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Learn how to make tempeh at home with just 3 ingredients! Homemade tempeh is easy to make and tastes so much better than the store-bought. Follow this step-by-step recipe to make tempeh in the Instant Pot!

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

📘 What is Tempeh

Tempeh is an Indonesian food prepared from fermented soybeans. As opposed to tofu, tempeh is prepared from whole soybeans that are bound together by a white mold growing between each bean.

Tempeh is high in protein, healthy, and versatile!

⭐️ Why Make You Should Make Your Own Tempeh

If you have never made your own tempeh, you should definitely try! It’s not as complicated as it seems and requires very little active time. Plus, it tastes so much better than store-bought (no bitterness or aftertaste)! It’s also budget-friendly and makes a fun experiment!

Instant Pot Benefits

Making tempeh in the Instant Pot is not only easier, but it’s also quicker. Obviously, it still requires several hours to incubate, but the pressure cooker simplifies the whole process.

So, what are the advantages of making tempeh in the Instant Pot?

  • You don’t have to soak the beans! Just rinse and pressure cook.
  • Beans cook a lot faster and require less attention. This is the main advantage to me, I used to cook beans on the stovetop, and it took over 1 hour and constant attention, checking from time to time to see if there was still enough water or if the beans were not overcooked.
  • No oven is required for the incubation step. Yes, you read right! Thanks to the yogurt mode of the Instant Pot, the tempeh is at the perfect temperature, meaning the mold develops well. I used to incubate tempeh in my oven, meaning I couldn’t use it for 48H. Not good when you have a cookie craving…Problem solved with the Instant Pot!

Ready to make your own tempeh? Let’s do it!

🥣 How to Make Tempeh

You will only need 3 ingredients:

  • Soybeans – Preferably non-GMO soybeans. I personally went with peeled split soybeans here.
  • Tempeh starter – It is sold as a powder, and a little goes a long way! Tempeh starter will keep in the fridge for years. You can order tempeh starter online.
  • White vinegar – Regular white vinegar or rice vinegar either will work.

1. Cooking the Soybeans

Start by pressure-cooking the soybeans for 40 minutes. No soaking is needed. Just rinse the beans, cover them with water, and pressure cook in the Instant Pot.

To speed up the process even more, I used peeled split soybeans. They don’t only cook faster, but they also do not require peeling, which is usually the most time-consuming step when making tempeh from whole soybeans. If you can’t find split and peeled soybeans, there is an extra step you will have to do. Check out the recipe notes.

Once your soybeans are cooked and soft, the next step is to pat them dry. This step is essential as the mold won’t grow well if there is too much moisture. I usually spread the beans on a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then top with another kitchen towel and press slightly to absorb excess moisture.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

Next, stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar. The vinegar will lower the PH and prevent bad mold from growing. Sprinkle the tempeh starter and mix well to coat the soybeans before transferring them to freezer bags.

Tip: Make sure to pack the soybeans well in the freezer bags, you don’t want too much space between each soybean.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

2. Incubating

To incubate, we will use the Instant Pot’s yogurt mode! Pour 1 cup of water into the liner, add the steamer rack, and place the soybean bags on the steamer so they don’t touch the water.

Set the Instant Pot on yogurt mode and let it do its magic! After 16 hours, you can turn it off and let it incubate for another 24 hours. You don’t need the Instant Pot to generate heat anymore, as the mold will start to generate its own. It’s actually funny how the tempeh is still warm after 24 hours!

You will start to see white mold growing after about 18-20 hours (2 hours after you turn off the yogurt mode), and it will fully cover the beans after about 40 hours.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

Finally, when your tempeh loaves are firm and completely white, transfer to the refrigerator and use them as you wish!

This recipe yields two tempeh loaves of about 13 ounces. If you like tempeh as much as I do, it won’t last long. Otherwise, it freezes very well and will keep for months in the freezer. For those of you who eat soy-free, check out my chickpea tempeh recipe. The base is basically the same.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

🌯 Where to Use Tempeh

Tempeh is super versatile and can be used:

  • Sautéed: You can marinate diced or sliced tempeh in your favorite marinade and then sauté in a skillet until golden brown. Then, it can be added to vegetable stir-fries, noodles, or soups like this Tempeh Khao Soi. It’s also delicious in sandwiches or in wraps.
  • Fried: Tempeh can be deep-fried for a crispy texture.
  • Grilled: Tempeh is also perfect for grilling! It holds up well on the grill and can be charred. These Sesame & Peanut Tempeh Skewers are one of my favorites!


Can I make this recipe without an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can cook the soybeans in a regular pressure cooker and incubate the tempeh in a warm place, like an oven, with the light on.

Which temperature works best for incubating the tempeh?

85°F (30°C) is the recommended temperature for good mold growth.

Can I make tempeh with other beans?

Yes, you can use black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and more!

My tempeh still has no white mold after 24 hours. Is this normal?

Yes, you need to be patient. It can take up to 72 hours before the tempeh is ready.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

📔 More Tempeh Recipes

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Note: This post is not sponsored, I just really enjoy cooking with the Instant Pot. This post contains affiliate links though. I earn a small commission if you order through one of these links. It helps support this blog and keeps the recipes coming.

How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot
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How to Make Tempeh in an Instant Pot

How to Make Tempeh in the Instant Pot

4.71 from 47 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Easily make your own tempeh in an Instant Pot! No other equipment is required. It's cheaper and tastes a lot better than store-bought tempeh!
Prep Time : 45 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour
Incubation Time : 2 days
Total Time : 2 days 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 2 Loafs of tempeh
Calories 192 kcal




  • Rinse the soybeans under cold water. Transfer to the Instant Pot liner. Cover with the water and close the lid. Set the valve to "Sealing."
  • Pressure cook for 40 minutes and let the pressure release naturally (about 25 minutes). Once there is no more pressure, open the Instant Pot and drain the cooked soybeans.
  • Transfer the cooked soybeans to a clean kitchen towel and let dry for 20 minutes. The soybeans should not be wet. If they still appear too wet, top them with another clean kitchen towel and press a bit to absorb excess water.
  • Transfer the soybeans to a large mixing bowl. Add the rice vinegar and stir using a wooden spoon. Sprinkle the tempeh starter and stir again until well combined.
  • Take two freezer bags and pierce them using a fork or a chopstick at 1-inch intervals. Divide the soybeans into the freezer bags and pack them well. Then fold the rest of the bag over the soybeans to keep it tight.
  • Wash the Instant Pot liner. Place 1 cup of water in the bottom and top with the steam rack. Place the two tempeh loaves on the steamer. Cover with a glass lid (or use the Instant Pot lid if you don't have a large glass lid).
  • Press the Yogurt button 3 times to set it to "Less" mode. Set the timer for 16 hours.
  • After 16 hours, turn off the Instant Pot. You should start to see some white mold appearing. Remove the excess water from the lid using a paper towel. Place the lid back into place and let the tempeh incubate for another 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, the tempeh should be fully covered with white mold and bind the soybeans together into a firm cake. You can now place it in the refrigerator and use as you wish!
  • Tempeh will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.


If you can’t find split and peeled soybeans: Soak the whole soybeans overnight. The next morning, rinse and place in a large bowl. Cover with water. Using your hands, massage the beans to remove the hulls. Hulls will float on top, remove them using a colander and discard them. Then you can cook the soybeans and follow the recipe.


Serving: 100 g (3.5 ounces) | Calories: 192 kcal | Carbohydrates: 14 g | Protein: 21 g | Fat: 5.2 g | Fiber: 7 g
Course : Entree
Cuisine : Asian, Indonesian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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Hi! I have an instant pot but mine does my have the yogurt setting. What can I do instead?

Hi Thomas,
Could I use my dehydrator? My Instant Pot doesn’t have yogurt setting either. If so what temperature should I set it at?


I have a box style dehydrator but I haven’t tried to incubate tempeh in it. I’ve read several articles showing people doing this successfully but I know the lowest temp mine can be set to is 95 degrees F and I’m concerned that the warm circulating air will dry the tempeh out.

Perhaps I need to try making a batch in mine to see what results I get.

Yes mine too lowest setting is 95 degF. I wonder about putting a rimmed baking dish filled with hot water would be of help. We shall both have to try. I just need to find some tempeh starter as it seems to be hard to find here where I live, even online (out of stock or doesn’t send internationally).

5 stars
Puis-je cuire le soja avec mon appareil à vapeur ?
Est-ce qu’il faut percer des trous dans le sac congélation, pour que le tempeh respire ?
Merci beaucoup pour votre réponse. 🙋😀

5 stars
I am so excited to see your recipes for tempeh!!!! Thank you so much.

Love this and love Instant Pots! I would never have thought of making tempeh in it. You have totally inspired me to have a go!

5 stars
Great recipe! I make lots of tempeh at home too. One further time saving step…. You can freeze the bags of tempeh after adding the mold. Then when you want to continue and complete the process just take the bags from the freezer and into the instant pot. Once they thaw they will start to grow the mold.

5 stars
Hi! Great recipe!
What do you mean with “incubate for another 24 hours”? Does it mean repeat the process with the yogurt settings, keep warm settinn or just leaving in the pot to rest?

Oops I screwed that up because I didn’t understand it correctly either. I turned it back on but it’s been off for almost a whole day. We shall see.

5 stars
So nice article, glad to read this post, thanks so much!

Where do you get the peeled and split soybeans? Also, where do you get the tempeh starter?

You can buy peeled and split soybeans on EBAY. They are twice as expensive as regular dried siybeans so what is your time worth.

Do you have the valve in the sealed or venting position when in yogurt mode?

I’m not sure how old this comment is but it depends on your model. One of the models (and I honestly can’t remember which) requires the instant pot lid. Others with the yogurt setting let you use any glass lid that fits. If your instant pot requires the lid, it simply won’t allow you to use the yogurt setting without it.

I get a lot of condensation on the inside of the bags holding the soybeans. I’m pretty new to Instant Pots, but I made sure to choose the “less yogurt” setting, only difference is my pot didn’t let me start until the lid was in the locked position. Is there an overwrite setting you use so yours lets you use a different lid that might result in a less steamy pot interior?

I get a fair amount of condensation on the lids of the 3 cup Sterilite containers I use but it doesn’t seem to hamper the tempeh being produced. The beans have been dried by dumping them on paper towels in a rimmed half-sheet tray and moved around. Lining the rimmed half-sheet tray with a kitchen towels also does well for drying the beans but doesn’t change the amount of condensation being generated.

5 stars
I thought the Instant pot yoghurt function is too warm (about 40 degrees C) for making tempeh (sbout 30 fegrees C) … Do different models of Instant Pot have different temperature settings for yoghurt?

Thanks Thomas. I have failed 3 times (once with adzuku beans that were clearly too cooked… twice with soy beans that perhaps had too much hull). No mold started forming.

I will try once more with more careful bean preparation, with half the portion in my oven (the thaw function holds 30 degrees) and half in my Instant Pot.

I know the “cake” must not be too thick. But what do you think is the minimum thickness that will work?

5 stars
Thanks, Thomas! I think the current batch is going to work!

I did a very careful preparation of the beans … it took me more than an hour to de-hull and split, but I listened to the radio and enjoyed it … I am sure I will get faster as I get practice

I also used the oven to help me dry the beans better after cooking.

After 15 hours incubation, nothing seemed to be happening. So I gave it another 10 hours (in all 25), and the mold seemed to be developing beautifully in the packet which had started in the IP (the one that I had had in the oven for the first 15 hours got really weird looking … fuzzy in patches … I threw it out)

Now the probably-successful loaf will get 12-15 more hours with no heat input. (I have it on my kitchen counter with a tea cozy covering it because I can’t get the IP temperature low enough).

I will let you know how it goes.

I found that the yogurt function holds about 33.5 degrees centigrade … which is about as perfect as you can get. So I have learned to trust in you ;o) … If this trial fails, I will be even more careful to follow your instructions exactly.

It worked! It worked! Delicious result.

I am going to try it with different ingredients such as adzuki beans and split peas and black beans and, yes, maybe chickpeas. Thank you!

What size freezer bags did you use?

Do you poke holes in the freezer bags to let the tempeh breathe? I make tempeh with my dehydrator and that has always been the technique but I’d like to try making it in my instant pot on yogurt mode like you show here. Thanks.

Can you use cheesecloth or something non plastic?


I found these aluminum bread pans on Amazon –

For a lid I used aluminum foil and made a tight seal. I used a bamboo skewer to poke a hole every inch. My temperature probe showed the black bean tempeh never went over 100 degrees F during the 36 incubation process.

You can see pictures of the Adzuki bean tempeh made in plastic containers and black bean tempeh here –

5 stars
Thank you, I was hoping a way to do this would come along!

Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Made it this weekend and it turned out great

This is genius!! I love tempeh and have been wanting to make my own, but the oven method seems like such a commitment so I haven’t tried yet…

I tried this recipe the other day (well, still mid-process). Not sure it’s going to work or if it’ll be safe to eat, maybe you can help. I followed the instructions pretty carefully but I had to hull them myself (I live in the UK and can’t find any presplit, prehulled soybeans) so not sure about the measurements. I measured 2 cups dry but obviously they expanded a lot when soaked. So I increased the vinegar and starter a bit each, by about 25% (1/4 tbsp extra vinegar, 1/4 top extra starter). Followed directions about drying beans, etc and put in bags in instant pot on low yogurt setting for 16 hours. At the end of the time I thought maybe there was a slight bit of mold starting so I went ahead and turned it off. Checked on it again after prob 20 hours and barely any mold at all. And I felt it and the bags were cold! So I turned it back on low yogurt setting and it’s been on nearly 12 hours and it actually is looking pretty good now but still needs more mold to grow. Do you think I should just leave it on thr low yogurt setting until it’s fully done? And do you think any harm has been done by letting it cool down and not continue to culture for 20 hours? Any idea why it didn’t generate any heat of its own? Every single hull from the beans was removed, I was very careful and it took me 2+ hours! Thanks in advance.

Ah, thank you! I left it on the low yogurt setting for probably about 24 hours and then took it out and put it in the fridge. But now that I think about it, I’m sure it would have grown more mold if I left it turned off for another 12 hours or so. The cake is pretty well bound together but there’s not a whole lot of mold on it. I guess I’ll know for next time! Is it normal for it to be very strong, stronger than store-bought tempeh?

Thanks for your tips!

Can you stack the tempeh on top of each other in Instant Pot? Or are they need to be on the rack directly?

I have several Instant Pots, so I used the rack from my 3 qt. IP on top of the first layer of bagged beans, then put a second layer of bags on top of the first layer.The beans in both layers fermented well.

1 star
What a disaster. I had to soak and hull the two cups of soybeans, which took 12 hours to soak and 2.5 hours of constant work to hull. I reduced the cooking time in the Instant Pot to 20 minutes since they had been soaked and released the pressure after 15 minutes, figuring that they didn’t need any additional cooking. They were mashed. I continued to mix in the vinegar and starter because I’d already wasted over three hours and have it in the Instant Pot now to ferment, but I can’t imagine that I’m going to do anything but throw the bags out after 24 hours. All this with “new crop” non-GMO soybeans that I paid quite a bit to have shipped to me.

I’m on the second attempt now. Dehulling the soybeans went a little easier when, on another recommendation, I used a potato masher. I brought the split beans to a boil and cooked them only 25 minutes or on the hard side of al dente. They stayed coherent as I dried them and are now in the Instant Pot. Believe me, I want this to work; the closest store that carries tempeh is about 90 miles away.

If you have a food processor with a plastic dough blade, you can put the soaked soybeans in there with water up to the fill line and blend for 30sec-1min and this will split the soybeans and seperate most of the hulls. depending on how many cups of beans you’re making& the capacity of your food processor, you may have to do this twice. you only need about 90% of them dehuleld. You’re able to drain the beans and skim off most of the hulls with a seive and then after you cook the beans the remaining hulls will rise to the surface and you can grab em.

Great to see that someone else has put the instant pot to use making tempeh, I’ve been doing this for about a year.

I use the “jiu niang” setting on the instant pot, which maybe is the same thing as what people are calling “low yogurt”. I put it on the yogurt setting and then hit adjust until the screen says “24:00”. This setting is for a Chinese fermented rice dish and is a lower temperature than yogurt, it happens to be exactly the temperature needed for tempeh. I don’t think it’s necessary to reduce the time to 16 hours because the temperature sensor should sense that the tempeh is generating its own heat and will stop heating.

I bought the steamer basket set from instant pot. It allows me to stack a couple of layers.

Re: removing the hulls. I would recommend only spending about 15-20 minutes doing this, it’s not necessary to get all of the hulls off, it’s easy to get obsessed and keep going and going. Finally, if you do soak ahead of time and remove the hulls, then you only need about 15 minutes of cooking and then about 10 minutes waiting before releasing the pressure.

I’ve taken to drying the beans by spreading them out on a cookie tray and putting them in the oven on the convection setting at the lowest temperature (170F) for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway.

Hi Thomas, Thank you for this inspirational idea! Where do you recommend purchasing non gmo organic soya beans? Thanks, Lee

I’m so excited to try this recipe! I was wondering if using something besides plastic bags would work due to not loving the idea of cooking things in plastic. Cheesecloth maybe?

Where did you find split dehulled soybeans?

Hi Thomas. Thanks for this post! I’m really excited to try it out. I have a question about the glass lid. Does it matter to choose a lid with a steam hole or without one?….

Thanks Thomas! My tempeh come out great! I used whole soybeans that I soaked overnight before cooking them in the instant pot as you suggested and used a glass lid I had from another pot. Can’t wait to make some tempeh bacon!

5 stars
thanks, Thomas! I’m gonna get going with it. My scratch homemade soy yogurt, soy milk, and tofu is so very much better than anything I can buy, I’m gonna head off into this new area. Will update you when the results come in! Thanks for the support! Best, Jim B.

4 stars
it has been almost 37 hrs one in my oven in a cake containee with the oven lite on and one in my instapot which incubated on yougurt setting it has now been39 hrs the one in the instapot has “few” white patches the one in the oven more white patches did i do something wrong with the instapot serving???

4 stars
it has been over 40 hrs in my instapot the yogurt setting was placeed on for approx 12hrs and it has been off since sat 9am now sun 12noon and only a few white patches?did i mess up my batch?

Howdy! Well done post! AND, a treasure trove for my next step in “the process.” I’ve been making soy milk for years. Last year, after reading up about soy yogurt, I began making my own using my Instant Pot, a half cup of soy beans, filtered water, and a half teaspoon of probiotics. Mainstreamers warned of illness and misery. Hmmm. Nope, didn’t happen. The results are delicious and healthy. For less than fifty cents, I get almost a half gallon of liquid soy yogurt! Over a year later, all is wonderful!

So, now, on to tempeh. Again, those mainstreamers, when discussing tempeh, bemoan certain illness or worse if the tempeh isn’t Pasteurized. I doubt it, but wanted to get your take on that, since you’ve been at this a while and seem very much healthy and alive. I’m thinking that using the cleanest practices that I use for making soy yogurt, should be just fine with tempeh… what say you?

Healthy whole foods, prepared in simple, clean manners, can’t help but continue to yield more healthy whole foods… or so it seems to me. Thirty years of sprouting and all I get is healthier! Thanks for your great post and support for real nutrition for real people. – Jim B

I wonder if parchment paper would work with rubber bands to secure it?

I tried using banana leaves and they just fell apart, making a mess of my counter. I’m really hoping cheesecloth will work, as I hate using plastic bags.

I had thought of trying cheesecloth and wrapping the beans up to look like sausage rolls. I had even considered a fine wire mesh kitchen strainer, or even a colander but it proved difficult to find something small enough to fit in the Instant Pot. As you can see from my other comments I settled on using 3 cup Sterlite containers and have found great success. The exterior of my tempeh looks different but that’s to be expected when using a container rather than a plastic bag.

Would this mesh container work? I use my instant pot too and tried with a mesh colander balanced on top, but would rather have something that fits inside.

Would it work with apple cider vinegar?

I’ve used rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar all with good results. I would add that I used distilled vinegar, not the raw apple cider vinegar.

What instant pot time and settings would you recommend for soaked (split and peeled) beans? I like to soak legumes over night to reduce the bloating etc..

do you use the same cook time if you soak the beans over night?

This is awesome ! I already have the Instant Pot and was tempted to buy a Power Fermenter by Kuvings to do my own tempeh, but I’m gonna try this way first.

I was wondering if you found a way of doing it plastic free ?

Today is the first day I have tried tempeh. I am using French lentils hemp seed and brown sesame seeds. Initially I had tried putting it in the dehydrator but I felt it was getting too warm cuz the temperature was reading 98 Degrees so I switched to the instapot at the less setting of on yogurt. Just wanted to verify I don’t need to pressurize the system I can just leave it open to the air. Very grateful for the information and the discussion.