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How to make perfect bacon in your oven…

How to make perfect bacon in your oven…
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Photo by Joe Lingeman

I think we can agree that crispy, smoky bacon is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, standing over a hot stove dodging sputtering bacon grease is not. Here is how we can have the best of both worlds: an easy, simple, hassle-free method for cooking perfect bacon, all in the oven. It’s the perfect way to cook a lot of bacon all at once, enough bacon for a crowd!

Why the Oven Is Best for a Big Batch of Bacon

I was a skeptic of oven-baked bacon at first. Give up cooking the long strips in my beloved cast iron skillet? Really? There’s just something that feels so nostalgic and right about cooking bacon that way — tenderly flipping and monitoring the progress of every slice, although yes, while nursing the occasional oil-spatter burn. For a few quick slices, I still think a skillet is the way to go; but when cooking a pound or more of bacon for a big Saturday brunch or for a week of easy meal add-ins, I am a total oven-baked-bacon convert.

How Much Bacon Can I Cook at Once?

I find that one pound of medium-thick bacon fits on a single large baking sheet, like our favorite sheet pan. To cook even more (or if your bacon doesn’t all fit on one sheet), you can cook two baking sheets at once.

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Do I Have to Flip the Bacon?

Nope! You don’t have to flip it while cooking. It’s just so easy — there’s no flipping or monitoring involved. You just lay the bacon on a baking sheet, stick it in the oven, and set a timer. The strips of bacon bubble away in the oven (no splattering!) and gradually become the crispy, golden-hued, irresistible bacon we know and love.

How Do I Make the Bacon Extra-Crispy?

Bacon cooked in the oven definitely gets crispy, but I also find that it retains a bit of chewiness near the middle, especially when cooking thick-cut bacon. I love this, but if you love your bacon crispy through and through, then you should try baking it on top of a metal cooling rack set over the baking sheet. Lifting the bacon up lets it cook from all sides and get even crispier. Just make sure to use an oven-safe cooling rack for baking bacon. This one below is one of our favorites: very sturdy, and a total steal!

How To Make Perfect Bacon in the Oven

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  •     1 to 2 pounds sliced bacon

Equipment

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 400°F. If you’re cooking 2 sheets of bacon, position a second rack in the top third of the oven.

  2. Arrange the bacon on a baking sheet. Line 1 to 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil (this makes cleanup easier). Lay the bacon on the baking sheet(s) in a single layer. The bacon can be close together, but don’t let it overlap or the bacon will stick during cooking.

  3. Bake the bacon. Bake until the bacon is deep golden-brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Exact baking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you like it. Begin checking around 12 minutes to monitor how quickly the bacon is cooking. The bacon fat will sputter and bubble as the bacon cooks, but shouldn’t splatter the way it does on the stove top. Pour off the bacon grease as needed so the bacon isn’t totally submerged in grease.

  4. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove the bacon from the oven and use tongs to transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and finish crisping. Serve immediately.

  5. Clean up. If you want to save the bacon grease, let it cool slightly, then pour it into a container and refrigerate. If you don’t want to save the grease, let it solidify on the baking sheet, then crumple the foil around it and discard.

Recipe Notes

Even crispier bacon: For even crispier bacon, fit a metal rack over the foil-lined baking sheet and lay the raw bacon on the rack. Elevating the bacon allows it to cook from all sides and become extra-crispy.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover bacon for 1 week or freeze it for up to 3 months; warm the bacon in the microwave before serving.

Emma Christensen is a former editor for The Kitchn and a graduate of the Cambridge School for Culinary Arts. She is the author of True Brews and Brew Better Beer. Check out her website for more cooking stories.

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