  6.  in the meantime, peel the mango and finely dice the pulp. Cut the chilli pepper crosswise into very thin strips (work with kitchen gloves). Mix the mango, chilli and agave syrup and season the salsa with salt.
  7.  Serve the baked tomatoes with the salsa.