Vegan Bacon Taste Test

As many vegans will tell you, they did not stop eating meat because they didn’t like the taste. They stopped because of their compassion for animals.

Many of us woke up & realized it is NOT ok for animals to be crammed in to cages, consistently given antibiotics to keep them alive or forced to be impregnated just to have their baby taken away and be forced to produce milk.

It’s Literally A Mind F*^@

I would NEVER allow this kind of treatment to my dogs. Would you?

I grew up feeling that eating meat wasn’t right but it was the norm. I grew up, in Ohio, in the 80’s & 90’s. It wasn’t until almost the year 2010, that I realized by reading the book, Skinny Bitch, that it is ok to not eat meat.

How crazy is that?

What my mind had told me would be a peaceful thing for me to do, I felt I would be judged for or maybe I couldn’t get all of my nutrients.

How Times Have Changed

Now, we can get Vegan Versions of just about anything! Burgers, Cheeses, Sausage, Brats, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Butter, Ice Cream and so much more.  …I’ve even seen Vegan Scrapple! I cannot recall if I had ever had Scrapple pre-vegan days, but there it is–in the Vegan Version.

What I Missed

The one animal meat item that I did miss was bacon. Just typing this sounds really messed up. I wish I could be one of those diamonds in the rough who has never eaten an animal–ever!

Maybe this wouldn’t sound so twisted; to not agree with the killing of animals to put on our plate but still reminisce on the taste. UGH.


It wasn’t the taste of pork that I liked. Trust me, there were other pork products that NEVER appealed to me. It was the sweet & smoky taste & the crunchy texture. Crunchy is the ONLY way I would eat bacon. If I ever saw the, “fat,” it would gross me out.

The greatest thing about it not being about the pig is that this taste can be and has been replicated in a Non-Animal Version!

Let the Vegan Bacon Taste Test Begin!


The Contenders:

  • Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan
  • Lightlife Smart Bacon
  • Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon
    • Hickory & Sage Flavored
  • Homemade Coconut Bacon

The 3 purchased were the only ones I have been able to find available in my local grocery stores. 

Vegan Bacon TasteTest

The Taste

Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan

  • Jen: While the Upton’s taste is very good, it does not taste much like bacon to me. This seitan bacon does have a great chewy & crunchy texture though. Best eaten anyway you want–alone, on a burger, in a cold pasta salad or on the side of vegan pancakes.


  • Ryan: It was my my favorite in every category as it pertains to replicating bacon. I did not think any of them had a strong bacon smell but as far as appearance, texture and taste, this one was the closest. It could easily be used in any recipe with bacon and stand on it’s own. 

Lightlife Smart Bacon

  • Jen: The Lightlife Bacon crisps up the most, which I love. To eat this one by itself is not desirable, yet it tastes the most like bacon of the 4–maybe from the saltiness. Best eaten as a BLT, on a salad or as a crumble on top of Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese. 

  • Ryan: Other than the fact that it came in the form of a strip, this one is not really bacon at all. The only aspect of it that is close to bacon was the texture. Least favorite of the four.

Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon

  • Jen: The Sweet Earth Bacon is my favorite taste of the 4. Unfortunately, it does not make my #1 pick because it does not crisp up–no matter how long I cooked it–and does not taste like bacon.

    This bacon is also a little more sweet than the others too. You can absolutely eat this one alone, it is awesome on a BLT, in a salad or on a Breakfast Sandwich. <-SO good!

  • Ryan: This one is hard to rate for me. In no way shape or form other than it being in a strip is this bacon like; however, it is delicious! I would 100% eat it again and really enjoyed it. But it should not be confused as bacon.

Coconut Bacon

  • Jen: I feel like this one is a given that it is not going to be bacon-like. My biggest question is, can it replace it in recipes?

    Honestly, if you do not mind the taste of sweet coconut(because it does not go away), it absolutely can! Ironically, this one had the most bursts of flavor. There are some tweaks I will do to the recipe I used and will be posting my own version as soon as I have it figured out and will link it here.

    You can use the coconut bacon in any recipe that you do not mind a hint of sweet coconut, in my opinion. And is a great on-the-go snack.


  • Ryan: Tastes somewhat like a candied bacon. Sweeter than the rest. Not sure if I would enjoy it in large amounts but with the few crumbles I ate in the taste test and sprinkled in dishes, this one is really good.


Did any of these taste like bacon?

That’s debatable as you can see specifically with the Lightlife. I, who hasn’t had pig bacon in over 11 years said this one tastes the MOST like bacon; however, Ryan, who last ate pig bacon over 2 years ago, says it without a doubt does not.

We found similarities to bacon but nothing tastes exactly like it. And to me, I’m ok with that! The fact that it does not taste exactly like it, gives me ease in knowing I’m not eating an animal and doesn’t make me feel icky.

As you can see though, I can find uses for every single one of these! I think my notes below will help in deciding which ones to try in your recipes, unless of course, you would like to do a taste test of your own. 😉


When deciding which bacon to use in a recipe, I like to think of complimenting tastes(salty & sweet) with textures (crunchy or chewy) then balancing those out.

For instance, if I have a salty recipe, I would not use the Lightlife bacon because it will only add more salt to the taste. What if that same recipe has all soft ingredients and needs some crunch? I would then have to decide between the Upton’s & Coconut Bacon.

If the recipe is salty AND savory, I could balance it a bit with the Coconut Bacon.

Does that make sense?

Make it fun!


…and keep it cruelty free. NO Pork On My Fork



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VeggL (Jen and Ryan)

VeggL is the passion project of Jen & Ryan. Both vegan (Jen since 2012, Ryan since 2018), they wanted to help other vegans & plant based folks through an incredibly frustrating process--trying to figure out what you can eat & where in the US. Pictured w/ our pups, Mia & Chompers.

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