Yes, you can bake bacon in the oven! For perfectly crispy results, bake at 350°F. It cooks more evenly at a lower temperature.
Baking bacon in the oven has been a lifesaver for me. It’s not that using a skillet is difficult. But it does require constant attention and frequent turning of the bacon.
I’m astounded that most packages of bacon still give pan-frying instructions as the first option. I haven’t fried bacon in years.
Perhaps it makes sense to pan fry if you cook 2-3 slices. But for anything more than that, baking is best.
But should you bake bacon in the oven?
Yes! Absolutely. When cooked this way, it bakes evenly and comes out beautifully crispy.
I actually learned this method many years ago from The Best Recipe Cookbook by Cook’s Illustrated. So you know this is reliable advice.
I tried it for the first time when we hosted a brunch and I wanted to cook two packages. The only way to do that without going crazy was to use two rimmed baking sheets and bake instead of frying.
It worked! The bacon came out beautiful – tasty and crispy and just perfect. So ever since then, I’ve been using this method.
How long do you bake bacon in the oven?
Many recipes will instruct you to heat your oven to 400°F. This is not bad advice. But from experience, bacon cooks more evenly when the temperature is set to 350°F.
A lower temperature is also more forgiving. At a higher temperature, bacon tends to burn quite easily. One moment it’s slightly underdone, five minutes later the edges are burnt.
Baking at 350°F also enables you to use parchment paper rather than foil, if you’re concerned about exposing your food to aluminum.
I like my bacon crispy, so I arrange it on stainless steel wire racks that I got on Amazon (I do line the pan with foil for easier cleanup).
The wire racks can be washed in the dishwasher, so cleanup is easy. But they’re not mandatory. You can simply line your pan with parchment paper and arrange the bacon slices directly on the parchment.
For crispy bacon, I find that 20 minutes at 350°F is ideal. Although you could bake for longer if you like it extra crispy.
On the other hand, if you like your bacon a little soft, try 15 minutes.
What type of pan should I use?
Whether you use a wire rack or not, you should definitely use a rimmed baking sheet to prevent grease from dripping onto the oven floor and causing a grease fire.
Should I flip the bacon slices midway through cooking?
There’s no need to do that. The bacon will cook beautifully and evenly, especially if you use a lower temperature and a wire rack.
How much bacon can I bake in the oven?
One rimmed baking sheet fits one 8-oz package of bacon, or 8 slices. If you need to cook more than one package, simply use two or three baking sheets.
How to prevent grease splatters?
If you use a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F, it actually shouldn’t splatter too badly.
But if preventing splatters is important to you, a simple method is to loosely cover the bacon while it cooks with a sheet of parchment paper.
What to do with leftovers?
You can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 days. Reheat them, covered in a paper towel, in the microwave on 50% power.
You can also eat bacon cold – seriously, it’s very good. Kind of like eating cold deli meat, but even better, ’cause it’s bacon!
What to do with the bacon grease?
Whatever you do, don’t pour it down the drain or it will clog your sink!
What you do with the grease that’s left in the pan after baking bacon in the oven is up to you. You can mop it with paper towels and throw them in the trash.
Or strain the grease through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass jar. Then seal it and keep in the fridge for later use.
You can use the grease in any savory recipe that requires fat for cooking. It’s especially good when cooking eggs, so I often use it when making fluffy scrambled eggs.
Isn’t bacon unhealthy?
Bacon, even natural uncured bacon, is a highly processed food that can contain nitrates or nitrites, so I wouldn’t classify it as healthy.
However, consuming it in moderation is probably OK, and the risk it poses for a healthy person is relatively small.
Here’s another good article on the pros and cons of bacon. I agree with the author’s bottom line: bacon in moderation is fine.
How do I define moderation? I usually make bacon for my family once a week, on the weekend.
For your own body, and your own family, you should do what you feel comfortable with. And if you’d rather avoid bacon, that’s just fine.
A fresh unprocessed alternative: pork belly
If you can find pork belly slices at the store, those are also wonderful when baked in the oven.
They do take more time since they are much thicker than bacon. But they are delicious, and they are probably healthier since they’re not processed or cured.
Bacon In The Oven
- 8 oz bacon (about 8 strips)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and fit it with a wire rack.
- Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer on the wire rack. You can also arrange the bacon slices directly on parchment paper instead of using a rack.
- Bake until the bacon is as crispy as you want it. I bake for 20 minutes.
- If you didn’t use a rack, place the baked bacon briefly on paper towels to drain, then serve.