This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Wondering what to do with leftover soybean pulp? Make your own okara tempeh! This homemade tempeh is high in protein, has no bitterness, and can be used in countless ways!

Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • A great way to use leftover soybean pulp. If you are looking for a waste-free recipe, I’ve got you covered with this okara tempeh. It uses the soybean pulp left after making homemade soy milk. Do not trash the pulp anymore, use it to make delicious tempeh!
  • High in protein. This tempeh is naturally high in protein, thanks to the high-protein content of soybeans.
  • Great taste. Okara tempeh is one of the best tempeh I have ever had! It has no bitterness, a smooth texture, and a delicate mushroom flavor. It’s definitely a must-try!
  • Versatile. Use it as a base for plant-based burgers, bolognese, or vegan meatballs. It can also be marinated and pan-fried.

📘 What is Okara

Okara is the pulp left after straining homemade plant-based milk, whether it is almond milk, soy milk, or any other nut or seed milk. While this pulp can be used in baking, it can also be used in savory recipes. Introducing okara tempeh!

🫛 Ingredient Notes

Here are the ingredients that you will need to make this okara tempeh:

  • Soybean pulp – Use the pulp left after straining homemade soy milk. Be aware that for the best results, I highly recommend using the pulp leftover after making soy milk, not other types of plant-based milk.
  • Tempeh starter – Sold in powdered form, tempeh starter is essential to make tempeh, just like cultures are vital to produce yogurt. You can get your tempeh starter here or here.
  • White vinegar – The addition of white vinegar helps lower the PH, preventing bad mold from growing.
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

🥣 How to Make It

Prepare the tempeh

  1. Dry the okara. Once your soy milk has been strained, spread the leftover pulp on a baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel to let the pulp dry. Let it dry for about one hour at room temperature.
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk
  1. Combine with vinegar. Once the okara has dried a bit, transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the white vinegar and stir well to combine.
  2. Sprinkle the tempeh starter. Add the tempeh starter to the bowl and stir again to combine.
  3. Prick a freezer bag. Prick a freezer bag with a fork or toothpick to make 8-10 holes. This will allow the tempeh to “breathe,” letting the mold grow better.
  4. Transfer the okara. Add the okara mixture to the freezer bag and pack it tightly into a loaf of about 1-inch thickness. I usually fill half of the bag and fold it in half.
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

Incubate it

  1. Set up the Instant Pot. Add about 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot liner. Place the loaf on top of the steam rack, ensuring it doesn’t touch the water. Close the Instant Pot with the lid.
  2. Turn it on. Set the Instant Pot on yogurt mode “Less” for 20 hours.
  3. Incubate. After about 20 hours, if you look closely, you should see some white mold starting to form. That’s a good sign! Use a paper kitchen towel to remove the excess condensation on the lid and on the bag. Close the Instant Pot with the lid again and leave it inside for another 15-20 hours. The mold will keep growing.
  4. Remove from the bag. After about 35 hours, your tempeh should be completely covered with white mold and hold together like a brick. The tempeh is now ready to use!

Note: I usually leave the tempeh loaf in the Instant Pot for 20 hours with yogurt mode ON, then another 15-20 hours with the Instant Pot turned off. Finally, I transfer the tempeh to a warm room or next to a radiator until firm, usually another 10 hours.

📔 Tips

  • Use a good-quality tempeh starter. For optimal results, use a good quality starter. Stay away from the cheap ones. One more thing: ensure that your starter is not expired.
  • Be patient. Let the tempeh incubate until it is completely covered with white mold. Otherwise, it will not hold together well and might crumble. Don’t be impatient! If incubated for at least 48 hours, your tempeh should be perfectly sliceable and will not crumble, even less than regular tempeh!
  • Remove the condensation. If you see too many water droplets in the Instant Pot, use a clean kitchen paper towel to wipe it.
  • If your kitchen is cold, leave the Instant Pot in yogurt mode for 30 to 40 hours. Do not turn it off after just 20 hours.
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

🍛 How to Use It

You can use okara tempeh the same way you would use regular tempeh. Here are a few ideas on how to use okara tempeh:

  • Burgers: Tempeh makes a good base for homemade burger patties. You can also use it in Bao buns, like these Saté Bao with Kale Pesto, in place of the tofu.
  • Sauté: Cut into thick slices or cubes and marinate. Then, pan-fry for a few minutes on each side. Add the leftover marinade and cook for another few minutes to coat the tempeh with the sauce.
  • Crumble: Use it to prepare a plant-based bolognese sauce.
  • Add to curries: Add diced okara tempeh toward the end of cooking to curries or soups for extra protein.

❄️ Storing

  • To store: This okara tempeh will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze: Once the tempeh is completely cool, wrap it in cling film and transfer it to a freezer bag. It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

💬 FAQ

Can I use other types of okara (from almond milk, oat milk, etc.) to make this tempeh?

While I haven’t personally tried it yet, I doubt it will work, as other nuts or grains do not contain as much protein as soybeans. Rhizopus mold needs to digest protein and sugar to grow.

There is no sign of mold after 20 hours. What should I do?

Depending on the temperature, the mold might take longer to appear. Incubate your tempeh for another 24 hours in Yogurt mode. The mold should grow during that time.

Does this tempeh hold up well in soups and stews?

You can use this tempeh in soups, stews, and curries, but it must be added at the last minute. Otherwise, it will become soft and might fall apart.

I hope you will love this okara tempeh recipe! It is smooth with a very delicate flavor and no bitterness!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk
full of plants in envelope

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox! Plus, you will receive new recipes every week!

Save Recipe

I’d like to receive more tips & recipes from Full of Plants.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recipe
Okara Tempeh + Homemade Soy Milk

Okara Tempeh

4.88 from 8 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Wondering what to do with leftover soybean pulp? Make your own okara tempeh! This homemade tempeh is high in protein, has no bitterness, and can be used in countless ways!
Prep Time : 45 minutes
Incubation Time : 2 days
Total Time : 2 days 45 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 110 kcal

Ingredients
 

Okara Tempeh

  • 1 and 1/2 cups okara (leftover soybean pulp from making homemade soy milk)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp tempeh starter

Instructions
 

Okara Tempeh

  • Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. Spread out the the soybean pulp over the kitchen towel and let it dry for about 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Next, transfer the soybean pulp to a mixing bowl. Add the white vinegar and stir using a wooden spoon to combine. Sprinkle the tempeh starter and stir again.
  • Prick a small freezer bag with a thin fork (or toothpick) 8-10 times to create small holes in the plastic bag. Add the soybean mixture to the freezer bag and pack it tightly into a loaf of about 1-inch thickness. I usually just fill half of the bag and fold it in half.
  • Add about 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot liner. Place the loaf on top of the steam rack, making sure it doesn't touch the water. Close the Instant Pot with the lid.
  • Set on yogurt mode "Less" for 20 hours. After 20 hours, you should see some while mold. Use a paper kitchen towel to remove the excess condensation on the lid and on the bag. Close the Instant Pot with the lid again and leave it inside for another 15-20 hours. If your kitchen is cold, turn the Instant Pot on yogurt mode again.
  • Check again after that, the mold should have grown even more. At this point, if the loaf is firm and fully white, you can remove it from the plastic bag and use immediately, or keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your loaf is not fully covered with white mold, place it in a warm room or next to a heat source for another 10-15 hours, the mold will keep growing.
  • Use the tempeh in curries, burgers, stir-fries, etc!

Notes

  • Use a good-quality tempeh starter. For optimal results, use a good quality starter. Stay away from the cheap ones. One more thing: ensure that your starter is not expired.
  • Be patient. Let the tempeh incubate until it is completely covered with white mold. Otherwise, it will not hold together well and might crumble. Don’t be impatient! If incubated for at least 48 hours, your tempeh should be perfectly sliceable and will not crumble, even less than regular tempeh!
  • Remove the condensation. If you see too many water droplets in the Instant Pot, use a clean kitchen paper towel to wipe it.
  • If your kitchen is cold, leave the Instant Pot in yogurt mode for 30 to 40 hours. Do not turn it off after just 20 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 100 g | Calories: 110 kcal | Carbohydrates: 2 g | Protein: 11.5 g | Fat: 4 g | Fiber: 8 g
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Asian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
Share this recipe!

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.

Learn more ➜

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe




59 Comments

    1. You can use a dehydrator, yogurt maker, or place your tempeh near a heat source. It should incubate between 85-90°F.

      1. For my regular tempeh, I’m using the proofer that I got for my sourdough bread. My Cosori dehydrator doesn’t go low enough in temperature and would kill the tempeh spores. Your okara tempeh definitely sounds interesting. I just saw the addition of the peanuts too late, but will try that next time. I assume I can just use the okara as is with the vinegar & tempeh starter and it should work? I wondered whether to try this and I ran across your site. 🙂 Awesome!

  1. I have made my own soy milk for years. I only use organic soy beans to make it. I was wondering, do you think the okara from my recipe would work in making the tempeh? I tend to get tons of okara, so much that I can’t use it all. I’d love to find more uses for it.

  2. What do you do if you don’t have an InstantPot? Some of us just don’t have room for more kitchen equipment!

    1. You can use a dehydrator, yogurt maker, or place your tempeh near a heat source. Even an oven with the light turned on can work. The temperature should be between 85 and 90°F.

  3. Can you freeze the soy milk without it curdling? Also can you freeze the okara until you want to make tempeh? I have beans and need milk but I don’t have tempeh starter yet. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Thank you! After tasting this sort of tempeh in Bali I was very curious how to make it as I love fermented foods. When I tried mine didn’t work out, probably something went wrong with humidity levels or temperature. Can’t forget those delicious and fragrant stews and sautees, I will try the way you are recommending here 🙂

      1. Hi, Bali is part of tempehland of Indonesia. We are kind of no waste people.
        You could also simply bread it with flour, garlic powder, onion powder, green onion & chili slices + water, then fry. It’s usually the way the Indonesians cook it.

  5. I live in the tropics (Australia) where the daily maximum temperature is around 30C. I make my tempeh by incubating on the bench top! No need for a heat source! I can only make it like this in summer of course. I also freeze the cooked beans ( or Okara) with the inoculate. Then when I want tempeh I simply take it out of the freezer, perforate the freezer bag, and onto the bench.

  6. Bonsoir Thomas
    J’ai bien envie d’essayer de faire ta recette.
    Si tu as le temps, peux-tu me confirmer que le poids de soja est 200 grammes et le volume d’eau 1416 millilitres ?
    Je ne suis pas certaine de comprendre les mesures.
    Merci pour ta réponse.
    A bientôt.

    1. Bonsoir Karine,
      Tu peux changer les mesures en “metric” depuis la recette. Le soja est donc de 180g et 1.4L d’eau.

  7. 5 stars
    I didn’t like the taste of the milk at first, it was better after simmering the second time. I decided to make yogurt out of it and it was very good! The tempeh worked as well! Love the no waste aspect. thank you!!!!

    1. That’s the taste of real soy milk that hasn’t been processed 🙂 If you are used to commercial soy milk, the flavor is quite different I agree, they use several processes to remove the natural “beany” flavor.
      Glad to hear you liked the tempeh!

  8. I’m unclear about one thing. If you want to add sugar or the pandan leaves, are you supposed to drain in through the nut bag and then return it to the pot for a second boil? Or add them after 10 minutes, simmer again for 10 minutes and then strain?

    1. So regarding the sugar, you simply dissolve it into the milk after straining.
      For the pandan leaves, I usually boil them with the milk and pulp.

  9. Bonsoir Thomas,
    Je te remercie beaucoup d’avoir pris le temps de me répondre rapidement au sujet des poids et volume pour faire le lait de soja.
    J’ai mis le soja à tremper pour la nuit.
    Après, je fais ta recette de tempeh.
    A bientôt.

    1. Hi Huda,
      I replied to a similar question. So, you can use a dehydrator, yogurt maker, or place your tempeh near a heat source. It should incubate between 85-90°F. During the summer, just leaving it at room temperature works pretty well.

  10. I have been meaning to try making this for ages, but haven’t been able to find soybeans locally lately. It seems like it would make a great replacement for tuna in a tempeh tuna salad. Or a base for vegan gefilte fish!

  11. Hi Thomas, do you know the approximate quantity of okara this results in? I have a bunch in the freezer that I can thaw out to make the tempe, if I know how much I need! Thanks.

    1. Hi Beth, I haven’t measured the amount of okara after making the soy milk. I would say about 1 cup, maybe one and a half.

  12. 5 stars
    Thanks so much Thomas! I’m currently making a batch in the Instantpot (I dehulled that batch just in case but really happy it isn’t necessary) and it’s looking amazing! The homemade soya milk is delicious too! Very happy! Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes!

  13. First attempt was not a success 🙁 but I will try again! not sure what I did wrong but it could have been lots of things. I bought this starter https://shop.culturesforhealth.com/products/tempeh-starter and was confused how much to use, because they recommend a whole packet which is way more than 3/4 tsp. they also recommend 2 tbsps of vinegar rather than 1 tsp which is quite different. I wasn’t sure if my starter was diluted or what so I ended up splitting the difference and doing half a pack of the starter and like 1 tbsp vinegar. I put it in the oven with the light on and after a few days I had some white streaks but not the whole thing. I moved it closer to the oven light thinking it wasn’t hot enough. 4 days later the brick is still not fully white and I’ve decided to chuck it due to smell 🙁 It could have been the wrong ratio, not enough heat, too much heat, not enough ventilation…not sure

    1. Hi Kerrin,
      I would recommend following the recipe, not what’s written of the package 🙂 I buy mine from here, and the ingredients seem the same as the one you bought.

  14. 5 stars
    Soy milk turned out great! My tempeh never cultured so I bought an instant pot to try it once more. I’m about 36 hours into the process and I’m wondering what smell is normal for it? It’s not smelling fantastic but no discolored mold has showed up so it seems ok?

    1. Great! Be patient with the tempeh, it can take up to 3 days to be fully ready. The smell reminds me of camembert, a bit mushroomy.

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing. I make soy milk regularly and am trying to use okara to make tempeh for the first time. Hope to succeed with your tips.
    I also use okara in bread making, spicy burgers etc.
    Surinder Kaul

  16. Hi! I was wondering if it’s possible to make tempeh without the starter? Like you can do vinegar witouth the mother? It’s just that I live in Benin, Africa, so it’s almost impossible to find the starter here.
    Also, do you have a recipe for making tofu?
    Thank you 🙂
    Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I really doubt you can make tempeh without any starter. It’s probably possible to create the mold (Rhizopus oligosporus) but I am not familiar with the process, sorry.
      I don’t have any recipe for making tofu yet!

  17. Hi, Thomas,
    Great again! I have some okara flour I have occasionally used in baking. Can I use that to make tempeh, or maybe mix the okara flour with the homemade okara to make tempeh?

    1. Hi Jan,
      I have never used okara flour so I’m not really sure. I would guess okara flour is much dryer than fresh one, so it might not work as well.

  18. Is this the type of tempeh that would be close to what is sold in health food stores as “imitation chicken” or other meats?

    1. I’m afraid I have never seen tempeh sold as imitation chicken, what is the texture of this type of tempeh?

  19. 5 stars
    I really like the texture of Okara tempeh, it’s easier to handle compared to regular soy tempeh. Will be making this often, thank you!

  20. Your recipe looks really good. I want to do it. I never tasted tempeh, but I very tempted by your recipe, I have a lot of okara from making soy milk and tofu. But you said you cook the milk with the okara, it does not work well for me… is it ok if I cook the okara 3 minutes in the microwave and then do the tempeh? And I don’t add any sugar in my soy milk because I cook with it, will it change the taste or interfere in the process of making tempeh? Thank you so much.

    1. Yes, cooking it in the microwave for a few minutes should do it.
      There is no need for sugar to make tempeh, so you should be good!