Mushroom Bacon is, by far, the best vegan bacon you’ll ever try. It tastes remarkably like the real thing, with a slightly smoky and salty flavor, and has a buttery-crisp texture that will melt in your mouth. Don’t be surprised if you eat the whole pan!
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of mushrooms, you will be SHOCKED at how authentic this vegan “bacon” tastes.
Does it taste exactly like bacon? No.
But it’s so remarkably close, it will definitely satisfy your taste buds if you’re trying to avoid processed meat.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What do you need to make mushroom bacon?
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Olive oil
That’s it! No complicated marinade required. While you may be tempted to use extra ingredients like liquid smoke, soy sauce, smoked paprika, or maple syrup, to create a smoky “bacon flavor,” be sure to try this simple recipe as-written first.
The key to this method is using shiitake mushrooms, which taste like bacon when they are cooked until crisp. If you use another variety of mushroom, like portobellos, button mushrooms, or cremini mushrooms, you will NOT achieve the same bacon flavor.
Note: I’ve also read that pink oyster mushrooms taste like bacon, if you have access to those. (These are not to be confused with king oyster mushrooms, which I’ve heard taste more like licorice.)
How to Make Mushroom Bacon
1. Slice the mushrooms.
For the best results, buy whole shiitake mushrooms, rather than sliced mushrooms, when possible, so you can slice them extra-thin. Look for the largest shiitake mushrooms you can find, since they will shrink as they cook.
Remove the stem from each mushroom cap, and save the stems for another use, like a veggie saute or homemade vegetable stock, if you like. Then, thinly slice each mushroom cap into 1/4-inch pieces.
Transfer the sliced mushrooms to a large baking sheet and drizzle them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (No parchment paper required here.)
Rub the oil into each piece quickly, as the mushrooms are very absorbent and will soak up the oil quickly. You’ll want each piece lightly coated, so they will crisp up evenly.
Season the mushrooms generously with the salt, and toss well again, so that both sides of the mushroom slices are seasoned.
Spread the mushrooms out into a single layer, so there is no overlap in the pan, then bake at 375ºF for 15 minutes.
Use a fork to flip each slice over, if you want to achieve the crispiest and most even results. Then return the pan to the oven and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms look darker and crispy around the edges. It’s okay if the centers don’t look totally crisp yet; they will crisp even more as they cool.
Let the vegan mushroom bacon cool on the pan to finish crisping up, and then you can dab away any excess oil with a towel.
Serve this bacon just like you would regular bacon. The leftovers will not remain as crispy as they are the first day you cook them, but you can store any remaining mushroom pieces in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Usually, there are no leftovers! It’s too delicious to keep snacking on them directly from the pan– just like real bacon.
How to Use It
Now that you’ve made mushroom bacon, here are some ways to use it.
• Make a BLT. Add the mushroom pieces to toasted bread, with lettuce, tomato, and sriracha mayo, for the best vegan sandwich.
• Add it to salads. These crispy bacon bits are the perfect crunchy topping,
• Make vegan Carbonara. Toss the mushrooms into a bowl of vegan alfredo pasta, for a Carbonara flavor. (This is delicious, even with leftover mushrooms that aren’t as crispy anymore.)
• Try it as a soup topping. A sprinkle of “bacon bits” is perfect on vegan corn chowder!
• Serve them as a breakfast side. This would pair well with a tofu scramble or sweet potato hash.
Substitutions & Common Questions
Can I use another type of mushroom? For the best flavor, you really need to use shiitake mushrooms or pink oyster mushrooms. These mushrooms taste like bacon, unlike the more popular portobello mushrooms, which need to marinate in a more complicated seasoning to achieve any sort of similar flavor.
Can I add other flavorings? You do not need to add anything extra to this recipe to make it taste like bacon. However, you can add a sprinkle of black pepper to the mushroom strips, or a little garlic powder, if you want a flavored bacon.
Is this recipe gluten-free? Yes! This recipe is totally allergy friendly, with no nuts, gluten, dairy, or soy required.
Can I use another oil? If you prefer not to use olive oil, you can use any other mild-flavored oil you like, such as avocado oil or a refined coconut oil. (Expeller pressed coconut oil has no coconut flavor.)
The Best Mushroom Bacon You’ll Ever Try
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil , plus more for greasing the pan
- 1/4 heaping teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and grease a large baking sheet with olive oil. On a cutting board, remove the mushroom stems, then slice the mushroom caps into 1/4-inch thin slices.
- Transfer the sliced mushrooms to the greased baking sheet, and toss them with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt. Use your hands to make sure they are coated evenly, then arrange them in a single layer without overlapping the pieces.
- Bake the mushrooms at 375ºF for 15 minutes, then use a fork to flip each slice over. Return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the mushroom bacon looks darker and golden, without burning. It should feel like it's getting crispy around the edges, but it's okay if the centers are still soft. They will crisp up as they cool.
- Allow the bacon to cool completely on the pan, at least 15 minutes. Then pat with a towel to remove any excess oil and serve. Mushroom bacon has the best texture the same day you cook it, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you try this Mushroom Bacon recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!