The Easiest, No-Mess Way to Cook Bacon
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, we had 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, so it doesn't curl up.
- There's no need to flip the bacon.
- Your skin is spared from grease burns.
- No grease spots stain your clothes.
- No grease splatters all over your kitchen.
- It frees up space on your stovetop for other foods.
- While the bacon is in there cooking itself, you can turn your attention to other things. Like mixing mimosas.
- Cleanup is as easy as it gets.
- The oven allows you to up your game to other fancy versions like candied bacon.
- And finally, because bacon is its own best reason to cook bacon.
How to Cook Bacon in the Oven (Two 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 pieces 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 cleanup easy.)
- Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, making sure the pan is completely covered. Check that the foil extends up the sides of the pan so it captures all the bacon grease and cleanup is easier.
- Arrange the 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 as it bakes. Place the pan in the cold oven.
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Cook the bacon, as the oven comes up to temperature, for 14 minutes, or until it's cooked to your liking. No need to flip the bacon over during cooking.
- Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plates. Let it cool for 5 minutes for the bacon to crisp.
Method 2: Preheat Your Oven
Prepare your baking pan as above, but turn your oven on to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) first, 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 the way you like it. Remove it 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 does the bacon cook in the oven? Well, that depends. No two ovens bake at exactly the same temperature. You'll probably need to test this method 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."
- Cleanup 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.