Soy Curls are a minimally processed dehydrated soy protein made by Butler Foods. Soy curls simply need to be rehydrated and then cooked with any seasoning that you choose to make a delicious plant-based gluten-free meat alternative.
I discovered Butler Soy Curls at my local natural foods store about 6 years ago. When I bought my first bag, I wasn't really sure what to do with it. I rehydrated them in some vegan chicken-style broth and then saute them in with a stir-fry. My whole family went crazy over them and we've been hooked ever since. I now use them in soups, sandwiches, wraps, and stir-fries. You can use them to replace chicken, beef, pork, or any type of meat.
Where can I buy soy curls?
You can find soy curls at some small local natural-food co-ops, but the easiest way to buy soy curls is directly from Butler Foods own website or on Amazon. Typically the more that you buy, the better the price, so don't be shy about a case. They are shelf-stable for months and you will find a ton of delicious recipes for them.
What are soy curls?
Soy curls are a meat alternative made from whole soybeans. Similar to TVP, soy curls are dehydrated and absorb the flavor of the broth that you rehydrate them in. Simply rehydrate them in some hot water or broth, and then use them as you would meat strips in any recipe.
- Made from non-GMO whole soy
- High in protein.
- A good source of fiber.
- Great for vegan camping and backpacking food.
What is the difference between soy curls and tofu?
Soy curls and tofu are both made from soy, however, soy curls have been dehydrated into long strips. Soy curls need to be rehydrated before being cooked. Therefore soy curls can absorb more flavor than marinated tofu. Soy curls also have a more meat-like texture and hold up better than tofu in stir-fries and soups.
Soy curls vs TVP
Both Butler soy curls and TVP are made from dehydrated soy protein. Soy curls are made from whole soybeans whereas TVP is usually made from defatted soy flour. This means that soy curls are less processed than TVP.
What are soy curls good for?
Soy curls are a great meat substitute in just about any recipe that calls for sliced or diced meat. Since the soy curls take on the flavor of any broth that you rehydrate them in, they can taste like chicken, beef, or ham. They are also a great meat alternative for soups, like vegan chicken noodle soup, since you can just toss them in and they will absorb the flavor of the broth.
Soy curls are a great shelf-stable plant-based protein that is perfect for camping and backpacking, especially when made into soy curl jerky.
- I like to separate my soy curls into size categories. I use the longest soy curls for vegan popcorn chicken, vegan jerky, and fajitas. The medium size soy curls are perfect for tossing into soups like vegan orzo soup, vegan cream of chicken, or vegan green chile stew.
- There are always small pieces at the bottom of the bags that are great for making homemade bacon bits or vegan meatballs.
- Remember, soy curls will double in size when rehydrated.
How to store soy curls
Unopened packages of Butler Soy Curls will keep well in your fridge, freezer, or pantry for up to 6 months as long as they stay sealed. Once the package has been opened, you need to store the soy curls in an air-tight container or they will absorb the moisture in the air.
The Butler company suggests keeping them in the fridge or freezer for the best flavor, but I only do this before I open a bag since opened bags will absorb flavors of other foods nearby.
You can buy a large box of 12 pounds of soy curls for a great price. I have done this many times since we go through so many. If you do this, be sure to divide this box into smaller glass containers that are sealed tightly with a lid and stored in a cool dry place. The soy curls tend to absorb a weird flavor if kept in plastic too long, so I prefer glass storage containers.
How long do soy curls last?
Once rehydrated and cooked, you will need to store the soy curls in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to rehydrate soy curls
There are 2 methods that you can use to rehydrate the soy curls. You can soak them in hot water then squeeze them to get as much water out as possible and then sprinkle them with any seasoning of choice. Or you can use the second method of simply rehydrating them in a seasoned broth and then cooking them.
Soy curls recipes
Here are some of my vegan family's favorite ways to use soy curls...
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
How to Make Soy Curls
- 1 cup Butler Soy Curls
- 1 cup hot broth (or water)
- Boil broth (or hot water) then turn off the heat and add the soy curls.
- Stir it well, then cover and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak up the flavor and rehydreate.
- Use as you would chicken strips in any recipe. They are great sauteed in a little cooking oil.
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Don Urias says
Awesome recipes thank you I tried about five those recipes before I read your article and they are awesome and hopefully curls are addicting I even for everything last night and make chicken salad for wraps oh it was good
I'm so happy that you like the recipes! We eat a ton of soy curls in my house! There are just so many things that you can make with them! 🙂
Val Scout says
This was very comprehensive and useful. I am thinking of using these for my backcountry hiking trip. Do you know if, once rehydrated, they must be cooked further? ie is that a requirement or a matter of taste. On our trips we try to minimize fuel needed for cooking, so opt for meals which can be prepared by soaking / rehydrating. Would that be enough for soy curls or do they require additional “cooking”. Thanks!
You only need to rehydrate them, no need for further cooking. They are perfect for backpacking. You can also make my vegan jerky with them which is a great option for backpacking. Here is that recipe... https://thehiddenveggies.com/vegan-jerky-easy-gluten-free/
Val Scout says
Not sure if you'll know the answer to this but I'll ask anyway just in case. One store near me just got in something similar to this, but a different brand. They do not specify gluten free (which I need) and I've read that soy is notorious for cross contamination with gluten. I have no experience with this type of product, yet, and was wondering if you had any experience with other brands of this type of product and any idea if it is normal for them to use gluten safe soy? Or should I just avoid them since they don't say?
Sorry if stupid question. With so many food allergies navigating food is frustrating! Even supposedly "whole" foods can be contaminated. (argh!)
Appreciate you sharing your experiences.
If it has risk of cross contamination, it’s usually because they make it or pack it in a factory which also handles gluten. Because gluten is one of the most common allergens, you should ALWAYS be able to find info on a package. Usually it’s labelled as “allergy information” or similar. There are 2 options: it will say “may contain: gluten” which means that the product itself doesn’t contain gluten, but it is handled in a factory which does. It might also say “contains: gluten”, which is pretty straightforward. You need to check the specific product you have on hand because it’s impossible to predict whether the brand you chose uses a factory which also handles gluten. There are tons of products which aren’t labelled exclusively as “gluten free” but they still might be gluten free - you just have to check ingredients.
Um, thanks, but this doesn't really answer my question. I always read every package very carefully, small print and all. It may be normal where you are for gluten to always be listed, but it isn't here. I read the ingredients and the rest of package. No information was listed. But that's how it is for a lot of food in the "International" sections of stores.
(And the rest of the store.)
This was so helpful! Thankyou!
You're welcome! Glad it was helpful!
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You should be signed up now. Look for the email with the free eBook in your inbox. 🙂