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Alright folks, let’s cut to the chase. If you’re in search of a vegan bacon bit that actually delivers on bacon-like flavor, you’re in for a rough ride. Most of the options out there are nothing short of disappointing. But fear not, we’ve done the dirty work for you. We’ve taste-tested a plethora of vegan bacon bits so you don’t have to waste your time and money on the subpar stuff. Join us as we dive into the smoky, savory world of vegan bacon bits and discover which brand, if any, comes out on top.
Quick Taste Test Summary
Most Like Real Bacon Bits: Badia Bacon Bits Imitation, overall your best bet.
Notable, Unique & Interesting: Madly Hadley Organic Coconut Bacon & Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits. Both were made with unique ingredients and make for pretty interesting products to try to use as a vegan topping.
Worst Vegan Bits: Nearly everything else we tested out there is subpar, however, the McCormick brand Bac’n Pieces tasted like, well, a chemical wasteland.
Our Taste Test Approach
- We tested 9 vegan bacon bits, we wanted to test more but many were out of stock.
- We purchased ONLY from retailers directly.
- From here we tried each product “raw” and on top of with mashed potatoes
- The vegan bacon bits were placed on hot mashed potatoes and let rest for 5 minutes to determine how soggy they would get
- The vegan bacon bits are rated on a scale of 1-5 for the following:
- Real Meat Likeness
- Overall Texture
- Soggy Factor
- General Flavor
- This taste test was rated by 2 people total
- The vegan bacon bits are photographed raw and on top of the mashed potatoes
We’re in the middle of a plant-based meat revolution! These days, brands have figured out how to make all your favorite animal-based proteins, from burgers to hot dogs to chicken nuggets, with a plant-based twist. And let me tell ya, they’re good. Real good. But are the vegan bacon bits all the rage too? Let’s dig in.
The Best Vegan Bacon Bits We Tested (Best to Worst)
Badia Bacon Bits Imitation
Badia Bacon Bits Imitation, a vegan alternative to traditional bacon bits, has been put to the test. The product, manufactured and distributed by Badia Spices, promises to add flavor to a variety of dishes without any animal meat or fat. But does it live up to its claims? Our taste test examines the product’s flavor and overall quality, and whether it’s worth purchasing for the everyday vegan food shopper.
- Smells very smokey
- Doesn’t have chemical smell
- Hard to touch
- Very solid crunch
- Easy to chew, almost flakey texture
- No fake/chemical taste
- Very good flavoring mix and good salty hit
- Bacon-like taste achieved
- Stayed very crunchy in mashed potatoes
- Packaging in a typical seasoning shaker with 2 sides
Final Rating: 4.25/5.00
Would order again? Yes. Badia is the only real option for those looking for a bacon-like bite. These don’t have a chemical taste like many others do, maintains an excellent crunch and has a solid spice mixture that mimics bacon.
Madly Hadley Organic Coconut Bacon
Madly Hadley’s Organic Vegan Coconut Bacon, a non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free plant-based snack made with healthy vegan, paleo and keto-friendly ingredients, is put to the test in this taste test. These are made from coconut which is different than all the other vegan bacon bits tasted here. Let’s evaluate the taste and texture of this vegan bacon alternative, and determine if it’s worth purchasing.
- “Bacon granola” vibes
- Smells very sweet
- Delicate to touch, like a pastry
- Smokey, spicy and sweet taste. Can be too sweet for some
- Very good crunch and chewy bite
- Slightly moist, wet texture
- Stayed sufficently crunchy in mashed potatoes
- Taste in mashed potatoes remained rather good
- Package came in a bag, easy to sprinkle but prefer plastic shakers
Final Rating: 4.13/5.00
Would order again? Yes. Coconut is not a bad vehicle for bacon flavor at all. This is basically a delicious “bacon granola” if it were to be summed up in two words.
Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits
Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits are a plant-based and soy-free alternative to traditional bacon bits. Made from Pinto Beans and flavored with a hickory smoked seasoning, these veggie bacon bits promise to be a great topper for any meal. Additionally, they can be made into a delicious bacon-flavored bean dip by simply adding hot water. Let’s see if these bacon-like bean bits are worth it.
- Smelled like beans, very beany
- Very flakey texture, pop corn like flakes
- Good salt hit, decent bacon imitation flavor
- Lacked a smoked flavor
- Hard when chewing at first, softens up and melts nicely in mouth
- Stayed flakey and crumbly in mashed potatoes, didn’t soften up too much
Final Rating: 4.00/5.00
Would order again? Yes. These are definitely not the typical vegan bacon bit. However, they are rather enjoyable, unique and worth a try if you don’t mind straying from the typical bacon bit form.
All Y’alls Foods Vegan Bacon Bits
All Y’alls Foods Vegan Bacon Bits are larger “Big Crunchy Bacony Bits” and promise to deliver big bacon flavor and crunch straight out of the bag. Made from whole non-GMO soybeans and packed with heart-healthy plant protein and fiber, these vegan bacon bits have caught our attention and we are eager to put them to the test. Our taste test will examine the product’s flavor, texture and overall quality to see if it lives up to its claims.
- Noticeably larger chunks than other brands
- Taste has a pleasant spicey, salty hit
- Meaty texture and doesn’t take a lot of effort to chew
- Has a plant-like taste at the end, a slightly unpleasant finish
- Softer texture to touch, not very hard like most other bacon bits
- The artificial coloring bled into the mashed potatoes which was, not great
- Got slightly soggy in the mashed potatoes
- Packaging was a bag, prefer a shaker but would be hard with the larger size
Final Rating: 3.88/5.00
Would order again? Yes. Despite some downsides, these were still satisfying with the spicy flavoring, larger chunks and meaty texture.
Louisville Vegan Jerky Bacon Bits Vegan Toppins’
Louisville Vegan Jerky’s new Bacon Bits Vegan Toppins claim to provide a realistic bacon-like flavor without harming animals or the environment. These hand-seasoned, chewy bacon bits are said to be a smoky, salty alternative to traditional bacon. In this taste test, we will be thoroughly examining the taste and texture of Louisville Vegan Jerky’s Bacon Bits Vegan Toppins and compare it to traditional bacon, as well as the other plant-based bacon alternatives. Let’s see if these vegan bacon bits sizzle or fizzle.
- Smells like chemicals and generally fake and unpleasant
- Soft to touch
- Not salty, bland taste
- Chewy but a nice meaty texture to them thanks to the vegan jerky origin. Very suitable texture for a bacon.
- Tasted significantly better with the mashed potatoes
- Became softer in the mashed potatoes but not to an unacceptable soggy level
- A little bit too chewy, takes awhile to finish chewing when raw. Easier to chew with other foods.
- Packaging was a bag which was easy to take out what you want but harder to sprinkle easily on salads and such.
Final Rating: 3.75/5.00
Would order again? Maybe. The jerky background of this company certainly makes for a good texture, but it lacks in other areas.
Its Delish Imitation Bacon Bits
Its Delish’s Imitation Bacon Bits promise to be a perfect alternative for meat-free bacon flavor to a variety of dishes, like pizzas, guacamole, tacos, cookies and baked goods. It’s Delish’s Imitation Bacon Bits contain no MSG and are made from soy flour, which makes them a welcome addition to any vegan-friendly meal. Let’s taste these and see if it lives up to those bacon-like claims.
- Smelled pleasantly smokey
- Hard to touch, good crunch when eating
- Doesn’t feel meaty texture wise
- Good flavor, not too salty, almost bacon-like
- Stayed firm and crunchy in mashed potatoes
- Came in a 2 sided seasoning shaker
Final Rating: 3.75/5.00
Would order again? Yes. It’s not the top of the heap, but it’s all around good for a vegan bacon bit.
McCormick Culinary Bacon Flavored Bits
McCormick Culinary Bacon Flavored Bits, an imitation bacon product made from textured soy flour, has been put to the test. The product promises to imitate the taste and texture of real bacon in vegetarian dishes. But does it live up to its claims? Our taste test examines the product’s flavor, texture and overall quality, and whether it’s worth purchasing as a meat-free alternative for vegan bacon bit shoppers.
- Pleasant smoked smell
- Very crunchy
- Hard texture to touch
- Good salt hit, decent flavor mix that tastes like real bacon
- Unpleasant chemical after taste but not as bad as the other McCormick offering
- Softened up in mashed potatoes slightly
- Packaging in typical 2 sided seasoning shaker
Final Rating: 3.13/5.00
Would order again? Nope. Bacon-like and edible but there are certainly better options out there. Slightly better than the other McCormick offering in terms of a less fake taste, but not by much and that is a very low bar to beat.
Mr. Tortilla’s Crunchy Vegan Bake’n
Mr. Tortilla’s new plant-based bacon bits, known as Crunchy Vegan Bake’n, have recently hit the market in 2022, claiming to provide a delicious bacon-like flavor to any dish. Each 4 oz shaker of Crunchy Vegan Bake’n is said to contain crunchy, savory, and smokey bits, and boasts being plant-based, having 2 net carbs per serving, 0 cholesterol and lower sodium levels than traditional bacon. In this taste test, we will be thoroughly examining the taste and texture of Mr. Tortilla’s Crunchy Vegan Bake’n, and comparing it to traditional bacon, as well as other plant-based bacon alternatives. Let’s see if this one holds up to the bold bacon flavor claims.
- Very crunchy.
- Smells like smoked candy bacon.
- Bland taste that doesn’t deliver.
- Hints of dog food with bread crumbs.
- Softens up in the mashed potatoes but maintained a fairly good crunch.
- Tasted slightly better in the mashed potatoes.
- Packaging was useful as a shaker with 2 different options to disperse the bits.
Final Rating: 2.25/5.00
Would order again? Nope. This stuff is basically dog food, don’t buy it unless you are desperate for something crunchy.
McCormick Bac’n Pieces Bacon Flavored Bits
McCormick Bac’n Pieces Bacon Flavored Bits are made from flavored textured soy flour that imitates the flavor and texture of real bacon bits. They may work as a topping for a baked potato or a salad, but in terms of delivering that delicious meaty bacon taste that we all crave, do these bits fall short or hit the mark? Let’s find out.
- Mildly smoked smell
- Hard to touch
- Solid crunchy texture
- Very bad plastic taste from start to finish
- Salty, decent bacon flavoring mix but the after taste is very unpleasant and potent
- Softened up in the mashed potatoes a bit too much
- Chemical cardboard bits
- Packaging was a 2 sided seasoning shaker
Final Rating: 2.13/5.00
Would order again? Never again. Delivers a chemical cardboard after taste that wouldn’t quit. It is very confusing why it is so highly regarded on Amazon with what appears to be real customers.
Purchase Options (If you must.. ?)
Other Ones To Consider That We Couldn’t Test
At the time of this writing these were out of reach or out of stock. If you see any in-stock, they are worth considering for your own taste test!
- Organic Matters – Vegan Bacon Bits
- Betty Crocker Baco’s Bacon Flavor Bits
- Hoosier Hill Farm Seasoned Soy Protein Bacon Bits
- Pimp My Salad Coconut Vegan Bacon Bits
- Great Value: Imitation Bacon Bits
- Frontier Co-Op Bac’Uns Vegetarian Bits
When it comes to vegan bacon you will find main ingredients like textured soy protein, coconut, mushrooms, tempeh, legumes, and seitan. For taste and color, they add natural flavors, seasonings, and spices to mimic the look and taste of traditional bacon. Some of these include liquid smoke, soy sauce, sugar, Red 40, caramel color, turmeric, paprika, garlic and onion powder to name a few.
As for how you can use vegan bacon bits, the possibilities are pretty much endless. They can be used as a topping for salads, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, pasta dishes, and even pizzas. Some brands even suggest using them in sweet dishes like cookies and baked goods.
The short answer is no, not really. They may have a smoky or salty flavor that is reminiscent of bacon, but the texture and overall taste will not be the same as traditional bacon. However, some brands are able to replicate the flavor and texture quite well and can be a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
About This Taste Test
We have been an avid reader of Consumer Reports, Cook’s Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen and Wirecutter when it comes to evaluating products to purchase. One thing that is that is clear among these publications is that they are bias towards their own preferneces which is part of the lure. And we are no different, but we want to give all the photos, notes and data in case you have unique or different desires. The extra information included in this post will hopefully help those who are looking for something more specific to their tastes that do not align with my own.
Final Thoughts & Lessons Learned
After conducting this thorough taste test of 9 different brands of vegan bacon bits, we have to say, it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Some of the options left a bad taste in our mouth (literally and figuratively), while some were surprisingly delicious. Overall, it’s clear that the market for vegan bacon bits is still a work in progress. But, there is hope.
First off, let me say that if you’re looking for a bacon-flavored product that closely mimics the taste and texture of real bacon, you’re probably going to be disappointed. That being said, there were a few brands that stood out for their unique and satisfying flavors. Brands like Badia delivered on big bacon flavor and crunch. Madly Hadley Organic Coconut Bacon & Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits were also a great option because of how unique they were compared to normal bacon bits, they both a unique bacon-like flavor and were versatile to use in many dishes.
While the search for the perfect vegan bacon bit may be ongoing, there are definitely some options out there that are worth trying. And remember, even if you don’t find the perfect vegan bacon bit, at least you will be following a vegan diet.
- Quick Taste Test Summary
- Our Taste Test Approach
The Best Vegan Bacon Bits We Tested (Best to Worst)
- Badia Bacon Bits Imitation
- Madly Hadley Organic Coconut Bacon
- Cool Foods Veggie Bacon Bits
- All Y’alls Foods Vegan Bacon Bits
- Louisville Vegan Jerky Bacon Bits Vegan Toppins’
- Its Delish Imitation Bacon Bits
- McCormick Culinary Bacon Flavored Bits
- Mr. Tortilla’s Crunchy Vegan Bake’n
- McCormick Bac’n Pieces Bacon Flavored Bits
- Other Ones To Consider That We Couldn’t Test
- About This Taste Test
- Final Thoughts & Lessons Learned