Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage

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Perfectly browned Tempeh Breakfast Sausage patties on a wood plank

If you follow us on Instagram, you know I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while now with ample excitement.

I’d been pondering how to make this recipe work for weeks, and after finally giving it a try, I’m SO pleased with the results.

If you’re plant-based or trying to eat more that way, this vegan breakfast “sausage” is going to satisfy that savory morning protein craving like no other. Let’s do this!

Ingredients and spices for making Spicy Vegan Breakfast Sausages

This recipe does require more ingredients than I typically use, but it’s for a good cause. Every spice adds another layer of flavor to make these undetectably vegan “sausages!” The simple factor comes with the 1-bowl prep to save on dishes and clean up time.

The base of this “sausage” is tempeh, which mocks the texture of sausage perfectly. For a brief history on the origin of tempeh, learn more here!

Next comes a mixture of smoky, sweet, and spicy seasonings like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Vegan Worcestershire sauce adds a “meaty” flavor, while a bit of oil adds moisture. Garlic and onion add texture and even more flavor.

The fun part is the mixing, which I recommend doing with your hands. You can also do this in the food processor, but I prefer mixing in a bowl so you get more of a chunky mixture and less of a puree. Plus, using your hands is more fun – trust me.

I highly recommend cooking these on the stovetop for a crusty outer edge and a tender middle. But I also tried baking these and it works as well if you’re trying to avoid or cut back on oil. Either way, these “sausages” are a major win!

Cast-iron skillet filled with vegan sausages for a protein-rich plant-based breakfast

I hope you all LOVE this sausage! It’s:

Super flavorful
Crisp on the outside
Tender on the inside
Easy to make
& SO delicious

These are the perfect breakfast companion for things like my Masala-Spiced Tofu Scramble, Breakfast HashSimple Tofu Quiche, and Crispy Hash Brown Haystacks. They could also work well in Biscuits and Gravy or other breakfast entrées!

For more tempeh recipes, check out my Blissed-Out Thai Salad with Peanut Tempeh, Marinated Peanut Tempeh, Smoky Tempeh Burrito Bowls, and Simple Vegan Meatballs.

And for a brief history on the origin of sausage, check out this article!

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!

Fork cut into a healthy Spicy Vegan Breakfast Sausage patty

Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage

Spicy vegan breakfast sausage made with protein-rich tempeh. Smoky, savory, and flavorful, and just 1 bowl required! A delicious, plant-based sausage alternative.
Author Minimalist Baker
Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausages garnished with sprigs of fresh rosemary
4.71 from 61 votes
Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5 (sausages)
Course Breakfast, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 8 ounces tempeh*
  • 1/4 medium white onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced // 4 cloves yield ~2 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp organic brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (plus more for spicier sausage)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce* (I like Annie’s brand or this GF brand!)
  • 1 Tbsp avocado, grape seed, or olive oil* (or other neutral oil // plus more for cooking)
  • 1 pinch allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram optional


  • Finely chop tempeh and add to a mixing bowl (or a food processor) along with remaining ingredients.
  • Mix with clean hands (or pulse in the food processor) until very thoroughly combined. The texture should resemble sausage.
  • Taste a small amount and adjust flavor as needed, adding more cayenne pepper or red pepper flake for heat, salt and pepper for overall flavor, brown sugar for sweetness, or paprika for smokiness.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably 24 hours, and up to 3 days to allow the flavors to develop.
  • When ready to cook, line a 1/3 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap or parchment paper and fill with "sausage." Fold plastic wrap or parchment over the top and pack down. Then gently remove and set on a clean plate. Press down to form a 1/2-inch thick disc. Repeat until the mixture is used up – about 5 "sausages" (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) 
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil (or enough to coat the surface) and add only as many patties as will comfortably fit in the pan. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. (If trying to cut back on oil, see notes for baking instructions.)
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the underside is browned. Then gently flip (they can be fragile) and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes more or until the underside is browned.
  • Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. You can also make patties ahead of time (up to 1 month), freeze (uncooked), and then thaw before cooking.



*To keep this recipe gluten-free, ensure your tempeh and Worcestershire sauce are both gluten-free.
* If cutting back on oil, you can bake these at 375 degrees F (190 C) on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and semi firm on the edges.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 2 Tbsp oil (for mixing and cooking) per 5 sausages.

Nutrition (1 of 5 servings)

Serving: 1 sausages Calories: 156 Carbohydrates: 7.6 g Protein: 8.7 g Fat: 10.9 g Saturated Fat: 1.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 258 mg Sugar: 2 g

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  1. Cecilia says

    First, thank you for your blog–I have found the information and recipes so helpful through the many years that I have followed you. I’ve made this recipe before and it was delicious! I was just wondering if you cook the tempeh before putting it in the food processor. A Rouxbe recipe indicates to simmer the tempeh for 10 to 15 minutes in 3 cups of veggie broth. Additionally, I was wondering which tempeh is best to use with this recipe. I found a 5-grain tempeh though I have not used it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad our recipes have been helpful! Thank you for your kind words, Cecilia! Steaming the tempeh first can remove some bitterness, but we didn’t find it necessary because this recipe has so many flavors going on. We typically use Lightlife Original Tempeh, which is soy-based, but your 5-grain tempeh might also work!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Andrea, yes, we do! You could also leave out the sweetener in this one. It balances the flavors, but isn’t essential.

  2. Krisha says

    Made these for a brunch yesterday and they were so good! I had and used all of the listed spices incl. the optional ones, but I didn’t have the rosemary, so that and the cayenne was omitted. The flavor was excellent! I added 1 vegan egg replacer (Bob’s Red Mill) to help with binding. Some patties did crumble a bit still. I may up that to 2 vegan eggs when I make these again. I doubled the recipe using 2 blocks of tempeh. My patties must have been much thinner than the recipe because it yielded 19 patties compared with the estimated 12 when doubling the recipe. I fried them in avocado oil in a skillet, giving them a lot of time to try to crisp them up all the way through. Overall, they were great and I will definitely make them again! Another outstanding recipe from Minimalist Baker, thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Krisha. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  3. Annette says

    I’m planning to make these for Christmas brunch. I only have ground sage, not dried sage. Should I decrease the amount of ground sage for the recipe (assuming ground more concentrated)?

  4. Ciaran says

    These have quickly become one of my favorite breakfasts. Tastes great and dead simple to make.

    The last time two times I’ve made these, I added some hot mustard powder (1/4 tsp the first time, 1 tsp the second) and it added to the spiciness nicely.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Ciaran. Thank you for sharing! xo

  5. Ria says

    The flavors for this recipe were quite good! Nothing i’d tried before and super easy to make. I enjoyed my patties with a side salad and some yogurt. A great combo that was very satisfying.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle, we like getting it from the farmer’s market or health food stores. An easy to find brand is Lightlife original tempeh – it doesn’t have wheat or any gluten-containing ingredients, but if celiac, check out their FAQs for info on possible cross contamination. Hope that helps!

  6. Bradley says

    The flavor isn’t awful but I have two problems with this. One, the middle is very mushy. Two, they fell apart instantly during and after cooking. Is there something I can add to help bind them? Fwiw I’m not vegan or vegetarian

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bradley, These can be a bit tender (not as firm as a traditional sausage), but should hold together while cooking. You could try adding the sausage to a food processor with cooked and cooled quinoa (~1/2 cup), adding an egg, or serve as sausage crumbles (we actually prefer it that way now)!