Sometimes the best techniques are the counterintuitive ones, and our simple stovetop method of cooking bacon in water is just that. It may sound weird, but it will produce crispy and tender bacon every time.
Want Crispy, Tender Bacon? Cook It In Water.
America’s Test Kitchen’s bacon innovation has always been top notch. We’ve put it in burgers, candied it, turned it into jam, and made our own. We’ve also tasted several types, from turkey to artisanal, to determine the best-tasting. But the idea of using water to cook bacon is definitely one of our best.
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Why Does Cooking Bacon in Water Work?
The addition of water keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, so the meat retains its moisture and stays tender as the fat renders. Plus, since the water helps render the fat, there will be significantly less splatter as your bacon finishes in the pan.
Also, by the time the water reaches its boiling point, the bacon fat is almost completely rendered. This will help keep the meat bacon from burning, since you now don’t have to wait for the fat to cook off like you would if you cooked it the traditional way, instead of in water.
Now your bacon is tender and crisp, not dry and brittle—perfect for your next BLT.
How to Cook Bacon in Water
- Start the bacon in a cold pan. This allows the fat to render slowly.
- Add some water. Cook’s Illustrated editor-in-chief Dan Souza is a fan of a tablespoon or two because it doesn’t add much time to the cooking process.
- Cook over medium heat until the bacon is crisp tender, flipping after the first side has crisped. The timing will depend on the thickness of the bacon.
- Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and serve.
This America’s Test Kitchen bacon technique works with bacon of any thickness that’s in strips or cut into pieces. We like to use it when we’re making a smaller amount of bacon; for larger quantities, we prefer the ease and even cooking of making bacon in the oven.
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.