Cooking bacon in the oven creates a crispy, crunchy result of evenly cooked bacon. It’s less work and less clean up afterwards.
Like many of you, I did start cooking bacon in a skillet, resulting in the kitchen, and/or my entire house for that matter, overwhelmed with the aroma of bacon. Even with the strongest exhaust fan, I could not prevent my house from smelling like bacon the next day and the next. I have nothing against the aroma of bacon, but having the feeling that I need to clean my entire kitchen is not appealing to me.
If you still cook bacon on the stovetop, turn on the oven and give it a try and you will not go back to the stovetop again!
WHY COOK BACON IN THE OVEN
The bacon slices cook evenly in the oven because:
- The heat comes from all directions, not just from the bottom (skillet).
- A good quality baking dish has a flat service, so all slices are at the same distance from the heat (top and bottom).
- The bacon slices heat up evenly, releasing all their grease and thus become crispy.
- The bacon slices don’t spatter, so less chance for burns.
- No need to preheat the oven.
How to cook bacon in the oven – step-wise
Baking sheet – Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper on top. The better you ‘seal’ the foil or paper, the less grease will ‘leak’ onto the baking sheet itself, the less there is to clean-up. A baking dish of 18 x 13 inches will hold about 1 lb. of bacon slices (normal thickness). Place the slices very close together on the baking sheet without overlapping them.
Place baking sheet in the oven (400-425 degrees F). No need to preheat the oven.
Baking sheet and rack – Instead of just a backing sheet, place a oven-safe cooking rack on top of a baking sheet. This way the bacon slices will not ‘bathe’ in their own grease.
Place baking sheet + rack in the oven (400-425 degrees F). No need to preheat the oven.
Dabbing grease – I usually dab some of the bacon grease with thongs and paper kitchen towels half way through the baking time. This step is not a must, but it may speed up the baking process, especially when the bacon slices are on the fatty side.
Another way to speed up the baking process is to turn the slices. Again not needed if you have enough time.
‘Burn the bacon’ – This is how we like it. Not really burnt, but at least past being just crispy. You bake it as long as necessary to reach your level of crispiness.
To reach a normal degree of crispiness, baking time is somewhere between 15-20 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to catch as much grease as possible. You can keep the bacon grease as well. Pour it into a container and put that in the fridge to reserve for later. You can keep it in the fridge for about 3 months. I really don’t do this anymore. I usually forget about it until it is too late, but it is a fantastic way to add flavor to dishes like: roasted vegetables, grilled cheese, or a gravy base etc.
If you’re not planning to save the grease, just wait until the baking sheet is cooled down and carefully wrap up the the foil and fat and tossing it into the garbage.
Enjoy the bacon.