Food & Recipes, Kitchen Hacks, Videos
Baking Bacon: Perfect Crispiness Without the Hassle
You’ll be blown away how much easier it is to BAKE your bacon.
I may be stating the obvious but frying bacon is a real hassle. Everyone loves the taste, hardly anyone complains about the smell of bacon cooking BUT, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know a single home cook (myself included) or chef who actually likes to watch bacon fry.
Here’s the scenario: you’ve invited everyone for brunch and decided that your menu will include bacon – which, to be fair, is an integral part of most brunches. You need to make bacon for a group of 8-10 people but the last thing you want to do is stand over a spitting frying pan cooking enough bacon for the crowd all while watching your stovetop go from shiny and clean to a total greasy mess. And, the bacon curls – won’t stay nice and flat and some parts cook quicker than others leaving you with some pieces crispier than others.
So, that’s your dilemma – you need crispy bacon for your guests, you don’t want to have to watch the frying pan and create a serious mess that will take a bit of time to clean up. What can you do?
Here’s a fun trick that has been passed down through my family since—hold your breath—World War II!
My grandfather was an Army field cook who apparently had no problem standing over a hot griddle for hours on end. He was both the proverbial and literal Army cook. The normal “GI” bacon was to drop as much of the meat into a hot pan as you could manage and keep flipping. But my grandfather couldn’t waste time with frying.
Who knows who actually came up with this idea—there are hints that the GI field cooks picked this technique up from a French cook. Anyway, the big revelation was that baking bacon was not only more efficient, but cleaner, easier, and you can cook up a whole lot of bacon all at one time with virtually no mess, no watching and perfectly flat strips every time.
It’s so easy to do:
- First, place your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven, then preheat your oven to 400 degrees. My grandfather used 375, which makes the bacon a little softer but also greasier. I use 400 which makes it a bit crispier.
- Place baking racks inside rimmed baking sheets (very important for catching the grease). Line the baking sheets with tin foil—makes cleanup that much easier.
- Lay bacon on the racks. One pound of bacon usually has between 16 to 20 slices (depending on how thinly cut). Half-size baking sheets (13×18) ought to hold about 8-10 slices. Space the slices out. They can touch, but don’t overlap the slices, unless you want to end up with one big slab of baked bacon.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices. It’s very important to move the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom racks ½ way through until they are brown and crisp. Start checking it for the crispness you want at about 18 minutes.
- Be very careful about the grease that pools up in the baking sheet (that’s why I recommend 1” rimmed baking sheets). It doesn’t take much to make that grease slosh around, so move the sheets slowly.
- When your bacon gets to the crispness you desire, remove it from the oven and transfer the slices to paper towels to drain the rest of the grease. Just about any spatula will remove the bacon from the baking rack
Now, you DON’T have to watch your bacon frying! Watch my video above to really see how easy this is. No more bacon grease splatter on you and your utensils, no stove top to clean up, evenly crisp perfectly flat strips and the best bacon you will ever eat!