A Beginner’s Guide: How to Make Tempeh at Home

A Beginner's Guide: How to Make Tempeh at Home

In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, we will teach you how to make tempeh at home. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy-based food that is packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. By following our step-by-step instructions and tips, you’ll be able to create your own delicious and nutritious tempeh right in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, making tempeh at home is a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy this versatile ingredient. Let’s get started on your tempeh-making journey!

Introduction to Tempeh: What is Tempeh and Why Make it at Home?

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product that has gained popularity worldwide due to its high nutritional value and versatility in cooking. It is made by fermenting soybeans with a starter culture called Rhizopus oligosporus, which binds the soybeans together into a firm cake-like structure.

There are several reasons why making tempeh at home can be a rewarding experience:

  1. Health Benefits: Tempeh is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is also packed with probiotics, which promote a healthy gut and improve digestion.
  2. Control over Ingredients: By making tempeh at home, you have full control over the ingredients used. You can choose to use organic soybeans and avoid additives or preservatives commonly found in store-bought tempeh.
  3. Taste and Texture: Homemade tempeh often has a fresher and nuttier flavor compared to commercial varieties. You can experiment with different types of beans, grains, or even add spices and herbs to customize the taste according to your preference.
  4. Creative Culinary Exploration: Making tempeh at home opens up a world of culinary possibilities. You can incorporate tempeh into various dishes such as stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, or even use it as a meat substitute in burgers and tacos.
  5. Sustainability: Producing tempeh at home reduces reliance on store-bought products, which often come packaged in single-use plastics. It also promotes a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of consuming plant-based protein.

Now that you understand what tempeh is and the reasons for making it at home, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating your own delicious tempeh in the comfort of your kitchen!

Ingredients and Equipment Needed for Making Tempeh at Home

  • 1 cup dried soybeans
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tempeh starter culture
  • Water for soaking and boiling

Before you start making tempeh at home, gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


1. Dried soybeans: You will need 1 cup of dried soybeans for making tempeh. Make sure to use organic and non-GMO soybeans for better quality tempeh.

2. White vinegar: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to help with the fermentation process.

3. Tempeh starter culture: This is a key ingredient for making tempeh. You can easily find tempeh starter culture online or at health food stores. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package for the correct amount to use.

4. Water: You’ll need water for soaking the soybeans and boiling them later on.


1. Large pot: You’ll need a large pot for boiling the soybeans.

2. Colander: A colander will come in handy for draining the soaked soybeans.

3. Large mixing bowl: You’ll need a large mixing bowl for combining the soybeans with the tempeh starter culture.

4. Plastic bags with holes or banana leaves: These are used for wrapping the tempeh during the fermentation process. You can use either plastic bags with small holes punched in them or banana leaves for a more traditional approach.

5. Thermometer: A thermometer is useful for monitoring the temperature during fermentation.

Once you have gathered all the ingredients and equipment, you’re ready to start making your own delicious tempeh at home!

Step-by-Step Process: How to Make Tempeh from Scratch

Making tempeh from scratch is a fun and rewarding process. Follow these simple steps to create your own delicious tempeh at home:

  1. Gather the Ingredients: To make tempeh, you’ll need the following ingredients:
    • Soybeans: 2 cups
    • Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
    • Tempeh starter culture: 1 teaspoon
    • Water: as needed
  2. Prepare the Soybeans: Start by rinsing the soybeans under cool water. Then, soak them in water for about 8-10 hours or overnight. This will soften the beans and make them easier to work with.
  3. Cook the Soybeans: After soaking, drain the soybeans and transfer them to a large pot. Add water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the beans simmer for about 30 minutes or until they are soft and easily mashed.
  4. Drain and Cool the Soybeans: Once the soybeans are cooked, drain them and let them cool down to room temperature.
  5. Mix in the Tempeh Starter: In a separate bowl, mix the tempeh starter with vinegar. Add this mixture to the cooled soybeans and mix well until all the beans are coated.
  6. Inoculate and Incubate: Transfer the soybean mixture to a shallow tray or container. Spread it out evenly, around 1 inch thick. Cover the container with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and poke small holes to allow air circulation. Place the tray in a warm place with a temperature of around 86°F (30°C) and let it ferment for 24-48 hours.
  7. Check and Store: After the incubation period, check the tempeh for a white mycelium covering and a firm texture. If it looks and feels right, your tempeh is ready! Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use within a week.

Enjoy your homemade tempeh in various recipes and explore the delicious possibilities this versatile ingredient offers!

Tips and Tricks for a Successful Tempeh Fermentation

Proper fermentation is crucial for making delicious and nutritious tempeh at home. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure a successful tempeh fermentation:

Tip 1: Use High-Quality Soybeans

Start with fresh, high-quality soybeans to ensure a better fermentation process. Look for organic and non-GMO soybeans, if possible.

Tip 2: Soak and Cook the Soybeans

Soak the soybeans overnight in water to soften them. Then, cook the soaked soybeans until they are tender. Properly cooked soybeans will result in a better texture and taste of the tempeh.

Tip 3: Properly Dry the Cooked Soybeans

After cooking the soybeans, it’s essential to drain and dry them thoroughly. Excess moisture can hinder the fermentation process and lead to undesirable results. Pat them dry or let them air dry completely before proceeding.

Tip 4: Use a Starter Culture

A starter culture is essential for successful tempeh fermentation. You can use store-bought tempeh as a starter or purchase starter cultures specifically designed for tempeh making. Follow the instructions provided with the starter culture for the best results.

Tip 5: Maintain Proper Fermentation Temperature

Tempeh fermentation requires a consistent temperature of around 85°F (29°C). Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and make necessary adjustments. You can use a fermentation box, a dehydrator, or even an insulated container to maintain the desired temperature.

Tip 6: Allow Sufficient Ventilation

During the fermentation process, tempeh needs proper airflow to promote the growth of beneficial molds. Make sure to create small holes on the plastic wrap or the container’s lid to allow air circulation. However, be cautious not to create large openings that may introduce contaminants.

Tip 7: Monitor the Fermentation Progress

Keep a close eye on the tempeh during the fermentation process. It usually takes around 24 to 48 hours for the tempeh to fully ferment. Check for the characteristic white mycelium growth and a nutty aroma to ensure it is ready for consumption.

By following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a successful tempeh fermentation and enjoy homemade tempeh that is fresh, flavorful, and packed with nutrients. Happy tempeh making!

Storing and Using Homemade Tempeh: Recipes and Ideas

Once you have successfully made your own tempeh at home, it’s important to store it properly to maintain its freshness and quality. Here are some tips on storing and using your homemade tempeh, along with some delicious recipes and ideas to inspire your culinary adventures.

Storing Homemade Tempeh

Homemade tempeh should be stored in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process and prevent spoilage. Follow these steps to store your tempeh:

  1. Place your homemade tempeh in an airtight container or a ziplock bag.
  2. Store it in the refrigerator at a temperature between 34°F (1°C) and 40°F (4°C).
  3. Make sure to use your tempeh within 7-10 days for optimal flavor and texture.

It’s worth mentioning that freezing tempeh is also an option if you want to extend its shelf life. Simply place your tempeh in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer. Frozen tempeh can last for several months, but keep in mind that the texture may change slightly after thawing.

Using Homemade Tempeh

Homemade tempeh is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:

1. Tempeh Stir-Fry

Slice your homemade tempeh into thin strips and marinate it in a sauce of your choice. Heat some oil in a pan, stir-fry the tempeh until golden brown, and then add your favorite vegetables and seasonings. Serve over rice or noodles for a delicious and nutritious meal.

2. Tempeh Burger

Crumble your homemade tempeh and mix it with breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, and spices to create a flavorful burger patty. Cook it on a grill or stovetop until it’s nicely browned. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings and condiments for a satisfying plant-based burger experience.

3. Tempeh Salad

Cube your homemade tempeh and sauté it until crispy. Toss it with a variety of fresh salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and your favorite dressing. Add some avocado slices or nuts for extra texture and flavor. Enjoy a wholesome and protein-packed salad that will keep you energized throughout the day.

These are just a few examples of how you can use homemade tempeh in your cooking. Feel free to experiment with different flavors, spices, and cooking methods to create your own unique tempeh dishes.

So go ahead and store your homemade tempeh properly, and let your creativity run wild in the kitchen. Enjoy the nutritious and delicious world of homemade tempeh!


In conclusion, making tempeh at home is a rewarding and achievable process that any beginner can master. With just a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can create your own delicious and nutritious tempeh. The article has provided step-by-step instructions, tips, and tricks to ensure success in your tempeh-making journey. So, why not give it a try and enjoy the satisfaction of crafting your own homemade tempeh!

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