In keeping with my goal to offer simpler recipes with fewer ingredients I offer you this one ingredient wonder, Oven Baked Bacon. I think this might be a good first posting to my still empty “Tips and Techniques” section since it’s more about cooking method. I know many of you may already be preparing your bacon this way but, if you haven’t yet tried it, it’s worth the read!
I’m a little embarrassed to say it took me years to adopt the bacon in the oven practice. I’m not entirely sure why because we use to cook it this way at the restaurant years ago, for some reason it just never translated to home. Perhaps an obvious reason is that I simply didn’t cook that much bacon at home until the girls were old enough to request it. They adore it. Who doesn’t? It’s bacon after all. I’ve even heard people refer to it as the “gateway meat” for vegetarians 😂. I try to buy really good quality, extra thick cut bacon. Here’s a picture of what I usually get at Costco.
I prefer the oven method for three very good reasons. First of all, and this is of utmost importance to me, it makes way less of a mess than pan frying. Second, it cooks the bacon more evenly. Third, you can cook more at a time so if you are cooking for a crowd or want to have enough for leftovers this is a great way to go.
You’ll need a half-sheet (aka jelly roll) baking pan, an oven-safe stainless steel baking/cooling rack, and heavy duty aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Oven Baked Bacon
(servings vary depending on usage)
2 pounds thick cut (or center cut) bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I put mine on the convection setting but no worries if you don’t have that.
Line a sheet pan ( I actually cooked the entire 4-pound package so that’s why you see 2 pans) with heavy duty aluminum foil OR parchment paper. Make sure you don’t tear it or the bacon fat will leak on the pan, making the easy clean-up not so easy. Place the stainless steel rack on top of the paper and line with individual bacon slices. They will shrink so it’s fine if they are touching each other.
Place in preheated oven and check after 12 – 15 minutes. If you are using a thinner cut of bacon, it may actually be done (browned and sizzling) at this point and you can remove it from the oven, no turning necessary. If you are using a thicker cut, it should be beginning to brown on one side and ready to turn. Carefully, remove it from the oven and turn each slice over, using tongs.
Return to oven and continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes for doneness. Mine took another 15 minutes for a total of 30 minutes cooking time but it’s going to vary depending on your oven and the thickness of your bacon so keep a close eye on it. Remember, there will be hot, liquid bacon grease at the bottom of the pan so be careful to keep the pan steady when you remove it from the oven!
Immediately transfer slices of cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate or platter. Allow bacon grease to cool and solidify on the foil or parchment paper then simply toss the whole mess. You should have a clean pan underneath and the wire rack can be quickly scrubbed or cleaned in the dishwasher. You are done. Enjoy your bacon as is for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner as we had it the other night) or use it in a variety of different ways. Breakfast sandwiches, BLT’s, quiche, scrambles, soups, pasta dishes, burgers, club sandwiches, and salads are all greatly improved by the addition of bacon.
I’ve been pulling out a slice to toss in my arugula salad for lunch the last few days. A teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, chopped bacon, arugula, and blue cheese. Delicious!