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Cauliflower Bacon–Yes, Really!

Crispy, smoky, surprisingly addictive, & completely vegan cauliflower bacon.

cauliflower bacon

When I first got the idea to make cauliflower bacon, I was shocked to find no one on the internet had done it yet. After all, people have done everything with cauliflower – A few weeks ago, I saw a store selling cauliflower ice cream.

My favorite cauliflower recipe is still this Sticky Sesame Cauliflower.

And I know… bacon lovers are reading this post and thinking, UGH HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO BACON???

But most commercial brands of bacon bits are actually not real bacon either; they’re made up of ingredients such as maltodextrin, caramel color, and FD&C Red 40, whatever that is.

Cauliflower sounds much less scary, and much more delicious! There are recipes out there for eggplant bacon, and mushroom bacon, and tempeh bacon, and carrot bacon, even coconut bacon.

So why not cauliflower bacon?

cauliflower bacon bits

Soon will come the day when someone does kale bacon.

Don’t worry; it won’t be me.

Even I think that’s taking things too far!

Then again, maybe now that I’ve done cauliflower bacon, I shouldn’t be allowed to judge anyone for anything, ever again.

Anyway, the recipe came about after I had a conversation with a friend on how strange it is that we live in a world where bacon (not exactly healthy) and cauliflower (one of the healthiest things you can eat) share the spotlight for trendiest food of the moment.

I jokingly said someone ought to put the two together and really shake things up. My friend said it sounded like a terrible idea… So then of course I had to try it.

Related: Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

(Note: It was only after making the video above that I realized the cauliflower should be baked or fried before adding the seasonings in order to make sure it gets crispy instead of soggy.)

So does this taste exactly like real bacon?

No, of course not! But these cauliflower bacon bits are just as smoky and addictively crispy as real bacon bits and can be used anywhere you’d use commercial bacon bits – sprinkled on salads or baked potatoes, or stirred into Vegan Alfredo to make your own creamy plant-based Carbonara.

They are a more natural and less processed alternative to bacon bits and give you the added benefits of eating a vegetable at the same time.

I know the idea sounds crazy, but just like with the Cauliflower Pizza Crust I didn’t trust at first, you never know until you try!

Crispy, smoky, surprisingly addictive, & completely vegan cauliflower bacon recipe.

Cauliflower Bacon Bits

Cauliflower Bacon–Yes, Really!

Total Time: 20m
Yield: 2-4 servings
Print This Recipe [mrp_rating_result show_count="false" show_rich_snippets="false"]


  • 2 cups diced cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (or liquid aminos for soy-free)
  • 4 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 1/2 tsp white or cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
  • 2-4 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


*Note: I diced the cauliflower by hand (which only took about a minute). When I tried doing it in the food processor, it became too pulverized and turned into a mushy oatmeal texture – not what you want for bacon bits!

Toss the diced cauliflower with the oil. (I haven’t tried it without oil so don’t know if it would get crispy using spray instead, but please feel free to try.) Either bake or sauté until crispy. Then stir in all other ingredients. Add salt to taste if desired. Use anywhere you would use bacon bits – as mentioned in the post, it’s not supposed to taste exactly like bacon; it’s just supposed to have a similar smokey flavor that will compliment dishes where you’d normally add bacon bits. Not everyone will be a fan, but I really love them!

View Nutrition Facts


More Healthy Cauliflower Recipes:

sesame cauliflower

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower


parmesan cauliflower

Shake & Bake Cauliflower


Published on August 28, 2017

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  1. Whitney says

    Nice. I’m not a vegan, so I don’t have a big problem with bacon, but I’d totally be willing to try this recipe just for the sake of having a new way to eat cauliflower! Thanks, Katie!
    Also, I’ve tried making cauliflower ice cream. It’s good, but it’s still a work in progress for me (hard to balance all the flavors and mask the cauliflower). It makes the ice cream very thick and creamy. In fact, when I found the recipes, I thought, “I wonder when Chocolate-Covered Katie will catch on…?” I challenge you to try it, Katie! ;-D

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      I love ice cream so much that I fear I’d be biased against cauliflower ice cream before even trying it. I know that sounds strange coming from the girl who once made cauliflower chocolate cake. Actually… now I really want to try it and see…

      • Whitney says

        Haha! I knew you’d get intrigued! And on that note, your chocolate cauliflower cake is one of my FAVORITE recipes on the blog! My mom used to make it on a regular basis once I showed it to her. That and the avocado cake. Mm-mm-MMM!

  2. Krithika says

    I read the recipe and watched the video and I’m a bit confused. Should the cauliflower be sauted again after adding the spices and things?

    • Jason Sanford says

      No need – Just saute until crispy and then you can add all other ingredients right there in the pan as it’s cooking. Then turn off the heat.

  3. Emily says

    I just got so excited when I saw this recipe! I’ve tired coconut bacon, tempeh, and eggplant – but since cauliflower is my all time favorite, I cannot wait to try this out. So creative!

  4. Fran says

    I made two versions of this cauliflower bacon last night. The first version I followed your recipe to a T but did a half version. We loved it so much that we ended up having to make more! 🙂
    The second version I used stevia instead of the maple syrup and used only a tiny bit, and I wouldn’t recommend that. The version following the recipe was much better.

  5. Barrie says

    The recipe is very similar to coconut bacon…taste so much like bacon with NO coconut flavor! I’ll have to try these cauliflower bacon…sounds interesting!

  6. Tiffany says

    You always have such great ideas! I really want to try this out. I’ve been avoiding bacon since I know it’s unhealthy, but this cauliflower bacon looks all right to me!

  7. Maria says

    I think coconut bacon is amazing… but this looks pretty much equally as good. And not everyone is wild about coconut flavor so having a non-coconut options is awesome!! Excited to try!!

  8. Olivia LaRosa says

    Wouldn’t smoked paprika be divine here? I just made a tuna salad and added smoked paprika. Now reading this, I thought “why not?”

    PS: not vegan or vegetarian, but intrigued with your recipes. Always looking for more ways to eat my veggies.

  9. Sabrina says

    Thank you for this recipe, I still haven’t seen this anywhere else and realize it was posted last year, I saw it in your cauliflower category and of course was very curious. No, I didn’t expect it to taste like bacon, but really nice flavors, thank you

  10. Emily says

    Do you think that this could be frozen? I was thinking how great this would be on hand for salads and pasta dishes!

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