Quick, Easy, Clean, & Crispy: The Best Way to Cook Bacon
There is a huge debate in my house–oven-baked bacon (my favorite) versus pan-fried bacon (my husband’s favorite). While I’m not necessarily against pan-fried, here’s the thing…It’s a pain in the a**. It makes a huge mess of the stove top. You have to stand at the pan flipping the bacon and cooking it in batches. You get burned by popping oil. Oven-baked bacon is so much easier! Put it on the pan, put it in the oven, remove 20 – 25 minutes later, and voila! You have crispy, perfectly cooked bacon. It’s just that simple.
Of course, the quality of the final result also depends on the bacon you buy, and even if you buy the same brand all the time, results can vary because, well, it comes from an animal and is not produced by a machine. My favorite brand is Aldi’s Uncured Sugar Free Bacon–and it just about always comes out melt-in-your-mouth crispy.
I can’t really get down to the heart of why my husband refuses the oven method…other than his overall life philosophy is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Otherwise known as, he’s a stick in the mud. He has his method, he knows it works, and he likes it, so he’s not willing to try something different. So be it. Every Saturday morning, he stands at the oven making his bacon, while I put my bacon in the oven and relax with a cup of tea. He has to clean the stovetop and pan when he is done, while I put the parchment paper in the trash and rack in the dishwasher, and I’m done with clean up. I think we can easily see who the clear winner is here…
Step-By-Step Directions for Easy Oven-Baked Bacon
Preheat oven to 405º F.
Place parchment over the pan, just so it fits. If it hangs over the edges too far, it will burn in the oven. I buy a two-pack from Costco and it lasts for months. You can also get parchment paper here.
Place a wire rack over the parchment paper. Using the wire rack keeps the bacon off the pan, allowing the air to circulate so it gets nice and crispy, and the fat drips down. It also prevents the bacon from burning from sitting on the hot pan. This is the rack I have. It fits the half sheets perfectly and comes clean in the dishwasher.
Get out your bacon of choice. My favorite is the Uncured Sugar Free Bacon from Aldi, which has a great price for uncured and sugar free! I usually buy 5 to 6 packs when I am there and store in the freezer.
Arrange the bacon strips on the rack. I can just about always get a pack of 12 oz bacon to fit well on one sheet. It is best to keep the strips from touching so they don’t stick together and get enough air circulation, but I’m not about to do a whole other batch for 2 more strips…I’ll make them fit.
Place in the oven to bake. For my oven, if fully pre-heated at 405º F, it takes about 21 – 23 minutes. But it depends on the thickness of the bacon strips, and everyone’s oven will be a little different. If you are not using a rack, it will cook A LOT faster!
Take the bacon out when it is done to your preference. I like to wait until everything is crispy and bubbly. Save the fat for cooking, especially if you are buying uncured, sugar-free bacon–get your money’s worth! Toss the parchment, put the rack in the dishwasher, and put the baking tray way–it should be totally clean.
Enjoy your crispy, easy bacon!