How to Make Coconut Bacon

How to make coconut bacon! Homemade, vegan

My dear, sweet, coconut bacon skeptics, hear me out. This vegan “bacon” is amazing! It’s crispy, sweet, salty and tastes just like the real deal, so don’t knock it til you try it! I could go on about it, but I think Cookie’s coconut bacon desperation says it all.

Granted, my dog loves kale and ate half a pack of gum when I was at yoga last week, but I’ve honestly never seen her work so hard for crumbs that aren’t meat. (And look at those irresistible fuzzy ears! She kills me.)

maple-tamari coconut bacon

I shared coconut bacon last year with my heirloom BLT salad recipe, but this stuff is so good that I decided it needed its own post. You can use it as an accent in any recipe that calls for crumbled bacon—salads, BLTs, you name it. It’s incredibly easy to make (it’ll take you 15 minutes, max) and you can freeze extra for later. Although, it’s hard not to eat all of this bacon as it comes out the oven. I dare you to try it!

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How to Make Coconut Bacon
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Fake bacon that tastes like the real thing. Use it in salads, BLTs, or anywhere else that you would add bacon. This coconut bacon is vegan and gluten free, as long as you use gluten-free soy sauce (like tamari). Recipe yields 3 cups coconut bacon.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups large, unsweetened coconut flakes (not regular shredded coconut!)
  • 3 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari soy sauce (or other soy sauce)
  • 2½ tablespoons liquid smoke (any flavor, choose your favorite)
  • 1½ tablespoons maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a half-sheet pan or large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
  2. Measure the coconut flakes out onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the coconut flakes with tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. Mix well. Spread the flakes into an even layer on the parchment paper. Bake on the middle rack for 12 to 14 minutes, flipping halfway, until flakes are mostly dry and turning golden on the edges. (For softer bacon, you'll probably only need to bake for 12 minutes, for crispy bacon, aim for 14. Just keep an eye on the coconut during the last few minutes of baking as it can go from golden brown to deep burnt brown fairly quickly.) The coconut flakes will further crisp up as they cool.
  3. Let the "bacon" cool, then use it immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Coconut bacon keeps well in the freezer for several months. No need to defrost!
Notes
Recipe originally seen on my heirloom BLT salad (looove that salad!).

 
Update: I’m sorry, I forgot to mention where to buy coconut flakes and liquid smoke! You can find both in well-stocked grocery stores or health food stores. I found coconut flakes in the baking aisle at Whole Foods (about $4 for a pretty big bag). Look for liquid smoke near the barbecue sauce (it’s also available at Whole Foods, less than $2 per bottle). Or, buy the ingredients on Amazon: Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, 12 Oz and Colgin Mesquite Liquid Smoke, 4.0 Ounce.

Comments

    • says

      Hey Maryea! They’re pretty readily available these days. I got mine at Whole Foods in the baking aisle. I’ve also found them at well-stocked grocery stores. Good luck!

  1. says

    I’ve always been anti coconut bacon, because really, you just can’t beat the real thing! I was a baco-vegetarian for a long time… I think you can deduce what that means :) but you may have convinced me it may be worth the try! Also, you should definitely include more pictures of Cookie in your posts. She is so cute!

    • says

      Honestly, I’m anti meat substitutes *except* for coconut bacon! It’s really good! I used to be a baco-vegetarian but I gave it up after Cookie’s accident this year. More Cookie pics, coming up!

  2. says

    You are so clever! I especially think my coconut crazed daughter who recently decided to stop eating pork will be especially happy with this!

  3. says

    It’s going to be interesting to see if our cats are as eager to eat the coconut bacon…:) it sure looks delicious and Cookie is sooooo cute! Great shots (big of the bacon and the dog…:)

  4. says

    Well I have all the ingredients in my pantry just waiting to be transformed… I will have to try this!

    PS. Cookie is such a sweetie, I love that little face

  5. Holly says

    Those pics of Cookie are absolutely precious! Keep ‘em coming! I made coconut bacon for the first time about a month ago, and my carnivorous husband LOVED it! It disappeared very quickly.

  6. lis says

    I’m not a vegetarian and I actually don’t care for coconut and yet I’m tempted to try this out! Probably because Cookie looks so adorable. I hope she shows up in posts more often!

    • says

      Hmm, well, you might still like the coconut bacon! The coconut flakes are really a different experience than the shredded/sweetened stuff. They have a more mild flavor and a cool texture. Cookie is always happy to model for me, so I’ll try to publish pics of her more often! I used to be afraid of overdoing it, but I really just hear requests for more. :)

  7. says

    Awww…Cookie is way too cute! I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of coconut bacon but haven’t yet managed to make some. It looks like I really should! First I need to find some liquid smoke though but I don’t think it will be an impossible task.

    • says

      Thanks, Sini! I hope you can find Liquid Smoke. It’s usually near the barbecue sauce here in the states… but I’m not sure you can buy barbecue sauce over there! Let me know if you can’t find any. I’ll mail you some. :)

  8. Miss Violet Love says

    I’m really stoked about this! Like, really! I hadn’t eaten any meat in 18 years. Up until 2 years I go, I started dabbling in the consumption of bacon and feel totally awful about it. I’m going to try this and hope it hits the spot. Btw-those pictures of Cookie are just adorable!!! LOVE!

    • says

      Miss Violet, I hope you love the bacon! I used to eat bacon on occasion, but I stopped after Cookie’s accident earlier this year. Just can’t do it. Fortunately, coconut bacon is a delicious alternative!

  9. says

    I remember reading this last year and thinking that I wasn’t enough of a bacon-lover to go this far. But, it’s so easy! And must add some really great depth of flavor to just about everything. I’m going to try it! I’m sure my poor omnivore husband would appreciate even a vegetarian attempt at a BLT once in a while :)

    COOKIE IS KILLING ME! With cuteness! Soooo adorable. I die.

  10. Jessica says

    I would love to try however unsure where to find unsweetened coconut flakes?? Anyone – please let me know!!! I see dried coconut chips at Trader Joe’s but they are already baked and sweet. I would love a source to locate the needed ingredient!!!! Thanks

    • says

      Jessica, I’m sorry I didn’t provide details on where to find the coconut flakes! I’ve updated the post with details, including a link to Amazon, if you want to buy online. I found my flakes at Whole Foods, in the baking aisle. I’ve also found them at well-stocked grocery stores and other health food stores.

  11. Lorna says

    Jessica, I found them in the baking aisle at Whole Foods. Just made this and it is pretty gosh-darn amazing. Even though I haven’t eaten bacon in about ten years, this definitely tasted familiar to me. Next time I will lower the temp on my oven and keep a closer eye on it, though, because it started to burn about five minutes in. I never learn.

      • Lorna says

        I had it at 350; I’m pretty sure my oven is just weird because I’ve burned other things in it, too. You’d think I would learn my lesson, but no. I plan on making another batch very soon, though, so I’ll be more careful!

        • says

          Hmm, sounds like your oven is acting up! I’ve made this stuff in two different ovens and all batches have turned out well at 350. You might want to invest in an oven thermometer—they cost about ten dollars, and they’re especially helpful if your oven has a viewing pan and a light. I leave mine in the oven and it’s nice reassurance that the temperature is where it should be.

  12. Kathy says

    Great idea. I’ve got all the ingredients in my kitchen. BLT’s for lunch…can hardly wait.
    Great pictures of Cookie!!! Adorable!

  13. says

    What a creative idea! l love all the Cookie pictures too…I think that’s a testament to how delicious this must have smelled! I do have to admit that I miss bacon from time to time, so I’m excited to try this substitute. Are unsweetened coconut flakes easy to find?

  14. says

    So many adorable photos of Cookie! How could I NOT make this?! We do that silly thing where we put a little crust of toast or something on the table corner and our pup Maggie is so, SO persistent in pawing at it or doing her little jumps to get closer.

    Now I want coconut bacon for breakfast :))

    • says

      Cookie has a crazy vertical. She’s always stealing stuff from the edge of the kitchen counters when I’m not looking. The other day, I was spinning in circles in my kitchen, looking for the small loaf of artisan bread I’d *just* set down. That’s when I noticed Cookie trying to skulk past my feet with the loaf of bread securely planted between her jaws. Those dogs! I wish Maggie and Cookie could have a play date. :)

  15. says

    So interesting! I will admit I am a bit skeptical but I will have to give it a try – after all your coconut milk based ice cream tips did wonders for me:) I am thinking of doing a vegetarian cobb salad with tempeh and this could sub in for the bacon!

  16. Susan says

    I can’t wait to try out this recipe. Cookie is absolutely adorable! Love the pics you added of her. If it is good enough for Cookie, I’m sure it will be delicious.

  17. says

    cookie is the cutest! our pup, quint is such a crumb chaser, and he always surprises us with eating (and liking) the oddest things! i remember your salad from last year and thinking that coconut bacon sounded so intriguing. looking forward to giving a try soon!

  18. says

    Oh my goodness, Cookie’s face says it all. Those bacon-crazy eyes and the cutest little grabby paws :)
    If it’s Cookie Approved then I’ll have to give it a try. For some reason the first thing I thought of was: doughnuts. Everyone seems to have a recipe for bacon salted caramel doughnuts, and now I can eat one too :)
    Thanks Kate!

  19. says

    Ohhhh that sweet furry Cookie! Love! This post definitely sells it Kate, I cannot wait to try this gorgeously bacon-y coconut wonder! Haha… Oh dear. Half a pack of gum? Was she okay (I’m imagining tummy troubles, though I do know that dog digestion is much better than ours!) xx

    • says

      Ha, thanks Laura! She was fine after she ate the gum. I had to call poison control to make sure one of the ingredients wasn’t dangerous (it wasn’t). Sometimes she steals the chapstick out of my purse, so I make sure they’re non-toxic. Sheesh!

  20. says

    I’ve been a little hesitant to jump on the coconut bacon bandwagon, just because I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. But you’re really selling it!

  21. Tracy says

    Just tried it. really tastes like bacon. not thrilled with the hickory flavor from the liquid smoke so will try to find the pecan flavor for my next batch.

  22. Ravi Kulasekere says

    If you want larger pieces of this you can get a bag of dry coconut slices from your local Indian grocery store. Then you will have thin strips of bacon :-)

  23. says

    Oh man, I’ve been buying coconut bacon and didn’t think to make it myself. Can’t wait to try this! I’m sure my dogs will be just as underfoot. (Cookie is adorable).

  24. says

    Kate – I just made my first batch of coconut bacon, and it is SO addictive! Awesome, awesome recipe. My mom (also a vegetarian) always buys those fake bacon strips and the ingredient list just kills me…definitely going to try to move her over to this alternative :)

  25. Monika says

    I so want to try this, but i can’t find the coconut flakes. I unfortunately live in a more rural area, and no one carries them. Is there any way to make this using fresh coconut, shaved?

    Thanks!
    Monika
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

    • Monika says

      UPDATE: I just made this and it turned out great! I couldn’t find the coconut flakes (I live in a rural area), so I just used fresh coconut. I made two batches as an experiment. For the first batch, I shaved the fresh coconut with a veggie peeler into strips and then dehydrated the coconut strips in a dehydrator. For the second batch, I left the coconut strips raw. I marinated both in the marinade and spices and baked as per instructions. Both batches came out great. The first batch (with the dehydrated coconut) came out crispy, as I imagine it would if one used the bought coconut flakes. The second batch, using fresh coconut, came out great as well, but had a softer texture, more like bacon. While both were equally yummy, my husband preferred the batch with fresh coconut, as the texture for him was closer to bacon. As a side note, some of the strips of coconut were thicker, as I had to cut some by hand. These thicker pieces were actually tastier than the ones where I used a veggie peeler. So for next time, I plan on using fresh coconut, and cut the strips by hand, so they are a tad thicker than if using a peeler. Just wanted to post this for those people who are having a hard time finding the coconut flakes. Plus, one fresh coconut makes about 3 cups of product, and only costs a little over a dollar!

    • says

      Hey Sisley, Bragg’s amino acids might work! You might be surprised to find liquid smoke in your grocery store, though. It’s usually by the barbecue sauce.

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