How to Make Candied Bacon

Breakfast and BrunchGluten-FreeBacon

Making candied bacon is one of those a-ha moments—why didn't I ever do this before? The magic happens in the oven and only takes half an hour. Eat it as is, crumble it over salad, or use it to garnish a Bloody Mary. We don't need to tell you what to do with bacon, right?

Photography Credit: Nick Evans

Candied Bacon. Addictive Bacon. Sugar Bacon. These are all names that I’ve seen on the menus of popular brunch places selling three strips of this bacon for an embarrassingly high price.

The good news: You can just make it at home!

Better news: It truly is delicious and all the other superlative adjectives that people put in front of it!

The even better news: It only has two ingredients. Yay!

Candy Bacon Recipe

What Is Candied Bacon? 

Candied bacon is a wonderful food that combines salty, sweet, and crispy. If made correctly, the bacon has crispy edges and a crackly crust from the caramelized sugar on top.

And to make it correctly you need to bake the bacon, which we will do!

Two-Ingredient Candied Bacon

Ultimately, you only need two ingredients for candied bacon: bacon and sugar. But there are many versions that you can easily make once you have the basic technique down!

  • For the bacon, I prefer a classic strip bacon, not thick-cut. The thick-cut takes too long to get crispy, but you could use it if you like chewier bacon.
  • For the sugar, I prefer light brown sugar. Plain granulated sugar doesn’t caramelize as well, and dark brown sugar has too much molasses in it. You could also use a coarse sugar such as turbinado if you wanted a little extra texture on your bacon. For me, though, just classic light brown sugar is the way to go.
  • You definitely shouldn’t use any sugar substitutes for this recipe. They won’t caramelize the same way or form a crunchy crust.

Mix It Up!

Once you have those two basics picked, you can really start to be experimental with other flavors and toppings.

Let your mind run wild here. I’ve made candied bacon with maple syrup mixed with the brown sugar (that version is provided below in the recipe as an alternative), but you could also use honey or stir in some spices or other seasonings.

Sriracha? Yes. Black pepper? Yep. Dried herbs such as rosemary? Absolutely!

Candied Bacon in the Oven bacon with brown sugar and maple syrup

Tips for Making Candied Bacon

There are a few tricks to making candied bacon at home.

  • First, you have to bake it. Trying to candy bacon in a skillet is just going to lead to a mess, and the bacon won’t stay in perfect strips.
  • Second, to get really crispy and evenly cooked pieces, it helps to elevate the bacon so air can circulate. I recommend placing the bacon on an oven-safe wire rack placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. The wire rack will help the bacon cook and get crispy, and the foil will make for easier cleanup! Situate the strips perpendicular to the wire rack so the bacon doesn’t fall through as it cooks.
  • Third, adjust the baking time as needed. Depending on the bacon you use, you may need longer or shorter baking times. I would start checking the bacon at 18 to 20 minutes, and it might need up to 25 minutes to get really crispy.
  • Finally, when the bacon comes out, be sure to let it cool before eating it. This is the hard part. The sugar on the bacon is basically molten and if you bite into it right out of the oven, your tongue will regret it!

Bacon Candy Recipe

What to Do with Candied Bacon? 

I recommend eating it! Ha! You can serve it as a side dish to almost any brunch. You can chop it up and serve it with toothpicks for an appetizer. You can stick it on a Bloody Mary Bar, or crumble it on top of a classic wedge salad! Go crazy with it!

MORE DELICIOUS WAYS TO ENJOY BACON!

How to Make Candied Bacon

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 strips, serves 4 to 6

This recipe is easily doubled. Space the bacon as closely together as you can on the two baking sheets. It's okay if they touch in places, but don't let them overlap.

MAPLE BACON ALTERNATIVE: As an alternative to the standard recipe, stir two tablespoons of maple syrup into the brown sugar and brush this onto the bacon before baking. Bake just as you would the normal version.

Ingredients

  • 12 strips bacon (not thick-cut, about one pound)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Special equipment:

  • 2 baking sheets
  • 2 oven-safe wire racks

Method

1 Prep the bacon: Preheat oven to 375° F with one rack in the top third and another rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with foil, and place an oven-safe wire rack on each. Lay out the bacon strips perpendicular to the lines on the wire rack, divided between the two pans and making sure they don’t overlap. (If you lay them out parallel to the rack, the bacon may fall through the cracks while cooking!)

Sprinkle the bacon strips with brown sugar and (optionally) add some freshly ground black pepper. I like to use about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar per bacon strip, spreading it out along the length of the strip.

Crack Bacon Recipe spread out the bacon

2 Bake the candied bacon: Bake the bacon in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. I recommend rotating the pans once during baking to ensure the bacon is cooking evenly. Start checking the bacon around 18 minutes, as some slices will cook faster, depending on the fat content and thickness of the slices.

The bacon is done when the brown sugar is melted and the bacon is a deep brown color. Remember that the bacon will continue to crisp up as it cools, so don’t worry if it’s not completely crispy now.

Candied Bacon Recipe bake the bacon

3 Cool the bacon: Let the bacon cool right on the wire rack for a few minutes. (If you eat it right away, you'll burn your mouth on the molten sugar.) The bacon will crisp up as it cools and as the melted sugar hardens. Then serve!

Sugar Bacon Recipe cool the bacon

4 Store the bacon: Candied bacon can be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheats well in a skillet over low heat.

I don’t think candied bacon is worth freezing, although if you made a huge batch you absolutely could. You could just want to make sure to freeze the strips individually so they didn’t stick together.

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Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

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