Few aromas compare to the smell of bacon cooking on a Sunday morning nor are there many meals not made better with bacon. Better still, the popular breakfast staple also comes in pork alternatives (and even vegan options), and can be cooked in a variety of ways to optimize that perfect crisp. Whether you tend to reach for thick-cut, regular or peameal bacon, here is a roundup of all the best ways to get your bacon fix.
Whatever your chosen method, be sure to let your bacon temper to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to cooking to get the best results.
This trending way to cook your bacon is just one more food you can prepare in your air fryer. While it may not be immediately intuitive to cook your bacon in a countertop appliance, and while it may require a bit more maintenance, the results may just be worth it for you. The bacon is crispier when it doesn’t cook in its own fat, and depending on the size of your air fryer, it’s a good option for those looking to prep only a few pieces. The trick? You may need to shake your basket to allow all the drippings to drip down and away from your bacon.
– Take out bacon from the fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to cooking
– For this method you need to preheat your air fryer to 400°F
– Lay out each strip with no overlap
– Shake the basket as needed
– Air fry until the bacon is your desired crunch (about 8 to 12 minutes)
Pan Seared: Non-stick or Cast Iron
With this method you really only need your non-stick or cast-iron pan and your choice of bacon. The key is to not preheat your skillet.
– When your bacon has tempered, lay out the strips on the cold skillet without overlapping the pieces so the fat renders slowly and consistently
– Cook over medium heat until you’ve reached your desired crispness and flip, as needed
– Cook for about 8 to 12 minutes
– Lay over a paper towel to absorb excess fat and serve
Just remember to dispose of that cooking grease in a responsible way.
Baked: Grill or Parchment
This method requires a longer cooking time than the other methods, but it is a set-it-and-forget-it method in that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, once you’ve placed it in the oven. It leads to a meaty bacon, with minimal shrinkage and the aluminum foil helps keep the drippings in place for easier clean-up. Pro-tip for extra flavour: Brush maple syrup on top of the strips prior to baking for a caramelized, crispy maple crunch to your bacon.
– Preheat the oven to 400°F (or even up to 425°F, if you prefer bacon crispier)
– Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the drippings, making sure to fold up the foil along the edges
– Lay a wire rack on top of the foil
– Arrange slices of bacon on top of the rack so there is no overlap
– Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick and done you prefer your bacon
You can also bake your bacon on parchment paper without the rack (bake for about 18-24 minutes) but the results will basically resemble fried bacon, as the bacon bakes in its own fat. Place the strips on paper towel to soak up any excess fat prior to serving.
While this may be the least sophisticated method, it is the quickest. It also allows you to prep only a few slices without committing to a full batch, and the cleanup is the easiest with the microwave. In this method you simply lay the bacon between sheets of paper towel and microwave on high until done. However, this method is also quickest to send your bacon from underdone to overdone, so it may require a few tries until you’ve perfected the timing. It may also require check-ins to remove any slices that are done from the ones that still require microwaving.
– Layer two paper towels on a microwave-safe plate
– Lay bacon on top and cover with another two sheets of paper towel, without overlaying any slices
– Microwave for 4 to 6 minutes depending on thickness of your cut
– Check in and remove any slices that are done
– Continue microwaving the remaining slices in short bursts, 10 to 15 seconds, until all slices are done
While this method is arguably the most elaborate and requiring the most planning (up to 24 hours ahead of your desired eating time), it may be worth the effort if you’re looking to truly wow. It taps into sous vide’s immersion circulator technology to render bacon that’s consistent, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and with least shrinkage compared to the other methods. Worth noting is that this only really works with thick cut bacon, so if you plan to try this one out, don’t waste your time on regular-cut.
– Put the entire unopened package of bacon into a large pot or container
– Fill with enough water to cover the entire package
– Cook with the circulator at 147°F for 8 to 24 hours
– After the cooking process finishes, remove the strips from the package, separating each slice
– Quickly sear each side in a skillet so the bacon doesn’t look raw and serve