The start of the holiday season marks the start of the entertaining season (in my mind, anyway!) and there’s no better way to accommodate overnight or breakfast/brunch guests than serving them crispy, sizzling oven baked bacon in the morning.
Well that and mimosas – but that’s a different post!
Seriously, if you’re cooking for a crowd, or simply hate the mess involved in frying bacon in a skillet on the stove, cooking bacon in the oven is going to be a TOTAL game changer. You don’t even need to preheat the oven to do it!
How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
There is literally one step involved in making oven baked bacon: lay slices of cold bacon on a foil lined baking sheet then place it into a cold oven and set the oven to preheat to 425 degrees. By the time the oven has preheated, BOOM – sizzling, golden brown bacon with that signature savory flavor. There is nothing better.
Well, except for the fact that there’s no bacon grease splattering out of a skillet onto the countertop, no babysitting the bacon by pushing the slices around to make room for others — just pop the pan into the oven and you’re set. Couldn’t be easier or more convenient.
Why a Cold Oven?
Think about how we cook bacon in a skillet on the stovetop – slices are added to a cold skillet then the heat is turned to medium and the bacon renders its fat as it cooks low and slow. This is the same concept behind baking bacon in a cold oven from the start. As the oven comes to temperature, it’s slowly renders out the fat leaving behind sizzling, ultra crispy bacon.
How Long Do You Let Bacon Cook in the Oven?
Depending on how thick your bacon is cut, it should be cooked by the time the oven reaches 425 degrees. Now, if your oven is older and takes longer to preheat, or the bacon is thin cut, it might be done before the oven completely preheats. If your bacon is thick cut, it might need a few additional minutes baking at 425 degrees after coming to temperature.
Don’t overthink it – just bake until the bacon reaches your desired crispness. :)
Do I Need to Flip the Bacon?
Nope! Like I said, this method for cooking bacon in the oven is nearly completely hands off and there is no need to flip the bacon. I say “nearly completely” because I do recommend that you rotate your baking sheet 180 degrees when the oven reaches 375 degrees or so during the preheating process. This ensures the bacon slices cook uniformly.
Do I Need to Use a Wire Cooling Rack?
No! In fact, thin cut bacon has a tendency to stick to wire cooling racks after its cooked. Also, not all wire racks are oven safe. Ask me how I know. ;) Just place the slices directly onto the foil lined baking sheet and send it into the cold oven. Super simple.
Ways to Use Baked Bacon
Of course baked bacon is awesome for breakfast or brunch, but make a batch for:
- Sandwiches: hello easy BLT!
- Salads: chop or break up the cooked bacon to use as the protein in your lunchtime salad.
- Mac and Cheese: ’nuff said.
There are very few things that don’t benefit from the addition of bacon so use your imagination! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge then reheat in the microwave if needed.
How to Cook Bacon in an Oven
Like I said, all you need to do is line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil then place your bacon strips on top in a single layer. You can cook one slice or a whole pack – it doesn’t matter! The slices can touch but shouldn’t overlap.
What Kind of Bacon to Use
Our family prefers thick cut bacon, which is what you see here, but you can use what you like best. Again, thin or regular cut bacon might actually be fully cooked before your oven reaches 425 degrees, while thick cut bacon might take a few extra minutes at 425 after the preheating phase.
Use tongs to transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain then serve it on up. As far as clean up, you can carefully strain the bacon fat through a fine mesh sieve into a jar for another use, or simply let it cool on the foil until it hardens then ball up the foil and throw it away.
Whether you’re serving baked bacon to guests, or for your family on a lazy weekend morning, I hope you love this super easy, super crispy method for oven baked bacon – enjoy!
Use Oven Baked Bacon In These Dishes
- Loaded Deviled Eggs
- BLT Egg Salad Jars
- California Turkey & Bacon Lettuce Wraps
- Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Quinoa Bites
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How To Cook Bacon in the Oven – No Preheating Required
Want to know how to cook crispy bacon without all the muss and fuss? BAKE IT! You don't even need to preheat your oven!
- 1 pack of bacon OR however many slices you want to eat
- Line bacon slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Slices can be touching but not overlapping. Place baking sheet into a COLD oven then start preheating the oven to 425 degrees. You can choose regular or convection. Rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees when the oven gets to around 375 degrees.
- Once the oven comes to temperature, check on the bacon - if it still needs a few minutes to become crisp, keep baking until desired crispness is reached. Once crisp, transfer slices to a paper towel lined plate to drain then serve.
- Carefully strain bacon grease through a fine mesh sieve into a jar for another use, or let it cool on the foil then ball up and throw away.
- My family prefers thick-cut bacon but you can use whatever you like or have on hand. Regular/thinly sliced bacon may be fully cooked before the oven reaches 425 degrees.
- In my experience, using the convection baking setting bakes the bacon faster than the standard baking setting. Either one is fine and will give you perfectly crisp bacon but you just may need to continue to bake the bacon longer after coming to temperature if using the standard baking setting.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.