Can You Freeze Tempeh?


Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is a great replacement for meat. Though it is made from soybeans, it is not the same as tofu. 

Tofu is made from ground up soybean curds and then pressed into a block; whereas tempeh is made and fermented before being pressed into a block. The fermentation process is what gives tempeh most of its flavor. 

Tempeh has an earthy taste to it. It is much stronger than tofu and is chewy. Your tempeh can taste a bit nutty and have hints of mushroom-like flavors throughout the brick. 

You can typically find tempeh at most stores and can even make your own. 

Whether you’ve made your own tempeh or purchased it in the store, can you make it last longer? Can you freeze your tempeh and extend its shelf-life? 

Is it best in the fridge? Is there a proper way to store tempeh so it will last? 

Since tempeh is made from beans and fermented, it will continue to slowly ferment after it sits. The longer it ferments the richer flavor you will have. However, since the fermentation process is always slowly happening, it is best to consume the tempeh within a week. 

It will last in your fridge for up to seven days. If you want it to last a bit longer, you can wrap it in wax paper and place it in your freezer for up to three months. It is best to wrap your tempeh in wax paper or parchment paper as it allows the tempeh to “breathe.” 

So if you want to have your tempeh a few months from now you can freeze it to keep it good for longer. In the rest of this article I will go into more detail about tempeh and important information that you should know. 

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How Do You Defrost Tempeh? 

If you have placed your tempeh in the freezer to last longer, is there a proper way to defrost it? Since the tempeh is always slowly fermenting, is there a right or wrong way to defrost it? 

You can defrost your tempeh in two different ways. You can either pull out the package from the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight, or you can steam it. Steaming tempeh is the best way to defrost it. 

Steam the tempeh on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. You can also steam it covered in the microwave for about one minute on high. 

What Is Tempeh And How Do You Eat It? 

Tempeh is often a food that is overshadowed since tempeh is very similar to tofu. If you are avoiding meat and needing a good source of protein, tempeh can provide you with many of your daily nutritional requirements. 

What exactly is tempeh and how do you eat it?

Tempeh is made from soybeans, whole grains, and occasionally has flavor added to it too. The soybeans are cooked, fermented, and packed into a brick-like cake. If you are allergic to soy, there are other options of tempeh that can be made from various legumes, whole grains, or hemp protein. 

In one serving of tempeh, you can get 16 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 10% of your iron intake, and 0 grams of sugar. 

You can use tempeh as a replacement for bacon and ground beef. You can cook tempeh to serve as its own dish too. 

It’s best to cut your tempeh into long strips when cooking so it heats evenly. You can also add flavor and marinate your tempeh before cooking if there’s time. 

You can also substitute tempeh for croutons in your salad for some low-carb, high-protein croutons. 

How Do You Know If Tempeh Has Gone Bad? 

Tempeh is a great substitute for meat, but it pretty much always looks like it’s already gone bad. This meat substitute can be hard to tell if it is still okay to eat or not. 

How do you know if your tempeh has gone bad? 

The best way to tell if your tempeh has gone bad is by its smell. Tempeh that has gone bad will smell very strongly of ammonia or alcohol. You can also tell if tempeh has gone bad by its texture. When it begins to become mushy or crumbly, that’s how you know your tempeh is bad. 

The gray and black spots on tempeh are expected and safe, but when green fuzz begins to appear, it is no longer safe to eat. 

Tempeh is usually covered with a white mold, which is actually considered healthy and okay to eat. When the mold begins to change from white to gray and then black, it is still considered safe to eat. 

The sign you should check for is the smell. 

If your tempeh looks okay but smells bad, throw it out. Your tempeh should have a nutty/earthy smell. If it’s rotten it will smell strongly of ammonia alcohol. The minute your tempeh begins to smell, throw it out. 

Can You Eat Tempeh Raw? 

Since the soybeans are already cooked before packing them into a block, can you eat tempeh raw? Does the fermentation process make tempeh unsafe to eat? 

Is it better to eat tempeh raw or cooked? Does cooking tempeh take away some of its health benefits? 

You can eat tempeh raw as long as it has been pasteurized. Most tempeh that you purchase in the store will have been pasteurized and is safe to eat. However, if you plan on making your own tempeh, be sure to cook your tempeh before eating. 

Never cook your tempeh to 115ºF or over. If your tempeh reaches this temperature, it will kill off some of the healthy probiotics that you receive from eating tempeh. 

Can You Reheat Cooked Tempeh? 

If you have already enjoyed a lovely dinner with tempeh, are you able to reheat the leftovers? Will it affect the texture and hurt the probiotics in the tempeh? 

You can reheat leftover tempeh. If you have already cooked tempeh, you can store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. You can reheat it by placing it in the microwave or by warming it up in a pan. 

It won’t affect any of the probiotics in the tempeh unless the temperature rises above 115ºF. Your leftover tempeh is good in the fridge for up to seven days. 

Final Thoughts

Tempeh can be frozen for up to three months and last in your fridge for up to a week. If you are unsure if your tempeh is still any good, use the smell test. 

If it smells like ammonia or alcohol, it’s time to get some more tempeh and get rid of what you have. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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