Have you tried seitan, the miracle plant meat? The trick is having a flavorful recipe and knowing how to cook it the right way. For a long time I didn’t enjoy seitan, but now I know the tricks and tips to make various vegan meat dishes taste incredible! I’ll teach you everything you need to know. Let’s go!

square image collage for ultimate guide to seitan

The below photo might just be my favorite way yet to enjoy seitan, as Vegan Carne Asada. This stuff is gone within minutes at my home, everybody is crazy for it!

cast iron pan full of mock seitan meat that looks seasoned
Vegan Carne Asada

What is seitan?

Seitan is pronounced say-tan, not see-tan as I used to say. Seitan is a fabulous plant based meat alternative that is made primarily from wheat gluten. Other vegan meat alternatives that are popular include tofu, tempeh and soy based meats.

Unlike tofu or tempeh, seitan based meats are truly meaty, chewy and can really stand in for meat in a variety of dishes.

And listen, I used to not like the stuff to be honest. I tried a few recipes at home, and it tasted flavorless and like wheat. That really should not be the case! I knew it could taste amazing because I had eaten seitan dishes at vegan restaurants in Portland that were incredible.

So I kept playing at home until I made seitan taste good! The key is a flavorful recipe and cooking it the best way for each recipe. And the best part? My seitan recipes are seriously EASY to make with simple ingredients. The only thing you may not be familiar with is vital wheat gluten, but you can buy it at many stores these days or order it online.

cast iron pan with pieces of cooked "meat"
Vegan “Chicken”

Common questions

  • What does it taste like? Seitan is very mild on its own, with a slight wheaty flavor. The trick is in the seasonings. I add flavor to the base homemade seitan depending on the recipe and often other sauces or marinades. This helps mask any wheaty taste and transforms it into a vegan meat you want to eat! It’s also chewy and meaty in texture.
  • Where to buy seitan? If you don’t want to make your own at home, you can find it at health food stores in the refrigerated section such as Whole Foods. But it will usually taste better if you make it yourself.
  • Is seitan gluten free? No, seitan can NOT be made gluten free, unfortunately. If you can’t have gluten, you are best off sticking to tofu, tempeh and soy protein meat substitutes. Gluten is essential for seitan.
  • Is seitan healthy? Unless you have Celiac’s Disease and you can not have gluten, seitan is considered a healthy source of protein and nutrition. I wouldn’t base my entire diet around it, but it’s a welcome addition to beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, vegetables and so on.

Seitan protein

Seitan is very high in protein, making it perfect for athletes and anyone looking to add more protein to their diet. One serving of the carne asada below contains a whopping 47 grams of protein, making it easy to meet your daily needs!

looking down on a roast, sliced with pineapple rings around it
Vegan Ham Roast

How to make seitan

The technique varies slightly depending on what you are making, but the basic process is the same. Simply mix the dry ingredients including vital wheat gluten in a bowl, add the wet ingredients like broth and seasonings and stir to combine. For a trendy but more complicated option, try making Washed Flour Seitan.

Once a rough ball of dough forms, transfer to a clean surface and knead just a few times until it comes together. Next, break into pieces (or not, if making a roast) and steam (with the exception of vegan fried chicken, I boil it for that recipe.)

Now you have cooked seitan! All that’s left to do is sauté, fry or bake, depending on what you are making.

What to make with seitan

I have several recipes that will help you fall in love with this vegan meat! Try any one of these for dinner tonight. You can click on the photo or the link below each photo to get the recipes.

4 charred vegan steaks in a black grill pan

Vegan Steak – you won’t believe this steak is vegan! So juicy and flavorful and best cooked on the grill.

a loaf, browned on the top with herbs, partially sliced on a white plate

Vegan Turkey Roast – perfect for Thanksgiving and with a side of Vegan Gravy!

close up on a large plate filled with golden brown fried vegan chicken pieces

Vegan Fried Chicken – just like KFC, but vegan!

close up of a fork full of chicken broccoli casserole

Chicken Broccoli Rice Vegan Casserole – this recipe uses my vegan chicken to make the most comforting casserole. Kid approved!

Other Ideas

Want more vegan guides?

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  1. I have been making our seitan for about a year now, and like you say, it’s all in the seasoning. Simple to make and inexpensive it’s great for sandwiches and dinner entrees served with a gravy or sauce. Thanks for sharing your take on seitan. 

  2. Nora, I’m new to seitan. Can it be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for a few days? I’m hoping so, because it would really cut down on cooking time to prep the seitan over the weekend and use it during the week!

  3. Hi Nora,
    This looks great. I’m probably not going to make seitan, but I usually have soy curls around . . . ? might have to try that!

  4. Made this tonight for dinner and it turned out great! Followed the recipe exactly. It’s a lot of steps so def a treat, but I’ll make it again. Just be sure to cut the seitan into really thin pieces. The thinner they are, the crispier the outside gets while still maintaining the tender center 

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