Carrot Bacon Is a Thing On TikTok That'll Make You Hungry
Somewhere between beauty hacks and fitness challenges, TikTok has become the ultimate launchpad for the latest food trends. And though many viral foods eventually fade into the depths of the internet (looking at you, rainbow unicorn, well, everything), some trends are so tasty that they've stood the test of time (by social media standards, at least).
Carrot bacon is one of those foods. Back in April 2020, vegan cook Tabitha Brown posted a TikTok video explaining how to transform plain old carrots into a vegan bacon alternative. The post went viral, earning nearly 4 million likes to date. Now, more than a year later, the faux meat recipe is still abuzz, as carrot bacon content from food influencers (i.e. @everything_delish, @aplantyou) to everyday users continues to take over the platform. Meanwhile, the hashtag #carrotbacon has earned an impressive 8.1 million views (and counting).
Carrot bacon is essentially thinly sliced carrots steeped in a smoky, salty-sweet marinade. The marinade calls for flavorful yet simple ingredients, such as soy sauce (for umami), maple syrup (for sweetness), and liquid smoke (for that rich, smoked-meat flavor). Once brined and baked to crispy perfection, the carrots will transform into a salty-sweet eat that will make your taste buds sing.
Aside from its mouthwatering flavor, carrot bacon is such a hit because it's so darn easy it is to make. The recipe doesn't require fancy ingredients, skills, or equipment — so it's super accessible for folks who are new to vegan cooking (or cooking in general). Plus, it's pretty darn clever, TBH. Who knew a basic carrot could become such a drool-worthy food?
It's worth saying what you're thinking: Carrots are not — and never will be — bacon. So, no carrot bacon understands (if carrots had brains) that it's not meant to taste exactly the same as the real thing. Instead, it's a delicious take on a veggie that happens to be a healthier alternative for pork bacon on its own or in dishes such as BLT sandwiches and breakfast burritos. (Related: The Plant-Based Vegan Bacon You'll Want to Eat with All the Things)
After all, bacon is a form of processed meat, which has been linked to chronic conditions such as heart disease and colon cancer. It also tends to be high in sodium and saturated fat — both of which should be consumed in moderation. So, if you're a vegan craving a smokey side to partner with your eggs or if you're particularly passionate about pork but don't want to overdo it, then carrot bacon's just what you need. Simply put: Replacing traditional bacon with this veggie version is a stellar way to cut back on your meat intake (processed or otherwise) and all the not-so-great things that come with it while earning some serious TikTok cred.
Whether or not you follow a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet, this carrot bacon recipe will be sure to hit the spot. And with all that beta carotene (a beneficial carotenoid that's responsible for the orange color and supports your immune function, vision health, and more), your body will be thankful.
Ready to take on the latest TikTok food trend? Here's how to make carrot bacon in about 20 minutes:
Carrot Bacon Recipe
Makes: 4 servings
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 2 whole large carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (see recipe notes for gluten-free)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash the carrots and pat dry. Using a peeler, peel the carrots into thin ribbons.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a baking dish (Buy It, $20 $16, bedbathandbeyond.com) or shallow bowl. Whisk well.
- Lay the sliced carrots in the marinade, making sure each piece is coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes on the countertop.
- Using tongs, transfer the sliced carrots onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (or when it becomes wavy and slightly charred), flipping once halfway through cooking. The carrot bacon will get crispier as it cools.
Carrot Bacon Recipe Notes
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Coconut aminos are also naturally lower in sodium than soy sauce, even the low-sodium variety.
- For a smokier flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke.
- For a stronger flavor overall, increase the marinating time. Cover the carrots with an air-tight lid and marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours in the refrigerator. But if you're in a pinch (or just hungry), 10 minutes will do the trick.
- Keep an eye on your carrot bacon as it cooks. Once it reaches the 10-minute mark, check the bacon every 2 or 3 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. The ideal baking time will depend on your oven and the thickness of your carrot ribbons.
- The final serving size can vary greatly depending on the size of your carrot and how thin you peel the slices.
Nutrition facts per serving (~10 slices): 107 calories, 1 gram protein, 7 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 6 grams sugar, 282 milligrams sodium