If you’ve ever asked, “How Long Does Cooked Tempeh Last?” the short answer is that cooked tempeh will last about 2-3 days in the fridge if stored properly. But wait, there’s more to it!
This article will go over what tempeh actually is along with the benefits of it, how to make it, how to cook it, and how to store it properly.
I’ve included some of my favorite tempeh recipes as well. Some of which include air fried tempeh, tempeh bacon, tempeh sandwiches, and tempeh stew. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
What Is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a plant-based, high-protein fermented soybean product. Tempeh was first known and used in Indonesia.
In western cultures, tempeh is most known mostly as a meat alternative in a plant-based diet. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or meat-eater… tempeh can be a tasty and nutrient-dense addition to any diet.
The texture of soy tempeh is cake-like and soft yet spongey. It has a nutty flavor and earthy favor and a bit of a mushroomy flavor but the taste is very versatile as it takes on the taste of seasonings.
Because of its meaty texture, Tempeh can be made into a meat substitute such as tempeh bacon, marinated tempeh like steak, or tempeh crumbles like ground beef. When eaten as a traditional snack in Indonesia, tempeh is deep-fried with coriander and garlic. It is then best served with hot chile or sambal oelek.
3 Health Benefits of Tempeh
I only recently realized fresh tempeh is a nutrient-dense product! Eating plant-based has made me wary of all the products out there touting the “plant-based” name while having terrible ingredients.
Tempeh was one of those products I figured was too good to be true. I’m so glad I was wrong! I suggest always buying store-bought tempeh made from non-GMO soybeans.
Tempeh has many health benefits, but let’s go over just the top 3:
1. Beneficial to Gut Microbiota
Tempeh is packed with probiotics and prebiotics. The fermentation process of tempeh allows it to have beneficial bacteria, therefore benefiting our gut health when we eat it.
The fermentation also breaks down the phytic acid in the soybeans, which helps improve digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals.
2. High In Plant Protein
You’ll be full for hours after enjoying some tempeh, since it’s a great source of protein. Just one cup of tempeh reaps 31 grams of protein!
Foods high in soy protein, like tempeh, are a great choice to reduce hunger and encourage fat loss efforts.
3. Decrease Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress has been shown to have a negative overall impact on the human body. Soy isoflavones have antioxidant properties that may neutralize free radicals from oxidative stress.
Increasing your intake of isoflavones through products like tempeh help increase antioxidant activities in the body, in turn decreasing the effect of free radicals.
Read more about the many health benefits of tempeh here.
How To Store Tempeh
Never keep tempeh stored at room temperature. Always store tempeh either in the fridge or freezer for best results.
If you have an unopened package of uncooked tempeh, you can store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.
You want to make sure and keep the tempeh dry, air tight, and cool.
I suggest storing tempeh in the freezer if you’re unsure when you’ll use it. This ensures the tempeh will stay good for at least 1 month.
To freeze tempeh, place it in an airtight container or freezer-safe container. You can also wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or freezer wrap.
How To Thaw Tempeh
If you’re storing the tempeh in the fridge, you can cook the tempeh right away. If the tempeh was stored in the freezer, the best way to thaw the tempeh is for 24-48 hours in the fridge before cooking.
Does Tempeh Expire?
Tempeh does usually last a while due to the fermentation process. That being said, it can still go bad. The expiration date is not always the best marker of expired tempeh.
The best rule of thumb is to use the tempeh within 7 days after the “sell by” date if you have an unopened package of tempeh that has been refrigerated by grocery stores. If this unopened package was stored in the freezer, it should last 10-12 months past the sell by date (as long as it wasn’t thawed and frozen multiple times).
If you have an opened package of tempeh, it’s hard to really know if it has expired. A good idea is to check for signs of spoilage at this point.
Signs Of Spoilage
Some warning signs that your tempeh has spoiled are as follows:
- The tempeh is slimy or has a stronger than usual smell.
- If it is very yellow or you see visible signs of mold.
- Although some dark spots are normal and still edible, if the mold is brightly colored or has a strong scent, you should toss the tempeh.
How Long Does Cooked Tempeh Last
If stored properly in an airtight container, leftover cooked tempeh will last 2-3 days in the fridge. I recommend only cooking what you will eat that day and storing the rest uncooked for later.
How To Make Homemade Tempeh
Here’s an easy 3 ingredient recipe to make your own tempeh at home.
All you’ll need to make your own homemade tempeh is soybeans (or a different bean or grain of choice), distilled white vinegar, and a tempeh starter.
Making tempeh is a process of controlled fermentation. The beans are inoculated with a starter culture that contains Rhizopus mold spores (either Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae), and then fermented at a warm temperature.The Kitchn
Traditionally, tempeh is made with soybeans but I had no idea you could use any legume you’d like. Here are some soy-free options to make. Get creative and find which legume makes the best main ingredient for your tempeh.
I’ve also included some of my favorite tempeh recipes below. Can’t wait to hear what you cook up!
3 Different Ways To Cook Tempeh
Tempeh is pretty versatile as a meat replacement. There are a lot of ways to cook it. Here are just a few ways to cook tempeh to perfection:
Chop the tempeh into bite size pieces. Love & Lemons says you can’t skip steaming the tempeh as this helps it absorb more flavor. Marinate with soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and oil. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, shaking halfway through.
Marinate and season sliced tempeh. Add a little hot water to the bottom of the air fryer and preheat the air fryer to 350 Farenheit. Place tempeh in a single layer in the air fryer (I like to use parchment paper or you can spray with a little oil), not overlapping. Cook for about 10 minutes, checking on it intermittently.
Thinly slice the tempeh. Marinate and season the sliced tempeh. Let it rest in the fridge in an airtight container or freezer bag for at least 10 minutes (preferably longer) while you heat the grill to at least 400 F. Place a grill grate on the grill and grill on each side for 4 minutes, brushing with marinade in between.
How Do You Eat Tempeh?
Now that you’ve cooked your tempeh, you might be wondering how to consume it. Whether you have air fried, grilled, or baked tempeh… Here are a few ways to enjoy it.
- Chopped in a salad.
- As a sandwich meat.
- In a stew.
- Paired with veggies and a grain.
Some even like to eat the tempeh on its own! Let us know your favorite way of using tempeh by commenting below.
7 Of My Favorite Tempeh Recipes
I love tofu stir fry… But now I’ve been trying tempeh stir fry with this deliciously chewy tempeh and it might even top my tofu stir fry. Check out my 3 ingredient stir fry sauce if you need an easy and quick one.
If you like peanut tofu, try this marinated peanut tempeh! Good on pretty much anything.
Speaking of peanut tempeh, try making tempeh into skewers with this sesame peanut tempeh skewers recipe.
This 10-minute tempeh sandwich is filled with sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, and of course tempeh. Give it a shot! While you’re at it, check out my chickpea tuna salad sandwich if you’re craving those vegan variations.
I’m not going to lie, I miss the classic beef stew that my mom used to make. But with tempeh, you can make a very similar beef stew like this one!
3 Key Points To Remember When Storing Tempeh
This blog post had a lot in it but the main questioned prosed was, “How long does cooked tempeh last?” so let’s go over the key points.
- For best shelf life keep tempeh cool, dry, and air tight. If moisture gets in, it will grow mold.
- Tempeh can last 7 days after the “sell by” date if it has been continuously refrigerated and kept cool, dry, and air tight.
- Tempeh can last 10 months after the “sell by” date if kept in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
Notes: Refer to the ‘signs of spoilage’ segment if you’re unsure whether your tempeh has gone bad.