Baking bacon in the oven is easy, and it's quickly become my favorite method, especially when cooking for a crowd.
For perfectly crispy results, set the oven temperature to 350°F. Bacon cooks more evenly at a lower temperature, and even with this slower method, it's ready in less than 30 minutes.
I'm astounded that most bacon packages still list pan-frying instructions as the first option. I haven't fried bacon in years!
Perhaps it makes sense to pan-fry it if you cook only a few slices. But for anything more than that, I do believe that the oven is the best - and certainly the easiest - method. And when cooked this way, the bacon cooks evenly and comes out beautifully crispy.
Cooking bacon for a crowd
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 strips.
I tried this method for the first time when we hosted a brunch a couple of years ago 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.
This one is easy! You'll simply need 8 oz of bacon. I like to use medium-thickness slices. Not too thick and not too thin. If you use any other thickness, you'll likely need to slightly adjust the cooking time.
If you wish, you can sprinkle the bacon slices with spices before placing them in the oven. But that's completely optional. Tasty options include freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Maybe a bit of cayenne if you like your food spicy.
It's easy to cook bacon in your oven! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Preheat your 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.
Place the pan in the preheated 350°F oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Pull the pan out of the oven. You can let the bacon pieces rest for a few minutes before serving them.
Frequently asked questions
Many recipes will instruct you to heat your oven to 400°F. This is not bad advice. But in my opinion, 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. Setting the oven to 350°F helps prevent this from happening.
For crispy bacon, I find that 20 minutes at 350°F is ideal. Although you could certainly cook it for longer if you like your bacon extra crispy. On the other hand, if you prefer it a little soft, start with just 15 minutes.
Oven temperatures and personal taste preferences vary, so you'll need to experiment until you know what works best for you using your own oven.
There's actually no need to do that. They will cook beautifully and evenly, especially if you use a lower temperature and a wire rack.
One rimmed baking sheet fits one 8-oz package, which is about eight slices.
If you need to cook more than one package, simply use two or three baking sheets. The bottom pan will likely cook faster than the other two. Simply monitor all pans and remove the ones that are ready from the oven.
A wire rack is helpful but not mandatory: 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 foil or parchment paper and arrange the slices directly on them.
Use a rimmed baking sheet: 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 potentially causing a grease fire.
Preventing grease splatters: If you use a rimmed baking sheet and set the oven to 350 degrees F, the bacon 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.
Using up the 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 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 it 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.
You can keep the 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 the leftovers cold - seriously, cold cooked bacon is very good. Kind of like eating cold deli meat, but even better, because it's bacon. 😍
If you can find pork belly slices at the store, those are also wonderful when baked. They make a great alternative to bacon. They do take more time since they are quite thick, and you need to season them well. But they are absolutely delicious!
Another good option, if you can find it (or order online) is duck bacon. I bake it in the oven as well, and while it's not as fatty or crispy as pork bacon, it's meaty and flavorful.
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Crispy Oven-Baked Bacon
- 8 oz bacon (about 8 strips)
- Spices to taste (optional; you can use freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and/or garlic powder)
- Preheat your 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 them directly on parchment paper instead of using a rack.
- You can sprinkle the bacon with spices if you wish, but this is purely optional. I typically don't.
- Bake until the bacon is as crispy as you want it. I bake it for 20 minutes.
- If you didn't use a rack, place the cooked bacon briefly on paper towels to drain, then serve.