How to Cook Bacon on the Stove, in the Microwave, or in the Oven
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The Taste of Home Test Kitchen explains how to make bacon using the oven, microwave, and stovetop.
Crisp, but not too crisp; meaty, yet also snappy—perfect bacon strikes a savory balance between texture and taste. This mouthwatering breakfast staple can be cooked every which way to suit your time and tastes. Read on for step-by-step instructions for each method—but be sure to avoid the biggest mistakes everyone makes when cooking bacon.
How to cook bacon on the stovetop
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When to use this method: Frying bacon in a cast-iron skillet is best for small batches and tender texture. In order to get a truly delicious outcome, learn about why bacon tastes so much better in Britain and choose your meat wisely.
- Place a single layer of bacon strips in a cold skillet, preferably cast-iron.
- Cook on medium-low heat—you want to render a lot of the fat out of the bacon and this takes time. Don’t rush it.
- Turn bacon occasionally with tongs so bacon cooks evenly. Since most pans don’t heat evenly, you should move the bacon to a different part of the pan when flipping it.
- When cooked to desired doneness, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towel, clean newspaper, or a cut-up paper bag to absorb the excess grease.
- Pour grease from skillet into heatproof dish until cool. Discard or save for another use.
- To clean pan, fill with ½-inch of water and bring to a boil. Lightly scrape with a spatula to help remove any stuck-on residue.
How to bake bacon in the oven
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When to use this method: You’ll want to preheat the oven if cooking for a crowd, prepping thick bacon, or looking to minimize clean-up.
- Place a wire rack in a 15×10-inch baking pan. Lightly spritz with cooking spray.
- Place bacon strips in a single layer on rack.
- Bake at 350° to desired degree of crispiness, 20-30 minutes. How long to put bacon in the oven depends on your desired texture: briefer for softer, longer for crisper. When it’s done to your liking, remove from oven.
- Use tongs to remove bacon strips from wire rack.
- Pour off grease into a heat-safe container.
- Place rack and pan in dishwasher.
How to cook bacon in the microwave
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When to use this method: The microwave’s best for—you guessed it—quickly cooking a few strips at a time.
- Place 2-3 sheets of paper towel in a microwave-safe dish. (You can also use a bacon tray!)
- Top with up to four slices of bacon.
- Place 1-2 sheets of paper towel on top.
- Microwave approximately one minute for every piece of bacon. Thick bacon will need a little more time and thin bacon will need less.
- Remove and place on serving plate when it’s just a little underdone (bacon will carry-over cook a little).
Now that you’re finished, here’s what you can do with all that leftover bacon grease.