This easy vegan jerky is gluten-free, full of flavor, and packed with plant protein! It works great for camping or backpacking, in school lunches, or as a quick and filling high-protein plant-based snack.
❤️ Why make this recipe
This vegan jerky is perfect for hiking and backpacking! (I would have loved to have this when I was backpacking the Appalachian Trail many years ago! Instead, I had a few packs of dehydrated tofu, which was not nearly as tasty as this stuff!)
My family and I also love to take it on road trips since vegan protein is hard to find when traveling.
🙋 What is vegan jerky made from?
This vegan jerky is simple to make with Butler Soy Curls. Soy Curls are made from dehydrated soy much like textured vegetable protein, except they come in large pieces about the size of chicken strips. When rehydrated, they have the texture of meat.
When I first started using Butler Soy Curls, I knew that there had to be a way to make them into plant-based jerky. I tested out a bunch of different flavor combinations until my family finally agreed that the recipe was perfect!
💰 Inexpensive vegan jerky
Compared to store-bought vegan jerky, this homemade jerky will save you a ton of money. My family loves store-bought vegan jerky, but it gets expensive to buy it regularly. You can make this recipe for a fraction of the cost of store-bought vegan jerky!
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos - or tamari. You can also use soy sauce, but just note that soy sauce is not gluten-free.
- Black Strap Molasses - this gives the jerky a rich sweet flavor. If you don't have it you can swap it out for 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup or another sweetener.
- Liquid Smoke (hickory flavored) - I use the Colgin brand. Note that other brands can be stronger in flavor. You can also swap this out for smoked paprika if you don't have liquid smoke.
- Sea Salt - for flavor
- Onion Powder - for flavor
- Garlic Powder - for flavor
- Cayenne - optional for a little spice.
- Cooking Oil - any neutral flavored oil like canola oil or light olive oil will work or you can leave it out for fat-free jerky. The oil helps the texture stay soft and chewy and gives you the mouth feel of jerky.
- Butler Soy Curls - you can also use any other TVP chunks or dehydrated soy product that you want.
🔪 Helpful tools
- Medium-sized saucepan - to heat the homemade marinade in.
- Sheet Pan - a metal baking sheet for dehydrating the jerky in the oven and allowing good airflow.
🥄 How to make vegan jerky
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
It couldn’t be much easier to make this jerky! Simply heat a marinade made with spices and water, then pour the soy curls into the marinade and give it a stir.
Allow the soy curls to soak up the flavor for about 5 minutes -giving them a stir every minute or 2 making sure they have soaked up as much marinade as possible.
Once the soy curls are re-hydrated, put them on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven at 225° F for about an hour until they become chewy and have the texture of jerky.
You can dehydrate them a little more or a little less depending on your taste. I like them slightly dry and crispy, and my kids like them soft and chewy.
👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
The vegan jerky pieces will continue to dehydrate slightly once you take them out of the oven while they are cooling, so take them out when they are still a little softer than you want your final product to be.
❓ What is vegan jerky good for?
I make a large batch of them at least once or twice a week. My kids love them in their school lunches! Once they cool, I store them in a sealed jar or put them in snack-sized bags, so they are ready to grab and go snacks.
They are also great as car food on long trips or just to take along anywhere that it is hard to find a good source of vegan protein.
Don't forget to bring along a bag on your next camping or backpacking trip too!
🏪 Where can I buy soy curls?
I can find them at my local natural foods store, but I go through so many soy curls now we had to start buying them by the 12-pound box! If they don’t sell them at your local stores, you can find them on Amazon or order them directly from the Butler Foods website.
Since they are still slightly moist, I store them in the fridge to make sure that they stay fresh for up to 3 weeks. They are fine to leave out of refrigeration for up to 5 days to take camping or on a trip.
You can also freeze the soy curl jerky for up to 3 months in a sealed container.
🌟 More soy curl recipes
You can learn more about soy curls in my complete guide to soy curls, but here are a few of my favorite recipes that use them.
Easy Vegan Jerky
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari
- 1 tablespoon black strap molasses
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (hickory flavored)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne more or less to taste
- ¼ cup canola or other neutral tasting oil
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 cups Butler Soy Curls (dry)
- Preheat the oven to 225°F (110°C).
- Put all the ingredients except for soy curls into a medium-sized saucepan, stir well, and bring to a boil.
- Once the marinade boils, turn off the heat and immediately add the soy curls stirring them to coat them with the marinade.
- Let the soy curls sit for about a minute then stir them again.
- Continue to do this for about 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and soy curls are soft.
- Drain off any remaining liquid and spread soy curls onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 225°F (110°C) for 45 minutes to 1 hour flipping every 15 minutes.
- Allow them to cool then store them in sealed containers or bags.
- Bake for 10 minutes less for chewier jerky or 10 minutes more for crunchier jerky.
- Variations in oven temperature and humidity will change the bake time slightly.
- Watch the jerky closely at the end of the cooking time so as to not over-dry or burn.
- Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or at room temperature for up to 5 days.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Click the stars above or leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!