The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Let’s Talk Bacon

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Bacon!

Ah, bacon. What is it about bacon that makes hearts go aflutter? Even just the aroma of bacon cooking is sometimes enough to stop people in their tracks to follow the scent trail to its source. People have added bacon to just about everything you can think of, including ice cream and chocolate martinis (served in glasses rimmed with maple syrup and bacon bits, no less). Grocery shelves house bottles of bacon salt and bacon spray. Cooks stash precious jars of bacon grease in the refrigerator, and I promise you using a dollop of that instead of oil will kick up your favorite fried rice recipe a few notches.

Bacon pretty much makes almost everything better—and special. Toss it with some tomatoes and pasta and you have a super simple yet incredibly tasty Bacon Tomato Capellini, which is where the photo above comes from. (If you love bacon and pasta, you’ll definitely want to check that out.)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Bacon!

Since we’ve established there are endless ways to use bacon, let’s talk about cooking bacon.

What’s your favorite method or technique for cooking bacon?

For Betsy, lately it’s been on a foil-lined baking sheet (with sides, of course) in the oven. She loves not having to babysit it on the stove, and the less is mess. She says her mom microwaves it but she thinks doing it that way makes the bacon shrivel and it doesn’t get as crispy. She tried using a wire rack once but her bacon just stuck to the rack, so she likes the foil.

I do pretty much the same thing, but for a different reason. See, my husband doesn’t like the smell of bacon in the house. (Shocker, I know.) So I cook it in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet, like Betsy. (I skip the wire rack not because my bacon sticks to it but because I don’t enjoy cleaning it.) As soon as the bacon starts to sizzle and the edges look slightly crisp, I shut the oven off and let the bacon finish cooking in the residual heat. That way, when I open the oven door to retrieve the now-crisp bacon, much of the bacon smell will have dissipated inside the oven.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Bacon!

Nanci, on the other hand, is a stovetop kind of girl. She swears by her favorite 12-inch Griswold cast iron skillet and fries several batches of thick cut pepper bacon in one morning. Then she drains the bacon on paper towels, lets it cool, the wraps it up in clean paper towels. All that bacon goes into a bag to store in the freezer for quick microwave heating on weekday mornings. Smart!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Bacon!

How about you? Do you have a favorite method for cooking bacon? Or maybe a favorite bacon trick? It’s your turn to share and we’d love to hear your tips! (Or maybe you just want to profess your undying love for this marvelous piece of porky goodness. That’s okay too. We understand.)



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Ann B on 11.8.2013

How about just plain favorite bacon? And anyway you cook it is good? That would be Nueske’s Applewood smoked. Oh. My. Goodness. That stuff is gorgeous.
But if you really want to know about favorite way to cook it- well that would be this: Set the oven for 350; line your pan with baking parchment; bacon on the parchment and into the oven for 30 min. Superb!!!

Carol N on 10.26.2013

My SO likes his bacon crispy but not burned, so I cook it on a plate lined with a paper towel and covered with a second paper towel.
BTW, if I am going to risk clogged arteries, I will do it with the best bacon I can buy. I get that at Oscar’s Smoke House in Warrensburg, NY, just like Rachel Ray. My second choice is from Schwann’s home delivery!

Britiney @ Consider the Lilies on 10.25.2013

I hate cooking on the stove because of the grease splatters and I tried the oven but wasn’t happy with that either. I still have to deal with the grease. Last week I tried cooking it on the BBQ grill and it was FANTASTIC! I’ll never cook it in the house again. I put a tight-grid wire rack on the grates and put it right on there. It cooked pretty much like the oven but I didn’t have to clean up any grease and my house didn’t smell like bacon.

elizabethcooks on 10.25.2013

I always cook bacon in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until crisp–who does not love a good BLT!

Rita on 10.24.2013

Yes, wonderful bacon. Baked is the best. After it is cooked just the way you like it and if there is any left, store in the air-tight glass containers in the fridge between layered paper towels. It keeps well and is ever so good in BLT’s or batch of potato soup.

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garricks on 10.24.2013

I use the technique from America’s Test Kitchen. I bake it in the oven in foil-lined pan (for the mess) and I use an accordion-folded piece of foil as a “rack.” It holds the bacon off the pan so the grease drains away and the bacon doesn’t sit in it.

I also like to flip it halfway through the cooking time, then sprinkle brown sugar on it. Mmmmm, caramelized!

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    Erika (TK) on 10.25.2013

    I like that! Less mess, and no rack to clean. Thanks for sharing the ATK tip! Now if only I can get caramelized bacon off my mind …

Jeanne (NanaBread) on 10.24.2013

My husband, The Complete Package, likes to cook bacon in the microwave, but I find it gets really dry and hard. My favorite is on the stove, in a heavy pan or skillets, at medium to medium-low heat until lightly crispy. Yum…

Sue - Cookware on 10.24.2013

I love bacon in any shape or form. Usually cook on the stove top, not tried in the oven. Must try that out. Great tip!

Pam K on 10.24.2013

I cook mine in the microwave with paper towels. If any is left over, I then wrap in a paper towel and put in a plastic ziplock and then refrigerate. Makes great leftovers for sandwiches, etc. Occasionally I fry it on top of the stove.

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mnheather on 10.24.2013

I love the oven method. I put mine in a cold oven and heat to 425. I take it out a few times, dab the grease off with paper towel and flip them. Always perfectly crisp!

Joan on 10.24.2013

I’m a stove-top, in the cast-iron skillet person. I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother. But, I’ve seen an in-the-oven method that fascinates me…especially if you are planning to make a bacon sandwich. Instead of laying the bacon strips side-by-side, build a 3×3 grid overlapping like a lattice pie crust and bake. The bacon is nicely shaped and ready to go on the sandwich. I’ll get around to trying that someday….maybe…but it looks interesting.

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    Nanci (TK) on 10.27.2013

    Wow, that 3×3 grid method is interesting. I agree, Joan, my mother and grandmother have always fried bacon in a cast iron skillet and that’s why I’ve always done it that way. But you gals have me convinced. I’m going to try the oven method next time. Thanks everyone for your great ideas!

Rebecca Crowell on 10.24.2013

I have a small plastic bacon-frying pan (white) that has ridges for the grease to go into, and I microwave the bacon on it. I put a paper towel overtop the bacon so it won’t splatter in the microwave, and I also put a big see-thru cover over the whole thing. It takes minutes and doesn’t curl up. There is a slight bacon-y smell from this method but not as bad as cooking it on the stove.

karen on 10.24.2013

sheetpan in the oven under the broiler
just made some last night!

Mel G on 10.24.2013

Mmm…bacon! I’ve not tried the oven method but I’ll give it a whirl next time I’m cooking for the whole family, rather than just me ;-)

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Terri @ that's some good cookin' on 10.24.2013

Generally I do the oven method. However, if I am cooking six or less slices of bacon, I cook it in the microwave. Put several layers of paper towels on a plate. Place the bacon on top of the paper towels, place a paper towel over the top of the bacon, and cook on high in the microwave for about 1 minute per slice. Adjust the cooking time as needed. The bacon comes out crispy and all of the grease collects in the paper towels. Easy peasy clean-up.

Dawn Renee' on 10.23.2013

Pamper Chef big bar pan, line with parchment paper, toss in oven at 375, cook until just shy of all ready, remove from oven and pan then drain/cool on paper towels. I usually buy a three package from the warehouse club, cook all at once, separate with was paper and put in freezer bags or freezer container. When I want a BLT, egg and bacon sandwich or need in a recipe just pull out needed slices heat in pan on stove or microwave. Nice thing also is if need to “crumble” for a recipe goes much easier when frozen. And of course when cooking the whole thing in oven I always save the drippings in a jar to add flavor to a variety of dishes. No smell in house, no overcooked wrinkled bacon, no grease burns and bacon when ever want, what could be better!!

kat-in-texas on 10.23.2013

In the oven on a Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan. 375 degrees for about 40 minutes….perfect every time!!!

Jayne on 10.23.2013

Stovetop for me! We don’t have bacon very much because of the price as well as … well, it’s just not a common Asian ingredient? But we loooove it when we can get some. Just oil-less frying pan works for me.

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Patricia @ ButterYum on 10.23.2013

If I need to feed the whole family, I prefer to cook it in the oven because I can make a lot while busy preparing something else. Otherwise, I usually cut a pound of bacon into lardons and fry them up in a skillet. I’ll store the crisp bacon strips in a jar in the freezer – they can be used straight out of the freezer as a topping on salads or sprinkled into casseroles. Of coarse I refrigerate the rendered fat – I’m looking forward to trying your suggestion of using some the next time I make fried rice.

Donna W in TN on 10.23.2013

I like to cut mine up in squares off the long slices – just throw in in a dutch oven pot where it’s deep enough to not splatter & burn you – you don’t even have to fry it fast. Just fry it up & stir it around with a dash of S&P. I put a little extra oil in the pot so it will yield me more bacon grease (that I put in EVERYTHING). Yummmmmm, yummmmmm. Y’all makin’ me want bacon-bacon! ;)

Tara on 10.23.2013

I like to oven-bake it directly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. However, when it’s the middle of the summer and I’ll be damned if I want to turn on the oven, I grill it. Here’s my technique: The grill gives the bacon a nice smoky flavor and there’s no messy clean up at all.

Dottie1 on 10.23.2013

I use to fry my bacon on the stove top until I discovered putting it in the oven. I think it taste better that way.

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Shawna C on 10.23.2013

I’m another oven-cooker. I hate getting splattered with grease on the stove top and it leaves the burners free for pancakes!

I do use the wire rack (small wire squares instead of the kind with wire lines with wide gaps), but I have a really good dishwasher that gets the rack clean for me after.

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Erica Lea on 10.23.2013

I saw “Let’s Talk About Bacon,” and I was like, “Um, yes. LET’S!” :) We’re a bit obsessed with bacon. My husband always gets excited when I cook it. Haha! I definitely love baking my bacon. It cooks so evenly and I don’t have to worry about cooking several batches or splatters. But I definitely agree with Nancy – any way you decide to cook is awesome as long as you get to eat bacon!! Ahem. :)

Charisse on 10.23.2013

I cook mine on my George Foreman grill.

Nancy W. on 10.23.2013

Bacon in an iron skillet is always worth the wait. Not to mention that the oven method denies you the tastiness of cooking your eggs in the leftover bacon grease. Defibrillator, please….And I always save the leftover grease…

But seriously….Any method that you choose is the best…because in the end you get to
enjoy your treat…

I had a friend who would cook hers in a waffle maker…who knew !

Enjoy ! ! !

Elly on 10.23.2013

Regarding oven cooking – At what temperature and for how long?
Not that I don’t LOVE the smell of bacon in the house ALL day long, but I’d love to try bacon from the oven.

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    Erika (TK) on 10.23.2013

    Elly, I cook mine at around 400ºF. One other thing I love about doing bacon in the oven is that I can cook an entire package all at once. Which, of course, means more bacon for me.

Myrna on 10.23.2013

I cook mine in the oven on my pampered chef bar pan stone. It makes it crispy and it can be cooking while you’re prepping other breakfast item. The clean up of the stone isn’t too bad. I too drain the grease into a dish to use later for gravy etc.

Hannah on 10.23.2013

I tried baking it in the oven once and it didn’t work for me :( I know I need to try it again though! My new favorite way is on my electric griddle, it’s still kind of messy since you can get popped, but less so than doing it on the stove I feel. The bacon cooks evenly and the grease collects in the tray for easy clean up.

Becky S, Eastern NC on 10.23.2013

I always fry mine on the stove and ouch that hurt the whole time!! Water in the pan? I’ve never heard of this..Can someone explain for me? Thanks!!

Danielle N on 10.23.2013

I bake it in the oven! Don’t preheat the oven, stick it in cold. Keeps the strips straight instead of curling up. No mess, super crispy! Delicious!

Nanette on 10.23.2013

Years ago I had a Golden Retreiver who was allergic to chicken. I know you ask what does this have to do with bacon? Well I found a dog bone cookie cutter that came with a recipe that used wheat flour, wheat germ no chicken, but used Bacon fat. So I always remember Chester when I would be cooking bacon for my brother who could wipe out a bacon buffet, Chester would get so excited because he knew if mom was cooking bacon he was getting more cookies. He lived to be 14 without any heart problems, so a little bacon fat don’t hurt.

I love laying bacon over my meatloaf, just takes it over the top!! I tried making the burger “wrapped” in bacon, need to practice that one some more. I have taken chicken breast that I pounded, wrapped around a stick of cheddar cheese, then wrapped bacon around the chicken, that is also delicious. Now I think I need to goto the store for bacon.

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zimansolo on 10.23.2013

I have my husband cook it outside on the grill. He makes a “pan” from heavy duty aluminum foil. This keeps the hours-after-you’ve-cooked-bacon smell out of the house.

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    Nanci (TK) on 10.27.2013

    Ooh, that’s a great idea. I’ve got a big cast iron (9×13 Dutch oven) so I could use that on the grill. I’ll put my hubby to work next time I need to fry a jumbo package of bacon! Thanks for the tip!

Mags on 10.23.2013

I cook mine on medium on the stovetop with a bit of water in the pan. I’ve found the water reduces the splatter and the chance of burnt bacon.

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    Erika (TK) on 10.23.2013

    That’s how I cook hotdogs and kielbasa! Never thought of doing the same with bacon. Great tip, thanks!