How to Cook Bacon

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Learn how to cook bacon six ways. We have methods to make bacon using the stovetop, oven, microwave, Instant Pot, air fryer, and grill. Here are instructions for all of them!

six crispy slices of cooked bacon on a white rectangular plate

About Bacon

Bacon is a salt-cured meat. That means it’s preserved by soaking the meat, usually pork belly, in a solution of salt and nitrates. This step is what makes bacon salty.

It can also have sugar, but the amount of sugar varies in the curing bath. This process slows bacterial growth, making it last longer than fresh meat. Bacon, deli meats, and hot dogs are examples of cured meat.

After bacon is cured, it goes into a smoker. The smoke flavors the meat but does not cook it.

Bacon does essential vitamins and minerals. However, no one is going to say it’s healthy for you. The best advice is to eat bacon in moderation. Nothing beats the taste of bacon added to your favorite dish. 

Where does bacon come from?

Even though Americans are the biggest consumers of bacon, a form of bacon originated in China thousands of years ago. Prior to refrigeration, curing meat preserved it. Bacon has changed a lot since it was first invented. American bacon is also called streaky bacon. Bacon in the United Kingdom is less marbled or streaky than bacon in America. 

Is bacon gluten free?

While bacon itself is naturally gluten free, do be on the lookout for those that may have added flavorings or other additives. Always be sure to read the labels for gluten-containing ingredients, cross-contamination, and hiddne sources of gluten.

Also, beware when eating bacon at a restaurant or buffet. It could be cooked on the same griddle surface that is used to make things like pancaked or griddle sandwiches. And slices of bread are often placed at the bottom of containers on a buffet to help absorb some of the grease. When in doubt, ask questions and request that your bacon be prepared separately if needed.

What’s the difference between traditional bacon and turkey bacon?

Bacon is more of a treat than a full meal, and can be used to add flavor or as a side dish. Traditional bacon is made from pork and has a bad rap for being high in fat. But bacon has some great things about it. It’s full of B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Cured meats like bacon are considered red meats.

Turkey bacon is obviously made from turkey. On the upside, turkey bacon has fewer calories and fat than pork bacon. On the downside, turkey bacon has less protein and more sugar than traditional bacon. It’s really up to you to use whatever bacon you like best.

Are there other types of bacon?

Yes! Different countries have their own versions. Here are some popular types of bacon from around the world.

  • Slab bacon is uncut. Usually, the butcher will slice it to the thickness you want.
  • Lardons are diced slices of streaky bacon. So nothing fancy here except the cut.
  • Buckboard bacon is also called cottage bacon, pork butt, or Boston butt. It’s meatier than traditional American bacon.
  • Canadian bacon is more like ham because of the way it is cured. It’s also a meatier cut.
  • Peameal bacon is another Canadian cut. Traditionally, it was rolled in yellow peameal, but now cornmeal is usually substituted.
  • Irish bacon or rashers are popular in Ireland. This bacon has an edge of fat around it.
  • Speck is known for its flavor because it’s smoked with juniper berries.
  • Pancetta is Italian bacon that is not cured but smoked with spices.
  • Guanciale is another Italian bacon. It is not smoked, having a stronger flavor than Pancetta, and is used in sauces.
  • Szalonna or Hungarian bacon is spiced with paprika and garlic. It’s usually roasted over a campfire.
  • Lap Yuk or Chinese bacon has soy sauce and other Chinese spices.
  • Uncured bacon has no added nitrates.
  • Vegan bacon is a vegetarian, plant-based option, usually flavored with soy and other spices.

How do you cook bacon?

Methods

You’ll find instructions below for each of these six methods.

  • Stovetop – the traditional way of frying bacon in a skillet.
  • Oven – a hands-off method to bake bacon. You’ll need a baking sheet and some foil or parchment paper.
  • Microwave – a hands-off and fast method to cook bacon.
  • Instant Pot – an electric pressure cooker is an easy way to cook bacon.
  • Air Fryer – an air fryer gives you a hands-off method for cooking bacon
  • Grill – a great way to add a smoky flavor to bacon.

How to cook bacon on the stove

  1. In a cold skillet, arrange your bacon in a single layer.
  2. Turn on the stove to medium heat.
  3. Flip your bacon frequently to help them brown evenly for about 8-15 minutes.
  4. Remove bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.
Pro Tip

Cut bacon slices in half because it curls less and is easier to brown.

How to cook bacon in the oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Line bacon on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10-20 minutes. The bacon’s thickness may take less or more cooking time.
  5. If you’re worried about oil splattering, cover the bacon with foil or parchment paper, but take it off for the last few minutes to make your bacon crisp.
  6. Remove bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

How to cook bacon in the microwave

  1. Cover a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. More grease will get on the bottom layer and it’s a good idea to use more than one.
  2. Place bacon in a single layer on the paper towels.
  3. Cover the bacon with another layer of paper towels.
  4. If you like your bacon chewy, cook it on high for 2 minutes.
  5. If you like your bacon crisp, cook it on high for 3 minutes.
  6. Add 1-2 minutes cooking time until desired crispness.
  7. The plate will be very hot. Use oven mitts when taking it out of the microwave.
Important Reminder

Microwave wattage varies widely. Experiment to find the right time for you.

How to cook bacon in the Instant Pot

  1. Cut bacon slices in half.
  2. Place in a single layer in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  3. Turn setting to sauté.
  4. Cook bacon for 3 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until desired crispness.
  6. Transfer bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

How to cook bacon in an air fryer

This method is one of my favorite ways to make bacon!

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F.
  2. Use the basket provided with the air fryer. Organize the bacon strips in a single layer in the basket. Cut in half if they don’t fit in your air fryer.
  3. Set the temperature to 350°F and timer for 8 minutes for thin bacon and 12 minutes for thick bacon.
  4. Add more time for desired crispness.
  5. The extra grease has already dripped below the basket, so you don’t need to drain the bacon on paper towels.
Important Reminder

The wattage for air fryers varies, and you may need to experiment to find what time works best for you.

How to cook bacon on the grill

You have to try this method for the added smoky flavor and beautiful color.

  1. Preheat grill to 400º F.
  2. Use a cast iron skillet for the best results.
  3. Place the bacon strips in a single layer on the skillet.
  4. Close the grill, and let it cook for 7-10 minutes, The bacon’s thickness changes the cooking times.
  5. Flip the bacon, and close the grill for another 2-3 minutes. If it’s cold outside, it takes longer to cook.
  6. Transfer the grilled bacon to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.
white plate with 6 slices of bacon that have been cooked

Can you freeze bacon?

Yes! Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and put the cooked bacon in a single layer. Continue to layer wax paper between additional layers of bacon. After two hours, your bacon is frozen and ready to store. Transfer the frozen bacon strips to heavy-duty freezer bags. It’s best to use frozen bacon within three months.

You can reheat frozen bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds when you’re ready to use it.

Recipes With Cooked Bacon

Now that you know how to make bacon, choose your favorite method to make one of these recipes:

white plate with 6 slices of bacon that have been cooked

How to Cook Bacon

Learn how to cook bacon six ways with methods to make bacon using the stovetop, oven, microwave, Instant Pot, air fryer, and grill. Here are instructions for all of them!
Cook: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon

Instructions

How to cook bacon on the stove

  • In a cold skillet, arrange your bacon in a single layer.
  • Turn on the stove to medium heat.
  • Flip your bacon frequently to help them brown evenly for about 8-15 minutes.
  • Remove bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

How to cook bacon in the oven

  • Preheat your oven to 400º F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Line bacon on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-20 minutes. The bacon’s thickness may take less or more cooking time. If you’re worried about oil splattering, cover the bacon with foil or parchment paper, but take it off for the last few minutes to make your bacon crisp.
  • Remove bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

How to cook bacon in the microwave

  • Cover a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. More grease will get on the bottom layer and it’s a good idea to use more than one.
  • Place bacon in a single layer on the paper towels.
  • Cover the bacon with another layer of paper towels.
  • If you like your bacon chewy, cook it on high for 2 minutes. If you like your bacon crisp, cook it on high for 3 minutes. Add 1-2 minutes cooking time until desired crispness. Microwave wattage varies widely. Experiment to find the right time for you.
  • The plate will be very hot. Use oven mitts when taking it out of the microwave.

How to cook bacon in the Instant Pot

  • Cut bacon slices in half.
  • Place in a single layer in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Turn setting to sauté.
  • Cook bacon for 3 minutes.
  • Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until desired crispness.
  • Transfer bacon strips to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

How to cook bacon in an air fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
  • Organize the bacon strips in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cut in half if they don’t fit in your air fryer.
  • Set the temperature to 350°F and timer for 8 minutes for thin bacon and 12 minutes for thick bacon. Add more time for desired crispness. The wattage for air fryers varies, and you may need to experiment to find what time works best for you.
  • The extra grease has already dripped below the basket, so you don’t need to drain the bacon on paper towels.

How to cook bacon on the grill

  • Preheat grill to 400º F.
  • Use a cast iron skillet for the best results. Place the bacon strips in a single layer on the skillet.
  • Close the grill, and let it cook for 7-10 minutes, The bacon’s thickness changes the cooking times.
  • Flip the bacon, and close the grill for another 2-3 minutes. If it’s cold outside, it takes longer to cook.
  • Transfer the grilled bacon to a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.
Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Bacon
Amount Per Serving (2 slices (approximately))
Calories 75 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 275mg11%
Potassium 81mg2%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 6IU0%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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