You Should Be Oven-Frying Your Bacon

This mostly hands-off method is a staple in restaurants. It's time to bring it home.

Published Aug. 3, 2022.

Restaurants prep bacon in mind-boggling quantities, and it’s often cooked in the oven to save time and to free up precious stovetop space.

Of the many ways to make bacon, this handy restaurant tip offers a few major positives: no hovering over the skillet and continuously flipping the bacon and no painful (and inevitable) grease splatters. 

It also makes it easier to cook a lot of bacon, depending on how many people you have coming over or how hungry you are.

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But the good news is that this technique is not just for restaurants: All you need is a sheet pan to replicate this method at home.

So whether you need a big batch of bacon for a brunch get-together or simply don’t want to battle bacon grease for breakfast, here is how to oven-fry bacon like a restaurant pro. 

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The Best Oven Temp for Oven-Cooked Bacon

The best temperature for oven-cooked bacon is 400 degrees Fahrenheit for both a conventional oven and a toaster oven. We tried cooking the bacon at higher temperatures and the bacon burned before it was fully cooked. Lower temperatures had the opposite effect and rendered tough, almost stringy, bacon. Therefore, 400 degrees is the sweet spot for crispy, not burned, bacon.

How Long to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Bacon takes between 10 and 15 minutes to cook in the oven, depending on whether it’s regular cut or thick cut. This will vary a bit, especially if you have strong preferences for shatteringly crisp or supersoft bacon—it will be cooked through roughly at the 10-minute mark; let it go a few minutes longer (but keep an eye on it!) if you want it crispier.

Do You Have to Flip Bacon When Cooking It in the Oven?

Oven-fried bacon doesn’t need to be flipped during cooking (another reason we love this method!) but the pan does need to be rotated. If your oven has hot spots or if you’re using multiple pans on different rack levels, one rotation about halfway through will make sure the bacon cooks evenly.

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Key Steps to Cooking Bacon In the Oven

  • DO cook it on the middle rack: Yes, the location of your oven rack matters. The bacon cooks best when it's closest to the center of the oven. 
  • DO line the rimmed baking sheet with foil: Cooking bacon is messy business. The bacon renders lots of fat, which can get caked onto the pan. The foil lining makes for easy cleanup and prevents unnecessary scrubbing once the bacon is cooked. 
  • DON’T use a wire rack: You may think elevating the bacon on a wire rack nested in a sheet pan will make it crispier, but don’t be tempted. Keeping the meat away from the rendered fat can make the bacon dry and more prone to burning on the edges. 
  • DON’T worry about overcrowding: The dry air circulating in the oven is ideal for evenly cooked bacon. The high fat content helps the slices cook evenly, so there’s little danger of them burning or coming out flabbier than you want them to. Lay the slices shoulder to shoulder if need be–they will shrink down as they cook.
  • DO save the leftover bacon fat: Once the bacon is cooked, drain before serving. But don’t throw out that leftover bacon fat! It’s great for southern favorites like Hoecakes and braised greens or to simply to fry up your breakfast potatoes and eggs. Use it as a savory base for gravy or go all out and caramelize onions in it. Don’t plan on using it right away? Refrigerate leftover bacon fat in an airtight container for up to a month or even freeze it into ice cubes.

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