If you're planning on making bacon this week, we've got some essential tips that you need to know!
In this post, we'll outline our favorite way to make extra-crispy bacon in the oven. It doesn't have to be hard to cook bacon, and you don't have to make a mess, either! We'll show you how in the paragraphs below.
Why Baked Bacon Is Better
We've tried all of the bacon-cooking options there are, and we think baking your bacon is the best way to get it crispy and delicious without splattering bacon grease everywhere.
Here's why we're fans of baked bacon.
Baked Bacon Is Less Greasy
Cooking bacon produces a lot of grease, which, when you use a typical recipe, stays on the bacon and gets eaten. However, this grease isn't all that great for you. While you can pat some of the grease off with a paper towel, the best way to make the least greasy bacon possible is to use the oven instead of a pan on the stove.
When you bake bacon in the oven, the grease drips off of each strip, which leaves you with leaner meat that is lower in overall calories. Even when you use thick-cut bacon slices, which tend to produce more grease, you'll still have less grease overall than you'd get from batches of stovetop bacon.
Baked Bacon Is Less Messy
Cooking bacon strips on the stove can produce a big mess. Bacon fat tends to splatter all over the kitchen when you cook a lot of bacon in a pan, especially when you're using high heat.
Luckily, you'll have a remarkably easy cleanup process with baked bacon, as all of those flecks of grease end up in the oven instead of all over your stove!
Making Bacon in the Oven
If you've never made bacon in the oven before, it's easy to feel a little nervous about the process. Luckily, it's not as hard as you might think to bake great-tasting bacon. Follow these steps to make the whole process as easy as possible.
What You Need To Cook Bacon in the Oven
To make baked bacon, you need the following tools:
- A baking sheet or baking pan. Instead of a skillet or frying pan, we'll be using a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil (not parchment paper) for this baked bacon recipe.
- An oven (preheated to 400 degrees)
- A cooling rack. You'll set the bacon directly on top of the cooling rack, which will rest above the foil-lined baking sheet.
- Thick slices of juicy bacon. That's the one ingredient you'll be using in this baked bacon recipe.
Get a large baking sheet out and line it with tin foil. Choose a cooling rack that can safely go in the oven and set it on the foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Use olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil spray to keep the bacon from sticking to the cooling rack. Spray the rack thoroughly before adding the bacon.
Take out your bacon and separate it into strips. Put the bacon strips on the rack in a single layer, making sure not to stack the slices on top of each other.
Stacking can cause a buildup of bacon grease and make the baking less even, so make sure to leave space between each slice of bacon.
Once the oven is fully heated, slide the baking sheet in and let the bacon cook. You don’t even have to worry about flipping it.
It’s best to eyeball your bacon and pull it out once it’s reached a certain level of crispiness. Everyone’s bacon preferences are different, and there’s no set color or texture that bacon has to be to be considered “done.” However, the bacon does have to reach a certain temperature to be safe to eat, so bear that in mind when calculating your cooking time.
Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the oven and set it on the counter or a wire rack. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then drain the grease out of the tray.
Pat each slice dry with paper towels. A quick pat with a paper towel removes the extra grease from the bacon.
The bacon is ready to serve. Pair the slices with pancakes, French toast, eggs, and other classic breakfast and brunch foods. It also works perfectly on sandwiches like BLTs and turkey clubs, or crumbles onto salads for lunch.
Tips for Great Bacon
Follow these tips to ensure your bacon tastes great, is safe to eat, and doesn’t make a mess.
Always Bake Fresh Bacon
Bacon has an expiration date, which you can find by looking carefully at its packaging. However, this expiration date matters most when the bacon is sealed. After you’ve opened a package of bacon, the best way to cook it safely is to use it within a week after it’s been opened.
If your bacon looks or smells odd, it’s best to throw it away and get more. To avoid attracting bugs, dispose of bad bacon in a sealed bag.
Know the Ideal Bake Time
The amount of time you should cook your bacon depends on the thickness of each slice. If your bacon is thin-cut, it’s likely to be fully cooked within 10 or 12 minutes after going in the oven.
Thick-cut bacon, on the other hand, sometimes needs to bake in the oven for up to 20 minutes. However, 15 minutes is usually long enough to start noticing a golden-brown texture on thick-cut bacon slices.
You can determine the thickness of your bacon by taking a look at the package.
Store Your Bacon Well
Once your bacon is cooked, store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container for around three days. Some cooks feel comfortable with storing cooked bacon for longer, but we recommend playing it safe. Any time cooked bacon smells or looks weird, it’s best to throw it away.
To make your cooked bacon last longer, you can freeze it in an airtight container and reheat it for up to three months. Even frozen bacon tastes great when it’s been reheated in the oven.
If you’ve been storing bacon in the fridge or freezer, we recommend warming it in the oven, not the microwave. Microwaved bacon tends to have a texture that is a bit… off, so we suggest taking the extra few minutes to use the oven!
Skip the Spices
It’s rare that we don’t recommend cooking with spices. However, baking bacon is one of those uncommon cases when you don’t need anything added in. Bacon has already been cured, so it’s got a distinctly rich, salty flavor all its own. That means adding additional salt is likely to be a bit overpowering.
In addition, you don’t need pepper, herbs, or anything else on your bacon. We recommend using spices on the other breakfast foods you’re cooking.
Want More Cooking Tips?
If you’re an at-home chef looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. The JOW cooking page is the only place you need to go for delicious recipes. We have a massive free database of meals to make at home, from hearty breakfasts to light lunches and tasty dinners.
In addition, make sure to visit our blog, where you’ll find helpful tips on how to level up your at-home cooking, inspiring dishes, and more.