The Easiest, No-Mess Way to Cook Bacon
Instead of wrangling a grease-spitting skillet, there's a much cleaner and easier way to cook bacon — and it's so simple you'll wonder if it really works. (Spoiler alert: It does.)
The Problem: Bacon grease everywhere.
The Solution: Bake your bacon.
Why should you cook bacon in the oven instead of frying it the old-fashioned way? There are so many good reasons for cooking bacon in the oven, we have to crank up the count to 11:
- You can cook a whole pound of bacon at one time in just minutes.
- Baked bacon cooks flat and doesn't curl up.
- No need to turn the bacon.
- No grease burns on your skin.
- No grease stains on your clothes.
- No grease splatters all over your stove.
- Free up space on your stovetop for other foods.
- While the bacon's in the oven cooking itself, you can turn your attention to other things. Like mixing mimosas.
- Clean-up is as easy as it gets.
- Baking bacon makes it possible to make candied bacon.
- Bacon is its own best reason to cook bacon.
How to Cook Bacon in the Oven (2 Ways)
To heat or not to heat? That is the question. Here are two different approaches that get you to the same destination: crispy bacon!
Method 1: Start with a Cold Oven
Get the recipe for Joseph's Best Easy Bacon Recipe.
Joseph says, "Preparing this recipe is literally the first thing I do after I wake up on weekend mornings. I put the bacon in the oven (must be cold!), brush my teeth, start cooking other breakfast items, and then take the bacon out after 14 minutes — that's it! My bacon theory is that by placing the bacon in a cold oven to start, as the oven gradually heats to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C), the bacon undergoes a magical transformation from cold flabby piece of meat, to simmering deliciousness, to crispy bacon heaven as the oven hits the 425 degree mark. Enjoy!"
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Baking rack (Optional: Cooking the bacon on a rack makes the bacon crisper, and lets the grease drip off the bacon as it cooks. If you go the rack route, you should still line your baking pan with foil to make clean-up easy.)
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, making sure pan is completely covered. Make sure the foil extends up the sides of the pan so it captures all the bacon grease and clean-up is easier.
- Arrange bacon strips on the prepared baking sheet or on the rack, if you're using one. It's okay to overlap slices slightly because the bacon will shrink slightly as it bakes. Place pan in the cold oven.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Cook bacon for 14 minutes or until it's cooked the way you like. No need to flip the bacon over.
- Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plates. Let cool for 5 minutes for bacon to crisp.
Method 2: Preheat Your Oven
Prepare your baking pan as above, but turn your oven on to 400 degrees F while you're prepping. When the oven is heated, put the pan in and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked just the way you like. Remove from the oven and let the bacon drain on paper towels before serving.
Notes From Home Cooks
- No baking rack? No problem. Line the baking sheet, then crumple up some more foil and lay the bacon on that to hold it up out of the grease. If you can spare a minute or two, you can make neat accordion folds in the foil instead.
- Your baking time may differ. How long to cook bacon in the oven? Well, that depends. No two ovens bake at exactly the same temperature. You'll probably need to do this a couple of times to find the right time/temperature that works for you.
- Prevent oven splatters. This from Cindy Capps Lepp: Lay a layer of foil over the bacon; this will keep grease from spitting all over the oven. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking for "final crisping."
- Clean up is a snap. As if we need another reason for making bacon in the oven. Just let the bacon grease cool in the pan, then roll up the aluminum foil and toss it.