Rather than frying my bacon in a pan and letting the fat render, I like to arrange my bacon on baking sheets and cook it in the oven. It’s a more hands off method which allows you to focus on other kitchen tasks while resulting in less mess – a win-win!
Less mess. Lining the pan makes for easy cleanup of the bacon grease afterwards.
Flat and evenly cooked bacon. This method keeps the strips flat as they cook. It also allows the strips of bacon to cook evenly, resulting in perfectly crispy bacon every time! Flat strips of bacon are ideal for sandwiches, burgers or simply paired with fried eggs!
Great for large batches. Oven cooked bacon is also great when cooking large batches for a crowd! The amount of bacon you can cook at a time will depend on the size of your baking sheet.
Multi-tasking. Cooking the bacon in the oven is a more hands-off method so you can focus on other kitchen tasks whether it be making eggs, pancakes or more.
You may find yourself staring at packages of bacon in the grocery store, wondering what sets them apart and which you should buy. I’m here to help decode some of those bacon buzzwords companies like to include on packaging.
Streaky bacon – This is the typical American bacon made from pork belly as opposed to Canadian bacon or back bacon which is most common in the UK. It’s rich and smoked with a variety of types of wood which impart unique flavor (like hickory, pecan or applewood).
Center cut bacon – “Center cut bacon” is made with shorter strips of bacon with the fatty ends cut off. If you are looking for bacon with a lower fat content, this is a good choice.
Uncured bacon – “Uncured” means it was made without the addition of artificial nitrates and nitrites. Nitrites are added in the curing process to preserve flavor and color and allow it to last longer. Uncured bacon is still preserved pork belly, it just uses different ingredients and naturally occurring nitrites. One is not really any better than the other when it comes down to it.
Steps for How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
Prep baking sheet. Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil followed by a piece of parchment paper. Top with a wire rack (optional).
Add the bacon. Arrange the strips of bacon in an even single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake. Cook the bacon until crispy, about 18 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon, I like to check on my bacon at around 16 minutes).
Remove and serve. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Serve immediately.
Top Tips for Making Bacon
Line the pan. Lining the rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper makes for easy cleanup. The aluminum foil usually has to be layered and thus the fat spills through, adding a layer of parchment paper prevents that. Then when the fat cools the aluminum foil can be wrapped up and thrown out for easy cleanup! I add a wire rack to the foil lined baking sheet so that the rendered fat can drip down though it makes for additional cleanup.
Save the fat! Rather than waiting for the fat to solidify to throw out, I recommend saving the bacon grease for other uses. Simply add it to a resealable container and store refridgerated. The fat is full of flavor and is a great addition to refried beans, homemade flour tortillas or carnitas.
Know your oven temperature. Oven temperatures can be inaccurate by as much as 50ºF (10ºC). This can lead to cooking errors (especially when baking). It’s important to know the accurate temperature of your oven and can easily be done with a cheap thermometer like this one from Amazon here.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need to Line the Pan?
No you certainly don’t need to line the pan but it can create much more of a mess that can be annoying to clean up.
How Can I Store Bacon?
Let the bacon strips cool completely before storing. Strips of cooked bacon can be kept in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, I broil the bacon in the oven until heated and crispy again.
How Can I Quickly Get Rid of Bacon Grease?
If you are impatient and don’t want to save your bacon fat you can easily throw a few paper towels over the bacon grease to absorb it, then ball up the aluminum foil and discard it in the trash.
When Do You Know Bacon is Done?
It’s a subjective decision for the oven baked bacon is done based on how crispy you like your bacon! But I like to start checking on my bacon around 16 minutes into cooking, then evaluate.
How Much Bacon Should I Make?
I like to make 1 pound of bacon for 4 people. Each pound of bacon typically contains 16 slices of bacon (12 if it’s thick cut bacon) allowing for 3 to 4 slices per person.