Kitchen Confidence

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

By • May 14, 2014 • 694 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 (694)

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about 16 hours ago damon

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

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about 23 hours ago AAFoodie

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

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1 day ago Sophia Kleiber

Even easier cleanup cook on parchment.

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1 day ago Constance Brigham

You forget that you pick up some iron from the pan when you use iron pans to cook. Women need iron to avoid anemia.

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1 day ago Gail Brown-Coleman

I+only+eat+beef+bacon+and+that+is+the+only+way+I+have+ever+cooked+it.+Only+thing+I+do+differently+is+I+broil+it+on+low+then+turn+it+over.+Once+bacon+is+done+I+pour+the+grease+in+a+bowl+and+use+that+to+season+all+my+vegetables.

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1 day ago Joel Kolley

I cut half the pound into lardons..by default before putting on parchment lined tray.."36 minutes at 36" helps remind me...360 degrees for 36 minutes..slower and lower..save the small jullienne-ish cuts for burgers, as Ive gotten away from clunky slices..instead, placing a small layer under the cheese after flipped for the first time, when the cheese is melted, Ive hit the mid rare Im looking for

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1 day ago Joel Kolley

I remember the first time I ever did "oven bacon" years ago, when i worked a Sunday brunch as a 17yo..tray after tray..and to this day, this IS the way to go..frying it in a pan, just hits it with uneven heat and often unrendered fat, which..dont get me wrong, is still tasty..but perfectly rendered bacon, especially the fatty ends? Nothing quite like it texturally or tastes like it..

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1 day ago Helen Wallace

use a broiler pan grease runs through slots bacon is crispy

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1 day ago Richard Downey

Nope.+Can't+do+it.+how+they+cook+bacon+in+muscles+for+soldiers+in+the+United+States+Army.+
I+always+hated+Army+bacon.+
Stovetop+or+nothing.++Just+keep+it+low+and+slow.+Rhe+trick+to+good+bacon+is+patience.+:-)

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1 day ago Richard Downey

mess halls... ... not muscled

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1 day ago Donnee Komisar

Baking yes! But put a cooling rack on a foil lined half sheet. Lay down two pans at a time in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, comes out perfect every time. Keep it in the fridge in a paper towel in an airtight container, nuke however much you need for a breakfast, it keep for quite a long time this way and I only have to clean up a mess once in awhile.

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1 day ago Constance Brigham

Sounds good and convenient! Will do! Will do!

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8 days ago ChefGirl

Bacon+is+delish+in+any+form,+I+think+its+best+in+an+OLD+cast+iron+skillet.+Yes,+there+is+a+HUGE+difference+between+old+cast+iron+and+the+newer+garbage+out+there.+That+being+said..and+the+fact+that+this+REALLY+is+the+best+way+to+make+bacon…even+if+it+was+second+to+the+oven…I+still+would+never+again!+My+panic+attack+had+a+panic+attack+from+reading+this.+CLEARLY+this+prson+does+not+clease+his/her+oven+themselves.+Not+to+mention+if+you+make+bacon+a+few+times+a+week+you+better+have+a+second+oven+or+wish+for+you+cakes+and+pizzas+to+sll+smell+like+bacon+as+well.

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10 days ago John K.

My+favorite+method+is+to+buy+a+refrigerated+pack+of+Pre-Cooked+bacon+from+Trader+Joe's,+then+zapping+however+many+I+want+in+the+microwave!!!+++;-D

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13 days ago Cindy

WOW!! lots of comments here, think I'll join in. BACON, is there anything that smells better? That was rhetorical. My son just told me he bakes bacon and I was like DUH!, ya mean I've been splattering myself and the whole kitchen for 50 yrs and NOW you tell me. Never too old to learn I always say. And those of you smacking on bacon grease (you know who you are) I'll bet all of you are using canola oil, the worst heart attack causing carcinogen laden oil on the market. Am I right? Case closed on NATURAL bacon grease.

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1 day ago Marie Czarnecki

@Cindy: Now you can splatter up your oven or toaster oven!!!

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15 days ago thomas cappiello

I've seen this spattering comment more than once and being an over bacon cooker- I have to disagree - there is very little if any signifucant splatter at least if the amount of bacon is relatively low (I don't cook a lb at time) and the pan is good sized.

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15 days ago Judy Guinn

Love to all! But am 65 from the South grew up on bacon/bacon fat! Don't eat so much any more! Moderation! Missouri bacon well worth the $! Use the left over drippings to make gravy! Yum! Best way to cook cover stove with sheets of paper towel! Put a lid on that skillet until you have the need to watch your bacon! Don't let it burn!

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1 day ago Marie Czarnecki

@Judy: Right on, and being Polish Decent at times I use bacon for dipping bread as my Grandmother taught me. Tastes "GREAT"!!!! Use in cooking also...

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16 days ago Larry Hines

Bacon has a lot of splatter. Watch out for oven fires if you have a self cleaning oven.

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18 days ago Bill

I Add foil to the baking tray for easier clean up, and add a cooling rack for the bacon to rest on. Back at 400 degrees for about 12 -15 minutes.

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1 day ago Marie Czarnecki

@Bill: what about the sides and roof of your oven??? "SPLATTER, SPLATTER"!!

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21 days ago Rexene Olson

I don't know where you are but if you are willing to buy from Missouri, you might try Smokey Davis in Boise. you won't regret it!!!!!

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21 days ago thomas cappiello

I'd like to know where to get the best bacon, maybe change the course of these comments a bit because I don't think there is anything at this point to learn about how to cook bacon (but I haven't heard any comments on sous vide, dyoh). I have been reading Momofuku by David Chang and he recommends bacon from Burgers Smokehouse in Mo. Anyone ever try them? Spendy but I might order some for the heck of it.

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13 minutes ago George Shannon

Oscar Myer is the best bacon. Tried all others but always go back to Oscar Meyer. Always the best especially the taste.