How To Make Seitan: An Illustrated Guide

Now if you really wanted to be a Level 5 hardcore vegan (or just don’t have access to vital wheat gluten/gluten flour) you would make seitan using the flour + rinsing method. This involves rinsing wheat flour until all the starch dissolves and you’re left with only the gluten part of the flour, but really, who has that much time? I certainly don’t and while I’ll probably try it once just for curiosities sake and to see if it tastes different, the more common (and much easier) method below works just fine and has tasted great for all of my seitan needs.

Anyway! A friend asked me to do a post about how to make seitan, so here it is! Saying as most peoples’ reactions to any mention of seitan is “sei-what?!” it seems like a pretty good idea. For the uninformed, seitan is a fake meat made from the protein part (gluten) of wheat flour. The first time I ever made seitan was probably in the form of the infamous chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. Pretty sure I made that recipe every week for a long time, nommm.

As pictured above, all you really need is some vital wheat gluten and your veg broth and seasonings of choice. You need to simmer it for an hour, but it literally just needs to sit there during that time, so you can do whatever else you want while it simmers. Vital wheat gluten usually comes in a bag that looks like this and can be found in most natural food stores or ordered online:

In my case above are a saucepan full of veg broth with a soy sauce, garlic powder, olive oil and nutritional yeast. I use the “Simple Seitan” recipe from Veganomicon, but you can pick a recipe easily by just Googling “how to make seitan” are trying to use slightly different ingredients out of your cupboard. I’ve included the recipe off the PPK’s website, which is only different because it adds lemon juice and has a slightly different broth mixture, but it’s by the same author. Use what works for you! I’ve made a ton of varieties that include everything from tomato paste to vegan Worcestershire sauce, go crazy!

Simple Seitan

from the PPK websitef

– 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
– 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
– 1/2 cup cold vegetable broth
– 1/4 cup soy sauce

– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic (minced fine or use garlic powder)

For the simmering broth:

– 4 cups vegetable broth
– 4 cups water
– 1/4 cup soy sauce

The first thing you want to do is prepare your broth and pour it in a big saucepan. What I do next is mix the wet and dry ingredients separately as shown, taking 1/2 cup of my saucepan broth for the wet ingredients mix:

Then you pour the wet into the dry and stir, at first it will look clumpy like this:

But after a while, it’ll look more like this, and then you start with the kneading.

Knead for about 3 minutes by hand. I do this part on the kitchen counter. This allows the gluten strands to form, which creates the texture of the seitan. After you’ve kneaded, break the seitan into 3 pieces, like so:

Then knead each piece by hand to flatten it out a bit and make it bigger. It should be pretty elastic, so it will tend to just spring back to it’s original position, but eventually you’ll get something like this:

Take your three pieces and put them in your veggie broth. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on the lowest setting for an hour. You want to make sure to catch the seitan AS SOON AS it boils, or else you’ll end up with a yucky rubbery mess. Nothing to stress over, just make sure you watch the mixture and lower the temp to a simmer as soon as it starts to boil. Happy seitan simmering away…

It will puff up and get bigger and start to look like this. Don’t worry, that’s normal.

After the hour, turn off the heat and let everything sit in the saucepan for 15 minutes. Then drain and let sit in the colander until it’s hot enough to touch. You’ll want to reserve the liquid for storage purposes, so pour most of it into a container first before draining. The drained seitan will look as so:

The finished product…and a cross section!

It might not look pretty, but think of it as a vessel for many culinary possibilities! If you don’t use all the seitan right away, put it into a container and cover it with the leftover broth. It should keep in the fridge for a week, though I’ve definitely kept mine in there for 10 days with no problem. Seitan ready for storage and extra reserved broth:

If my broth tastes good (this time I used some vegan chicken broth powder I made myself = yes), you can save it and use it for soups!

Now what to do with your wheat meat?! I often fry mine up with some olive oil and Italian seasonings. You can put it on top of pizza or spaghetti like this. In fact, I literally just ate some of this very batch as such!

However, my favorite creation with seitan thus far as been BBQ seitan, which I put on top of nachos with Daiya vegan cheddar! Sooooooooooo effing good! I even finagled my own BBQ sauce, which was really easy and came out orgasmically! But that’s for another post…

Some recipes I’ve used or would like to use involving vital wheat gluten:

Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon
Seitan Chops Smothered in Apples and Ginger from the PPK
Homemade Sausages from Vegan Dad
Veggie Lunch Meat from Vegan Dad
Yummiest Seitan Ever! (Baked)

Like this post and want more illustrated, step-by-step seitan recipes on your smartphone or tablet? Try the Vegan Nom Noms Cook App: How to Make Seitan Issue available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. 

Included are 10 detailed recipes visualizing how to make seitan cutlets, sausages, soup, salad, stroganoff, tacos and more with a photo for each step plus more then you ever wanted to know about seitan! Download now for free to preview, access to the recipes for life costs only $1.99!


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  1. Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it

    btw, bird nest (www.geocities.jp/hongkong_bird_nest/index_e.htm) is made up of about 58% soluable proteins…the highest amoung all food and even synetic protein powders

    it greatly increase tissue regeneration

    Teresa / Reply
  2. That’s such a helpful post! I have contemplated making my own seitan for a while, so thank you for taking the time to write this x

    Idun / Reply
  3. Wow, looks wicked cool! I’m one of the sei-what? crowd, but will definitely have to try this out someday soon!

    Linus / Reply
  4. I’m not hardcore enough for this. I’m too lazy of a vegan, haha. But it’s good to know how to make it!

    By the way, thanks for following The Vegan ABC’s. I’ll be sure to reciprocate. :D

    Lori / Reply
  5. This looks pretty good…I might try it. Check this out, Nicole: http://seitanickitchens.wordpress.com/ This is my friend’s business.

    Johanna / Reply
  6. Awesomes! I just googled “making seitan” and you were the second entry. Fame and Glory, baby!

    Gulliver / Reply
  7. @Gulliver – I’m really surprised at how popular this post has become!

    Nicole / Reply
  8. Is water taken from room temp to boil with seitan dough in it or is water near boil when you add?

    kazankota / Reply
  9. @kazankota

    It’s pretty forgiving either way honestly. The only thing that you don’t want to do is boil it a long time. It’s usually just slightly warm from making the broth or room temperature. You want to bring it to a boil with the seitan in there, but then immediately turn it to the lowest setting, cover and let it simmer. You can also bring it to a boil, put in the seitan and then immediately turn it down. Does that make sense?

    Nicole / Reply
  10. Ahhhhh, thank you so much! It kills me that seitan is soo expensive in the shops and it is so easy to make! Never again will I buy it pre-packaged!Cheers! X

    Anonymous / Reply
  11. Your recipe is the best on the net! Thank you soo much….I’m embarrassed though, as a decade long vegetarian, this is the first time I’ve attempted to make my own seitan. Your recipe, my Dear…is fool-proof. We are so happy! No more store bought seitan at those ridiculous prices! Cheers to you! xx

    “Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile….”

    Estimated Eyes / Reply
  12. @Estimated Eyes – Thanks so much for the compliment! I’m happy you like the recipe! :-)

    Nicole / Reply
  13. I’ve played with Seitan and have found a perfect recipe;

    Dry:
    1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
    1/4 cup Plain Flour
    1 tbsp Dry Oregano
    1 tbsp Garlic Powder
    1 tbsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Smoked Paprika
    1 tsp Table Salt

    Wet:
    3/4 cup Cold Water
    2 tbsp Peanut Oil (or other oil)
    1 tbsp Peanut Butter + 1 tbsp Miso Paste mixed into paste with 1/4 cup boiling water

    Mix wet ingredients in a jug (wet measuring cup). Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Form a dough.

    Kneed for 3-5 minutes. Leave for 10 minutes. Form a square loaf 1 inch thick. Cut into 4 mini-loafs.

    Bring 1 pint/500ml of vegetable stock to a boil. Add each of the mini-loafs to the water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn over the mini-loafs and simmer for another 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile heat the oven to 180C/360F. Remove the boiled mini-loafs and lightly drain, then bake on an oiled baking tray from 30 minutes, turning half way through.

    Cool mini-loafs and treat as you would cooked meat in wraps, pasta, salads and stir fry.

    Enjoy

    Adey / Reply
  14. @Adey – Peanut butter and miso paste…genius! Two things I rather quite enjoy, thanks for sharing! On my list of recipes to try!

    Nicole / Reply
  15. @Nicole – Its 1000ml not 500ml of vegetable stock – my bad. Enjoy!

    All ingredients can be halved.

    Adey / Reply
  16. what is the recipe for the BBQ sauce?

    Ang / Reply
  17. @Ang – Oh wow, let me try to remember, it was a mixture of ketchup, smoked salt, brown sugar and whatever spices sound good to you (onion powder, garlic powder, etc.). Maybe some apple cider vinegar too. I didn’t measure anything, just added ingredients slowly until it tasted right, but maybe I should put a BBQ sauce recipe up here one of these days?!

    Nicole / Reply
  18. […] I really like that clear veggie broth you get with vegetable soup from a Japanese restaurant, but could never figure out how to make something like that. I’ve tried with veggie bouillon, but always found the flavor too strong for this situation and it was the wrong color anyway. How do they do it, I wondered!??! I decided to try just using no bouillon. I put some water, chopped leeks, garlic, onions, carrots and broccoli in a pot, simmered for 10 minutes, added noodles, then added salt, garlic powder and soy sauce and topped it with scallions and fried seitan. […]

  19. […] If you cannot find a healthy meat substitute you could make your own using wheat gluten, or Seitan. Check out this recipe. […]

  20. I have used this recipe many times, always turns out great. Thank you for sharing!

    holly / Reply
  21. Hey, Was just wondering if you or anyone knew what would happen if i didnt add the nutritional yeast? is it there for nutrition or texture or what?

    Thanks! =)

    Tommyp_33 / Reply
  22. […] course, if this is too much you can always just make it with wheat gluten instead. See How to Make Seitan: An llustrated Guide for more info and instructions! Alternatively, you can check out my How to Make Seitan App, which […]

  23. I have gluten issues. Is there a suitable substitute for the vital wheat gluten flour? Thank you.

    April / Reply

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