My favorite way to cook bacon is an iron skillet over an open fire while camping. But for practicality, nothing beats the simplicity of baking bacon in an oven.
Sure, anything that gets you the sizzling goodness cooked to your preference is awesome, it is bacon after all. That delightful aroma mixed with the coffee brewing for your first cup is about as good as a morning can get.
But since I am at home more than the woods, the oven is the only way to go. This is something you learn early on in restaurant kitchens.
Baking Bacon in the Oven
As a kid at home, my mom always used an electric skillet for bacon. For starters it is square, which accommodates the strips well, and it has a thermostat to pick your temperature. However, have you ever seen someone just throw a half pound of sliced bacon in a skillet and slowly separate it as it heats up, keeping it in motion like a pile of oily snakes, slowly and unevenly cooking away? Upon seeing that I realized what it means to be OCD, and wondered how severely I might be afflicted. A quick self-slap and I was back to just thinking, that’s a bad idea and bad technique.
The second-best thing about cooking bacon in an oven is how uniformly it cooks.
The overall even exposure to heat, and the ability to control the temperature are the main two factors. Once the fat breaks you have enough to sizzle the bacon to good coloration. In the restaurant we’d cook it two-thirds of the way then chill it down for storage. I do the same thing at home, freezing it for later.
Which leads to the best thing about baking bacon, the volume you can cook at one time. A lot! Even an average sized flat top grill is hard pressed to match full sheet pans cycling through the oven. As a side plus, you can very easily capture all that wonderful bacon fat for future recipes. From oiling baked potatoes to pan frying meats to slapping out refried beans, you need a jar of bacon fat in your fridge.
Best Way to Bake Bacon
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
- Put Parchment paper in the pan
- Evenly line up the strips of bacon without touching each other
- Check after 20 minutes
- Place strips on rack to drain excess fat
Storage prep process
- Cut parchment to a size slightly larger than the bacon, we went with 6 slices per layer
- Lay out strips and place parchment on top
- Continue layering until you have all the bacon, top with one more piece of parchment
- Wrap well with film, or store in a container
- Freeze until ready to use. Thaw, cook 3-5 minutes in a skillet and enjoy.
Pro tip; line the pans with parchment, prevents sticking and helps immensely with clean up