A Hands-Off Trick for Better Bacon

Whether you're making a BLT or egg-on-a-roll, this superlative bacon will improve any sandwich.

July 15, 2020
Photo by Bobbi Lin

You probably know and love Erin McDowell from her Bake It Up a Notch video series, or all her amazing Food52 recipes, or her debut book, The Fearless Baker, or her upcoming book, The Book on Pie, or—well, you get the idea. Erin’s the best.

Which is why, as soon as she posts what she’s eating on Instagram, I pay attention. Like, this weekend, she made a BLT, her way: with lettuce and tomato, yes, but also with basil and onion. And even the bacon is special, because of course. As many of her followers asked, why and how did it look so crispy, so glossy, so good?

Photo by Erin McDowell

Erin was happy to share all the details:

Photo by Erin McDowell

“I lay out the strips on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with a little bit of brown sugar and lots of black pepper. I bake at 375°F until it’s crisp [Editor's note: at 400°F, we usually start checking after about 15 minutes]. Then, while it’s still hot, I remove the bacon from the tray and overlap the pieces onto each other. As they cool, the caramel firms up and the bacon holds together, making the sandwich easier to eat, too!”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Ooh I gotta try that flour trick! ”
— Emma L.

Be right back, need to make an Erin-style, way-better BLT on the immediate.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you make a BLT. And here’s even more bacon content because, you know, you can never have enough.

Bonus Bacon Hacks

What’s the best way to cook bacon ever? Our columnist Ella Quittner finds out, pitting a slew of techniques against each other. Cast-iron versus nonstick? Does starting in water actually work? And what about the microwave? Buckle up.

Cookbook author Chrissy Teigen’s garlic-roasted bacon would make any egg swoon. As Associate Editor Erin Alexander put it: “I don't think I was fully prepared to love it as much as I did. Those teeny flecks of roasted garlic added both zest and a rich, gentle sweetness, which worked wonders with bacon's inherent fatty, smoky flavors.”

Better bacon because of a...power outage? Thanks, power outage. After 10 minutes at 400°F, you turn the oven off and let the residual heat take care of the rest. “Five more minutes buys you more crisp and less chew. Another five delivers that shatteringly crisp bacon that I love so much,” Gary Schiro writes. “As long as you don’t leave it there for an hour, when the bacon fat might start to congeal, you’re fine.”

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Georgekiddee
  • FrugalCat
  • HillJ
  • Johonna Cadwgan
    Johonna Cadwgan
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Georgekiddee August 4, 2020
After you foil line the baking sheet pan be sure to use a baking rack to provide even cooking. Remember, as with other foods, upon removing the bacon from the oven the hot bacon will still be cooking itself for a few minutes, so time it accordingly. For a heartier breakfast fry an egg and include in the sandwich!
FrugalCat July 15, 2020
Turbinado sugar is easier to sprinkle easily. I've loved BLT's since I was a teenager, but only eat them when tomatoes are perfect.
Johonna C. July 18, 2020
Kumato tomatoes are remarkably delicious and come in a five-pack @ Trader Joe’s for $3.49. I can leave them on my kitchen counter for a week or two; they just get better and sweeter
HillJ July 15, 2020
I cover the bacon in a light coating of flour. Shake off excess and line tinfoil covered baking tray. The flour creates a nicer crust and the grease doesn't spatter the inside of the oven.

My favorite BLT includes avocado slices, red onion slices and is always served on lightly toasted marble rye bread.
Emma L. July 16, 2020
Ooh I gotta try that flour trick!
Johonna C. July 18, 2020
Will definitely try that trick! That BLT sounds like perfection, too!