Kitchen Confidence

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

By • May 14, 2014 • 723 Comments

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Why you should bake your bacon.

Bacon from Food52

No, we're not trying to deprive you of one of life's greatest pleasures: cooking bacon in a hot cast iron skillet, watching it curl into crimped little ribbons, smelling it waft up in fierce, meaty clouds, hearing it sputter and stutter like a seventh grade boy asking a girl to the movies.

We are trying to help you cook bacon better.

Because as glorious as cooking bacon on the stove can be, it's also a mess. There is grease all over the kitchen, and all over you. And because a pan is only so big, making a heaping plate of bacon is something that takes a while -- and will leave you smelling like a high-end dog toy.

Instead, you should bake your bacon.

Bacon from Food52

Heat your oven to 400° F. Put your slices of bacon on a baking sheet -- as many as you'd like, just make sure they fit into one layer -- and slide it into the oven. The bacon will sizzle in its own rendered fat, cooking it evenly. And fifteen minutes or so later, you will have those perfect little ribbons -- with minimal cleanup.

Bonus points: Carefully pour the hot bacon fat into a jar, and store it in the fridge. Use as you would lard or butter. 

What's your favorite way to cook bacon? Let us know in the comments! 

Tags: bacon, how-to & diy, breakfast

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Comments (723)

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1 day ago Rexene Olson

There is enough negativity in this world and a lot of places where it is not only accepted but encouraged. I would really appreciate it if those of you who cannot intellectually and positively add to the discussion to go find those of like minds to spar with. Inflict yourself on your peers and leave us happy, positive people to go on about our business of trying to make the world a better place and learn more things than I ever thought possible about bacon! Thank you!!

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1 day ago Gret

So agree with you!

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2 days ago DrRisk

Thank you, Ms. Twit.

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3 days ago Rosa Lee Gibbons

Everyone has their own take on cooking bacon and, for me, using the oven has always seemed messier and a definite waster of energy if only cooking for 2-3.

Fighting the bacon to get it to lie flat is frustrating when cooking on the stove top. A new method I tried a few months ago absolutely works and takes care of that problem. All you do is wet the bacon strips before you place them in the skillet. You can hold them under running water and let them drain for just a few seconds or place them in a bowl of water if you are cooking larger amounts. My totally unscientific reason this works is the water slows the cooking giving the bacon time to set without curling. As the water evaporates the bacon continues to brown.

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3 days ago chris

Does it splatter? Water and grease usually cause a lot of hot splatter.

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3 days ago Rosa Lee Gibbons

No, but, I usually add the bacon to a barely warm skillet and cook it slowly. As one skillet is finished frying, I set the skillet off the flame while I wet the next batch of bacon so the skillet can cool a bit. Doing it this way there is very little spattering of the water and, I believe, less spattering of grease as it completes cooking.

I have finally learned cast iron holds the heat longer so I don't rush heating it up thereby getting it too hot and contributing to the greasy spatter.

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3 days ago Nancy McGuire

I thought this was about bacon

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3 days ago chris

Really. Go troll somewhere else, right?

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3 days ago DrRisk

→Rea Diane Anderson Kemble

You twit. It's difficult to imagine there is someone so incredibly stupid they are unable to recognize sarcasm, i.e., repeating that idiot's illiteracy to demonstrate what an ignoramus he is. But you have laid a credible claim to the honor. Most people are not so eager to demonstrate their ignorance. Modesty certainly does not hold you back, though.

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4 days ago Rea Diane Anderson Kemble

Well, DrRisk, It seems you also are not so schooled in grammar. You say you have never swatted a fly if their were one. THERE, not their. What is the fly possessing?

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4 days ago Gail Brown-Coleman

I think it may be a glitch. I asked myself the same question... I did not add them.

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6 days ago John Axford

Please be careful pouring hot grease into a cold glass bottle with cold grease in it! that cost my wife a lot of pain and burns down her arm. The hot grease can explode a cold glass jar with cold grease in it! Just be careful!

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8 days ago Shaun

I put racks on top of parchment paper in my large trays, then place the bacon atop the racks. Baking at preheated 400° F (time depends on how soft or crisp you want it) sears nicely, and cooking on the racks provides more even cooking.

Sometimes, I add a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and fresh ground black pepper to the bacon before putting it into the oven, which makes for a nice caramelized variation.

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8 days ago Jordan Middendorf

I cook bacon this way as well, using tin foil to line the pan and sprinkle the bacon with a bit of salt and pepper and if I have on hand, fresh thyme or rosemary. Fancy bacon > regular bacon

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9 days ago Karen

I put 2 layers of paper towel on a sheet pan and then a single layer of bacon. Bake
( be careful not to broil) at 350 until done. It does not shrink and the grease is absorbed.

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9 days ago Nancy McGuire

Should you cover the bacon so it doesn't splatter in the oven?

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9 days ago Nancy McGuire

How long can you keep bacon fat in the frig. Will it stay longer in the freezer?

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19 days ago DrRisk

You are obviously a gentleman of class and distinction, not to mention tact and diplomacy. What a pity that you are not well educated in English spelling and grammar.

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19 days ago William

What is this an English Class or an article on the pleasures of the sense of Taste. Who are you to make such an idiotic comment such as thus,the person who wrote the article whom I do not know probably earns three times your salary. Thru the coarse of my eventful and exciting life you would've been swated like a fly for an ignorant and insulting comment like that to ME.

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19 days ago DrRisk

I beg a thousand pardons, Your Majesty. Of coarse, I have never swated a fly if their were one, Your Majesty.

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2 days ago Rea Diane Anderson Kemble

To whom, exactly, were you refering, with your original insult?

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2 days ago Rea Diane Anderson Kemble

Oh, I see. It was Mr. Harkins. I didn't even notice his mistake, I don't believe. If I did, I took it for what it was, a simple mistake. I'm sure your grandchildren can't use proper grammar or spell correctly, that is if you were lucky enough to find someone to have sex with you. Now let's get back to BACON so you can go play grammar Nazi somewhere else.

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19 days ago Bill Harkins

Recipes for cooking bacon are like assholes, everybody has one but their all a little bit different.

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19 days ago William

A great way if your making a BLT is by using a cookie sheet layering the bacon in strips then crisscrossing it under and over each strip. It will come out in one piece then you can cut it with scissors put it in your BLT one,two pieces whatever you want. Awesome

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18 days ago Cindy

How crude.

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18 days ago William

Where talking about bacon not about the English language Cindeeee

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25 days ago DrRisk

Microwave. Only way to go.

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about 1 month ago dogfishgal

I+use+my+George+Foreman+grill.+No+mess,+no+splatter+and+all+the+tasty+bacon+grease+is+conveniently+collected+for+me+to+pour+into+a+Mason+jar+for+later+use.

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about 1 month ago damon

Wrapped around cream cheese stuffed Jalepeno over an open flame (camp fire)!

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about 1 month ago AAFoodie

I line the pan with foil for easier cleanup and use a rack to drain some fat.

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about 1 month ago Sophia Kleiber

Even easier cleanup cook on parchment.