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How to: Cook Bacon

Learn how to cook bacon 2 different ways. This step by step how to guide will walk you through how to cook bacon in the oven and on the stove.

Bacon is like the F word. You can use it in just about any situation. And I appreciate that about bacon.

What other food is so ubiquitous? From breakfast to dinner to snacks, and even desserts, you can find bacon in the ingredient list.

The thing with bacon is that there's good bacon and bad bacon. As one ages, as one does, they learn the difference between good bacon and bad bacon. I, personally, have turned into quite the bacon snob. Here's how I like my bacon.

This how to is dedicated to good bacon.

Perfectly cooked bacon strips.

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Tips + tricks

No. 1 --> You want good bacon, buy good bacon. Look for thick-cut bacon that has a uniform size throughout the package. This bacon will cook more consistently and not evaporate into water.

No. 2 --> You want better than good bacon? Make your own bacon. I have a step by step guide for making your own bacon. Homemade bacon has elevated our bacon experiences and everyone loves "Kevy bacon"

Bacon fat in a jar.

Required tools

2 methods

There are more than 2 methods to cook bacon, but in my opinion, there are 2 main methods. Cooking bacon in the oven and cooking bacon on the stove.

Cast iron pan

There is a lot of merit to this method of bacon cookin'. For starters I'm pretty sure this is the most universal way to cook bacon, on a stove top. If it was good enough for our grandpappies, it's good enough for me!

Pro:

  • It's dead simple.
  • Quicker than the oven bacon method.
  • Requires only one flip, unless you're a chronic flipper, then you do you!

Con:

  • Real estate is limited so bacon being cooked is also limited.
  • I find my bacon gets wavy edges in this method, I like flat bacon!
  • Can lead to grease splatter, but when cooking low, this is greatly reduced.
  • This bacon needs a bit more tending than baking sheet bacon as there are usually hot spots in the pan.

Baking sheet

I have no real stats to back this up, but I am quite convinced that baking bacon is a newer way to cook bacon. And I am not knocking it. In our house, this is how we cook bacon 9/10 times.

Pro:

  • It's so easy.
  • Less clean up.
  • Cooks much more evenly, and requires NO flipping, unless you want to.
  • Can make much more bacon on a baking sheet than in a pan.
  • Bacon strips cook flat.
  • Hands off process frees you up to do other things.
  • You can cook bacon in the oven without foil or parchment paper.

Con:

  • Can make a mess of your oven over time with grease splatter, usually, a lower temperature will fix this.
  • Takes longer than stovetop method.

You can certainly line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, which would make clean up even easier, but I really don't find the 2 seconds scrubbing the pan to be any more work than washing a baking sheet that had been lined with something else.

Bacon Grease

Bacon fat is a parting gift from that delicious bacon to your future self.

SAVE IT!

Seriously. It's so easy to save bacon drippings; here's how I do it:

  1. Cook kick-ass bacon.
  2. Gently shake all the fat off the bacon, then set aside.
  3. Pour still warm bacon grease into a glass jar. I keep a small piece of flour sack, but cheesecloth also works great, around to strain the chunkies out.
  4. Close the jar and pop in the fridge for later use.

Use bacon fat like you'd use any other oil. It will solidify in the fridge, so just scoop some out. Use it when popping popcorn, to toss your potatoes in, fry eggs in, sauté veggies in, as the oil in your smoked Cheez It's, to butter your grilled cheese before grilling. The list of uses is endless.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Cast iron cooked bacon.
Yield: 6 slices

How To Cook Bacon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Learn the 2 main ways of preparing bacon; cooking in the oven and cooking on the stove. I'll walk you through exactly how to and when I use each method.

Ingredients

  • 6 (or more) slices of good quality bacon.

Instructions

Cooking bacon on the stove top:

  1. Start with a cold pan, preferably cast iron, and cold bacon.
  2. Lay the bacon into the pan, it can be touching but not overlapping as it will shrink, but flat laying bacon will come out flatter.
  3. Choose the right burner for your pan size, you want a burner that at least heats the entire bottom of your pan.
  4. Turn on the burner to low. The setting on my stove is 2.2 out of 10.
  5. Allow bacon to cook and render the fat for around 10 minutes.
  6. Flip the bacon once the bottom side has a slightly golden crust. You may need to shuffle the bacon around in the pan if your burner has a hot spot.
  7. Cook until both sides have a slightly golden crust and the bacon is done to your liking. About 5 more minutes.
  8. Use tongs to pick up the bacon, shake gently to remove the bacon fat, and lay the bacon strips on a bed of paper towel to absorb the excess fat.
  9. Serve!


Cooking bacon in the oven:

  1. Grab a heavy gauge rimmed baking sheet - a heavy sheet will resist popping and warping in the oven.
  2. Lay your bacon onto the baking sheet, the strips can be touching but not overlapping. Flat laying bacon while cooking leads to a flatter cooked strip.
  3. Place the baking sheet into the COLD oven.
  4. Turn on the oven to 350f.
  5. After 12-15 minutes, check on your bacon. It should be nicely rendered and sizzling in the bacon fat. You can choose to flip the bacon if you like, but it's not necessary.
  6. Cook the bacon until desired doneness. For us, that's about 18 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, being cautious of the bacon grease in the pan.
  8. Pick up the bacon slices with tongs and gently shake to remove excess bacon grease. Lay the bacon strips on a bed of paper towel to absorb excess fat.
  9. Serve as you like!


Saving bacon fat:

  1. After cooking bacon, strain the grease into a glass jar.
  2. Store in the fridge for later use.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

3

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 54Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 194mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

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