If you don’t eat crispy, smoky bacon often because you aren’t good at making it or for any other reason, you’re missing out on one of the greatest pleasures you can have in life, and I mean that literally.
While bacon is exceptionally pleasing to the taste, making it is a different story altogether. Most people make bacon on a hot stove, and are therefore subjected to the uncomfortable heat and sputtering grease that they have to constantly avoid throughout the cooking session.
However, there’s good news. You can enjoy the process of making your bacon and enjoy the bacon itself too by using an oven. What’s more? An oven can cook many pieces of bacon at the same time, and when I say many, I mean enough bacon for a crowd. So, it’s not only easier, it’s faster when you need to make a large amount of bacon.
The Low-down on Why I Prefer Ovens For Large Batches of Bacon
If you’ve never cooked bacon in an oven, the idea might sound far-fetched at first, until you try it out. I didn’t believe it would work out when I decided to try this method out. Also, a part of me wanted to continue using my cast iron skillet, which I loved so much.
Cooking bacon on an skillet, monitoring each slice, flipping, and enduring the painful sensation from splattering drops of oil just feels natural. Some cooks love the process, in spite of the hassle involved. I love it too, and that’s why my skillet is still my go-to kitchen appliance for making a small batch of bacon.
However, if you need more than a pound of bacon for week-long meal add-ins, or for a large brunch on Saturday, nothing beats an oven. So, that’s how you should decide what to use; skillets for small pieces and ovens for large batches.
How Much Bacon Can You Make At Once
One large baking sheet will most likely accommodate a maximum of one pound of bacon of medium thickness. Therefore, if you need to cook more than that at a time, you can. You just need to have two large baking sheets. You’ll also need two sheets if you’re cooking one pound of bacon, but you can’t fit them all in one sheet.
Is Flipping Necessary?
Contrary to your assumptions, flipping bacon in an oven is completely unnecessary, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so convenient to cook them in an oven. After placing them on the baking sheet and inserting the sheet into the oven, just set the timer and the oven takes care of the rest.
Another advantage of cooking bacon in an oven is the absence of oil splattering. You won’t have to deal with that while using an oven, and the end result is the same irresistible, golden and crisp bacon your skillet produces.
What If I Want Extra Crispy Bacon?
Even though you can get crispy bacon with an oven, it’s not going to be very crispy because it doesn’t cook from all sides in an oven. You may find it a bit chewy in the middle depending on how thick your bacon is.
This may be crispy enough for some (it definitely is for me), but if you want completely crisp bacon, there’s a simple way to achieve that, but it requires an extra item. You’ll need an oven-safe cooling rack.
Get the cooling rack and set it over the baking sheet, then cook the bacon on top of the rack. This works because it lifts the bacon and helps to distribute heat to all sides of the bacon and therefore makes it cook from all sides, which leads to extra crispiness.
Steps to Make the Perfect Oven Bacon
For this, you’ll need 1 to 2 pounds of sliced bacon which produces 4 to 6 servings of bacon, and the following equipment:
1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets depending on the amount of bacon to be cooked
1. Preheat your oven: Place two racks in the top and lower third of the oven if you’re using two baking sheets. Otherwise, place one rack in the lower third of the oven, then preheat the oven until it reaches a temperature of 400°F.
2. Transfer the bacon to the sheets: Before you do that, you may want to line them with aluminum foil so you’ll have an easier time during cleaning up. Arrange one row of bacon on the sheet and do not let them touch each other or they will cling to each other when you start cooking.
3. Start baking: You should aim for a crispy texture and a deep-golden brown color. When the bacon becomes crispy and brown, it’s ready to eat. This typically requires at least 15 minutes and up to 20 minutes of baking.
Since you’re cooking bacon, you should expect some sputter and bubble because bacon contains a good deal of fat, but it’s not going to be as intense as it would be if you used a stovetop.
You should start checking at the 12-minute mark so you’ll know how fast they are getting cooked and how frequently you need to check to avoid over-cooking. Be sure to remove excess grease while cooking. This prevents your bacon from getting soaked in grease.
4. Take the bacon out of the oven: When it’s ready, line a plate with paper towels and transfer the bacon to the plate using a pair of tongs. While the bacon’s on the plate, the crisping process completes and excess oil drains out.
5. Serve and get rid of grease: Serve the bacon immediately. When the bacon grease has cooled down and solidified, squeeze the aluminum foil and throw it away. Thanks to the aluminum foil, you won’t need to clean the baking sheet.
I just explained how to get rid of bacon grease, but some of you may want to store it instead. To do that, get a container and pour the grease into it after letting the grease cool for a bit, then put it in your refrigerator.
1. Keep leftover bacon from going bad by refrigerating it, but be sure to consume it within a week. If you wish to store bacon longer than a week and up to 3 months, freeze it instead.
2. Use an oven-safe cooling rack as described above to make extra-crispy bacon.