I think most (if not all) meat eaters will agree that bacon is an essential addition to any breakfast or brunch menu. However, trying to cook more than a few slices on the stove can get messy, especially if you’re also preparing other items like eggs and pancakes at the same time. Cooking bacon in the oven is a simple hands-off, hassle-free solution.
Being able to balance several kitchen tasks at once can be challenging. Anytime I can eliminate one of these variables, I’m all for it.
Preparing bacon on the stovetop isn’t difficult, but it can lead to a greasy, sputtering mess if you don’t keep an eye on it. And unless you have a large griddle, only a small amount can be prepared at once, which is limiting if you’re serving a large group. People love their bacon!
This is why I love cooking bacon in the oven. It frees me up to focus on other things, and even better, it comes out perfectly every time.
How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
If I’m only cooking a few slices of bacon for myself, I still use a skillet. However, anytime I’m preparing a larger batch, oven-baked bacon is my method of choice. Here are some of my top tips.
Use Rimmed Sheet Pans
You don’t want to use a flat cookie sheet for this task or you might find yourself with a giant mess of grease in the bottom of your oven. Use a rimmed sheet pan (or two). If using two sheet pans, place the oven racks on the upper and lower third shelves.
Use Foil or Parchment Paper for Easy Cleanup
I’m a fan of making the cleanup process as easy as possible. Lining the pan is a big time saver at the end. I’m partial to using foil, since you can wrap it all the way around the edges of the pan.
However, while parchment paper doesn’t stop the grease from getting through, it still offers a layer of protection against any little bits of bacon that cook on to the bottom of the pan and require scrubbing. You can buy rolls of parchment at the store, but I’m partial to the sheets that are cut to fit my pans.
Use a Wire Rack For Crispy Bacon
Using a wire rack is optional, but it yields crispier results since it keeps the bacon separated from the fat. My wire cooling rack (the same one I use for cookies) works perfectly here.
Try Maple Bacon (or Spicy Maple Bacon)
I love sweet and salty treats. Sweet, salty and spicy? Even better. Try brushing a thin layer of pure maple syrup on the bacon before baking it. For a spicy version, whisk in a pinch of cayenne pepper first.
Try these other bacon recipes!
- 1 pound bacon, preferably thick-cut (see notes)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Place an oven rack on the center shelf and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If you’re cooking two sheets at once, place the racks on the upper and lower third shelves. Line a large plate or cutting board with paper towels and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (foil will make cleanup easier but parchment is still better than nothing). Optional but recommended: place a wire cooling rack on top of the baking sheet, which will allow the bacon to cook from all sides and crisp up more evenly.
Place the bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet, leaving a small amount of space in between each piece to prevent sticking.
If preparing sweet and spicy maple bacon variation, combine the maple syrup and cayenne pepper in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of the syrup over the top of the bacon.
Bake until golden brown and crisp, approximately 15-20 minutes (times will vary based on personal preference for doneness and thickness of the bacon). Start checking after 15 minutes. If you’re not using a wire rack, you may want to pour off excess fat once midway through the cooking process.
- Remove the bacon from the oven and, using tongs, transfer to the prepared paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess fat. Serve hot!
- Leftover bacon (what’s that?) can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or frozen for several months. Briefly reheat in the microwave or in a skillet before serving.
This recipe scales up or down to make as much as you need. 1 pound is an example amount.
I like reserving the excess bacon fat to use for other cooking applications (especially since it can’t be poured down the drain). After the bacon fat has cooled slightly but before it solidifies, pour into a small airtight storage container. Store in the refrigerator and use to cook eggs, sauté veggies and pan fry meat!
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