This beginner’s guide to seitan will teach you what it is and show you a basic recipe for the best savory, meaty and easy homemade seitan! I’ve also included over 20 omnivore approved seitan recipes to help show you how versatile it is.
Below, you’ll find the ingredients needed to make this recipe, as well as expert tips & tricks. Keep on reading to learn more! Click the ‘Jump to Recipe Button’ above or the buttons below to skip to a specific section:
Why You’ll Love This Easy Homemade Seitan Recipe
This homemade seitan recipe is super easy and beginner friendly. It’s made with only 9 ingredients and is ready to eat in less than 30 minutes!
- Chewy, Savory, Vegan ‘Meat’: this basic seitan recipe is tender, moist and so chewy!
- No Steaming or Boiling Required: this recipe is completely beginner friendly, since it doesn’t require steaming or boiling (which I’ve found can lead to mushy seitan that’s too soft).
- Oh, So Versatile: coat this recipe in your favorite sauce like chimichurri, BBQ sauce or buffalo sauce!
What is Seitan?
Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat protein with origins that date back to 6th century Eastern Asia where it was first documented. It’s often used as mock meat in Buddhist, Chinese, and vegetarian cuisines.
Recently, its popularity has skyrocketed since more and more people are choosing to adopt vegan diets or incorporate more plant-based protein into their meals.
With the rising cost of store bought plant based alternatives, seitan is a great affordable option. If you’re looking for a protein-rich, cost-effective, meat alternative that even omnivores will love, the recipe below might be what you’ve been searching for!
What is it made of?
The primary ingredient in seitan is wheat protein from all-purpose or bread flour. You can buy wheat protein that’s already been separated from the flour. This is called Vital Wheat Gluten (see more about it below!).
When cooked, seitan has a chewy, meat-like texture. This is what makes it a great alternative for those who miss the texture of meat in their diets.
Wheat flour naturally has both gluten and protein, and when combined with liquid and gently kneaded, the gluten is activated and the dough can be shaped into plant based ‘meats’ like ‘chicken’ tenders, ‘steaks’, or ‘beef’ tips.
Vital Wheat Gluten: The Best Ingredient for Easy Seitan Recipes!
Vital wheat gluten is a form of pure wheat protein that is the key ingredient in seitan. It can be purchased in bulk at your local natural foods store or online. The brand I use in this recipe is Anthony’s Vital Wheat Gluten. I usually buy a huge 4 lb bag online, making it super affordable (plus it lasts a long time).
Bob’s Red Mill also makes a store-bought vital wheat gluten, but it comes in smaller bags and is more expensive.
Vital wheat gluten is essentially a blank slate and takes on the flavor of anything you choose to mix with it, which is why all of the flavorings in seitan recipes are absolutely necessary.
The “Washed Flour” Method
The “washed flour” method involves kneading high protein flour with water and then washing away the starch, leaving behind only the gluten. The resulting gluten based dough can then be shaped and cooked in a bunch of different ways.
The Benefit of the Washed Flour Method
The washed flour method creates a mock meat with a dense, chewy texture and a milder flavor that requires seasoning. While it is much more time-consuming than using pre-made vital wheat gluten, the washed flour method is more affordable, accessible, and gives you complete control over the seitan’s texture and flavor.
The Benefit of Using Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten makes cooking seitan fast and easy- perfect for beginner vegans or those new to the world of plant based diets. This easy homemade recipe uses Vital Wheat Gluten.
Ingredients For Homemade Seitan
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make seitan at home:
- Vital Wheat Gluten: This is a crucial ingredient. Store-bought vital wheat gluten eliminates the need to make your own gluten flour, making this recipe SUPER easy.
- Vegetable Broth: This will add extra flavor and help keep the seitan moist while cooking.
- Soft Tofu: This helps create a tender texture and keeps the dough moist.
- Spices & Seasonings: You can add any spices you like to flavor this recipe. I used poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in the recipe below.
- Liquid Seasonings: This recipe uses olive oil and a bit of soy sauce for extra flavor.
Vital Wheat Gluten Substitutes
There is no substitute for store-bought Vital Wheat Gluten in this recipe. You can use all-purpose or bread flour BUT you’ll need to prepare the flour using the ‘washed flour method’. Here is a great youtube video for making seitan using this method.
Vegetable Broth Substitutes
If you don’t have broth on hand, you can substitute water.
- Mixing Bowl: to combine the vital wheat gluten, water, and spices
- Blender or Food Processor: to blend the tofu and wet ingredients
- Baking Pan or Dish: we’re baking the dough in this recipe, so no bamboo steamer is needed
Step By Step Instructions
🎥 *Video Tutorial is Above the Recipe Card Below!*
Making the Dough
STEP 1: Drain & lightly press the tofu, so most of the liquid is removed. Blend the tofu with the veggie stock, olive oil, and soy sauce in a food processor or blender until it is a smooth texture.
STEP 2: Combine the vital wheat gluten and dry spices in a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the broth and liquid seasonings and Mix until a dough forms.
You can technically use a food processor (I do this in my vegan steak recipe), but for this beginner friendly recipe, I recommend mixing by hand to prevent over-mixing.
STEP 3: Knead the dough on a clean surface or in the bowl for 1-2 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Try not to knead longer than 1-2 minutes. This will result in seitan that is too chewy.
STEP 4: Divide the dough (340g total) into 4 equal pieces (85-90g each). Flatten each piece with your hands to form a fillet-like shape that’s about ½” thick.
If the dough isn’t flattening easily the gluten is most likely overworked. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, and then continue.
STEP 5: Place the dough/fillets on a parchment-lined baking pan or in a glass baking dish. Brush both sides generously with olive oil (about 1 tbsp). Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
STEP 6: Optional– when it finishes baking, let cool for 2 minutes and slice it into strips or smaller chunks.
STEP 7: Pan fry the baked seitan and add your favorite sauces, salt, and black pepper to taste. This step is very important for the best taste and texture!
Common Cooking Methods
Seitan can be prepared in a variety of ways. The easy homemade seitan recipe at the bottom of the post uses baking to cook the dough!
Each cooking method produces a different texture and/or flavor. Below are a few popular cooking methods:
- This is the most traditional method of preparing seitan. The dough is simmered in broth or water for 30 to 60 minutes, until it reaches the desired texture.
- Boiling or simmering in broth can add extra flavor to the gluten dough. Boiling results in a spongier texture.
- Steaming is another popular cooking method. It doesn’t require additional oil, making it a healthier option as well.
- Wrap the seitan in foil (optional) and place it in a steamer basket or bamboo steamer. Then, steam for 30 to 40 minutes. Steaming results in a spongier texture.
- Baking seitan in the oven is a quick and easy method and it is my preferred method!
- Simply place the seitan on a baking sheet and bake (time and temperature can vary by recipe). Baking creates a less spongy, firmer texture. I personally love the texture this method creates!
- Sautéing is another easy method that is perfect for adding flavor to your recipe.
- Slice the seitan into small chunks and pan fry with oil for a few minutes until golden brown. You can add your favorite sauces or broth as well for more flavor.
- Grilling is the perfect way to add smoky flavor to your dish.
- Cut the dough into cubes and grill on a skewer or shape into ‘steaks’ and place them directly on the grill for a few minutes until charred.
I LOVE baking because I don’t like messing with steamer baskets, and I’m not a fan of the spongy texture it can easily create. So, I will typically use a combination of multiple cooking methods for my seitan recipes.
For example, I use baking + grilling for my Vegan Steak Recipe. And I use steaming + baking for my Vegan Chicken Salad. I highly recommend experimenting with different cooking methods to find the one that you love!
📌 Cooking Tip: Regardless of the method you go with, keep an eye on the seitan as it cooks, so it doesn’t overcook or burn.
Serving & Seitan Recipe Ideas
Seitan is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. The basic recipe below can be sliced, coated in your favorite sauces, and then added to pasta, stir fries, sandwiches and more. Here are some of my favorite delicious vegan seitan recipes for inspiration!
Seitan As the Star of the Dish!
Vegan Steak with Garlic Butter
Crispy Vegan Cordon Bleu
Vegan Roast Beef Dinner
The Best Vegan Beef
Vegan Buttermilk Seitan Chicken
Panko Crusted Vegan Shrimp
Vegan Shredded Chicken
Grilled Vegan Chicken
Creamy Vegan Shrimp & Grits
Vegan Chicken & Waffles
Glazed Vegan Ham
Stir-frys, Noodles & Pastas
Cut this easy recipe into thin slices and stir fry with vegetables for a quick and easy meal. Try out some of the recipes below!
Vegan Sesame ‘Beef’ Udon Noodles
Classic Vegan Chicken Parmesan
Sandwiches & Pizza
Use this recipe as a meat alternative in sandwiches, from vegan clubs to cheesesteaks.
Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks
Vegan Chicken Salad
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Wings
Soups, Stews, & Salads
It can also be added to soups and salads. These are a few of my favorite recipes:
Vegan Beef Stew with Fluffy Biscuits
Classic Vegan Beef Bourguignon
Vegan Caesar Salad with Grilled Seitan Chicken
Pomegranate Walnut Stew (Vegan Fesenjān)
FRIDGE: Seitan can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To store in the fridge, place in an airtight container.
📌 TIP: Seitan has a tendency to dry out in the fridge, so if you plan on storing it longer than that I recommend freezing the cooked seitan.
FREEZER: store in the freezer for up to three months. Wrap the seitan in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe bag. When you’re ready to use the recipe, you can thaw it in the fridge overnight.
Pro Tips to Make Seitan At Home
Follow these simple tips for the best results!
- Use a digital scale to measure ingredients: making seitan is baking and like baking, a good outcome requires that ingredients are properly measured. I highly recommend using a digital scale to weigh the ingredients below. If you don’t have a scale, use the spoon and level method to measure the vital wheat gluten.
- Knead the dough for about 1-2 minutes: This will ensure that the gluten is activated and the dough will have a chewy texture. Try not to knead more than this or it will result in seitan that is too chewy!
- Flatten the dough out to about 1/2″ thick: Seitan puffs up a bit when cooked, and this will ensure that the seitan cooks evenly and has a tender texture.
- Use vegetable broth instead of water for the best flavor: This adds extra flavor to the seitan and helps keep it moist when cooked.
⭐️ If you encounter any issues while making this recipe, leave a comment below. I’m more than happy to help troubleshoot! ⭐️
Here are a few common problems that can occur and how to fix them:
If your seitan is tough, it means that the dough was likely kneaded too much. Make sure to knead the dough for no more than 1-2 minutes to activate the gluten in the vital wheat gluten. Any more than that will result in a texture that is too chewy.
If your seitan is dry, it means it was overcooked. Make sure to use a digital scale to measure all the ingredients to make sure the dough is nice and moist (which helps prevent overcooking it).
Seitan that is too soft or mushy is likely undercooked or it wasn’t kneaded enough prior to baking. Try baking for an extra 5 minutes or panfrying it to help crisp it up.
Did you make this Easy HomemAde Seitan recipe?
I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
Easy Homemade Seitan (Beginner Friendly!)
This homemade seitan recipe is super easy and beginner friendly. It's made with only 9 ingredients and is ready to eat in less than 30 minutes!
It's tender, moist, so chewy AND this recipe doesn't require any steaming or boiling!
- ¾ cup (160g) soft tofu, weighed after it's drained & pressed
- ¼ cup (45g) veggie stock, or water
- 1 tbsp (10g) olive oil
- 1 tbsp (8g) soy sauce, or sub more olive oil
- 1 cup (120g) vital wheat gluten, spooned into the measuring cup and leveled
- 1 tbsp (7g) seasoning blend of choice (like poultry seasoning, but you could also use Jerk Seasoning, Everything Bagel Seasoning etc.)
- 1 tsp (4g) garlic powder
- 1 tsp (3g) onion powder
- ½ tsp (2g) sea salt
NOTE: for the best results, I recommend using a digital kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients.
Make the Seitan Dough
- Drain & lightly press the tofu, so most of the liquid is removed. Blend the tofu with the veggie stock, olive oil, and soy sauce in a food processor or blender until it is a smooth texture.
- Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the center and add the blended wet ingredients.
- With a rubber spatula, stir to combine. When no more dry ingredients can be mixed into the dough with the spatula, switch to gently kneading the mixture by hand for about 1-2 minutes until it forms a ball.
- Divide the seitan dough (340g total) into 4 equal pieces (85g each). Flatten each piece with your hands to form a fillet-like shape that’s about ½” thick. If the dough isn’t flattening easily the gluten is overworked, let it rest for 5-10 minutes, and then continue.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F or 205 C.
- Place the seitan on a parchment-lined baking pan or in a glass baking dish. Brush both sides generously with olive oil (about 1 tbsp).
- Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Optional- when the seitan finishes baking, let cool for 2 minutes and slice it into strips or smaller chunks.
Pan-Frying & Serving
- Preheat a skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium-low heat.
- Pan fry the whole ‘fillets’ for 2-3 minutes on each side OR cook the cut strips/chunks for a total of 2-3 minutes, stirring to brown all sides.
- Remove the seitan from the pan, decrease the heat to low, and add your sauce of choice (teriyaki, sesame sauce, BBQ and buffalo sauce are great choices- see notes for sesame sauce).
- Cook the sauce on low heat for 15-30 seconds or until bubbling and slightly thickened. (This helps prevent soggy seitan if your sauce is liquidy.)
- Then, add the seitan back in and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to evenly coat it in the sauce.
- Serve warm with rice or noodles. It can also be used in sandwiches or on salads!
Sesame Sauce Ingredients (pictured in post above)
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp white rice wine vinegar
- 3 cloves minced garlic, or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp sambal oelek
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 tbsp veggie broth
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
To Make the Sesame Sauce:
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together except the cornstarch in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and heat on medium for 10 minutes.
- The sauce should reduce down in volume. Transfer 4-5 tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch to form a slurry.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and heat for 1-2 more minutes. The sauce should thicken immediately. Remove from heat and set aside.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 406Trans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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