Reviews you can trust.

See why.

Artisanal Bacon

We tasted seven artisanal bacons to find out which one is worth the splurge.


Published Feb. 20, 2019. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 20: The Most Important Meal

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

All bacon is special, but some small-batch artisanal bacon is extra-special—and priced accordingly. Since we last tasted artisanal bacons, more bacons made by smaller-scale producers have become available online. We were curious how our previous favorite, Vande Rose Applewood Smoked Artisan Dry Cured Bacon ($29.07 per pound, including shipping), stacked up against the competition, so we tasted it alongside six other high-end dry-cured bacons, all available online and priced from $8.00 to $14.75 per pound (shipping not included). We tried them plain, in our Southern-Style Green Beans, and in BLTs. What did we find out?

We liked all the bacons we tried, but often in different applications. Some were great in green beans but too intense when eaten plain; others were good plain but got lost in a BLT. As it turned out, a lot hinged on just how long—and how extensively—the bacons had been cured and smoked. In general, we liked complex, meaty-tasting bacons with moderate smoke flavor and relatively low sodium. While we can recommend every product, Vande Rose came out on top once again. We've given some information on where each bacon shined brightest in the comments below. 

Everything We Tested

*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

Reviews you can trust

The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.