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The Best Way to Cook Bacon

Reviewing hundreds of varieties of bacon has given me a chance to perfect the best way to cook bacon. After spending countless hours cooking bacon, I’ve developed a foolproof method to cook bacon to perfection each and every time.

First experiment: the traditional frying on the stovetop method.

There are several ways to cook bacon. When I started reviewing bacon for a living I used the time-tested method of frying my bacon slowly in a skillet on the stove top. Frying the bacon at a medium-low heat and turning the bacon often for 45 minutes was what I knew how to do best.

Bernie's Apple Flavored Smoked Bacon Cooking
Mmmm…smell that bacon!

However, there are 3 problems with frying bacon.

  1. It takes a long time.
  2. It requires constant attention to prevent burning the bacon.
  3. Bacon grease spits up randomly and really hurts (and make a mess all over the stovetop).

Unhappy with these results I began to experiment to alter these three factors to come up with a better way to cook bacon. Cooking bacon all the time meant that I needed to find a way to speed up the process.

My first thought was to increase the heat to save time. This led to burnt bacon and even more grease spatter. I also tried lowering the heat, but that just meant I had to tend to this bacon for a lot longer and that I had to wait more than an hour to eat some delicious meat candy.

A little too crispy for breakfast but great for BLT’s.
A little too crispy for breakfast but great for BLT’s.

After much experimentation, I can not recommend frying bacon (unless you really like ultra-crispy bacon which typically diminishes some of the more enjoyable aspects of the flavor of the bacon).

Next experiment: baking bacon in the oven.

After discussing my dilemma with a local chef, he told me that he bakes all of his bacon in the oven. Eureka! It seemed like a strange suggestion at first, but this guy knows what he is doing so I took his advice and gave it a try.

The results were amazing.

I now bake all of my bacon in the oven, it takes me less than 20 minutes, and I have almost no clean up to do afterward. There is no skillet to scrape, no grease to collect (unless I want to use it for something else later), and no burns from grease splatter in the midst of turning it in the frying pan. Hallelujah!

It turns out that baking bacon in the oven is the top secret that professional chefs use to cook bacon consistently. Think about it: for kitchens that serve a lot of bacon, frying isn’t very economical and is subject to a lot of variability. Baking bacon in the oven provides consistency, convenience, and yields great bacon every time. As a bonus, you can easily adjust the temperature to get the desired crispiness that you want.

Step-By-Step: How to Bake Bacon In the Oven

  1. DO NOT TURN ON YOUR OVEN YET! You want to start with a cold oven in order for the bacon to mimic the gradual rise and slow-cooked goodness of frying it in a pan.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. I prefer to have the shiny side up.
  3. Lay your bacon flat, in one layer, on top of the foil. Do not stack the bacon.
  4. Place the bacon in the oven.
  5. Turn on the oven to 400°F.
  6. Set your timer for 17 minutes.
  7. After the timer rings, check your bacon. If you like it cooked without much crisp, take it out. If you like it slightly crispy, let it go 2 more minutes. If you like it really crispy, go 5-8 more minutes. You choose what you prefer.
  8. Take the bacon out and let it sit. After 1 minute it is ready to serve.
  9. Eat bacon.

Here’s a video from YouTube that essentially captures the whole experience.

That’s it! Baking bacon is the official Bacon Scouts method for cooking and sampling all of the delicious bacon that we showcase on our website. I usually throw away the tin foil after the pan has had some time to cool.

There are some additional variations on baking bacon in the oven. For instance, you could lower the temperature to 350-375°F and bake for 25-30 minutes. The bottom line is lower temperature means a longer time in the oven. Experiment a little to see how you prefer it.

Now you can cook bacon like a Bacon Scout! Share your bacon cooking tips in the comments below!

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  1. I fry bacon in a 12-inch skillet, one pound at a time. Initially the bacon is layered, but as it begins to fry I stir and turn it frequently with a spatula (I never use a tongs) and generally all the pieces get some pan surface contact. After about 15-20 minutes some pieces are done to my satisfaction, and I begin removing them with the spatula. The remaining pieces then have more “elbow room” in the pan and take little time to finish up nicely. During the process I place a lid on the pan and drain off fat twice–this decreases spatter and promotes a faster fry time. My grandmother, Rose Dittman, a lifelong farmer’s wife who cooked for a large family, taught me this method. God bless her!

  2. Nitrosamines become nasty cancer causing compounds when cooked by direct heat sources…cured meats contain lots…that is why cooking by way of microwave, where you excite the water molecules within is safest. Placing the bacon vertically allows for excess flavor diluting fat and calories to be shed…great site – fun to see you discovered Waukon!

    1. Thanks for checking out the site! Food regulations require the use of Sodium Erythorbate in cured meats which its primary functions in meat products are to promote flavor stability and prevent the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines form during cooking when using high temperatures. Sodium erythorbate, which is an antioxidant very similar to Vitamin C, prevents the nitrosamines from forming. I am proud that all of the bacon available for sale on Bacon Scouts contains Sodium Erythorbate.

  3. I have an electric grill that is set at 400 degrees. The grill is a little shorter than the bacon, the ends of the bacon are curled on top on each end. As it cooks, when it starts to fit the cooking surface, the ends are laid flat. As it cooks, the slices are moved down to finish cooking, then more are added at the top. It is done before you know it, if you don’t consume it as it cooks.

  4. Jon, what are your thoughts on cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet with a cast iron “bacon smasher” weight? Such an item might include the Lodge LGPR3 Cast Iron Round Grill Press (used with a Lodge 10″ LCS3 Cast Iron Chef’s Skillet). A spatter/splatter screen could be added on top.

    I LOVE a bacon-seaaoned skillet, for eggs, grilled cheese, you name it. Plus running the oven in the summer is a pain.


    1. Craig, I’ve never used a bacon smasher, but I reckon it’s a good way to keep your bacon flat. Just watch the temp and cook it nice and steady so it doesn’t crisp too quickly.

      I like Lodge cookware. Good stuff.

      Lately we have been using bacon grease for frying eggs. Really awesome too.

  5. Jon,

    My entire family, from my 90-year old mother-in-law to my 19-year old son loved your hickory smoked bacon. This bacon not only tastes great, it is the meatiest bacon I have ever found. We can’t wait to try the other varieties in the three-pack. Keep up the good work!

    P.S. We use your standard oven method of cooking, it works great.

  6. I tried your oven method for cooking thick bacon. It turned my luscious, thick bacon into scrawny, almost fat free, nearly unenjoyable bacon! I’ll stick to pan frying now forever.

    1. Hi Bert! I am sorry to hear it didn’t go so well. This method has never failed me!

      If you are getting results like that I would recommend lowering the temperature of your oven. Also, be sure to check on it a couple minutes early in case it is cooking faster than expected.

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