5 marinades in flat mason jars

These 5 Easy Tempeh Marinade recipes will make you LOVE tempeh. Learn how to prepare and marinate tempeh for the best flavour and how to make the ahead of time for meal prep. Perfect for baking, air frying, pan frying, grilling, in the instant pot and more!

triangle tempeh pieces marinating in satay sauce

Tempeh can be a intimidating thing to cook if you’ve never had or even see it before. And if you have tried it, you might have not been to fond of it.

So today, I’m on a mission to convert you. To bring to to the tempeh lover side. I’m certain with the right preparation and delicious marinades in place, you will find yourself loving tempeh.

These vegan tempeh marinades are my absolute favourites and they’re all oil free and can be made gluten free! Plus, they’re made with pantry staple ingredients and are super versatile! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

5 tempeh marinades in a mason jar


Unlike tofu, tempeh has a nutty-mushroomy like flavour. So the key is to use marinades that have a strong flavour by using various spices. Here are my go-to top 5 marinades I use for tempeh most often:

  • Tandoori Marinade: curry flavoured and slightly sweet from the coconut yogurt
  • Smoky Maple Marinade: smoky, salty and mimics maple ‘bacon’
  • Satay Marinade: another curry flavoured marinade but with a Thai twist
  • Korean BBQ Marinade: salty, sweet and full of asian flavour
  • Spiced Yogurt Marinade: mega flavour and creates a spiced crust on the outside

P.S. These can be used for any protein of choice like tofu and seitan too!

satay peanut tempeh marinade in a flat mason jar
Satay Marinade

How to Make Marinades for Tempeh

To make the marinades, add all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. You can also use a mason jar and shake up all the ingredients together. Then add the tempeh to the marinade in a freezer safe reusable bag (remove all the air out) or shallow air tight container. Place into the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use.

korean BBQ marinade in a flat mason jar
Korean BBQ Marinade

Tips for Marinating Tempeh

Marinade to Tempeh Ratio:

Each marinade is enough for 8 ounces (224 grams) of tempeh, which is typically 1 package of store bought tempeh. You can of course, use more of less depending on how strong of a flavour you like.

I should also mention that you can marinate the whole block of tempeh or after it’s already been cut to desired pieces. I typically cut the tempeh into the shapes/size I like and then marinate it but you can also marinate the entire block as is. If marinating the entire block, I do suggest leaving it overnight.

Marinade Equipment

  • Meal Prep Containers: I use these for quick marinades and when marinating in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing these because it takes up a lot of space, may leak and if frozen on an angle, it might marinate unevenly.
  • Reusable Freezer Safe Bags: You can also use ziplock bags but if you marinate often, invest in reusable ones to minimize waste.
  • Ginger/Garlic Mincer: Totally optional, but I find it so much easier than mincing with a knife. Plus, I find it releases a lot more of the juices and flavour.

Cooking the Marinated Tempeh

I have an entire guide coming out on how to cook tempeh but you can cook it in so many different ways!

Marinating Time

  • In the Fridge: I’ve marinated tempeh for 10 minutes, 30 minutes and overnight. They all work but obviously, the longer you let it marinade the more flavourful the tempeh will be. I do however, highly recommend the Tandoori Marinade and Spiced Yogurt Marinade to sit overnight for best results.
  • In the Freezer: You can either freeze the marinade by itself or with the tempeh for up to 3 months. Any longer, it may start to taste freezer-burnt.
spiced yogurt dairy free marinade in a flat mason jar
Spiced Yogurt Marinade

Tempeh Food Safety

  1. Use Proper Equipment: Use a freezer safe & food safe container. Do not use metal, especially for marinades with acid in it. I typically use glass food containers when refrigerating. For freezing, it’s more practical to use food safe bags. I highly suggest investing in reusable ones to minimize waste.
  2. Properly Storing: After opening a package of tempeh it will keep for up to 10 days covered properly. However, I do recommend freezing tempeh if not consuming it within 2 days to preserve the texture and freshness.
  3. Use Your Senses: If the tempeh smells off or you can visually see pink/blue mold on the tempeh, toss it.
  4. Thawing Tempeh: Like most things, it’s best to let the tempeh thaw in the fridge overnight vs. letting it sit at room temperature. This prevents any potential bacteria that may develop.

Unlike cooking with meats, you don’t have to worry about cross contamination and the left over marinade can safety be used to add more flavour over cooked dishes.

smoky maple tempeh marinade in a flat mason jar
Smoky Maple Marinade

Meal Ideas

and sooooo much more!

tandoori curry marinade in a flat mason jar
Tandoori Marinade

And that’s it friends, you’re on your way to delicious protein packed meals! If you still need more marinade options, I have 5 more options for plant based proteins.

If you recreate any of these Marinades for Tempeh let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Hungry for more? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest for more deliciousness!

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5 tempeh marinades in a mason jar

5 Easy Tempeh Marinades

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Make tempeh delicious with these 5 mega flavourful marinades! Perfect for meal prepping, baking, air frying, grilling, roasting and more. 


Units Scale

Tandoori Marinade 

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (125g // or full fat coconut milk // add 2-3 tbsp of non dairy milk if using a thick yogurt)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (30g)
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (10g)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves ( 9g // or 1.5 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (15g // or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Satay Marinade

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (60ml)
  • 2 tsp red curry paste (10g)
  • 1.5 tsp coconut sugar (6g)
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce (22g)
  • 2 garlic clove, minced (6g)
  • 2 tsp ginger grated (10g)
  • 2 tsp curry powder

Smoky Maple Marinade

  • 1/4 cup tamari (60g // or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (40g)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (5g)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, optional

Korean BBQ Marinade

  • 1/4 cup low sodium tamari (60ml // or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (24g)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (15g)
  • 1 scallion, chopped (10g)
  • 3 tbsp apple sauce (45g)
  • 3 minced garlic clove (9g)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds (7g)
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (15g)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes, optional

Spiced Yogurt Marinade

  • 1/2 cup non dairy yogurt (125ml)
  • 2 tbsp non dairy milk (30g)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (30g)
  • 2 garlic clove, minced (6g)
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger, grated (10g)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne, optional


  1. For each marinade, add all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Alternatively, add all the ingredients into a air tight jar and shake until combined. You can either store the marinade in the refrigerator or freezer as is or marinade the tempeh (steps below). 
  2. Add marinade over tempeh in a freezer safe container or bag and toss until tempeh is fully coated in the marinade. Each marinade is enough for 1 8 oz package of tempeh. 
  3. Immediate Use: Refrigerate and let the tempeh marinade for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight). 
  4. Freezing: Transfer the marinated tempeh to the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, place the frozen marinated tempeh into the refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Alternatively, place the tempeh in a bowl of hot water and change water as it cools until thawed. Now the tempeh is ready to be cooked! See this post to see how to cook tempeh. 



tempeh marinades recipe pinterest graphic

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. I tried the Tandoori Marinade on tempeh and it’s delicious, the leftover marinade I used as a dressing for kohlrabi and carrot salad with Greek yoghurt and it is sooooo yummm! Thank you so much

  2. I made the smoky maple marinade with coconut aminos. It is so good! I let is marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, then baked for 20 minutes or so. It was perfect in the noodle bowl, with sauteeed veggies, kale, and kin chi. I served a peanut sauce onnthe side. We had guests for dinner and the tempeh was a hit! Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

  3. second time i tried making something with tempeh by myself. Super easy and so delicious. Love how the recipe is written and organized, easy to follow. This will definitely be my go to marinade recipe. Ill be making this a lot this summer, super tasty on vegan pizza.

  4. So here’s the thing, I was looking for new ideas to eat my tempeh and the Internet guided me to Lisa’s page. Well lo and behold it was fate taking me to her satay marinade recipe. LOVED IT! So easy to put together, elevated the tempeh to full yum. Ah and then I tagged her in my poor food pics on my IG and she was the sweetest?! So now of course I’m following her. Thanks a lot for the inspo, Lisa!

  5. Wow! I made the Tandoori Marinade tonight and tasted delicious ! I have marinated the tempeh and it’s in the fridge now, can’t wait for tomorrow to cook it in the oven! thanks

  6. So far I’ve tried the Smoky Maple and Satay marinades and they were delicious. Going to try the other 3 marinades soon!