This tasty BBQ Tempeh is ready to eat in just 10 minutes! Serve it with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, with rice or in a sandwich.

white bowl with bbq tempeh, mashed potatoes and brussels, white background

This is such an easy recipe I love to keep in my back pocket for busy weeknights. Sometimes I crumble it instead and make BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches, which my family can never get enough of!

Other times I like to make delicious bowls with vegan mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and this tempeh. It’s also tasty with rice and cooked kale. The possibilities are endless!

How to make BBQ Tempeh

This skillet version is so simple. First, cut the tempeh into cubes and steam in some water. You want to add enough water to about half cover the cubes. Place the lid on and cook on high until nearly all the water evaporates.

tempeh being cooked in water in a pan

Steaming helps remove any bitter taste, so don’t skip this step. Next, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and fry the tempeh in it until golden and a bit crisp.

golden brown tempeh cubes

Add a jar (18-oz) of bbq sauce and stir. Use a quality spatula to scrape the tempeh cubes off the bottom of the pan if they stick.

tempeh cubes with bbq sauce in a pan, coated in it.

That’s it! Ready to devour.

Want more vegan bbq flavored recipes?

bowl with bbq tempeh, brussels and potatoes

tempeh cubes with bbq sauce in a pan, coated in it.
5 stars (10 ratings)

10 Minute Skillet BBQ Tempeh

This tasty BBQ Tempeh is ready to eat in just 10 minutes! Serve it with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, with rice or in a sandwich.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 5 servings


  • 2 (8-oz) packages tempeh
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 18 oz barbecue sauce *I used Trader Joe's Kansas City Style

Serving suggestions


  • Remove the tempeh from packaging and cut into cubes.
  • Place in a large skillet and add about 1 cup of water, so the tempeh is about half covered. Cover and cook on high heat, steaming the tempeh for about 5 minutes until nearly all of the water has evaporated. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. Steaming the tempeh takes away any bitter flavors.
  • Once the water is nearly evaporated, turn the heat down to medium add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the tempeh in the oil for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
  • Now add the entire jar of barbecue sauce and stir to coat. If the tempeh sticks to the pan, use a quality spatula to carefully scrape the pieces off the bottom.
  • Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, rice, or in a sandwich or wrap. Enjoy!


  1. This recipe serves my family of 5 if we have it with rice or mashed potatoes and a vegetable. We usually even have leftovers. 
  2. BBQ tempeh is great for meal prep, it will stay good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheats well.
  3. For oil free, simply skip the frying in oil part, and add the bbq sauce straight after steaming the tempeh.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1059mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. This was delicious! I served the tempeh with air fried potatoes and zucchini. I love that this can be served in so many different ways. Thanks Nora!

  2. Very easy and very tasty. I used veggie broth instead of water, and let the barbecue sauce cook down a bit with the tempeh so that it was good and sticky. Served with chunky mashed potatoes. My husband, who doesn’t usually like tempeh, said it was delicious!

  3. Smells great! I haven’t tried it yet.
    I steamed the tempeh separately so I could have sautéed an onion while that was happening. Next time!

  4. I made this last night and everyone really liked it. The only change I made was I used the air fryer instead of frying in the pan after steaming. The tempeh got really crispy this way. Once done air frying I returned to the skillet to warm the BBQ sauce. I served this with “cheesy” grits.
    Thanks for this quick, easy week night dinner recipe.

  5. I made this with your BBQ sauce, served it with mashed potatoes, and it was a huge hit. Another winner! Thanks, Nora!

  6. Great recipe!!!  Steaming was such a great tip, it really did help with the flavor and also made it a lot more tender.

  7. Steaming the tempeh is a GAMECHANGER. It makes it a little softer and falls apart as you bite it. Chop up your tempeh and try this if you haven’t yet!

  8. So quick and easy and delicious! The steaming of the tempeh really did get rid of the bitterness so all you tasted was the BBQ. I used Sweet Baby Rays and served with corn on the cob and green beans. 

  9. I’m making my second batch as I type. This is insanely easy to make and yummy-licious (I guess I made a new word?) I used 2 different kinds of Tempeh, added green beans, peas & shelled hemp hearts & will put this over chow mein noodles. For the leftovers I’ll put it ontop of vegan mash potatoes and gravy.

  10. Hello,
    What brand of tempeh do you use in your recipes? I have found that not all tempeh is created equal. I want a thicker width and height. I want to try this recipe, but with a great tempeh quality.

    1. I almost always use the one from Trader Joe’s, but I have used other brands from Whole Foods as well. I have liked them all! Hope you enjoy it.

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