- Bacon … so salty, so crispy, so fragrant, so delectable … and unfortunately, when cooked on the stovetop in a skillet, so messy.
- If you long for tasty bacon, but aren’t quite so in love with grease splatters and burns, fear not.
- Switch to baking your bacon in the oven, and you can enjoy the porcine goodness without the lengthy cleanup session.
- Here’s how to bake bacon and the tools you need to do it, including a baking sheet, a cooling rack, and tongs.
We like our bacon – whether it’s sharing the plate with scrambled eggs, sprinkled on a salad, nestled in a sandwich, or adding crunch to a donut. In fact, pre-sliced, refrigerated bacon is a $4 billion-per-year-industry in the US. That’s a whole lot of sizzle.
I’m a lucky woman – I have a husband who enjoys cooking up a big batch of scrambled eggs and bacon on Sunday mornings.
I’ve always loved the tantalizing aroma that fills our apartment with the promise of soon-to-come-deliciousness, but I didn’t much look forward to the mess that followed: splattered grease all over the stovetop, a hot cast-iron skillet filled with grease and requiring its own specialized cleanup, our corgi happily licking the floor in front of the stove where inevitable grease splashes landed. Ugh.
That’s why I was stoked when I learned how easy it is to bake bacon in the oven. Not only does this cut down on the mess, it also turns out perfectly crisped bacon without those little pockets of raw fat that stovetop frying always leaves behind.
You still smell the wonderful, distinctive aroma of bacon on the way, but the enjoyment is heightened by the knowledge that you won’t need to break out the mop after cooking it, nurse a burned spot on your arm, or pre-treat grease marks on your shirt before tossing it into the wash.
Plus, it’s an easy process that doesn’t even require you to turn the bacon over while it cooks. I can almost guarantee it: Once you try baking bacon in the oven, rather than frying it in a skillet, you’ll never go back.
Here’s how to cook up a batch of bacon right. The technique is the same whether you’re cooking traditional pork bacon or slightly healthier turkey bacon.
How to bake bacon in the oven
- If necessary, let your bacon thaw before breakfast time. While you wait, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil. If you don’t have a baking sheet, we recommend the Nordic Ware Aluminum Baker’s Half-Sheet.
- Spread your bacon in a single layer across the baking sheet. Don’t pile strips on top of each other, or they won’t cook evenly.
- Pop that tray of goodness into your heated oven, and prepare to salivate as the aroma wafts through your kitchen.
- Begin checking the bacon at the 12-minute mark, but be prepared for it to take up to 20 minutes for the meat to reach your preferred level of crispiness. Fifteen minutes is average.
- Remove the bacon from the oven, and use tongs to transfer it onto a plate topped with paper towels or a cooling rack like this one from Bellemain. If you don’t have a set of tongs already, we highly recommend the Starpack Basics Silicone Kitchen Tongs.
- Cover the bacon with a final paper towel or cloth to soak up any excess grease.
- Once your baking sheet cools down, discard the aluminum foil, balling it carefully so as not to spill grease, and wash away any small splatters or splashes from the baking sheet.
That’s it! You don’t have to waste precious weekend-morning time cleaning the stovetop or scrubbing a cast iron pan, and you still get to eat some bacon!