These vegan burgers are simply amazing: meaty, soft, juicy, and high in protein! You will never believe these are vegan! With over 55 five-star ratings, this is one of our most popular burger recipe, and there is a reason why!
Friends, I just made the most amazing vegan burgers ever.
Seriously, I tried a lot of different veggie burgers and while most of them were delicious, they were always lacking that meaty texture. These vegan burgers have an incredibly meaty texture and are soft and juicy!
A quick note before starting, if you are looking for a burger that contains only whole foods I would recommend checking these Smoky Tempeh Burgers, which are still a favorite here. This recipe makes use of textured vegetable protein (TVP) and wheat gluten so it's not soy or gluten-free. However, the texture and flavor of these burgers is incredible, plus they are very high in protein!
⭐️ Why You Will Love this Recipe
- Incredibly meaty: The combination of textured vegetable protein with vital wheat gluten creates the perfect combination of chewiness and meatiness.
- Moist and tender: Say goodbye to dry vegan burgers, these are rich and moist!
- Easy to prepare: Just 8 ingredients + spices are required. The process is as simply as processing everything together, shaping into patties, and cooking!
- High-protein: With over 38g of protein per serving, these are on-par with real burgers!
- The reviews speak for themselves: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from over 55 ratings! Justin said: "These are Delish! Thanks for the recipe! One of the best veggie burger recipes I have tried!
🍔 How to Make Meaty Vegan Burgers
Let's take a look at the ingredients needed to prepare these burgers:
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein): This makes the base of the burgers and gives them a meaty and chewy texture. If you have never heard of TVP, also called soy protein, it's basically chunks made from soy flour. It's a dehydrated product that can be found in different sizes (from small bits to large chunks) and needs to be rehydrated in hot water before using. It's high in protein, low in fat and usually pretty cheap. You can now find TVP made from pea instead of soy!
- Vital Wheat Gluten: Gluten helps bind the burgers together and creates a slightly stretchy texture. Vital wheat gluten is also very high in protein.
- Cooked Beans: These add moisture and makes the burgers softer. I went with red kidney beans but white navy beans or black beans will work too. Without the addition of beans, the burgers tend to be a bit dry and not as tender.
- Tomato Paste: In addition to adding flavor, it also adds color.
- Nutritional Yeast: We are not using it to add a cheesy flavor here, but to give it a more savory, deeper flavor.
- Soy Sauce: Instead of using plain salt, soy sauce adds the saltiness + extra flavor.
- Maple Syrup: Optional but recommended. Don't worry, maple syrup won't make the burgers taste sweet!
- Oil: I found that without the additional oil the burgers didn't have the richness of traditional burgers and were a bit drier. If you are avoiding oil, feel free to omit or replace it with a nut butter like almond butter for example.
- Spices: Cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic, onion. We don't want our to be burgers bland, so spices come to the rescue!
Preparing the Mixture
It starts with the TVP that is rehydrated in boiling water for about 10 minutes. I recommend using small TVP crumbles as I found out they yield the best texture.
Next, combine the cooked beans with the tomato paste, spices, and other liquid ingredients and process in a food processor until almost smooth, it's okay if there are still some visible bean pieces. Then add the rehydrated TVP and process for another 7-10 seconds or until it looks like bolognese sauce. You want the TVP to be finely chopped but not in a purée, otherwise, you will loose the texture.
At this point the mixture will be very liquid, it's okay. You can then transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the vital wheat gluten. It will almost instantly thicken the mixture and you should get a soft dough. Knead for 2 minutes and form three patties.
Cooking the Burgers
Once you have shaped the mixture into 3-4 patties depending on the size you want, wrap them individually in parchment paper, and then in aluminum foil. The final step is to steam the burgers for about one and a half hour. You can use a simple pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. A quick tip: wrap the burgers very tightly, the texture will be better.
After steaming, remove the burger from the foil and parchment paper and let it cool at least 10 minutes. You can now cook the burgers in a skillet or grill, or let them marinate in your favorite marinade for extra flavor. Letting the burgers marinade makes them juicier and even more flavorful, but if you are short on time feel free to cook them the same day.
While optional, I highly recommend marinating the burgers overnight, or for at least 4 hours. To do so, combine water, soy sauce, sriracha, and toasted sesame oil in a small container. Next, place the burgers in the marinade and flip them once to coat. Let marinate overnight.
This extra step not only adds extra flavor and saltiness, but also makes them juicier.
- Can I substitute the red kidney beans? You can substitute red beans with adzuki, white beans, or black beans.
- Can I substitute or omit the vital wheat gluten? Unfortunately no, vital wheat gluten is essential to add the meatiness and hold the burgers together.
- Which type of TVP works best for this recipe? TVP comes in many different shapes, for the best result, use the very small chunks, sometimes sold as "crumbles" like this Textured Vegetable Protein.
- How long can I keep these burgers? Burgers will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Can I grill these burgers? Yes! These burgers are perfect for grilling!
Serve the burgers topped with sriracha mayo and soy sauce glazed mushrooms, plus some salad leaves. Or, you can serve the burgers without the buns, with some grains and vegetables on the side for a complete meal.
If you are looking for burgers that have the same meaty texture as the real ones you definitely have to try this recipe!
📔 More High-Protein Vegan Recipes
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
High-Protein Vegan Burgers (The Best Vegan Burgers!)
- 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- ½ cup cooked red kidney beans
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon each: paprika, ground chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon liquid smoke
- ¼ cup water (or beetroot juice)
- ½ cup vital wheat gluten
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the textured vegetable protein and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Drain the TVP and rinse it a couple of times. Squeeze the TVP with your hands to remove the excess moisture.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the cooked beans, oil, maple syrup, tomato paste, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, spices, liquid smoke, and water. Process for 10-20 seconds, scraping down the sides if needed and process again until it forms a purée. It doesn't have to be completely smooth.
- Add the rehydrated TVP and process for 7-10 seconds, or until the TVP is very finely chopped, the mixture should look like bolognese sauce. You don't want to have big chunks of TVP otherwise the burgers won't hold together well.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Mix using a wooden first, and then knead with your hands for 2-3 minutes to develop the gluten. The mixture should be soft and have a slight elasticity.
- Divide the mixture into 3 and form patties. Carefully wrap each burger in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped burgers in a pressure cooker (you can stack them) and pressure cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can use a stovetop pressure cooker or an Instant Pot.
- Once cooked, unwrap the burgers and let cool 10 minutes. You can now pan-fry the burgers in a little bit of oil until golden brown on each side.
- Burgers will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. They will harden a bit in the fridge but will soften once heated.
Thomas, have you tried substituting the vital wheat gluten? Also, what do I do if I don't have a high-pressure cooker? 🙂 And finally, have you tried BBQing these after they are cooked? Thanks SO much!!! Greetings from Canada!
I'm afraid there is no substitute for the vital wheat gluten here, it's a key ingredient to get the proper texture. Regarding the high-pressure cooker, I assume you could wrap them with an additional layer of aluminum foil and bake in a 300°F oven for about 2 hours. I have never tried though. Thanks! 🙂
I tried in the oven at 300 for 2 hours and it worked well!!!
You can also not wrap them and steam them in a bamboo or vegetable steamer. They come out a bit softer but taste and texture wise work well.
After reading all of the comments I assume that a high pressure cooker gives the best resul. But I don't have such a cooker so I like to try the vegetable steamer first. My question is about the time of steaming. How many minutes do I have to steam the burgers?
Wouldn't you be able to cook these for less time in an IP? I've never cooked anything in the IP for more than 40 minutes.
Mark, I’ve made these a couple times and always do 40 minutes and they are fully cooked. One hour & 20 minutes is not necessary. I also make other seitan dishes and cook for 40 minutes also.
Do you release pressure immediately after the 40 min?
Hi, do you fully submerse them in water? or use the steamer dish with an inch of water?
Hello Aliña, you can steam the patties the same way as many Chinese Dim Sum or Latin American Tamales in a large potted steamer. A pressure cooker isn't necessary it merely shortens the cooking time by about half. As for the vital gluten, being gluten intolerant myself, I have found alternatives such as Guar Gum and or Xanthum Gum. As of late there are other new alternatives becoming available. Cheers from Spain!
I make big rolls of meat in the oven using the parchment paper and foil concept and it works great but I only cook them for one hour and 30 minutes and they are big logs of plant based meat meat using gluten flour as well. If you bake them for too long they’ll get very hard so I will check them in an hour.
Get a pressure cooker. If you have points on a credit card, you can use them. Otherwise, holidays and sales are coming. I didn't want to get one but for making seitan, it's fantastic and fast! You won't regret it.
I LOVE your recipes! Is there something i can replace the TVP with?
Hi Jac, thanks! 😉 I'm afraid you can't replace the TVP, it's the main ingredient and it plays a big role in the texture of the burgers.
What about using mushrooms or bulgur wheat.
You will not get the same meaty texture I'm afraid.
You can replace the soy-base TVP with dehydrated pea protein crumbles. Works almost exactly the same.
I've used mushroom duxelles in the past with great results. Also there is a similar product to tvp made of pea protein. If neither suits your needs you could also try wheat berries or cooked barley for their chewy texture.
What is the pea protein product? Tganjs!
Not sure when you asked your question as I see no dates, but Bob's Red Mill sells pea powder and you can buy it at GNC stores (along with many other protein powders like whey, egg, plant, collagen).
I'm trying them with Soy Curls. I think Soy Curls have a better flavor and are less sweet than the TVP I've gotten.
They are cooking in the oven as we "speak". So I will soon be able to tell you about both things.
I'll tell you one thing...they smelled great as I was mixing them! I added a clove or 2 of garlic. Well, why not!? 🙂
I use Soy Curls, by Butler foods. I chop them up in the food processor after hydrating. Much better taste than TVP, which I find sweet.
I love! this recipe!
I do not have a pressure cooker or instant pot. Any suggestions how to make these burgers with out?
These sound amazing.
Hi Thomas. I would also appreciate advice for those of us who don't have a pressure cooker or an instant pot. Thanks, Peter
I would try to wrap them with an additional layer of aluminum foil and bake in a 300°F oven for about 2 hours. I have never tried though so if you do, let me know how it goes!
Would it work if we cook it sous-vide?
I have never tried so I cannot say.
I baked them per these instructions and they came out good. They were soft and juicy and texture was good. I cooked them after in a cast iron and it gave it that “charred” taste also
Many thanks for this recipe it looks amazing !
One question, why do you have to steam the burgers ? (not the case of the smoky tempeh burgers)
You have to steam the burgers to cook the seitan as it always has to be cooked. Steaming the burgers changes their texture and they hold better.
Ok !! It is my first try with Seitan I usually prefer tempeh or tofu in recipies but I need one to convince meat-eaters and your high protein vegan burger seams perfect for that !! Thanks !!
Do you marinate the burgers before or after steaming? Also, do you think the burgers (after steaming) could be frozen and then defrosted/grilled later? Thanks!
I marinate the burgers after steaming. I haven't tried it yet but I believe these burgers will freeze very well!
Wow, I have been waiting for a recipe like this! THANK YOU Thomas! Thank you for being detailed with every ingredient, that was perfect information.
I had one question, I have both a steamer and a regular pressure cooker. If I use the pressure cooker, I am assuming I need to put a little bit of water inside of it. How much water should I add in the regular (not an instant pot) pressure cooker?
Have a wonderful day!
Thanks for your message and kind words!
That is correct, you need to add water in the bottom of the pot, then add the basket and put the burgers inside it. I have a regular size pressure cooker and usually add about 2.5-3 cups of water.
You might need more or less depending on the size of your pressure cooker. If you are still not sure, I would recommend steaming for 40 minutes, then turn off the heat, release the steam and open to check if there is still enough water left. If it's okay then put the lid back and pressure cook for another 40 minutes.
I added two cups of water to my breville electric
Pressure cooker, stacked burgers on insert tray then pressured cooked at medium pressure 50 for the 1.5 hrs. Turned out great!
1 hr 20 I meant!
Thanks so much Justin....you answered my question. New to meat free/dairy free....AND brand new pressure cooker. I’m making these today and you saved me. 🙂
Hi Jan! No worries! Let us know how they turn out!
Thanks for the feedback Justin 🙂
Hi Thomas! These are Delish! Thanks for the
Recipe! One of the best veggie burger recipes I have tried!
I didn’t do the marinade, however.
I found they lacked seasoning, so I probably would
Double the spices plus add salt and pepper! ( guessing fe marinade would solve this too!6
Thanks Thomas! Great recipe!
So glad to hear you liked the burgers Justin 🙂
Chiming in again to say how good these are!
I’d recommend making a double batch.
To the person who asked about subbing TVP— I was thinking maybe 2 cups brown rice?
They firm up in fridge (as Thomas) says— so I think they would bbq well!
These remind me (of what I think the Beyond Burgers would taste like—although I have not tried them)
😉 Thanks again Justin! It would be interesting to try using brown rice but honestly, I highly doubt it will yield the same "meaty" texture. TVP is really a key ingredient here.
Justin, the taste of these is MUCH better than the Beyond Burger. Not that they are bad; but I found the BBs to be very, very oily, so much so that it grossed me out.
Another hit recipe, Thomas! You're one of my all time favorite food bloggers because the quality of your recipes never disappoints! The beautiful photos don't hurt either 😉
I'm glad to hear you liked the burgers Hannah! Thanks for the kind words and rating!
The taste of these burgers was better than any other vegan burger I've ever had. Utterly delicious. However, I had problems with the consistency of the product. Mine turned out quite wet; it was impossible to shape them by hand. I had to drop the mixture on the parchment paper before cooking in the pressure cooker. When the patties had finished cooking, they were still so wet, they wouldn't hold their shape. I ended up putting them in a tortilla wrap. I'm not sure what went wrong; it was an extremely humid day here when I made these, so perhaps that was a factor. It's also quite possible I made a mistake somewhere in the process, although I do try to follow recipes (and amounts) to a T. I will certainly try making these again, just because they tasted so good. I would give this recipe 5 stars if it weren't for the problem with the texture/wetness of the burger.
Thanks Carol, glad to hear you like the flavor!
Humm, weird...that never happened to me. I doubt it is because of a humid day though. Did you drain the TVP well? Maybe next time try to drain it, let it cool a bit and then press with a kitchen paper towel to absorb excess moisture. The burgers should hold their shape very well after steaming. Hope it will turn out better for you next time!
Hi Thomas, thanks for another amazing recipe!
I have a pressure cooker without the basket and a bamboo steamer, any chance I could use the latter instead of the pressure cooker? If so, I'm guessing the times should change?
Thanks again for sharing great vegan recipes!
I think you could use the bamboo steamer but you might have to increase a bit the cooking time. I haven't tried though so I can't give you an exact duration, sorry!
That's ok. Thanks anyways and I'll let you know how it goes with the bamboo steamer.
I'm lost already and I'm only on the first step! My package of TVP says one serving equals one cup, and that is supposed to weigh 30g. I measured it out and it's true. 80g was well over 2 cups. How do you get your one cup of TVP to weigh 80g? Is that the weight after you reconstitute it with water?
Looks like a great burger though- can't wait to try it!
That is weird, what kind of TVP are you using? There are different sizes of TVP, you need to get the very small ones. I recommend Bob Red Mill's TVP (which is about 90g per cup). Or, use the one you have but weight at 80g and don't measure it using a cup. Then process a bit longer to get smaller pieces. By the way, it's dry weight.
Are you pressure steaming in the pressure cooker or just steaming? I don't own a pressure cooker, I just use a my rice cooker to steam. 1.5 hours seems like a long time for pressure steaming. When I steam (not pressure steam) seitan I usually steam between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours, depending on how thick the pieces of seitan are.
If you are pressure steaming for 1.5 hours I'm guessing I will need to regular steam them for even longer.
I had the same question as Ryan. I just borrowed san old-fashioned stove top pressure cooker from a friend and on the handle there is a list of how long it takes to cook various food items. It states 35 minutes for a pot roast. I'm curious why it would take 1 hour and 20 minutes for the veggie burgers?
This is not a "pot roast". Vital wheat gluten takes a long time to cook, especially if you don't want to have a gummy texture.
Excellent recipe considering its high protein content.
I did my first trial but something went wrong. I used soj granulat (is it a TVP???) which is already in small pieces. And I did not have wheat gluten either so I used wheat flour. The "dough" was not dry enough even though I used too much flour. So I kept adding and ended up something like dough patty :))
Is wheat gluten a better binder? Can I stick with soj granulat?
All the best!
I have never heard of "soj granulat" but I'm assuming it's TVP. It should be made of soy flour and look like dry pieces. Wheat flour is not a substitute for vital wheat gluten, that is why the recipe didn't work for you. Vital wheat gluten not only adds a meaty texture, but it also binds ingredients a lot better than regular flour. Let me know if you try this again!
Thank you for this AMAZING recipe, made them as a test tonight run for a bbq I'm having Saturday night and really want to wow our guests with delicious vegan food! The texture is insanely good, so similar to meat (from what I recall). For people asking, who don't have a pressure cooker, I steamed them wrapped just in tinfoil and ommited the baking paper. I don't have a steamer so I just used a large pot, made 3 rin foil balls and put a plate on top of the tin foil balls with water at the bottom (not getting to the top of the plate). I only steamed for about 40 mins (which is the time I steam all of my setain wheat meat). Then put them in the fridge for 10 mins and grilled on the bbq! They turned our PERFECTLY!!
38g of protein per burger! That is amazing na don par with meat. Just what I need for meat-free gains! Will definitely be adding this to my meal prep
Yes, vegan gains 😉 Let me know if you try this recipe!
I just made and the mixture seemed really wet but I went ahead anyways.. Steamed for the 1hour 20 mins... They are still just mush! Did you squeeze all the water out of the tvp before adding to the rest of the ingredients? I didn't but thinking maybe I should have..
This is weird, yes you should squeeze out the water, but honestly, it doesn't make that much of a difference in the end. Did you use vital wheat gluten?
I had commented before about the same issue. I tried making the recipe a second time and cutting down on the liquid, but it still doesn't turn out right. I don't know why I get the mushy texture. I probably won't try it again. I'm sad I can't get it to work out. Yes, I do use vital wheat gluten.
This is really weird as I make this one regularly and never had that kind of problem. I'm sorry to hear you have trouble with this recipe. My guess would be that maybe not all TVP and/or gluten brands absorb the same amount of water.
Be sure to weigh out 80g of vital wheat gluten as the 1/2 cp measurement can be off.
My husband and I had the same issue. The burgers were soft in texture and fell apart on the first bite. We also didn’t put them in the frig to firm up and cooked them immediately. We have 2 burgers from the same batch in the freezer and cannot wait to find out if they will produce a different result once we have the opportunity to cook them. We also steamed the burgers on the stove but didn’t double wrap in foil. We used the Bob’s Mill TVP. I will check back in to let you know because the flavor is amazing.
Can I just put a pot over some boiling water and steam that way if I have none of the other options? Would I still steam for same amount of time?
I'm afraid doing this will would make the burgers too soft and moist.
Ok so I am not vegan or even vegetarian... however I’m a huge foodie and love to try out vegan recipes. For those of you wondering... I made these and baked in the oven at 300 for 2 hours instead of steaming. And it worked perfectly! I did have to add a little extra vital wheat gluten to my mixture but that’s fine... Grilled them afterwards in a cast iron grill pan on the stove with steak seasoning and A1 sauce brushed over. Topped with a jalapeño cheese, sriracha mayo with lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a toasted bun! So so good... I fed them to a group of meat eaters and they didn’t realise they were not beef until I told them halfway through eating it! Of course once you know, you can kind of tell but hardly... will make again and again, and keep some in freezer for when my vegetarian/vegan friends come over! Thank you!
I'm glad to hear you found a way to cook the burgers without steaming!
Thanks so much for your feedback and the little story Aubrie 😉
This looks delicious and I would like to know if there is a paper/aluminium foil free alternative? Trying to cut down waste. Thank you!
You may try baking the burgers at 150°C for 1h30 in the oven, this way you won't need aluminum foil. I haven't tried it yet but I think it should work.
Question for you: what’s the purpose of wrapping the burger in parchment and aluminum? Can that be done differently?
I love these!! I do make a few modifications. I make beans I cook myself which are already seasoned. I also add about half the amount of water and 50% more vital wheat gluten. I think the TVP I buy is much finer and I have a realllllllly hard time draining it, so my patties end up super wet. I add about 50% more seasoning than the recipe calls for.
I've also been experimenting with baking these since my first attempt in the rice cooker didn't go so well. I did 450 for 40 minutes with some patties in foil and some without. The naked patties were a teensy bit overdone by 40 minutes, and the ones in foil I left for an additional 30 minutes at 350 and then turned out great. I think 325 for 1 hour not in foil is the sweet spot.
Thanks so much for your great feedback Megan!
Yes, there are so many brands of TVP that not all of them have the same size or absorb the same amount of water.
Thanks for sharing your baking technique 🙂
I tried these, followed the directions exactly. After frying them all I could really taste was liquid smoke and wheat. I see potential and I will probably try them again sometime but I'll tweek them for my taste.
Sorry to hear it didn't work well for you! I'm surprised you tasted the wheat, I assume it's because they were not fully cooked. Did you steam them prior to frying?
Regarding the liquid smoke, it seems some brands are stronger than others so you might have to adjust the amount.
Cooking is Peace
Could you use a sous vide instead on a pressure cooker/steamer? What temperature should they be at?
I have honestly no idea! I'm not familiar with sous vide cooking methods, sorry.
Well I don't know what went wrong but mine did not firm up...they had the same texture as when I put them in the instant pot...very, very mushy. I even squeezed the water out of the TVP. Any ideas what went wrong?
I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you. I have absolutely no idea what happened, did you use vital wheat gluten?
Try adding a little bit more of the wheat gluten. I also added some breadcrumbs like Panko. Since I didn’t steamed them right away I had to live there make sure in the refrigerator for a day and that also help them become firmer. I hope it helps
i love how you keep on experimenting 🙂 i do not own a pressure cooker. i always use some kind of steaming inlay (don´t know how it is called in english - this one https://www.pearl.de/a-NC3106-3010.shtml - and wrap the dough in parchent paper, hold by rubber bands). important is: keeping the dough together (by wrapping in something, pref. non-stick, and let it cool down before the final processing step. if you steam it "naked" it turns out slimey and the moisture is not evenly spreaded inside the dough.
for substitution: have you tried "pea-protex" or sunflower protein? both are tvp which taste great and make a nice texture. for soy and wheat avoiders: you could try lupine flour or pea flour which are also rich in protein but will loosen up the final texture. i am experimenting with bamboo fibers as well, we will see 😉
yes, ve gan 😀
love from germany, caro
Thanks for sharing Caro!
I have never tried pea protex and had no idea TVP was also available in soy-free versions! Interesting!
Defintly the best vegan burgers I ever made. I tried trillions of recipes, the idea of combining soy granules with shredded beans plus gluten is as simple as it's stunning. As many if you stated before: I doubled the spices and quadrupled the liquid smoke. The texture is amazing, thank you so so much for this idea!
Glad the recipe worked for your Hanna! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback!
So far my favorite vegan burger recipe. When I saw the list of ingredients and the process I knew this was going to be a great one. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much Bert 😉
This is hands down the best flavor, texture and appearance in a veggie burger I've ever experienced. Its so savory and satisfying to eat. I used the oven method (at 275 degrees for two hours, with parchment lining a baking dish, and foil on top.) They turned out perfect.
Thanks so much for your feedback Shannon! 🙂