Seitan is a protein-rich meat substitute originating from East Asian countries, gaining popularity in the West, especially among vegetarians and vegans.

Its unique chewy meat-like texture, neutral taste, high-protein content, and ability to absorb flavor make seitan ideal for creating vegan versions of classic meat dishes like schnitzels, stir-fries, cutlets, and more.

Making seitan at home is relatively easy, and with a few simple ingredients and a little patience, you can create one of the meatiest vegan dinners.

High protein seitan recipes

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Not suitable for gluten-free diets.

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What is Seitan?

Homemade seitan on a silver platter

Seitan (pronounced SAY-tan), also called wheat gluten or wheat meat, is a protein-rich plant food made from the gluten found in wheat flour.

Like our 30+ easy tofu recipes such as baked tofu, fried tofu, marinated tofu, and air fryer tofu, seitan is an excellent choice for those who want to eat a wholesome and nutritious diet with less meat.

Seitan originated in China and Japan, where it’s considered a traditional health food, and it has been used as a popular meat substitute since the 6th century.

Homemade seitan with sautèed mushrooms

You can find seitan in two main forms.

  1. In flour form, often called Vital Wheat Gluten.
  2. Ready-made in blocks, slices, nuggets, patties, and other shapes.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use Vital Wheat Gluten Flour to make seitan meat.

You’ll also learn how to transform this basic seitan recipe into delicious dishes such as vegan chicken with mushrooms, vegan chicken with lemon, and vegan schnitzel.

Ingredients & Substitutions for Seitan

Ingredients for homemade seitan

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Vital Wheat Gluten

Vital wheat gluten flour, sometimes called wheat gluten, is a flour you can find in some supermarkets, Asian stores, health stores, or online.

It’s made from gluten extracted from wheat flour and is the main ingredient used to make seitan dough at home.

Vegetable broth

You’ll need vegetable broth or a reduced-sodium vegetable broth to cook the seitan. Add a couple of bay leaves to the broth for extra flavor.

Substitute a bouillon cube for vegetable broth.

Firm Tofu or Legumes

Firm tofu or extra firm tofu helps with the texture and protein type we want in the final dish.

Substitute chickpeas, beans, or lentils, cooked or canned, for tofu.

Seasoning

Vital wheat gluten has no taste, so you can add any flavor you like.

We recommend:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce, tamari sauce, or liquid aminos
  • Salt and black pepper

You can also experiment by adding your favorite spices and herbs.

For example, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, rosemary, liquid smoke, etc.

Vegan schnitzel with ketchup and fresh lemon juice with hand holding a fork

How to Make Seitan

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Make the Seitan Dough

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

To a blender or food processor, add water, tofu, soy sauce, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onion, salt, and black pepper.

tofu, soy sauce and onion in a blender

Pour the liquid into a large bowl, add the vital wheat gluten, and mix with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until combined.

seitan batter with vital wheat gluten in a glass bowl

Transfer the seitan dough onto a work surface and knead for 5 minutes.

If the dough is too sticky, add some vital wheat gluten flour. You should get an elastic, compact dough that’s hard to tear apart.

hands kneading seitan on a kitchen top

2. Shape the Seitan Meat

Slice the dough into 8 pieces.

sliced seitan dough

Flatten each piece on the work surface with a rolling pin and arrange it on the prepared baking tray.

Dust with some wheat flour if the dough is too sticky. Reach your desired thickness. We like our seitan meat relatively thin at about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm in height.

Tip: Wheat gluten dough is very elastic and hard to flatten, but that’s normal. To make the process easier, flatten the pieces of dough a first time, wait 5 minutes to let the gluten relax, then flatten them a second time. You’ll get thinner and larger cutlets this way.

seitan meat before baking

3. Cook the Seitan Meat

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F or 180°C.

Seitan steaks on a baking tray

In the meantime, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot.

Add the baked seitan to the boiling broth, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Tip: if the seitan cutlets float on the surface of the broth, occasionally turn them and push them down to ensure even cooking.

seitan pieces cooking in a white pot

Turn the heat off and let the seitan cool down in the broth for about 1 hour.

Transfer the cutlets to a large container (or several small containers), cover them in broth, and let rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 6 days.

You can also freeze the cutlets without the broth for up to 3 months after the 8-hour rest in the fridge, which is essential for infusing the seitan with flavor.

Homemade seitan in a glass container

Now, you can cook the seitan as you prefer, as if it were meat. You can chop it up with scissors and use it in stir-fries or pan-fry it with some oil and your favorite sauce.

Keep scrolling for ideas.

Homemade seitan on a silver platter

Seitan Recipes Ideas

Vegan Chicken with Mushrooms

Take 4 cutlets seitan from their marinating broth, then coat them with 4 tablespoons all purpose flour.

Seitan steaks with flour and a hand

Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 cloves garlic (crushed) and 1 pound mushrooms (chopped) and sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until they lose most of their water.

Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Set aside in a bowl.

Fried white and portobello mushrooms

In the same pan, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil, add the seitan cutlets and cook them on each side for about 1.5 minutes or until golden.

Season each side with a pinch of salt and black pepper. 

Then, add ½ cup dry white wine, let it evaporate, then add ¾ cup vegetable broth.

Vegan chicken on a pan with salt and pepper

Add sautéed mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, turning the seitan once or twice until the broth is reduced into a creamy sauce.

Plate and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Vegan chicken with sautèed mushrooms

Vegan Chicken with Lemon

Seitan recipe with lemon in a silver skillet

Ingredients: in addition to 4 seitan cutlets, you’ll need about 4 tablespoons of flour to coat the seitan, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 cup of vegetable broth (or water), salt, and black pepper.

Instructions: coat the steaks with flour, then cook them on a pan, 1.5 min on each side, with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice, then some broth, and cook for 2 minutes until creamy.

Vegan schnitzel

Vegan schnitzel with ketchup and fresh lemon juice with hand holding a fork

This is probably the most indulgent way to eat vegan meat. It’s crisp, flavorful, and delicious with vegan mayo, ketchup, and fries.

Check out our recipe for vegan schnitzel.

Serving Suggestions

Tips

  • FLAVOR: The best way to flavor your vegan steaks is to add all the spices and flavorings to the blender with the wet ingredients and blend them until you get a flavored liquid.
  • GET BASICS RIGHT: Vegan meat is very easy to make when you get the basics right. But working with vital wheat gluten requires a little practice before you get the hang of it.

    The trickiest part is the ratio between liquids and the vital wheat gluten.

    So, follow our recipe first, get familiar with the texture of the “dough,” and then feel free to experiment on your own, adding your favorite spices.
  • TOFU OR LEGUMES: It’s important to add a legume or tofu to the vital wheat gluten to improve the protein profile of the steaks.
  • REST: to get the best meaty texture, let the plant-based steaks rest in their cooking broth overnight. They can be stored in the refrigerator in their broth for up to an entire week.

    Their texture and flavor will get better with time. So our advice is to prepare them in advance so that you can enjoy them throughout the week.
Homemade seitan on a silver platter

Questions

Is vital wheat gluten bad for you?

No evidence suggests that gluten is bad for you unless you are allergic to it.

Fake meats made with wheat gluten have been prepared this way in Asia for thousands of years and served to Buddhist monks who refused to eat animal flesh.

More recently, wheat gluten has become a staple in macrobiotic and vegan cuisines as a healthy replacement for meat.

What is the difference between wheat gluten and vital wheat gluten?

There is no difference between vital wheat gluten and wheat gluten. They refer to the same ingredient: a flour-like powder made from the extraction of the wheat protein gluten from flour and the exclusion of starch.

Where do I find wheat gluten in the supermarket?

You can find wheat gluten in your supermarket’s health foods section or the baking section.

You can always get it online if your local grocery store doesn’t sell wheat gluten.

Homemade seitan with sautèed mushrooms

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: this seitan recipe is excellent for meal prep as it stores well for a week in the fridge and months in the freezer.

Refrigerator: store the seitan meat in its cooking broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Freezer: freeze the seitan meat, separated from the broth, in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. The broth also freezes well for up to 3 months.

More High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

Homemade seitan and how to cook it

Seitan

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 10 votes
Seitan is a protein-rich meat substitute originating from East Asian countries, gaining popularity in the West, especially among vegetarians and vegans.
Its unique chewy meat-like texture, neutral taste, high-protein content, and ability to absorb flavor make seitan ideal for creating vegan versions of classic meat dishes like schnitzels, stir-fries, cutlets, and more.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 seitan meat cutlets
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International

Equipment

  • Blender + Rolling Pin

Ingredients

BASIC SEITAN RECIPE FOR 8 CUTLETS

  • cups vital wheat gluten
  • ounces tofu
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ onion
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

SERVING SUGGESTION for 4 CUTLETS

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 for the mushrooms, 1½ for the cutlets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dry white wine or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth

Instructions 

BASIC SEITAN RECIPE

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    To a blender, add 3½ ounces tofu, 1 cup water, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove garlic, ¼ onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
    tofu, soy sauce and onion in a blender
  • Pour the liquid into a large bowl, add 1½ cups vital wheat gluten, and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
    seitan batter with vital wheat gluten in a glass bowl
  • Transfer seitan dough onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes.
    If the dough is too sticky, add some vital wheat gluten flour. You should get an elastic, compact dough that’s hard to tear apart.
    hands kneading seitan on a kitchen top
  • Slice the dough into 8 pieces.
    sliced seitan dough
  • Flatten each piece with a rolling pin and arrange it on the prepared baking tray.
    Dust with flour if the dough is too sticky. Reach your desired thickness. We like our seitan meat relatively thin at about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm in height.
    Tip: Wheat gluten dough is very elastic and hard to flatten, but that’s normal. To make the process easier, flatten the pieces of dough a first time, wait 5 minutes to let the gluten relax, then flatten them a second time. You’ll get thinner and larger cutlets this way.
    seitan meat before baking
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F or 180°C.
    Seitan steaks on a baking tray
  • In the meantime, bring 4 cups vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot.
    Add the baked seitan to the boiling broth, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
    seitan pieces cooking in a white pot
  • Turn the heat off and let the seitan cool down in the broth for about 1 hour.
    Transfer the cutlets to a large container (or several small containers), cover them in broth, and let rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 6 days.
    You can also freeze the cutlets without the broth for up to 3 months after the 8-hour rest in the fridge, which is essential for infusing the seitan with flavor.
    Homemade seitan in a glass container
  • Cook the seitan as you prefer, as if it were chicken cutlets. You can chop it up with scissors and use it in stir-fries or pan-fry the cutlets with some oil and your favorite sauce.
    Homemade seitan on a silver platter

SERVING SUGGESTION

  • Take 4 cutlets seitan from their marinating broth, then coat them with 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    Seitan steaks with flour and a hand
  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 cloves garlic (crushed) and 1 pound mushrooms (chopped) and sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until they lose most of their water.
    Season with ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Set aside in a bowl.
    Fried white and portobello mushrooms
  • In the same pan, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil, add the seitan cutlets and cook them on each side for about 1.5 minutes or until golden.
    Season each side with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then, add ½ cup dry white wine, let it evaporate, then add ¾ cup vegetable broth.
    Vegan chicken on a pan with salt and pepper
  • Add sautéed mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, turning the seitan once or twice until the broth is reduced into a creamy sauce.
    Plate and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
    Vegan chicken with sautèed mushrooms

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 seitan cutlet out of 8 cutlets, without mushroom sauce. Mushroom sauce is 146 calories per serving.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: this seitan recipe is excellent for meal prep as it stores well for a week in the fridge and months in the freezer.
Refrigerator: store the seitan meat in its cooking broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezer: freeze the seitan meat, separated from the broth, in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. The broth also freezes well for up to 3 months.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 58mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin B6: 0.02mg, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 2µg, Calcium: 61mg, Folate: 3µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.1mg, Magnesium: 12mg, Zinc: 0.3mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to eat them! They are marinating in the fridge right now.

    BTW I used the left over broth to make your Tuscan soup which is cooking right now. My meal prep is done!
    Thanks for all the fantastic recipes 😀

    1. Hi Lillian,
      What an amazing food prep tip – I hadn’t even considered using the broth for the Tuscan soup! Thanks so much for sharing, and thanks for your support. Cheers, Nico

    1. Hi Dannette, yes, there should be no problem. If the beans are very watery you might need to add some more wheat gluten, but you’ll realise when you knead the dough.

  2. I enjoyed preparing and eating this recipe. All of the steps are important to get a good cutlet. Right out of the broth, the cutlets were too chewy, then softer after spending the night in the fridge, and softer still after saute with the mushroom sauce. They were a perfect complement to the mushroom sauce. Thank you.

    1. Hi Ken, thanks for your message. I am happy you enjoyed preparing the cutlets, and eating the with the mushroom sauce 🙂 Cheers!

    1. Hi Angela, you can freeze the cutlets but there is a chance that the texture of the cutlets will change.
      If you decide to freeze them remove them from their marinating broth first, then put them in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
      Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking them.

  3. 5 stars
    Made these vegan cutlets several time, they turn out really well and are very versatile. The best recipe I’ve found. Thanks