Rice Paper Is Your Go To Ingredient For Crispy Vegan Bacon

The plant-based meat industry is booming. It's hard to walk into a grocery store and not find an assortment of vegan meats including bacon across many aisles. If you are not willing to dish out the money for plant-based bacon, making homemade vegan alternatives can be affordable and easy too. All you need is rice paper.

That's right — rice paper, which is often used for Vietnamese spring rolls (also called summer rolls) — is great for making crispy, sizzling vegan bacon. Thin rice paper can easily mimic strips of bacon. Just make sure to cut the rice paper into bacon-shaped bits. Although rice paper is known to be chewy, roasting rice paper in the oven results in a crispy texture akin to bacon. Rice paper has a neutral taste, which means it can easily take in flavors added to it. With the proper seasoning and spices, you'll have a plate of rice paper bacon that can almost taste like the real thing.

Spices are nice for making rice paper bacon

Bacon is a favorite breakfast staple for many people and there's a scientific reason bacon tastes so good. When fully cooked, the fat content in bacon breaks down into molecules with sweet, caramel flavors. Rice paper bacon can achieve the same flavors with the right seasoning.

An important component in making vegan bacon is liquid smoke. It helps produce the familiar smoky flavor most people are used to with bacon. Add liquid smoke to a mixture of soy sauce or tamari sauce, maple syrup, and spices like paprika, garlic, onion powder, and pepper to make a sweet and savory marinade that closely mimics actual bacon. You can substitute barbecue sauce for liquid smoke if you don't have the latter. For a punch of umami, add some MSG to your marinade. Feel free to also sprinkle in some nutritional yeast for a subtle cheesy flavor and boost of protein. Once rice paper soaks these flavors up, the result is a smoky, sweet flavor very similar to bacon.

Other vegan bacon options

Rice paper bacon is a fan-favorite across social media like Reddit and TikTok. Recipes on TikTok have amassed over 1 billion views. Though a delicious bacon alternative, that doesn't mean it can't be tweaked to your liking. If you don't like rice paper, there are other bacon substitutes you can make at home.

Another popular plant-based bacon recipe involves banana peels. Banana peel bacon is, indeed, edible. You can use the same rice paper bacon marinade on banana peels or you can mix together ingredients like balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Because the bacon marinade is key to making vegan bacon taste like real bacon, almost anything can be transformed into bacon. If you're not willing to nosh on banana peels, try mimicking bacon by using shiitake mushrooms, carrot strips, or even coconut instead. If you want to experience the crispiness of bacon, rice paper is a must.