My entire childhood, Saturday mornings began when I smelled a skillet of bacon cooking on the stove. But many years ago, I changed the way I cook bacon, because I discovered cooking bacon on the stove is not the best way to do it.
Here’s why you should bake your bacon in the oven instead!
The Benefits of Oven-Baked Bacon
As I see it, there are a few great reasons to bake bacon:
- It keeps your stove clean. You don’t have to worry about bacon grease splattering all over your kitchen, and you can use your burners for other stuff.
- It’s less work. You don’t have to worry about flipping the bacon constantly or keeping a super close eye on it. Stick it in the oven, and come back later to beautiful bacon!
- Most importantly, the bacon cooks evenly. Some pieces may cook slightly faster if they are cut to a different thickness, but overall, oven-baked bacon is consistently crispy all around!
So, yes—bake your bacon!
The Best Bacon for Baking
My preference is a center cut bacon, which has an even thickness width-wise. I generally don’t like to bake thick-cut bacon because it takes longer, but you can bake any bacon you want. Just add 5-10 minutes to the baking time if you use a thick-cut bacon.
Rack or No Rack?
If you have an oven-safe baking rack (like a metal cooling rack), I recommend using it. Cooking the bacon on a rack allows the heat to circulate all around the bacon, which means you don’t have to worry about flipping it halfway through cooking. The rack also allows all the grease to drip down, meaning your bacon will get even crispier!
That said, if you don’t have a rack and don’t want to buy a new piece of equipment, you can bake the bacon straight on a sheet pan. Just remember to flip it halfway through!
The Right Temperature for Baking Bacon
I like to bake my bacon at 375°F, and I recommend starting it in a cold oven. This lets the fat slowly melt out of the bacon, leading to crispier finished bacon. (Unless you’re making candied bacon, in which case you want the oven preheated, so the sugar caramelizes quickly!)
While 375°F is my ideal temperature, if you’re cooking something else in your oven, you can toss a sheet of bacon in at almost any temperature, and it’ll be okay. If you’re cooking it hotter, just keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Storing and Reheating Bacon
Storing bacon is easy. Once it’s cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat the bacon in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave in short 15-second bursts.
You can also freeze the bacon if you made a big batch. Just make sure to freeze the strips individually, or in between pieces of parchment paper, so they don’t stick together.