Homemade Seitan

Homemade seitan recipe

Store-bought seitan is usually excellent, but it can be expensive. Using pure gluten flour is a shortcut to a homemade version that’s not difficult to make. This recipe may be idiosyncratic, but it works well and with practice produces seitan that’s chewy but not overly tough. Whenever I make this, I freeze half. It’s nice come across and use it a few weeks later.

Makes: About 2 pounds, about 10 servings

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 slices fresh ginger

Combine the soy sauce with 1 cup of water in a small mixing bowl. Place the gluten flour and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl and stir together. Gradually add the liquid to form a stiff dough, stirring with a spoon at first, and then working together with your hands.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead 30 times, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 10 cups water to a simmer in a large soup pot. Add the bouillon cubes, soy sauce, and ginger.

Homemade seitan

Once the water is close to a simmer, divide the dough into two pieces and pull into long, narrow loaves the shape of miniature French breads.

With a sharp, serrated knife, cut each section of dough crosswise into approximately 1/2-inch sections. When the water comes to a simmer, insert each slice. Simmer gently and steadily for 30 minutes. Drain (if desired, save the tasty stock to use for soup or other purpose) and let cool. Use in recipes calling for seitan.

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40 comments on “Homemade Seitan

  1. Brenda

    Do you know of anyone having success with making a gluten free version of this recipe? I try to have my family eat meat-free at least 2 times a week plus at least one day of fish. I would love to try and make seitan but my family all suffers from Celiac Disease. Any suggestions? I know coconut flour is high in protein.

  2. Marisel

    What a great idea to put the seitan in a cold salad. Also, I think this is the first time I ever saw baking powder in a seitan mix. What does it do exactly? Does it make the seitan more airy and not as dense?

  3. Nava Post author

    Brenda, I don’t know of any way to make it gluten-free, as it’s the pure gluten in wheat that is the essence of seitan. However, if you can invent a gluten-free seitan, you will indeed be a heroine!

    Marisel, I do think the baking powder aerates it a bit. It’s still a dense and chewy effect nonetheless.

  4. Faye Levy

    Hi Nava,

    Glad to have found your blog. This recipe is very interesting and it’s nice that it’s fairly simple and the cooking time isn’t very long.
    When I want to buy inexpensive seitan, I go to big Chinese or Vietnamese supermarkets. They refer to it as wheat gluten. When I asked for seitan, they didn’t know what I was talking about.

  5. Nava Post author

    Faye, I wonder if seitan is the Japanese term for it—that may be why the other Asian markets didn’t know to what you were referring.

  6. Susan

    This is the only Seitan recipe I ever use! Having tried others, I concluded that this is the clear winner. It’s an easy recipe, makes lots, keeps well, and the “beef” that results is very authentic, both in flavour and texture.

  7. Janell

    I have a four month old nursling who is sensitive to soy. Is there an alternative to soy sauce I could use in this recipe?

  8. Nava Post author

    Janell, for the seitan, eliminate the soy sauce and use an equivalent amount of water or broth. For the broth, instead of 10 cups water with bouillon cubes and soy sauce, use two 32-ounce cartons of a good vegetable broth like Pacific organic (salted, not salt-free), plus two cups of water. Just make sure to check the label that it’s soy free. that should give you the extra flavor that the soy sauce would provide.

    Good luck and enjoy your little baby — the years go by so fast!

  9. Jennifer Clement

    I had trouble getting all the vital wheat gluten flour mixed into the seitan loaf. (This is my first attempt at making seitan.) Any suggestions on what I may have done wrong? Also, it gunked up all my cooking utensils. Is there an easy way to clean off wheat gluten flour? Thanks!

  10. Nava Post author

    Jennifer — I’m not sure you did anything wrong; you may just not be familiar with the texture that the loaf is supposed to have, which is very, very, dense. I’ve done this many times so I’m confident about the proportions; you just really need to work it all together with your hands, after getting it started with a spoon.

    And the resulting mixture is very “gunky.” You’ll need a scrubby to get it off the bowl and spoon. Once you get the liquid simmering in the pot, though, it shouldn’t mess up the pot at all.

  11. heidi pusina

    I made a gluten-free seitan using a combination of Red-Mill gluten free flour, rice flour, tapioca flour and psyllium husk (the binder).

  12. R.MacKenzie

    Is soy sauce placed in the mixture, as well as, in the liquid to simmer the Seitan in? In the recipe there are two listings for soy sauce, with one under the section for the broth; does it go in the pot with the bouillon and ginger? Should I remove the outside skin of the ginger before putting in the pot? Can this be grounded using a blender and used as a grounded vege meat substitute? I’m hoping to make this today!! I’m so excited!

  13. Nava Post author

    Hi Regina, yes, I clarified that in the instructions; thanks for the catch. The second measurement of soy sauce does go in with the bouillon and ginger. You need not peel the ginger, as it gets removed in the end, in any case. I’m not sure how this would turn out if ground up in a blender. You might want to experiment with just a small portion of it and see how it goes. I think a better veggie “crumbles” type of preparation would work a bit better with tempeh. But try it and see how it goes!

  14. Eric

    Thanks Nava, this looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it. the ginger sounds like it will give it a refreshing taste. I’ve used seitan a lot, but have not tried ginger with it.

  15. Nava Post author

    Byron, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find prepared seitan in any natural foods store. If they don’t stock it, surely they can special order it for you.

  16. Yanic

    I just want to say that I’ve made this recipe over and over again and it’s just fantastic! I’ll make double recipes to freeze individual meal size servings in the broth so it always tastes fresh. My 4 yo will ask for it by name “the good seitan from the nice lady on the internet!”… Just superb!

  17. Nava Post author

    That is so great! So glad that this recipe is so foolproof for you, and a family favorite. Thanks so much for your comment.

  18. DP

    Hello, Can this be made with just regular whole wheat flour? We cannot find gluten flour where we live. Thanks!

  19. Nava Post author

    Hello — if you use whole wheat flour, you will have to make a dough and rinse it and rinse it (that’s the original, old-fashioned way), to get rid of the starch, otherwise it won’t work. You might research online how to make seitan starting with whole wheat flour. It can be done, but it’s extra work!

  20. Adrian

    Could you flavour this using wine? or pineapple juice, I`m trying to make some that has a very bright distinct flavour.

  21. Nava Post author

    Adrien, I think adding a bit of wine is a great idea. If you use pineapple juice, you might want to balance that with a little apple cider vinegar for a more sweet-sour flavor. Good luck!

  22. Nava Post author

    Terisita — any kind of tight storage container would be fine for both fridge and freezer. BPA-free plastic is best. Storing in its broth will help prevent freezer burn.

  23. Nava Post author

    Alice, I have not, but it’s a good idea — and a way to add B12! I would recommend 1/4 to 1/3 cup. If it seems to blend in and hold together, you can up that to 1/2 cup next time you make it.

  24. Susan Fiske

    I have a allergy to soy products, is there something else I could use besides soy? Thanks Susan

  25. Nava Post author

    Susan, you can use an extra-flavorful soy-free vegetable broth or bouillon, and add about a teaspoon of salt to the cooking broth. Hope it works out well for you!

  26. Egyirba

    Any ideas and/or recipes for making seitan from regular flour — from scratch? I cannot get vital wheat gluten where I live in South America. Most of the recipes I’ve seen call for this special flour.

    Thank you.

  27. Lisa

    I too, have a severe soy allergy, but I have found coconut liquid amino, which you can use instead, or you can use vegan Worcestershire sauce mixed with some coconut oil, I also add a half of cup of brown rice flour and a can of pickled beets mashed in for “corned beef”,and BBQ ribz and a can of sweet potato for ” smoked turkey” and both with some tomato paste for hot linkz. they are all a hit with my church members for pot luck and my military friends down at my American Legion Post for our dinner before our meeting. And these guys used to say they would never eat “fake” meat. Now, some are even trying it for themselves at their homes.

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