My entire childhood, Saturday mornings began when I smelled a skillet of bacon cooking on the stove. But many years ago, I changed the way I cook bacon, because I discovered cooking bacon on the stove is not the best way to do it.
Here’s why you should bake your bacon in the oven instead!
The Benefits of Oven-Baked Bacon
As I see it, there are a few great reasons to bake bacon:
- It keeps your stove clean. You don’t have to worry about bacon grease splattering all over your kitchen, and you can use your burners for other stuff.
- It’s less work. You don’t have to worry about flipping the bacon constantly or keeping a super close eye on it. Stick it in the oven, and come back later to beautiful bacon!
- Most importantly, the bacon cooks evenly. Some pieces may cook slightly faster if they are cut to a different thickness, but overall, oven-baked bacon is consistently crispy all around!
So, yes—bake your bacon!
The Best Bacon for Baking
My preference is a center cut bacon, which has an even thickness width-wise. I generally don’t like to bake thick-cut bacon because it takes longer, but you can bake any bacon you want. Just add 5-10 minutes to the baking time if you use a thick-cut bacon.
Rack or No Rack?
If you have an oven-safe baking rack (like a metal cooling rack), I recommend using it. Cooking the bacon on a rack allows the heat to circulate all around the bacon, which means you don’t have to worry about flipping it halfway through cooking. The rack also allows all the grease to drip down, meaning your bacon will get even crispier!
That said, if you don’t have a rack and don’t want to buy a new piece of equipment, you can bake the bacon straight on a sheet pan. Just remember to flip it halfway through!
The Right Temperature for Baking Bacon
I like to bake my bacon at 375°F, and I recommend starting it in a cold oven. This lets the fat slowly melt out of the bacon, leading to crispier finished bacon. (Unless you’re making candied bacon, in which case you want the oven preheated, so the sugar caramelizes quickly!)
While 375°F is my ideal temperature, if you’re cooking something else in your oven, you can toss a sheet of bacon in at almost any temperature, and it’ll be okay. If you’re cooking it hotter, just keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Storing and Reheating Bacon
Storing bacon is easy. Once it’s cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat the bacon in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave in short 15-second bursts.
You can also freeze the bacon if you made a big batch. Just make sure to freeze the strips individually, or in between pieces of parchment paper, so they don’t stick together.
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If you use thick-cut bacon, plan to cook for an extra 5 to 10 minutes.
- 12 strips bacon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
1 Prep the bacon: If you have an oven-safe baking rack, place it inside a sheet pan. (For even easier clean-up, you can also line the sheet pan with foil.)
Lay out the bacon strips on the wire rack. Make sure they don’t overlap. Sprinkle bacon strips with black pepper, if you want.
2 Bake the bacon: Place the bacon in a cold oven, and set the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake the bacon in the oven for 15-20 minutes total.
If you are doing more than one pan of bacon, rotate sheet pans from top to bottom halfway through. If you are not using a baking rack, flip the bacon strips halfway through cooking.
Start checking the bacon around 18 minutes, as some bacon cooks faster depending on the fat content. The bacon is done when it turns a dark tan color. Remember that the bacon crisps up as it cools, so don't worry if it's not completely crispy when you take it out of the oven.
3 Drain and cool: When the bacon comes out of the oven, place it on a few paper towels to drain and cool. If you like, pour off the bacon grease from the pan and save it for cooking. (I love to cook eggs in my bacon grease!)
4 Store the bacon: Bacon can be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheats well in a skillet over low heat. You can also freeze the bacon if you made a big batch. Just make sure to freeze the strips individually, or in between pieces of parchment paper, so they don't stick together.
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