How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
In this post you’ll learn How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, which I find results in much crispier, more evenly cooked strips. Plus, you can do a big batch at one time instead of having to do many batches in a frying pan. Clean up is easy, it only takes 20 minutes to make, and there’s no flipping required!
I was honestly pretty slow to warm up to the whole cooking bacon in the oven thing, as for most of my life, I always fried it in a skillet. Old habits truly do die hard, but oven baked bacon is better for many reasons. Regardless of whether you prefer a softer or more crispy bacon, cooking it in the oven will make it more consistently to your desired doneness.
Why This Method Is Superior
The bacon cooks more evenly – When you cook bacon in a skillet, it’s only receiving heat from the skillet below. Because the strips tends to curl up, you get well done parts, and more flabby and undercooked parts. But in the oven, the meat is getting hot air cooking it evenly on all parts, so you get a more evenly cooked strip.
The bacon is more crispy – Because of the nature of the oven, you can bring more of the bacon to that deep crispiness evenly without risking burning it. Oven bacon always turns out so crisp, especially when you buy thin cut pieces.
Less time consuming – There are usually 10 to 12 strips of bacon in a package, so it would always take me several batches of frying in a skillet in order to cook the whole package. It’s one thing if you’re just frying a few pieces to have with your Poached Eggs in the morning, but when I needed a full pack of bacon for use in a recipe like Bacon Cheddar Scones, sometimes that would be 20-30 minutes of cooking time!
Batch cook as you wish – With the oven method, you can cook large amounts all at once, and do multiple pans. This is great if you’ve got a crowd to feed or if you want leftovers.
This method works with plain bacon straight from the package, but know that you can also get creative with the toppings, and even bake trays of this Praline Bacon! It’s one of my favorites for brunch, and people go crazy for it.
Tips for Best Results
Use convection if you have it – If you want to maximize crispiness and you have a convection feature in your oven, go ahead and use it. This blows the hot air around the oven and will give you even more uniformly cooked pieces, while also shaving a few minutes off cooking time.
Use thinner bacon for maximum crispiness – If you prefer really crispy bacon, I recommend starting with thinner cut or center cut pieces. Even if you take the time to crisp thick cut pieces, it will still have a meaty bite on the inside.
Blot with paper towels at the end – Just as you would when cooking in a skillet, I recommend removing the cooked strips to a paper-towel lined plate, and blotting the excess grease away. This will also ensure maximum crispiness.
Step by Step Overview
Start by preheating the oven to 350F. At first thought you might think it’d be better to cook in a hotter oven, but I’ve found in my recipe testing that cooking at this lower temperature allows the fat to render better and will still give you crispy end results.
Optional: Line the Pan for Easy Cleanup
I suggest lining a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. If you don’t line the pan, you’ll have to use paper towels to remove the rendered fat (you’re not supposed to pour fat down the sink, and you shouldn’t put grease-soaked kitchen towels in the laundry either). I find it’s easier to simply take the foil off and throw it all away at the end than to rub and wash.
Next, lay the bacon slices down side by side, making sure they’re not overlapping. It’s okay if they’re touching, because the strips will shrink as they cook, just don’t have them on top of each other. Single layer only!
Variations and Flavor Ideas
Most bacon has enough flavor that you’ll want to roast it plain, but it can also be fun to add other flavors. And now is the time! Because the pieces stay in place in the oven, it’s easy to sprinkle on toppings without them moving around and getting lost in the skillet.
Praline Bacon – The strips are coated with pecans and brown sugar. I first tried it in New Orleans, and it’s outrageously good.
Maple Bacon – Before baking, evenly drizzle a couple tablespoons of pure maple syrup over the tray. The temperature is low enough that the maple syrup won’t burn. You may use your favorite honey as well, or even agave nectar.
Cayenne Bacon – Evenly sprinkle a quarter teaspoon (or your desired amount, to taste) over the slices before baking. You can also try chile powder or ground chipotle.
Place the tray in the preheated oven in the middle rack:
I’ve tested out different temperatures and oven positions, and have found that the middle rack at 350F will give you the most evenly cooked pieces that aren’t burned.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. Keep your eye on it toward the end, especially since pieces vary in thickness depending on the brand. Regardless of what brand and type you choose, keep in mind that the strips will shrink a lot. It’s completely normal.
Drain the pieces on a paper towel, and blot the excess fat away. This will ensure maximum crispiness and keep the mouthfeel from being greasy.
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Place in an airtight container or ziptop bag and keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Absolutely! Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, ideally thaw in the fridge for a couple hours first. However, you can reheat straight from frozen since the strips are so thin.
You may reheat in the microwave or in the oven. For the microwave, place on a microwave-safe plate and cook at 50% power in 30 second intervals until warm and crispy. For the oven, place in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes, until warmed through.
Of course! Simply pour it off the pan into a container. It will be easiest to pour while it’s still hot, so do this shortly after you remove the pan from the oven.
I tend to like the high-brow brands like Neuske’s, Niman Ranch, and Applegate. Pork quality varies tremendously depending on how the animals are raised and what they’re fed. I recommend doing a taste test to find your favorites.
For the Oven Cooked Bacon:
- one 12-ounce package bacon
- aluminum foil for lining the pan, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, if desired.
- Lay the bacon strips down side by side on the pan, making sure they are not on top of each other overlapping at all. It’s okay if they’re touching on the sides.
- Roast for 15-20* minutes, until they are done to your desired crispiness.
- Drain the bacon on paper towels and blot the excess fat away. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.