This is my original carrot bacon recipe that started an internet craze! It's salty and sweetly smoky, really delicious, and easily made from carrots and five other basic ingredients. Try it for yourself!
The original carrot bacon recipe!
You saw it here first!
Years before anyone in the West had even heard of TikTok, I developed and published this baked carrot bacon recipe. What's that saying about often imitated but never bettered? Well this is it - the real deal. The original and the best!
Okay, let's get this straight - carrots are not the same as bacon!
I know that. However, a lot of people, when they give up meat, miss bacon, so my carrot bacon goes some way to filling that void.
I also know that some Americans seem to be obsessed with cooking their bacon to a cinder (why?!), and most Europeans, in my experience, don't. While you can clearly see from my photos that my carrot bacon is crispy, it's not so crispy that you touch it and it shatters!
Ingredients for original carrot bacon
- rapeseed oil
- maple syrup
- all-purpose soy sauce
- liquid smoke
How to make carrot bacon
Making my carrot bacon is simplicity itself; simply peel and top & tail your carrots, slice really thinly (I use a Y peeler for this), blitz the rest of the ingredients together, marinate for half an hour, then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. As I said, it's really simple!
By the way, have you tried carrot lox yet? If not, you're in for a real treat!
Dehydrated carrot bacon
Update May 2018: I've experimenting with making carrot bacon in a dehydrator (this one, from Excalibur, to be precise), and apart from being super-easy, the result is a very crispy 'bacon', without being in any way charred around the edges... which happened the first time I made it in my new oven when I moved back to Britain!
At Beet Bar (Margate), where I developed their entire menu, my dehydrated carrot bacon continues to be hugely popular, and a firm favourite with vegans and omnivores alike!
To make dehydrated carrot bacon, simply marinade as usual, and lay out in a single layer on each tray - make sure you use the ParaFlexx sheets - and then set your dehydrator 150ºF, and let it work its magic for 12 hours. For the nine tray model I use, four large carrots is sufficient to fill it.
What is rapeseed oil? This is also known as Canola. It's made from seeds of the Brassica napus plant, which is a member of the cabbage family. It's not the same as grapeseed oil.
Can I use a different oil? Absolutely! But do choose one with a neutral flavour, such as sunflower or rice bran, that's suitable for roasting.
Can I use olive oil to make carrot bacon? No, absolutely not! Olive oil really isn't good for this type of baking, and the flavour it imparts really doesn't work for this recipe.
I can't have soy, what can I use instead of soy sauce? Liquid coconut aminos are your friend!
I can't have gluten but I'm fine with soy, what can I use? Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce.
What can I use instead of liquid smoke? Try some smoked paprika. Start with ½ tsp, taste, and if necessary, add a bit more. It all depends on your taste, and the age of the paprika.
I'm allergic to sesame, what can I use instead of tahini? Although I haven't tried it, you could probably use a nut or sunflower butter. You may want to add a dash more liquid smoke though, to replace the smoky tahini flavour. Let me know in the comments if you've made it without tahini.
Do I really have to marinate the carrots for 30 minutes? Yes, yes you do. Unless you want tasteless carrot strips instead of tasty carrot bacon!
Know your oven! If you know your oven runs a bit on the hot side, either reduce the baking time or the temperature. Similarly, if you know that normally you have to increase the temperature by a few degrees for everything else you bake, then do so accordingly for this recipe!
Want more more vegan deliciousness?
- The world's best vegan sausages
- How to make vegan condensed milk
- Best-ever vegan nacho cheese (no nuts!)
- Cashew pesto
- How to make vegan 'Nutella'
You'll love this Carrot BaconBecause it's...
- slightly sweet
- easy to make
- gluten-free if you use tamari
- soy-free if you use coconut aminos
- full of Vitamin A
- really, really delicious
If you can resist eating it straight from the oven (and no one would blame you if you can't!), this carrot bacon is fab in BLTs, in bagels, in salads, added to pizza and pasta... there are so many possibilities. Enjoy!
How To Make The Original Carrot Bacon Recipe
- 1 large carrot
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil (AKA canola)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoon all-purpose soy sauce (or tamari, or coconut aminos)
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Equipment (options for slicing the carrots!)
- food processor (use the slicing disc)
- Y peeler
- box grater
- cookie sheet
- silicone baking mat
- baking parchment
- Peel and top & tail the carrot, then slice very thinly.
- Blitz the rest of the ingredients together for 20 seconds or so, until you have a thick marinade.
- Place the carrot and marinade into a dish, mix together so that all of the carrot slices are coated, and set to one side for 30 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 200°C/400°F
- Place the carrot strips side-by-side on a cookie sheet (lined with a silicone baking mat or baking parchment if it’s not non-stick), spread a little of the remaining marinade evenly over the strips, and then bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you want your ‘bacon’ to be.
- Remove from the oven, and enjoy your delicious plant-based bacony treat!
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
Can I use Avacado oil?
I have never tried, so can't say what the result would be. Sorry I can't be of more help! xx
This is a great recipe, even my meat-loving family thought it was great. I have tried it with both mesquite and hickory flavored liquid smoke, and we think that the mesquite makes them more "bacony", The hickory is still good, it's just not as smoky.
I also tried making them in both the oven and the dehydrator. Again, both are good, but the one's done in the oven look more like bacon and a texture that was more like bacon.
Thanks for sharing, this recipe is a keeper and we can't wait to make it for friends post-covid!
Thank you so much for your great feedback, Michelle - I am so pleased you all enjoyed my recipe. I love that you tested out different liquid smokes, too. What a champ! xx
Lovely! I am going to try to find a way to slice a little thicker just to make the most out of it,
To be totally honest, without adding a ton of salt I wouldn't know it was 'bacon flavoured' if I closed my eyes and did a taste test... but it does make a really, REALLY nice slightly sweet/savoury snack and will make again for definite.
Will also try in a fried egg butty with some chilli sauce; that sounds like a winner to me 🙂 It certainly meets some unmet umami need and makes my repertoire a bit more interesting. Cheers, Nico!
Glad you liked it, Chris. Did you try it an egg sarnie? xx
OH! MY! LANTA!! This is soooooo delish! I love, love, love that this is my definite go to for my bacon! I cut bacon out of my life ( I Love Me Some Bacon (xtra crispy & all)) because, well..... it’s just not good for your body, but OMG! I can live AGAIN!! That’s how good I think this is!! Thank you, Nico, for sharing a game changer with us! I will “subscribe”!
Lisa, I am sooo happy you enjoyed it - thank you for letting me know! xx
This is amazing! We replaced the tahini with soy butter. We've tried baking this in the oven, and we've also tried frying this in a pan, and both work really well. This sauce is great as a general marinade, too. We'll definitely be making this again!
So happy you enjoyed it - thanks for the tips about your substitutions, too! xx
This recipe looks awesome am going to try.
Thank you! I hope you love it! xx
Donna R Osbourn
I dont know what went wrong but my pieces were black in 15 minutes. i miiiight try again with a much lower temp.
I'm assuming that your oven runs hot - hope a lower temp works for you. xx
umm.. i think it should be Grapeseed oil (you're missing the "g")!
No, I do mean rapeseed... no Gs were forgotten!
We grow lots of rape here in the UK; it's great to cook with (it's a member of the brassica family)! You can check it out on Wikipedia. 🙂 xx
Isn't rapeseed oil the same as Canola Oil?
It is, indeed! xx
I placed mine in the air fryer @380. Cooking time was to long for the thickness I cut. Still very good. Next time, will try 4 minutes instead of 5 and cut a little thicker.
That's good to know, Lois, thanks for the info. I've never used an air fryer, so your comment will be useful for anyone asking about using this method. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! xx
I have made this several times trying out different methods of cutting the carrots. The slices were inconsistent so I tried the potato peeler and found the slices to be to thin and burned the second batch. The taste is surprisingly bacony in flavor. I like it. So I thought this flavor must work on other vegs. I eat a lot of organic sweet potatoes, washing the skin then cutting into chunks. I put the marinade on and roasted them. They were delicious and I'll be making them again. In the recipe I used Light Olive Oil and coconut aminos. I used a stick blender to 'Blitz' the marinade in a tall container. I don't eat much meat but when I do I plan to try it, I think it would be good on organic chicken. Thank you for sharing this most interesting recipe.
I'm sorry your carrots didn't work out too well but I'm very happy you liked the marinade. I'm intrigued by your sweet potatoes idea, and have put it on my to-do list - thanks for the inspiration! xx
Woah and wow. This marinade flavor hit the mark. I've made so many vegetarian bacon recipes over the years and something was always missing. TAHINI!!!! The carrots are cooking in the oven right now and I'm excited. I also can't wait to baconize some tempeh and tofu in this marinade. Thank you so much!
Tofu works exceptionally well, Theresa ... but do make sure it's pressed and blotted first. So glad you like the recipe! xx
Delicious! Better than the tofu variations i’ve tried. I’ll be making this easy recipe often. It made a great CLT ?
Excellent - so happy you liked it, Laura! xx
Hello. Tried and loved your recipe!
Any tips for storing the leftovers, to keep them crunchy? I found they were a little softer than I’d like the next day...
So glad you enjoyed this, Karen! I keep mine in an airtight jar, and they're fine for a good week or so. xx
Please tell me can I use sweet potatoes or white potatoes ?
I think you may have left a comment on the wrong post, my lovely - this one uses carrots... no potatoes here! 😉 xx
Can the oil be left out?
Hi Lili, yes it can, although you may need to add a little more tahini, just to stop it drying out in the oven. 🙂 xx
This recipe is extremely delicious! I followed your directions exactly except for the liquid smoke which I didn't have on hand. Instead, I just sprinkled the pre-baked slices with a very light sprinkling of smoked paprika. How amazing. What treat. Thanks so much!
Hi Debbie, thank you so much for your feedback - I am beyond happy that you enjoyed the carrot bacon so much. The sprinkling of paprika sounds fab! xx
I've been a vegetarian since elementary school, so don't really miss meat items - even bacon. However, a lot of friends complain when I host dinner parties because there is no meat. Recently, I set out to recreate Shake Shack 'Shroom burgers (not vegan), and added this bacon to the mix. A dozen meat eating friends ooh'ed and ahhh'ed and stuffed themselves for hours. The entire meal was popular, but the carrot bacon was everyone's obsession!
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it, and I am beyond thrilled that your guests love the carrot bacon so much! You should try them out on my sausages and 'bolognese' rolls too! xx
What can I substitute for the tahini? My sister is allergic to sesame. Would sunflower butter work?
Theoretically, yes but I've not used it for this recipe so I can't say how it would taste. It won't be at all bad, of course, I'm just wondering whether something else would need to be added to give the depth of flavour that tahini does. I'll have to make some sunflower butter, and have a play around! xx
Thanks for sharing! Is the idea to get the crunchy/smoky/salty aspects of bacon?
I've never understood crispy bacon (I'm European - we don't cremate our food! LOLOL!), so this recipe is very much to my taste! But it certainly has the smoky, salty aspects - if you want it crunchy though, you may wish to bake it a bit longer. 🙂 xx
This is so interesting! I can't wait to try it!
Thanks Suzanne - I hope you enjoy it! xx
These look really good; looking to get my daughter to eat plant-based and she's a bacon junkie-- and the ingredients are simple too. Will be trying soon. Thanks for sharing!
Excellent - I hope your daughter loves it as much as we do, Shari! xx
Sooooo good!! Made this and topped it on an everything bagel with avocado and tomato. Best breakfast ever!
I am so happy you're enjoying it, Caitlin! Thanks for the feedback - very much appreciated! xx
I just made this and it's delicious! There's a couple of different flavors of liquid smoke, I wasn't sure which to choose. I went with mesquite, and it was perfect! I've already forward this recipe to my friends who are excited to try it. Thank you for bringing this yummy plant based recipe to attention.
Sherry, thank you so much for your kind words - they mean so much. I am over the moon that you loved this carrot bacon enough to forward the recipe to your friends - I hope they love it too! Re. the liquid smoke, TBH, I've tried several different flavours, and it doesn't really make much difference, so just go with your favourite, or whatever you happen to have in the cupboard! xx
I couldn't find Tahini in my grocery store. Will it make a big difference if I don't use it?
It won't make a huge difference but the taste will be less rich, Ebony - it should work OK though. Do let me know how you get on! xx
Is this gluten free! I am not sure of the liquid smoke. I know Tahini is GF and tamarind is, just don’t know about the liquid smoke.
As I say in the post, this is gluten-free if you use tamari or liquid aminos! Liquid smoke is gluten-free.
Just made some and I’m impressed! It’s not bacon, but it’s a completely respectable substitution for non meat eaters.
I skipped the oil as I figured there was enough in the tahini. Worked perfectly at 17mins in a 190°c fan oven. For anyone getting wildly different results with the given timings from the recipe, just use your common sense! Carrots vary in diameter, so you slices may be wider or narrower than the original recipe is timed with, therefore timing will vary. Be aware that they crisp up as they cool, so pull them out once they’re sufficiently browned.
Thanks so much for your feedback, Barbara - I really appreciate it, especially your comment about using common sense! 😉 xx
Such a unique way to make a Canadian fav. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us 🙂
Thank you! xx
This sounds delicious. I might start eating this instead, as bacon is quite unhealthy.
I hope you love it! xx
Made this for the first time to use in BLT's and it was delicious! A definite keeper recipe!
I am so happy you enjoyed it, Elleh - thanks so much for letting me know! xx
This looks incredible! Do you think it will turn out well without using any oil?
I have to admit that it's never occurred to me to not use oil, Marina, but now you mention it, there should be enough oil in the tahini. You might want to add a little water though, just to keep the flavours balanced. I'd love it if you came back and let me know how you got on with it. Or drop me a line at yum AT yumsome DOT com. Thanks! xx
this recipe is great but I can't find rapeseed oil any when I asked the lady at publix she never heard of it and told me to get out of the store!!!
Uh-huh. Did she really, though?
Rape - from the genus, Brassicae Rapa - has nothing to do with anything dubious... most grown-ups are able to make that distinction.
Also, in the recipe, for the benefit of my American and Canadian readers, I very clearly give the alternative name for rapeseed - canola (Canadian oil), so I can only surmise that did this situation actually occur, you went into the shop with the sole intention of being deliberately inflammatory. Says a lot about you, doesn't it?
I am certainly going to try this, just wondering why use maple syrup as carrots are sweet anyway?
The maple enhances the sweetness of the carrots - especially when they're larger, older, less sweet ones. It also helps to bind the other marinade ingredients. I hope you love this, Anne! xx
Liquid smoke and Coconut amino arrived in the post today, just need to nip out for maple syrup, then carrot bacon is GO!
Yay, Howie - I really hope you love it! xx
I'm trying this right now, but don't have liquid smoke around. I'm using Spanish smoked paprika. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Ooh, lucky you, Sandra, smoked paprika is not easy to come by here, which is odd, given that I live in the Balkans! I look forward to hearing how your carrot bacon turned out! xx
hi! i understand that to blitz something means to puree or chop (food products) using a food processor or blender which i don't have :/ what should i do?
Hi Sylvia! You can whisk everything together until you have a smooth paste - it's just quicker to do it in a food processor or blender! 😉 xx
I'm having quite a bit of trouble with these. I made a test batch with a few slices, and they burned to a crisp well before the 15-minute mark. I realize that I missed the instruction to cover the slices with the marinade in the oven. I made a second batch with the remainder, making sure to use the remaining marinade, this time watching like a hawk. I still had to take the slices out of the oven early, around eight minutes. I may have sliced incorrectly. I used a regular peeler. Other than that, I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
So how was the carrot bacon after eight minutes? If it was fine, then you weren't doing anything wrong! It is beyond the scope of this blog to give temperatures and cooking times for every oven on the planet, so I tend to assume that everyone knows their own oven's foibles and quirks. If your oven runs hot - which it sounds like it may - then cook the carrots for a shorter time. If it runs cooler, raise the temperature! xx
I would eat my carrot bacon on a CBLT. I was surprised at the flavor transformation that the carrots went through. It's not the same as bacon, but it's very good, and definitely a healthier alternative.
It's not at all bad, is it, Patti? And yay for CBLTs - not had a 'B'LT for ages... may have to remedy that when I feel better! xx
Hi! Can I substitute the liquid smoke?? 🙂
Hi Sof! Yes, you could use smoked paprika. It will alter the flavour a little but it will still be great! xx
Rhian @ Rhian's Recipes
Wow this is so inventive and sounds delicious, I'll definitely have to try this out!
I love it, Rhian - and it's so easy to make. In fact, I've just run out of carrots, so need to go shopping so I can make some more. I have quite a hankering for a BLT! xx
I'm not one of those veggies that misses bacon, but this does look rather like the real thing and is very clever. Quite fancy giving it a go, so I'm glad you said you could use tamari as I've no idea what coconut aminos is. Have pinned.
TBH, I wasn't a fan of bacon when I used to eat meat, and it's been so long now that I don't really remember what it tasted like, other than it being salty and a bit smoky. I wasn't looking to make a faithful re-creation, of course, but I'm sure some die-hard bacon brigade would have something to say about me being so audacious as to call it 'bacon' though! Maybe I should call it alt-bacon! Ha ha!
Do let me know how you get on with it! xx
Emily | Oat&Sesame
This is so clever! I have never seen carrot bacon! It looks like the real thing!
I'd only heard it mentioned in passing, Emily, never seen it before - someone said they went to a vegan café where their BLT was made with smoky carrot strips, and it got me thinking. And experimenting! The marinade also works well for mushrooms! xx
Hi! This recipe looks amazing. I want to make BLTs for dinner, but wouldn't have time to make the "bacon" on a weeknight. Is it possible to make this ahead and then re-crisp quickly in the oven or skillet? If yes, how long does it hold up in the refrigerator? Thank you!
Hi Pam, thanks for dropping by!
I haven't tried keeping it in the 'fridge once it's cooked but I suspect it would be fine for a couple of days. What I have done however, is kept it in the 'fridge overnight in the marinade, and then cooked it in the oven the next day - that might be an option for you?
If you do cook and store it, please come back and let me know how you got on. In the meantime, I'll do the same, and we can compare notes! xx
I just made the carrots and put them in the fridge and they were great cold as well as hot. 🙂
Thanks so much for letting me know, Kathy - that's really good to know! xx
What is the best way to uniformly cut the carrots? Is there a kitchen tool or gadget that you've used? I feel like I'm going to risk a finger just using a knife 🙂
Hi Jen! Yes, as I said in the post, I use a Y peeler (there's a link there in case you're not sure what that is). You could also use a mandoline, or a food processor with a slicing blade attachment. Actually, thinking about it, some box graters have a slicing function on the side. I'll put some more links in the recipe notes.
Thanks for bringing this up, and I hope that you enjoy the 'bacon' when you make it! xx
This makes the most delicious bacon! I've been using a manufactured one for my vegan B&B, but now I've got this recipe, I'll be making my own!
Excellent! Do send your guests this way if they want to make their own! Also, if you have a photo you'd like to share, I'd be happy to include it in the post, along with a link to your B&B. xx
Well I never, that would never have occurred to me. Bet it's tasty!
Carrots totally rock, don't they? So versatile, and always yummy! xx