Crank the heat, prep the sheet tray, and let’s get to bacon. That’s not a typo, I’m talking baking bacon. Bacon is downright irresistible, but cooking it in a pan isn’t always the most pleasant.
Easy instructions on how to make bacon in the oven. The best way to get even, flat strips of bacon without the mess or potential grease pops.
We’re talking splattered countertops, constant babysitting, the occasional grease pop that lands on you, and slices that tend to curl up.
Well, forget the headache associated with the stovetop and welcome the easiest method to get bacon from the fridge to the plate to your everyday cooking routine: the oven. It boasts even cooking and perfectly flat bacon strips every time.
FACT: Bacon doesn’t refer to the cut of pork, it is any type of salt-cured pork and can be prepared from several different cuts of including pork belly or back cuts.
Not only is cooking bacon this way a breeze, but it is hands-down the easiest way to feed a crowd whether it’s friends coming over for breakfast or the whole neighborhood coming over for burgers.
STEP ONE. To get started, preheat your oven to 400F. This is the perfect temp for an even bake.
STEP TWO. Gather what you need. While the oven is warming up, get these items out:
- A baking sheet with sides
- Aluminum foil
- Oven proof metal rack (same size or slightly smaller than the baking sheet)
- A paper towel lined plate
STEP THREE. Line your baking sheet with foil. Bacon is high in fat and that fat will render out or liquefy while it bakes. The foil helps to make clean up easier.
Set the metal rack on the foil-lined baking sheet. This will allow the bacon fat to drip away from the bacon during the cook.
If you don’t, don’t sweat it, you will get the same results, but may have to let the bacon drain a little later. You can use a metal rack made for this type of recipe, a cooling rack or even a broiler pan.
STEP FOUR. Flavor your bacon! This step is 100% optional because bacon is delicious as is, but if you are feeling frisky, get to seasoning. I am partial to my recipe for Candied Bacon for a sweet, salty, savory bite, but the options are really endless.
Other bacon seasoning ideas:
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Maple syrup
- Salt-free herb seasoning
STEP FIVE. Arrange your bacon on the baking sheet or the wire rack so that each strip is close and cozy to the next but not touching. If there is any overlap, the bacon will steam and not brown the way you want it to.
STEP SIX. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, on the middle rack, for 12-20 minutes. My general rule of thumb is to check thin cut bacon at the 12-minute mark and to check thick cut bacon at the 15-minute mark. When it’s perfectly browned, it’s ready to come out.
STEP SEVEN. Use your tongs to transfer the bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate. This will help pull away any extra fat and make for the best bacon bite.
STEP EIGHT. Cleanup. You have two very easy options.
Option 1– allow the bacon fat to solidify and simply slide it and the foil into the trash when you are done.
Option 2 – strain the liquid bacon fat and pour it into an airtight container and put it in the fridge. Think of it like butter or olive oil and use it to saute everything from mushrooms to scrambled eggs and more to give them a touch of bacon even if it isn’t in the dish.
And there you have it, baking bacon made easy. This method is a surefire way to get the perfect slice every time and to fill your kitchen with an intoxicating aroma while keeping your stovetop splatter-free and clean up a breeze.
Your next question might be about what type of bacon to purchase. Some folks aren’t sure about the labels, so here is a little cheat sheet.
- Slab bacon typically has a medium to very high fraction of fat. It is made from the belly and side cuts, and from fatback.
- Side bacon is the most common type of bacon. It is very fatty with long layers of fat running parallel to the rind.
- Center-cut bacon is nothing more than regular bacon with the fatty ends cut off.
- Hardwood Smoked is cured using different types of wood.
- Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly of a pig, but is generally not smoked and cured, so while people use it interchangeably with bacon and it is sometimes called bacon, it is not actually bacon.
You can also make bacon in the Air Fryer!
Here are even more cooking tips and techniques:
- How to scald milk
- How to fix cracks in pumpkin pie
- How to boil corn
- How to quickly pickle vegetables
- How to poach an egg
- How to brine a chicken
- How to brine a turkey
- How to brine pork chops
- How to make bacon in the oven
- How to properly freeze food
- Ingredient Substitution Chart
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How to Make Bacon in the Oven
- 1/2 pound bacon
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Set a metal rack on the foil-lined baking sheet.This will allow the bacon fat to drip away from the bacon during the cook. If you don’t, don’t sweat it, you will get the same results, but may have to let the bacon drain a little later.
- Flavor your bacon, if desired. See notes for flavor ideas.
- Arrange your bacon on the baking sheet or the wire rack in a single layer, leaving a little room between each slice.
- Bake for 12-20 minutes. My general rule of thumb is to check thin cut bacon at the 12-minute mark and to check thick cut bacon at the 15-minute mark.
- When it’s perfectly browned, it’s ready to come out.
- Transfer the bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate. This will help pull away any extra fat and make for the best bacon bite.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!