I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I never fry bacon in a pan. Instead, I make oven-baked bacon every time. After I tried this once, I never looked back. Now, I am letting you in on the secret and sharing with you my tips for making perfect bacon every single time!
I remember the first time I baked bacon. Sure, I had heard about it a few times. There was even a time when I worked at a country club and our chef on staff always baked hers for our Saturday breakfasts. Yet, I had never done it myself.
Then, one day, my bonus daughter was talking about her mom always baked it instead. Since she was helping me with breakfast that day, I decided to have her make the bacon.
As they say, the rest is history. Bacon has henceforth been made in the oven, and every time, I love the results and wonder why I wasted years with grease popping in a skillet on the stovetop.
Why Cook Bacon in the Oven?
The reasons for this depend upon the person you are talking to about it, but I think the biggest reason is that it is just plain easier to manage.
There are a few specifics that are most commonly mentioned as reasons to oven bake rather than pan-fry bacon.
- There are fewer chances of getting burned by popping bacon grease.
- The cleanup afterward is easier and less messy.
- Bacon turns out perfectly crisp and evenly cooked every time.
Of course, for me, it often also boils down to the fact that when I am making bacon for breakfast or need it in a recipe, I want to save time if possible. By baking it instead of frying, I can spend that time doing other things instead of tending to a pan over the stove.
Do I Need to Line the Baking Sheet?
Depending upon who you ask, lining the baking sheet isn't absolutely necessary. I prefer to line my baking sheet with parchment paper for most recipes. The parchment paper makes it just a bit easier to clean up the excess bacon grease after it is done cooking.
Once the bacon is cooked, you can move it to a plate for serving. If you are saving the bacon grease, you can let it cool and then spoon it into a container. For those who don't want to use the excess grease, it is much easier to simply grab the edges of the paper and throw it all away than to pour hot grease out of a skillet.
Plus, while your pan will still need to be cleaned, you will have a lot less mess to deal with and may be able to gently wipe the rest of the grease off the pan and simply add it to the dishwasher to finish cleaning.
Doesn't it Splatter on My Oven?
While the bacon will render fat as it cooks, the grease will not splatter as much in the oven as it does in a skillet. Yes, there will be some residual grease you may want to wipe out, but it is very little compared to other cook methods.
The even cooking temperature and the fact that the bacon is laid out evenly on the sheet also help the grease to render off rather than splash up onto the surface.
What Can I Do With the Bacon Grease After it Cooks?
The better question would be what can't you do with bacon grease. Both of my grandma's taught me that bacon grease is liquid gold in the kitchen. While you may not want to ingest a lot of grease in your diet, bacon grease is one thing where a little goes a very long way. It can be added to tons of things in small amounts for just a hint of flavor.
- Add a teaspoon to your roasting vegetables for added flavor in place of olive oil.
- Spread over pizza crust and top with scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese for a breakfast pizza.
- Add with vegetables and Parmesan to freshly cooked pasta for a delicious and easy to make dinner.
- Brush over the top of biscuits as they go into the oven to bake.
- Spread over potatoes before wrapping in aluminum foil and baking.
- Use as a base for a roux for gravy at breakfast time.
- Mix in with macaroni and cheese for added flavor.
- Melt alongside a bit of vinegar and some spices for a fast and delicious salad dressing.
Is it Healthier to Bake Bacon?
Bacon is rarely considered healthy. If you are on the keto diet, you may be more inclined to eat it on a regular basis, but others avoid bacon due to the fat content. Regardless of what side of the spectrum you are on in regards to the health factors of bacon, it is very well known that baking it does keep it from having as much excess grease once baked.
Tip: If you want to keep the bacon from sitting in its own grease as it cooks, use a wire rack in your baking sheet as it cooks.
Can I do This With Turkey Bacon or Chicken Bacon?
Yes! While you will want to cut the cooking time in half, you can definitely cook your turkey bacon or even chicken bacon the same way to get a nice crisp texture.
While I have and will continue to make all types of bacon in the oven, I admit that if I am serving up turkey or chicken bacon, I tend to wrap it in paper towels and pop it into the microwave for 1 minute. That is, the lazy way of doing it, but the results are good in a pinch. I much prefer making it in the oven.
How Long Is Cooked Bacon Good For When Refrigerated?
After you cook bacon, you may have leftovers. While this is a rare occurrence in my house with teenage boys, I understand that others may not eat an entire pound of bacon at one meal.
So, if you have leftovers, it is safe to eat for 4-5 days after cooking as long as it has been stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Cooked Bacon?
You sure can! Let the bacon cool completely, then place it in a labeled freezer bag with the date. This is good frozen for 3-4 months.
To thaw the bacon, just place in the refrigerator overnight. It can also be reheated in 30-second increments in the microwave if desired.
How to Make Oven-Baked Bacon
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and a wire rack if desired.
Lay your bacon onto the baking sheet in an even layer. The bacon can be touching.
Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400°F or until the desired doneness.
My Favorite Recipes Using Bacon
Now that you know how to make it - make sure to bookmark or pin some of my favorite recipes using bacon! We love this spinach and bacon frittata for brunch on Sundays. My kids love this spinach bacon and chicken spaghetti recipe, but the best is this easy white bean and crispy bacon soup.
If you like to remain as green as possible in your home, then you will love this dedicated bacon towel. This unpaper bacon towel is designed to be used for draining bacon after cooking. Instead of wasting paper towels, put your cooked bacon on this instead to drain any excess grease, then launder it as directed.
- 1 lb bacon
- Preheat the oven to 400°F;
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a wire rack;
- Place your bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet;
- Bake or 18-20 minutes or until it reaches the desired crispness you prefer.
Use a wire rack on your baking sheet to make sure the bacon is not sitting in its own grease.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 531Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1910mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 38g