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There’s no question that bacon is easy to love. Whether you’re enjoying a few strips as a snack or loading some bacon bits onto your family’s dinner casserole, you can’t go wrong with bacon’s savory crunch.

However, what’s less clear is how to cook bacon! With so many methods available, it can be difficult to know which method is right for your schedule, recipe, and preferences. After all, the different cooking methods each have their benefits, from even cooking to extra crispiness to easy cleanup.

We’re going to introduce you to five of the best ways to cook bacon. That way, the next time you’re makin’ bacon, you can choose the method that’s best for you.

1. How to Cook Bacon for Easy Cleanup: Broil

If you’re looking for supremely crispy bacon and easy cleanup, try cooking bacon under the broiler. The high heat quickly cooks the bacon to produce an evenly crisp finish. Not only is it quicker than some of the other methods, but it has the added benefit of avoiding the grease splatter that comes with pan frying.

For extra easy cleanup, line your pan with parchment paper or foil. Once your bacon is done, just toss the paper in the trash and place the pan in the dishwasher.

Broiling is also a good way to make several strips of bacon at once. That means it’s perfect for when you’re making these Pork and Bacon Burgers for the whole family!

pork burger with bacon cut in half
Broiling creates crispy bacon that works well in your favorite sandwich.

HOW TO BROIL BACON

  1. Move the top oven rack to about 3” from the broiler.
  2. Pre-heat oven to broil.
  3. Place bacon on a sheet pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes, turning at least once.
  4. Watch closely! Using the broiler can turn the bacon from crispy to burnt very quickly.
  5. Drain slices on absorbent paper towels before serving.

2. How to Cook Bacon, the Classic Way: Pan-Fry

If you ask an older relative or friend how to cook bacon, they’ll likely instruct you to place the strips in a pan and heat until crispy. And there’s a reason why this “standard” method of cooking bacon has remained popular for so long!

Pan-frying can help get the bacon nice and crispy or a bit chewy, depending on how long you leave it on the heat. Plus, you don’t have to watch it quite as closely as you do when you’re broiling bacon.

When it comes to choosing your pan, you’ll have three main options: cast iron, stainless steel, and non-stick. While all can work in a pinch, cast iron allows for more even cooking and easy cleanup. Plus, you’ll be seasoning your pan as you cook your bacon!

Baking also allows you to save the fat that has collected in the pan so you can reuse it for other recipes, like these Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

HOW TO PAN-FRY BACON

  1. Lay bacon slices in an ungreased or lightly greased frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook for 8-12 minutes, turning often to achieve even crispness.
  3. Drain slices on absorbent paper towels before serving.

3. How to Cook Bacon for a Crowd: Bake

Baking is one of the easiest ways to cook bacon—especially if you’re making a lot!

When you cook bacon in the oven, you lay the slices on a wire rack that is set in a shallow pan. As the bacon cooks, fat drains, leaving you with bacon that’s a little less greasy. And since air is able to circulate around the slices, the bacon cooks evenly without the need to turn it midway through cooking.

While one pan of bacon may give you enough to feed your family, you can cook two pans in the oven at once if you’re planning a big brunch or looking to double the recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Chives.

Another benefit of baking bacon is that it’s a mostly hands-off method, so you can prepare other ingredients while the bacon is in the oven. For example, you could prepare the toppings for Bacon Cheeseburger Tacos while the bacon is cooking..

While baking is an easy way to cook plain bacon strips, you can also use the oven to play around with creative recipes. By sprinkling sugar and spice on your bacon strips and then popping them in the oven, you can end up with a batch of Spiced Candied Bacon. And if you’re looking to add an elegant flair to your bacon strips, try out these Bacon Roses.

bacon on white plate
The oven is one of the best ways to cook a big batch of crispy bacon.

HOW TO BAKE BACON

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lay slices of bacon on a roasting rack, then set the rack in a shallow pan to catch the drippings.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bacon is crispy.

4. How to Cook Bacon Quickly: Microwave

If you need your bacon to get crispy quickly, the microwave is your best bet. And unlike the other methods, it has minimal cleanup—just put the plate in the dishwasher!

While the microwave is a quick way to cook bacon, it often produces bacon that’s not quite as crispy as the other methods. So if you’re a lover of chewy bacon, the microwave may be for you!

HOW TO MICROWAVE BACON

  1. Place 4 slices of bacon on a microwave-safe plate and cover completely with paper towels. You can add up to 2 more layers on top as long as you cover each layer with additional paper towels.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 4 minutes, or 1 minute per piece of bacon.
  3. Then cook an additional minute at a time until you almost reach the crispness you prefer. Bacon will become more crispy as it cools.
  4. Remove carefully from the microwave as fat may have pooled on the plate, and transfer bacon strips to a paper towel-lined plate.

5. How to Cook Bacon for Crumbles: Air Fry

Cooking bacon in the air fryer results in crispy, evenly cooked slices. This method only takes about 8-10 minutes, and it allows some of the fat to drain off of the meat.

The bacon does tend to curl up a bit in the air fryer, so this method is best for bacon crumbles rather than on a sandwich when you want your bacon to lay flat.

Try the air fryer for the bacon in these Keto-friendly Bacon-Cheeseburger Tacos or this Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole. And if you’re looking for a sweet and savory snack, try out these Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potatoes.

Sweet potato casserole close up
The air fryer makes extra crispy bacon that works well in dishes like this Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole.

HOW TO AIR FRY BACON

  1. Lay bacon in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  2. Set air fryer to 400° F.
  3. Give the basket a shake occasionally while cooking to prevent sticking.
  4. Check bacon at 5 minutes and rearrange if necessary for even cooking.
  5. Cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on your crispness preference.

Cooking Bacon Starts With Getting Sizzling!

One ingredient, five different bacon cooking methods. These cooking techniques all have their own benefits, and they can help you get perfectly cooked bacon for any recipe. Crispy, fast, or with less fat—there’s a technique for every kitchen and every preference! However, starting with the best bacon is just as important as choosing the proper cooking method.

Coleman Natural Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon contains no added hormones or antibiotics, and it’s Parent Tested Parent Approved! And if you’re looking for a sugar-free option, you can opt for our Sugar-Free Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon.

So pick up a pack (or two) of Coleman Natural bacon, select your preferred cooking method, and get ready to enjoy that savory crunch you and your family love.

To learn more about how to enjoy your favorite meats, read these next:

This article was originally published on January 27, 2021 and has since been updated.