Baking Bacon Better: 6 Tips for Perfect Strips

Bacon

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What’s better than waking up on the weekend and eating a big breakfast? We’re talking eggs, bacon, pancakes and the whole nine yards. While bacon is delicious, cooking it can get messy with the grease popping. How can you avoid the splatter and burns? Try baking bacon in your oven or air fryer. Not sure where to start? Read our guide for baking the best bacon you’ve ever had.  

Tips for Baking Bacon Perfectly

Baking bacon is simple, but here are six tips to make it even better.

1. Use Parchment Paper

The first tip is to use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Parchment paper is preferable here because it makes cleaning much more manageable. Plus, the bacon will slide right off when it comes out of the oven. Aluminum foil is fine if it’s the only thing you have available, but it can be a little messier. Most cooks use foil if you’re going above 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll be OK with parchment paper here.

2. Organize a Single Layer

While it may go without saying, it’s best to organize your bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Give each slice a decent amount of space in between each other to allow for even cooking. Crowding the bacon can lead to undercooked meat because the pieces won’t get enough heat circulating. The problem worsens when you stack bacon slices on top of one another. If you need a lot of bacon, use multiple sheets and ensure the pieces are even.

3. Put the Bacon in Cold

Conventional wisdom says to wait until the oven has completed preheating before you stick your food in there. This rule especially applies to baking bread and pastries, as these recipes are stricter in their practices. However, you can bend the rules a bit when baking bacon. Put cold bacon on your sheet and into the oven while preheating. The bacon will have an easier time crisping up in the short span it’s inside the oven.

If you insist on preheating the oven, that’s also acceptable. Regardless of your stance, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This standard temperature seems to work for most cuts of bacon. 

4. Check the Thickness

The time spent baking bacon depends on how thick your cuts are. Your standard slices of bacon will need about 10 minutes inside the oven. Thinner bacon may need less than 10 minutes in the oven, whereas thicker pieces likely require 12 or more to cook thoroughly. Of course, it depends on how you prefer your bacon. Do you like chewier slices, or do you enjoy crispy bacon? Longer baking times will produce crispier bacon. 

Regardless of your preference, you should watch the bacon in the oven. Bacon is thinner than most cuts of meat, so it won’t take long in the oven. If applicable, turn on the oven light and watch the bacon as it cooks.  

5. Try a Rack

Bacon is thin enough to cook evenly on its top and bottom. However, you’ll make your bacon even better if you cook with a rack. With a rack, you’ll ensure all sides get an even crisp. Plus, the bacon grease will drip onto the bottom of the pan, making it easy to clean afterward. Don’t throw away the bacon grease, though! This fat is reusable for many other dishes and is incredible for elevating the flavor. Store it in the fridge for three months or indefinitely in your freezer. 

6. Sprinkle With Flavor

Six cups of various seasonings.

Bacon has enough fat and sodium to be tasty on its own. However, you can elevate the flavor before the bacon enters the oven. Try sprinkling some black pepper onto each slice to add some more depth. Is it near the holidays? Put some brown sugar on top and let the oven caramelize the sugars. You’ll get a sweet and salty treat once the baking bacon has finished cooking.

Baking Bacon for Delicious Recipes

Baked bacon is fantastic when you eat it by itself. However, life is more fun with some variety. Here are a few dishes you should try adding your baked bacon into. 

BLT

The most popular bacon recipe in America might be the bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich, or the BLT. It’s simple, delicious and quick to make. Baked bacon elevates this recipe because it makes the sandwich less messy. You don’t have to worry as much about grease making the bread soggy or compromising the lettuce or tomato. Simply pat your bacon dry once it has been cooked. 

Baked Beans

Baked beans are a staple throughout the year due to their tangy barbecue flavor and softness from the navy beans. Add chopped bacon to your baked beans to add an extra flavor element. Make immaculate baked beans in the oven by adding bacon, onion, jalapeños, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and molasses. You’ll never make baked beans the same way again! 

Jalapeño Poppers

Bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers grilling on an outdoor grill.

Thinking about throwing a Super Bowl watch party? The food bar is essential for feeding all your hungry guests. Set your party apart with bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers. Luckily, you can bake the bacon and jalapeños together without worrying about doing anything separately. Wrap the cream cheese-stuffed jalapeños with bacon and cook them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. 

Baked Potato

If you don’t mind waiting, a baked potato is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to have a good meal. Once the potato is done cooking, add your favorite toppings like cheese and sour cream. Don’t forget the bacon! Add baked bacon pieces to add the perfect salty and savory flavors. 

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta carbonara on a ceramic plate.

We know what you might be thinking: carbonara more commonly uses pancetta or guanciale — not bacon. However, not all stores have pancetta, so bacon might be your only option. When making carbonara, chop up your baked bacon into small bits. This pasta carbonara recipe uses 10 slices of bacon or just over half a pound. Cut each slice of bacon into about ½ inch pieces. 

Baking Bacon Is Better for Breakfast

The most common way to cook bacon is in a skillet. You can get some great flavors if you use a cast-iron skillet! However, it’s worth considering baking bacon in the oven for convenience. Plus, your stovetop will thank you for the easier cleanup! Use these tips and recipe ideas for excellent baked bacon.


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