Looking to add delicious flavor to your tempeh? I’ve got you covered with 6 different Tempeh Marinades that are easy to make and will liven up any tempeh recipe! Use these marinades to bake, pan-fry or air fry your tempeh. No more boring tempeh!

When it comes to cooking tasty, satisfying tempeh, a good marinade is absolutely key. After experimenting with making my own marinades and eventually creating my 6 go-to marinade recipes for tempeh, I’ve discovered that making homemade marinade is really very easy and so tasty too! 

I have six core tempeh marinades that I turn to time and time again. Take a scroll, pick out your favorites and enjoy these amazing recipes!

6 small bowls with 6 different marinade flavors. fresh garlic, lime and ginger in the scene and tofu in the corner

Making Homemade Tempeh Marinade

If you really want to add wonderful, unique flavor to your tempeh, I highly suggest whipping up your own marinades at home! Here are just some of the key reasons why you should DIY instead of buying pre-packaged bottles and mixes:

  1. Quick + easy. It only takes a few minutes to stir together fresh ingredients for these marinades.
  2. Fresh. These marinades are as fresh as it gets! You know it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf for months.
  3. Control. When you make your own marinade you can experiment and adjust ingredients to suit your taste.
  4. Flavorful. It tastes way better and has fresher flavor!
  5. Healthier. By making your own recipes, you can avoid highly-processed ingredients and additives found in some store-bought marinades.
baked tempeh on a plate

Before we get to all of the details of each individual marinade, let’s go over some frequently asked questions:

Why marinate tempeh?

Marinating will infuse tons of flavor into the tempeh and makes such a HUGE difference the way it tastes. On it’s own and uncooked, tempeh has a very mild taste and is almost flavorless. However, it does a great job soaking up marinades and flavors and if cooked well, tastes AMAZING! 

How long to marinate tempeh?

If you’ve got the time, it’s really best to marinate tempeh for a few hours or even overnight. However, I’ve found that even just 30 minutes of marinating your tempeh will make a big difference and result in a much more flavorful dish.

How do I cook marinated tempeh?

You can use these marinades in almost any recipe. But if you’re looking for various different ways to cook your tempeh, take a look at this tempeh guide, which includes instructions for pan-frying, air-frying and baking tempeh.

How to Store Homemade Tempeh Marinades:

If you want to pre-make these marinades, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a week.

These marinades also freeze beautifully! You can even freeze the tempeh marinading in the sauce for up to about 6 months. When you’re ready to use it, simply place it in the fridge to thaw and cook as desired.

close up shot of baked tempeh covered in a teriyaki sauce

How to Marinate Tempeh:

Marinating tempeh is VERY simple, especially for how wonderful it is for adding GREAT flavor to the tempeh recipe. Simply pick your flavor and add all of the ingredients to a plastic bag, stasher bag, or resealable container of choice.

  1. Prep your tempeh: Remove from packaging and slice the tempeh as desired. I show you lots of different ways to cut it HERE. I usually go with simple cubes.
  2. Make the marinade: I like to whisk together my marinade directly in the dish/bag that I plan to marinate the tempeh in. A plastic bag, silicone bag, or really any kind of shallow resealable container works well. Add all of the ingredients (minus the tempeh) and whisk until fully combined.
  3. Add the tempeh: Place the tempeh pieces into the marinade and let marinate for 30 minutes or even overnight. Ideally, this will marinate for a good few hours, but even just 30 minutes makes a big difference.
  4. Cook as desired and ENJOY! Read my post HERE detailing all the different ways to cook tempeh.

Use the Marinade as a Tempeh Sauce

Having a tasty sauce to spoon over the cooked tempeh adds even more delicious flavor! It works especially well when I’m serving tempeh over rice.

Make a sauce: Use the leftover marinade to make a sauce for your tempeh (this works with all of the marinades EXCEPT the peanut marinade). Add it into a saucepan with a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of 2 tablespoons of water + 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch) and cook over medium heat until thickened (about 3-5 minutes). So good!

tempeh stir fry with green beans and carrots in a large skillet. topped with sesame seeds

Teriyaki Marinade

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of  fresh grated ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Thai Peanut Marinade

What you need:

  • ¼ cup of peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons of  fresh grated ginger

Cilantro Lime Marinade:

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 ½  tablespoons maple syrup/ honey
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

BBQ Marinade:

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of liquid smoke (optional)

Balsamic Marinade:

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt 

Fajita Marinade:

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1–2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Optional: dash of liquid smoke
Print
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
glass container with tempeh marinating in a dark sauce

Tempeh Marinade


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

See how easy it is to make TRULY delicious tempeh by marinating it using one of my 6 delicious tempeh marinades!


Ingredients

Units Scale

TERIYAKI MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

THAI PEANUT MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger

CILANTRO LIME MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup/ honey
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

BBQ MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of liquid smoke (optional)

BALSAMIC MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

FAJITA MARINADE:

  • 1 package of tempeh, roughly 8 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 tablespoons chili powder
  • Optional: dash of liquid smoke

Instructions

  1. Prep your tempeh: Remove from packaging and slice the tempeh as desired. I show you lots of different ways to cut it HERE. I usually go with simple cubes.
  2. Make the marinade: I like to whisk together my marinade directly in the dish/ bag that I plan to marinate the tempeh in. A plastic bag, silicone bag, or really any kind of shallow resealable container works well. Add all of the ingredients (minus the tempeh) and whisk until fully combined.
  3. Add the tempeh: add in your tempeh pieces and let marinate for 30 minutes or even overnight. Ideally this will marinate for a good few hours but even just 30 minutes makes a big difference.
  4. Cook as desired and ENJOY! Read my post HERE detailing all the different ways to cook tempeh. As desired, you can use the leftover marinade to make a sauce for your tempeh (this works with all of the marinades EXCEPT the peanut marinade). Add it into a saucepan with a cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons of water + 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch) and cook over medium heat until thickened (about 3-5 minutes). It makes for a great sauce to put on top of the tempeh!

Notes

  • These marinades work well for tofu as well!
  • Once the tempeh is in the marinade, you can freeze it (sitting in the marinade) and leave it in the freezer for up to 6 months. When ready to eat, simply place it in the fridge to thaw and cook as desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Marinade
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tempeh, tempeh marinade, marinade