I must admit to a kind of love-hate relationship with bacon. On the one hand, my family loves bacon, which means I cook it often. And until I discovered the best, easiest way to do that, I dreaded having to fry bacon!
The problem in two words: splatters, smell. I’m not a fan of splatters all over the cooktop. And that lingering smell of stale bacon throughout the house for hours and beyond? That nearly knocks me out.
Then there’s the problem of keeping the first batch hot and crispy when only about 1/4 pound fits well in a stovetop skillet.
Trust me, I’ve tried all the methods—stovetop, microwave, griddle, and outdoor grill. The outdoor grill has been mostly my go-to method, but when it’s 10 F. with a foot of snow out there, not so much.
And all that is history, now that I’m hooked on the absolute best way to cook bacon—in the oven. It’s easy with minimal if any splatters, the smell of bacon is all but limited to the baking time, I can cook an entire pound of bacon at one time, and clean up is a cinch!
Why is oven-baked the best method?
Until I tried it, I assumed cooking in the oven would make an even bigger mess than using my cast iron skillet on the stovetop. And time-consuming. Just the opposite is true. I can prepare an entire pound of bacon without having to baby it and tend to it. Oven-baked, it stays flat with no splatters. Even better? The “fragrance” of bacon is short-lived.
No need to flip
Just set the timer and that’s it. The oven does everything automatically. No flipping, no checking, and no splatters. The bacon bubbles and sizzles but really, and I repeat—no splattering!
A pound all at once
It sounds like a lot of bacon, but really one pound makes 4 to 6 servings. With the oven method, you can prepare an entire pound on a single half-sheet pan, like my favorite.
What if I want extra crispy bacon?
Baked on a sheet pan, bacon comes out crispy around the edges but still slightly chewy in the middle—the way many of us prefer. But if you like it extra crispy, no problem. Lay the bacon on top of a metal cooling rack set over the foil-lined sheet pan. Now it will come out super crispy all the way through.
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How is the clean-up with the oven method?
It’s so easy. If you want to reserve the bacon fat for later use, simply allow it to cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes, then pour it into your container of choice. If not, wait for the pan to cool, then gather up the foil and discard. Wash with soap and water, as usual. That’s it! No baked-on mess or ugly stains.
How to Cook Perfect Bacon in the Oven
It’s easy, produces excellent results, and quite possibly the only method you’ll use to cook bacon once you give it a try!
Perfect Oven-Baked Bacon
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Metal cooking rack (optional)
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towels
- 1 pound bacon, thin or thick-cut
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Line large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Optional: Place parchment paper on top of the foil to aid in absorbing grease.
- Optional: For extra crispy bacon, fit metal, oven-safe cooling rack on the foil-lined sheet pan.
- Lay bacon on top of the foil (or parchment, depending on how you've set this up) in a single layer, or if using a rack, on top of the rack in the same manner.
- Bake until golden brown or to taste, for about 18 minutes.
- Using tongs, move the perfectly oven-baked bacon to a paper-towel-lined platter.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Elevating the bacon on a cooling rack above the foil-lined sheet pan allows air to circulate more readily, resulting in an extra-crispy outcome.
- Because all ovens behave differently, begin monitoring at about 12 minutes so you know how quickly or slowly your oven will cook the bacon. This is especially important if using very thinly cut bacon. Once you become familiar with how your oven works with bacon, you'll be able to set the timer exactly right to eliminate the need to monitor.
- Leftover bacon, wrapped tightly in foil or stored in a lidded container, will be good for up to one week when stored in the refrigerator. Frozen, up to 3 months.
- To reuse leftover bacon, microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or to your liking.