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How to fry bacon

Cooking bacon in the oven creates perfectly crispy, delicious bacon. It’s also super easy, creates less mess than cooking it on the stovetop and allows you to multitask in the kitchen. If you’ve never baked bacon, give it a try!

So what do you serve your bacon with? Well, everything! Including my poached eggs, soft and hard boiled eggs and fried eggs. And you can’t forget my paleo pancakes (and dipping bacon in that maple syrup – yum).

How to fry bacon

Cooking Bacon in the Oven

When it comes to the most perfectly crispy, evenly cooked bacon you really can’t beat cooking bacon in the oven. But it’s amazing how many people have never tried it. It seems the stovetop reigns supreme.

Today I’ll share with you why you should change your habits and cook bacon in the oven. And trust me, once you cook bacon in the oven, you’ll never cook it on the stovetop again!

Cooking bacon on the stove creates splatters all over your stove top and produces hot spots on the pan. This means certain pieces of bacon may cook faster than others. And it’s why you might have some bacon slices that accidentally charcoal a bit too much while other slices are still undercooked.

Cooking bacon in the oven cooks all of your bacon slices evenly as the heat surrounds them. They slowly sizzle, don’t splatter and end up evenly cooked. It’s a beautiful thing.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

It’s incredibly easy! Though it always helps to watch a quick video tutorial. Watch the video below!

Oven Baked Bacon – In 5 Steps

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lay the bacon slices on the baking sheet.
  • Cook the bacon for 18-20 minutes or until it’s as crispy as you’d like.
  • Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

How to fry bacon

Benefits of Cooking Bacon in the Oven

  • First, you can cook for a crowd (and sometimes that crowd is just your immediate family). This is key for the holidays or when lots of people descend on your house. It’s also HUGE for helping you keep your sanity in the kitchen with the masses.
  • Second, cooking bacon in the oven is way cleaner than cooking bacon on the stove. I’m notorious for getting splatters all over the stovetop because I probably cook my bacon a bit too hot. But when you cook bacon in the oven you don’t get any splatters because the bacon just sizzles until it’s perfectly crispy (or done to your liking).
  • Lastly, cooking bacon in the oven allows you to multitask in the kitchen. Because once you toss that sheet pan of glorious bacon in the oven, you’re free for about 15 minutes to whip up some eggs or make a batch of pancakes or waffles.

How to fry bacon

A Few More Tips

  • Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper (or don’t line it at all – but that’s messy). With parchment paper it’s as simple as tearing off a piece, placing the bacon on top and cooking.
  • Should you place the bacon on a cooling rack to cook? I don’t think so. I tried it and the difference is negligible. But then I had to clean a cooling rack (and those buggers are hard to clean).
  • 400 degrees fahrenheit works well for both regular and thick cut bacon. Heat your oven and cook the bacon for 18-20 minutes or until it’s reached your desired level of crispiness. I do rotate the pan halfway through, just to ensure even cooking, but that’s it. And remember that your bacon will continue to crisp up once it dries.

What to do with Bacon Grease? Save it!

If you purchase organic bacon, as I do, definitely consider rendering and saving the bacon grease. Not only does bacon grease impart a richness of flavor into braised meats and other dishes, it has a high smoke point which means it’s far more stable to cook with.

How to fry bacon

Here’s how to render bacon grease:

  • Once you’ve cooked your bacon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Line a fine mesh sieve with another paper towel (you could also use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth) and pour the hot bacon grease over the sieve and into a glass jar.
  • Note: it’s important to use glass and not plastic, as you’ll melt plastic with hot bacon grease.

You can see in the photo above that I had some previous bacon fat already in my glass jar that’s opaque and lighter in color. When I have a new batch of bacon, I just pour this straight on top then cover the jar and refrigerate it.

So what do I use my rendered bacon grease for? Oh, just about everything. It’s what I fry my eggs in and how I sear pretty much any meat. It’s also great for sautéed or roasted vegetables to add depth and flavor.

Frying bacon is one of those kitchen skills it can take some time to master. While it's a simple, one ingredient task, it can take some trial and error to get perfect results. Perfectly fried bacon can be used in everything from main dishes to salads to appetizers or eaten just as a snack.

Prep Work

To fry bacon to crisp perfection, start with a cold skillet. Make sure your skillet is large enough to fit your desired amount of bacon without crowding. Carefully separate the bacon pieces from each other, and place them side by side in the cold skillet. Don't stretch the bacon as you remove it from the package. It can help to roll the package between your hands into a cone before you open it; this will help loosen the slices and make it easier to separate without ripping or stretching the raw bacon.

Frying the Bacon

Now place the skillet over medium heat. The bacon will begin to sizzle and turn translucent. The most important tip: don't move the bacon until it releases easily from the pan.

You can gently lift the edges as the bacon starts to brown on the first side, but don’t lift it or force it until it releases. Then turn the bacon, using tongs, and cook on the second side until it releases easily again. This whole process should take about 10 minutes for thinly sliced bacon, or up to 15 minutes or so for thick-sliced bacon. Take caution during this process as the bacon grease will likely be sizzling out of the pan and will be very hot.

Keep turning the bacon frequently for even cooking. The bacon is done when it looks like crisp bacon. The sizzling noise will subside dramatically, and when there are no more pink, white, or translucent areas on the bacon, meaning the fat has been rendered out, it’s ready. Remove it to a paper towel to drain, then eat or use in your favorite bacon recipe.

If you are not using the bacon right away or are cooking large amounts of bacon, you can use the oven to rewarm or keep the cooked bacon warm. Simply heat the oven to 250 F, and place the bacon on baking sheets in the oven.

Battered and fried bacon that is even better after cooking in the oven for 7 minutes. My husband and I saw the idea of fried bacon on the travel channel where they just battered and fried it and we decided to make it. It was so good. But then we cooked in the oven and it was even better. Serve with white gravy and it is a heart attack waiting to happen but tastes so good!

Gallery

Recipe Summary

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 pound thick sliced bacon, cut in half
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • Step 1

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a bowl until smooth. Separate the bacon strips, and soak in the milk mixture for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat oil in deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Remove the bacon from the egg mixture, and toss with the flour to coat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Fry the bacon strips 3 to 5 slices at a time until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Once all of the bacon has cooked, place onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until crispy, about 7 minutes.

Reviews ( 10 )

Most helpful positive review

Tastes just like country fried steak! So so good! We did ours in a deep fryer and there was no need to put it in the oven after cooking.

Most helpful critical review

I was excited to make this and serve it with mashed potatoes, white gravy, and mixed veggies. Usually I can never make enough bacon because everyone fights over it and because it lacks so much in nutritional content, I don’t make it often. However, I won’t make this again. The flour coating is just too bland. I added more pepper and salt than called for and it still lacked flavor. It actually made the bacony flavor of the bacon sort of disappear. My family of seven kinda picked at it and broke it into pieces and mixed it with the gravy. The white gravy is what made this bacon somewhat tolerable. Like I said, we LOVE bacon and I don’t even mind greasy foods, but coating and frying this bacon made it bland.

  • 5 star values:

Tastes just like country fried steak! So so good! We did ours in a deep fryer and there was no need to put it in the oven after cooking.

Whether you prefer crispy bacon or chewy bacon, we can all agree that bacon makes everything better. From Bacon-Wrapped Zucchini Fries to Bacon, Tomato & Farro Salad, bacon adds a delicious saltiness and smokiness to every dish. While we don't recommend eating bacon every day (check out four dietitian-approved tips for eating bacon), there's definitely a time and place for the flavorful ingredient. Learn how to cook bacon, including methods for cooking on the stove, in the oven and in the microwave.

How to Fry Bacon on the Stove

The classic approach consistently yields perfectly crispy strips. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and as crisp as desired, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip halfway through. Remove with a slotted spoon and soak up extra fat on a paper towel-lined plate.

How to Bake Bacon in the Oven

Cooking bacon in the oven allows you to cook more of it at a time, plus you'll produce no grease stains or burns on your stovetop. Place an oven rack in the center position, and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and lay the bacon down in a single layer. (For extra-crispy bacon, place a metal cooling rack over the baking sheet, then place the bacon on the rack.) Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb extra fat before serving.

How to Cook Bacon in the Microwave

In a rush? Put two layers of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate, then place up to eight slices of bacon on the paper towels, making sure the strips don't overlap. Cover the bacon with two more layers of paper towels, and cook on high for 4 to 6 minutes. (Microwave cooking times may vary.) Transfer the bacon to a fresh paper towel-lined plate to absorb extra fat.

There are a lot of ways to cook bacon, but after lots of research (we’ve eaten A LOT of bacon, guys), we’ve determined the smartest to cook slices is in the oven: there’s less mess, it makes serving bacon to a crowd SO easy, and the results are just as crispy.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you’re cooking only a couple slices, a skillet is easier — with water if you’re smart! Second, if sautéing bacon is a step in a recipe that leads to something else being cooked in the bacon fat (like in this breakfast potatoes recipe), follow the directions. Don’t go rogue and bake instead.

But in 80 percent of all breakfast scenarios, the oven method works best. Here’s how to perfectly cook bacon in the oven every single time.

1. Get the oven HOT.

Preheat to 400° and line a large baking sheet with foil. (You’ll be thankful once it’s time to do dishes.)

Test Kitchen Note: Everyone’s oven is different. We highly recommend using an oven thermometer to make sure that the heat is actually at 400°. (Many built in thermometers are inaccurate.) If yours is running hotter, you risk burning the bacon.

2. Use your cooling rack.

If you like your bacon extra crispy, put a metal cooling rack inside the baking sheet. Elevating the bacon allows the strips to cook from all sides. If you like your bacon with a little chew, or you don’t have a cooling rack, skip this step. Your bacon will still be amazing.

3. Bake the bacon.

Lay bacon strips in a SINGLE layer on the baking sheet. Do not let them overlap or the strips will stick together. Bake until the bacon is crispy, about 20 minutes, depending on its thickness. No need to flip! Our advice: Start checking after 15 minutes because some ovens are finicky and burnt bacon is sad.

4. Drain the slices.

Per usual, drain the (very greasy) bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate, then serve immediately.

5. Save the bacon fat!

Pour grease into a mason jar (or other glass container) and store in the fridge. Seriously though — saving the fat will be the best decision you make all week. You can use it to cook eggs, roast vegetables, and pop popcorn!

Tried this method? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!

Editor’s note: This intro was updated to add more information about the dish on September 10, 2021.

How to fry bacon

Bacon is like the F word. You can use it in just about any situation. And I appreciate that about bacon.

What other food is so ubiquitous? From breakfast to dinner to snacks, and even desserts, you can find bacon in the ingredient list.

The thing with bacon is that there’s good bacon and bad bacon. As one ages, as one does, they learn the difference between good bacon and bad bacon. I, personally, have turned into quite the bacon snob. Here’s how I like my bacon.

This how to is dedicated to good bacon.

Tips + tricks

No. 1 –> You want good bacon, buy good bacon. Look for thick-cut bacon that has a uniform size throughout the package. This bacon will cook more consistently and not evaporate into water.

No. 2 –> You want better than good bacon? Make your own bacon. I have a step by step guide for making your own bacon. Homemade bacon has elevated our bacon experiences and everyone loves “Kevy bacon”

How to fry bacon

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Required tools

2 methods

There are more than 2 methods to cook bacon, but in my opinion, there are 2 main methods. Cooking bacon in the oven and cooking bacon on the stove.

Cast iron pan

There is a lot of merit to this method of bacon cookin’. For starters I’m pretty sure this is the most universal way to cook bacon, on a stove top. If it was good enough for our grandpappies, it’s good enough for me!

Pro:

  • It’s dead simple.
  • Quicker than the oven bacon method.
  • Requires only one flip, unless you’re a chronic flipper, then you do you!

Con:

  • Real estate is limited so bacon being cooked is also limited.
  • I find my bacon gets wavy edges in this method, I like flat bacon!
  • Can lead to grease splatter, but when cooking low, this is greatly reduced.
  • This bacon needs a bit more tending than baking sheet bacon as there are usually hot spots in the pan.
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon

Baking sheet

I have no real stats to back this up, but I am quite convinced that baking bacon is a newer way to cook bacon. And I am not knocking it. In our house, this is how we cook bacon 9/10 times.

Pro:

  • It’s so easy.
  • Less clean up.
  • Cooks much more evenly, and requires NO flipping, unless you want to.
  • Can make much more bacon on a baking sheet than in a pan.
  • Bacon strips cook flat.
  • Hands off process frees you up to do other things.
  • You can cook bacon in the oven without foil or parchment paper.

Con:

  • Can make a mess of your oven over time with grease splatter, usually, a lower temperature will fix this.
  • Takes longer than stovetop method.

You can certainly line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, which would make clean up even easier, but I really don’t find the 2 seconds scrubbing the pan to be any more work than washing a baking sheet that had been lined with something else.

  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon

Bacon Grease

Bacon fat is a parting gift from that delicious bacon to your future self.

SAVE IT!

Seriously. It’s so easy to save bacon drippings; here’s how I do it:

  1. Cook kick-ass bacon.
  2. Gently shake all the fat off the bacon, then set aside.
  3. Pour still warm bacon grease into a glass jar. I keep a small piece of flour sack, but cheesecloth also works great, around to strain the chunkies out.
  4. Close the jar and pop in the fridge for later use.

Use bacon fat like you’d use any other oil. It will solidify in the fridge, so just scoop some out. Use it when popping popcorn, to toss your potatoes in, fry eggs in, sauté veggies in, as the oil in your smoked Cheez It’s, to butter your grilled cheese before grilling. The list of uses is endless.

  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon
  • How to fry bacon

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Bacon is one of the tastiest and most versatile foods there is. Equally at home in sweet and savory dishes, bacon brings a satisfying, umami-filled crunch to recipes.

Plus, there are a surprising number of ways to cook it! The different cooking methods each have their benefits, from even cooking to extra crispiness to easy cleanup.

Next time you’re makin’ bacon, why not switch it up and try one of these methods?

Broil

Ever tried cooking bacon under the broiler? The high heat cooks the bacon evenly to a lovely crisp finish. It’s quicker than some of the other methods, and it has the added benefit of avoiding the grease splatter that comes with pan frying.

Broiling is also a good way to make several strips of bacon at once. It’s perfect when you’re making these Pork and Bacon Burgers for the whole family!

How to fry bacon

How to Broil Bacon

  1. Move the top oven rack to about 3” from the broiler.
  2. Pre-heat oven to broil.
  3. Place bacon on a sheet pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes, turning at least once.
  4. Watch closely! Using the broiler can turn the bacon from crispy to burnt very quickly.
  5. Drain slices on absorbent paper towels before serving.

Pan-Fry

Pan-frying is often considered the “standard” method of cooking bacon. It gets bacon nice and crispy, and you don’t have to watch it quite as closely for potential burning as broiling bacon.

It also saves the fat in the pan so you can re-use it for other recipes, like these Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

How to Pan-Fry Bacon

  1. Lay bacon slices in an ungreased or lightly greased frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook 8-12 minutes, turning often to achieve even crispness.
  3. Drain slices on absorbent paper towels before serving.

Baking is one of the easiest ways to cook bacon — especially if you’re making a lot!

When you cook bacon in the oven, you lay the slices on a rack in a shallow pan. This lets the fat drain as it cooks, leaving your bacon less greasy. You could put two pans in the oven at once if you’re expecting friends for brunch!

And since air is able to circulate around the slices, the bacon cooks evenly without the need to turn it mid-way through cooking. As a mostly hands-off method, baking allows you to multitask by preparing your other ingredients while the bacon is in the oven. For example, you could have your bacon baking while you prepare the toppings for Bacon Cheeseburger Tacos.

How to fry bacon

How to Bake Bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lay slices of bacon on a roasting rack in a shallow pan to catch the drippings.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bacon is crispy.

Microwave

Yes, you can microwave bacon! This is the fastest way to cook bacon. And unlike the other methods, it has minimal cleanup. Just put the plate in the dishwasher!

Microwaved bacon is often not quite as crispy as the other methods. That bend makes it great for wrapping around other foods like asparagus, jalapenos, or dates. Try microwaving the bacon for this Candied Bacon Wrapped Shrimp recipe from Coleman Natural.

How to Microwave Bacon

  1. Place 4 slices of bacon on a microwave-safe plate and cover completely with paper towels. You can add up to 2 more layers on top as long as you cover each layer with additional paper towels.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 4 minutes, or 1 minute per piece of bacon.
  3. Then cook an additional minute at a time until you almost reach the crispness you prefer. Bacon will become more crispy as it cools.
  4. Remove carefully from the microwave as fat may have pooled on the plate, and transfer bacon strips to a paper towel lined plate.

Air Fry

Cooking bacon in the air fryer results in crispy, evenly cooked slices. This method only takes about 8-10 minutes, and it allows some of the fat to drain off of the meat.

The bacon does tend to curl up a bit in the air fryer, so this method is best for bacon crumbles rather than on a sandwich when you want your bacon to lay flat.

Try the air fryer for the bacon in these Keto-friendly Bacon-Cheeseburger Tacos or this Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole.

How to fry bacon

How to Air Fry Bacon

  1. Lay bacon in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  2. Set air fryer to 400° F.
  3. Give the basket a shake occasionally while cooking to prevent sticking.
  4. Check bacon at 5 minutes and rearrange if necessary for even cooking.
  5. Cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on your crispness preference.

Get Sizzling

One ingredient, five different cooking methods! These bacon cooking techniques all have their own benefits, and they can help you get perfect bacon for any recipe.

Crispy, fast, or with less fat — there’s a technique for every kitchen and every preference!

How to fry bacon

Bacon is great! No doubt on that. But it is just great if it is really crunchy and crispy. The secret for crunchy bacon is take your time and use just medium-low heat and your bacon will turn into nice crispy pieces.

Step 2/3

  • 3 slices bacon
  • oil
  • frying pan
  • tongs

Add oil to a frying pan. Then add the bacon. The bacon slices should not overlap. Make sure to fry slowly over medium-low heat. Flip bacon when it begins to curl. Bacon is finished when crispy and golden.

Step 3/3

  • plate
  • paper towels

Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess fat. Enjoy for breakfast or add an extra crunch to soups or salads.

More delicious ideas for you

How to fry baconHash browns with fried eggs and bacon
/>Loaded omelette
How to fry baconAromatic roasted vegetables
How to fry baconSimple pan-fried steak with mushrooms
How to fry baconPeruvian-style ceviche

How to fry bacon

To cook bacon on the stovetop or in the oven, that is the question.

If you ask Cara Tobin, executive chef-owner of Honey Road restaurant in Burlington, Vermont, the answer is bacon in the oven. “It’s way easier for me, especially if I’m making a full breakfast, to throw the bacon in the oven and not have to think about it,” says Tobin, who feeds a family, adding that oven-baking simply just saves time and energy.

Why the oven is better than the stovetop

If you’re used to cooking bacon in a skillet on the stove, you know it can get messy, fussy, and, and time-consuming. Here’s why you should consider baking oven instead:

  • It reduces the mess. No cleaning up bacon grease splatters later. Plus, laying the bacon on parchment paper or foil makes clean-up easier.
  • It requires less hands-on time. Instead of flipping each strip and dodging sizzling fat, you just have to monitor the oven.
  • It ensures the bacon cooks more evenly.
  • It feeds a crowd more easily — if you need more bacon, all you need to do is to get a bigger sheet pan.

What you need

How to bake bacon

This method works especially well with medium-cut bacon, rendering it extra crispy and snappy. But, it can work for any kind of bacon you’ve got. Exact cooking times will depend on the thickness of the bacon.

    1. Prep your baking sheet. For easy cleanup, line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
    2. Arrange your bacon in a single layer. Lay the bacon strips flat, making sure they don’t overlap. If you love extra crispy bacon, place an oven-safe metal rack in the baking sheet and lay the bacon on top of it.
    3. Start with a cold oven. Place the tray of bacon in the oven, then set the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Starting with a cold oven lessens the chances of burning the bacon, and allows the bacon fat to render more evenly.
    4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. It generally takes 15 to 20 minutes to bake bacon, depending on the thickness of the bacon and your oven. Check in around the 10-minute mark to make sure you’re desired level of crispiness.
    5. Finish by transferring the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. When done, transfer the bacon strips to a plate lined with paper towels. This will absorb excess grease. Serve immediately.

    Quick tip: Allowing your bacon to start in a cold oven helps render the fat. Because it comes to temperature more slowly, the fat renders off more efficiently leaving you with extra-crispy bacon.

    What to do with leftovers

    Bacon leftovers aren’t all that common for most of us. But, it can happen. In that case, wrap it in foil, place it in a plastic bag, and store it in the fridge. “Use it in salads, chop it into scrambled eggs, toss it into pasta. You can always find somewhere to put bacon,” says Tobin. If you want to reheat it, spread it on a plate and microwave it for 30 seconds.

    What to do with bacon grease

    Regardless of your cooking method, you’ll probably end up with some bacon grease. This could either feel like a pain or like a delightful opportunity — bacon grease adds a rich meaty flavor to even the simplest dishes.

    Once it’s cooled, scrape the grease into a small container with a lid and use it to sauté greens, fry eggs or bread, or even to bake with. Next time you’re making chocolate chip cookies, replace half the fat that’s called for with bacon fat. Store the bacon fat in the fridge for up to three months or freeze it indefinitely.

    If you’d rather dispose of it, wait until it’s cooled, then scrape it into a non-recyclable container or plastic bag. If you’d really like to go the extra mile, take a permanent marker and label it, “Cooking grease. Non-recyclable.” Then, throw it away and pat yourself on the back for being a responsible citizen. Don’t pour it down your drain or it could clog up your pipes as it cools and solidifies.

    Insider’s takeaway

    Unless you’re charmed by the idea of standing over the stove, flipping your sizzling bacon, you may as well cook bacon in the oven. Just make sure to watch it more closely if you’re working with especially thin-cut or sweeter bacon and to let it rest on paper towels or a brown paper bag for a moment before serving. You’ll never go back.