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I can't cook crispy bacon

I am a failure at cooking bacon to the crisp state that seems to work best for BLTs and the like. I've tried cooking it in the oven and in a skillet, and it always comes out rubbery. Is it because I buy thick cut bacon? (which is the way the nicer brands of bacon seem to be cut). And just to show my utter ignorance of bacon cooking -- does bacon turn to a crisp state while it is hot in the pan, or is that a state it only reaches after it cools (and, if the latter is true, how can you tell when to take it out so that it will later be crisp?). Signed, desperately in need of bacon help.

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  1. Sounds like you need to cook it a little longer. Try lowering the heat and cooking it until it crisps up in the pan. I cook mine on Medium Low in a skillet. Turn it a few times to make sure it cooks evenly.

    1. I have a toaster oven that's also a convection oven, and I lay the strips down on the broiling pan that came with the oven. This is great because the grease drips into the bottom of the pan and keeps it from getting soggy. I bake it until crispy and it's the best bacon ever.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

        Bake it in the oven on 350 . You must pour the fat off at least once while it is cooking. You can also make very crisp bacon in the micro betwwen paper towels. One minute per piece. Good Luck

      2. I usually cook mine in a cast iron pan and use a cast iron bacon press. The press holds the bacon down and lets it cook evenly.

        5 Replies
        1. re: CraigH

          If you have a microwave oven you can cook it the way you want it. just cover it so it
          does`nt splatter. and you can watch it.

          1. re: bigjimbray

            Bacon will cook crisp in it's own fat. Start with a cold pan, and lay the cold bacon in it. I prefer the cast iron as it's seasoned. My stainless steel pan needs a light coating of oil to prevent sticking. It cooks long and slowly, on medium to medium low heat, rendering the fat out. This, of course, is similar to making bacon bits. Remove the bacon from the fat, and drain it on paper towels to remove the excess fat. This way, the bacon can be removed when it suits you, without it over-cooking or under-cooking, and it gives you time to make that decision.


            1. re: violabratsche

              Competely agree here. I cook mine in a non stick pan, starting out cold and never going higher than medium while cooking it. Two things: the fat renders out slowly and the bacon continues to crisp in it. Second, the bacon doesn't tend to curl up like crazy. I cook it till almost completly done on one side, flip and cook the other side, then turn it once more to allow crisping to my liking.
              You will find that the bacon "sets up" and gets crisper as it cools. You'll do just fine with practice!


              1. re: monavano

                I use a cast iron pan, med/low heat, and pour off the fat two times. The fat contains some juices, which tend to braise the bacon, and you don't want that.

                1. re: jayt90

                  This worked perfectly for me, and I've been struggling to get good, crisp bacon for awhile. (The bacon I buy is thicker cut than usual, which I suspect makes this more difficult.) Thanks for this suggestion!

        2. I think I know what you mean, a local burger place serves bacon that my teeth can't cut, i.e., take a bite, pull out a whole slice or two of bacon. It is good tasting bacon, but often I have to break it up.

          IIRC, my usual bacon is 1oz per slice, 16 slices/lb. Is is a Hormel product, sold by the slice, I think it is called thick or double cut. It is more "rubbery" than "crisp", try a thinner bacon, just use more (of the thinner) strips per sandwich.

          If you get bacon that has a higher fat to meat ratio, it wll crisp up more than bacon with a higher meat to fat ratio.

          I think of the meat part of the bacon I buy as having a similar texture to beef jerky.

          Bacon becomes crispy in the pan.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alan408

            Sorry, I have to disagree with "bacon becomes crispy in the pan". It can, but I cook mine on one of those slanting grills made famous by a washed up fighter, and it comes off limp, but I put it on paper towels, and really press down hard to remove the excess fat. This gives me a crisp bacon with crunch, but not so crunchy it's like the horrible stuff you get at cheap breakfast buffets, where it snaps and crumbles like a potato chip. That's way too crisp for me.

            If I forget, and leave it on the grill too long, it's crisp, but it's also dry and has less taste. I prefer a happy medium.

          2. Medium heat, no higher. Turn it several times. I like to use a pan I've cooked bacon in before and the grease is still in it, because it seems to me like deeper grease cooks the bacon better. Maybe that's just me.

            Take it out of the pan when it's a nice golden brown, even though it's still a little bendy. As it drains on paper towels it'll crisp up.

            1. lots of ways to cook bacon. they all work.
              i set the oven to 375. spread out 8 pieces or so on a broiler pan. check every minute after 12 minutes.
              take 'em out and mop up the grease, top and bottom, any way how you see fit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: steve h.

                Next time sprinkle it with a little brown sugar & some chopped pecans before you put it in the oven. Mmmm...praline bacon. Like pork candy.

              2. This is my method and it turns out perfect every time, much better than cooking in a pan or in the oven. On top of a double layer of paper towel, place your bacon strips (I often keep two strips together to make it like thick-cut bacon; I also prefer center cut bacon). Place another double fold of paper towel over it. Then cook in the microwave until done. How long to cook it depends on how many strips you are doing at a time. For 6-8 strips (again I often cook two strips together/not separated) I lower the power to about 60% and start with about 5 minutes. Check it at that point and you can cook it longer if needed. The paper towel absorbs all the fat (sometimes I even use 3-4 layers of paper towel) and your bacon comes out crisp (if you want it to) and leaner because most of the fat is absorbed by the towels. Cook it a little less if you don't want it as well done and crispy. Do some trial and error as far as power levels and time and you'll be all set after a couple of batches, again just keep your eye on it as it cooks or at each cooking interval (5 mins at first, 1 or 2 minutes each time before you check it again after that).

                Bacon is delicious as above, but if you want it decadently sweet and spicy (like the coating on a honey baked ham), I do the following: I mix butter, maple syrup, brown sugar or turbinado sugar and pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice) and a couple of dashs of ground cloves together, melt this and cook for a minute or two. After your bacon has cooked by above method, transfer to a plate or pan and drizzle the syrup mixture over it and microwave a little more. Yummy, sweet and spicy bacon that is soooo good!

                2 Replies
                1. re: cheri

                  Cheri has the ticket to the best crisp bacon. My husband used to slave over a cast iron pan; now he just uses the doubled paper towels in the microwave technique. It works wonderfully.

                  1. re: cheri

                    I ditto this. Someone told me about the paper towels and microwave trick years ago and I never do bacon any other way. It gets very crisp this way!

                    Note: the paper towels will stick a little to the bacon. Have tongs ready (the towels are saturated with hot bacon grease) and pull the strips off the towels immediately after removing from the microwave to minimize little bits of paper towel, which you'll get if you wait til it cools.

                  2. All the methods will produce crispy bacon if you cook long enough and then remove the bacon from the grease. Jfood uses the oven, skillet and MV method when needed and he always finds that once removed to place on paper towels, then place another on top and press. Then let it sit for a minute or so. and the bacon should turn crisp if it has been cooked til done.

                    Also jfood does not remember a BLT in whichthe bacon is hot, nor does he care so the temperature not a factor.

                    So good luck in creating your BLT which is a great contribution of America to worldwide cuisine.

                    1. Cook it in a skillet on the stove, medium heat.

                      Pour off the fat as it accumulates. It crisps better that way (at least it does IMHO)

                      Best yet, purchase a top quality bacon. There's no point in eating it if it isn't the finest you can buy.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cooknKate

                        I always remove the excess fat too! I've always thought that helped.

                        1. re: foiegras

                          It definitely worked for me (thanks all for this suggestion), and I was previously unable for the life of me to make crispy bacon; all my previous results ended up being nasty-chewy.

                      2. I always have geat luck with the America's Test Kitchen approach -- cooked in the oven at 400. With regular supermarket bacon on a rimmed baking sheet, about 10 to 12 minutes gives me perfectly crispy bacon that stays relatively flat. I've also had some very good bacon cooked between layers of paper towel in the microwave, but it's easy to overcook it this way, IMO.

                        1. Thanks to everyone for their replies. I have tried the oven method repeatedly. I have left the bacon in the oven for the suggested time, and then way, way, WAY longer (like 3 times longer than the Cooks Illustrated method suggests, can't remember offhand what that time is) and it NEVER gets crispy. So, more specific question: when you cook bacon in the oven, does it get visibly crispy *while* it is still in the oven? If not, how do you know when to take it out?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: mutterer

                            Are you using an in-oven thermometer? You know you can't rely on the numbers printed on the knob or display. Everything you're describing sounds like a temperature problem to me.

                            I use one that I bought at my local supermarket for about $3.

                            1. re: mutterer

                              No, it gets really crispy when it cools. Just take it out when it looks done and the fat is mostly rendered. Drain on paper towels and it will crisp up, thick-sliced or not.

                              1. re: LizATL

                                Yes, I am using an oven thermometer. And as for the next comment: "take it out when it looks done" -- therein is the essence of my problem. How do I know it's done? What do I look for if not for crispiness? Thanks.

                                1. re: mutterer

                                  I don't cook bacon in the oven, but here's my visual cue for crispiness: Look for tiny foam bubbles on the fat, not large pops of grease. This means the moisture has come out of the fat and the fat will be crispy and not rubbery after cooling. You can also look for color cues -- undercooked fat will be translucent, it will be more opaque if you've rendered it properly, i.e. started in a cold pan and not overdone your heat.

                                  1. re: themis

                                    Foaming bubbles..excellent tip!

                                    1. re: themis

                                      That's really helpful -- exactly what I was looking for -- thanks!

                                2. re: mutterer

                                  Quick answer to your question, NO it should not and you do not want it to turn crispy in the oven or else you'll have bacon bits at the end. You shoot for color and experience (like cooking a steak on the grill, will get you there eventually).

                                  Jfood uses a rimmed cookie sheet and it seems to hold 1# of bacon almost perfectly. Then into a 400 oven for about 30 minutes. Then jfood checks and its a very easy check. He removes pan, grabs a slice with some tongs and gives it a little wiggle. If it looks like it needs more time back into the oven, if it has that "I'm almost done" look" it stays out of the oven. Then he takes piece by piece onto paper towels and presses lightly. Not very scientific.

                                  Have served many a teenage breakfast for little jfoods friends this way. Once the bacon comes out of the oven the 18-24 scrambled eggs hit the pan and the sliced bagels go into the oven.

                                3. cook it at a lower temperature and have a steak weight to keep it from curling. What also works and is quicker if accessible is to deep fry the bacon. Curls up quite a bit, but frys up in 10 seconds at 350

                                  1. The answers in this were great! I just wanted to let people know that I linked to this discussion from here: http://www.mahalo.com/How_to_make_per... . Thanks for the advice!

                                    1. Bake it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (thick-cut). Take it out and look at the fatty part of the bacon. If there's still a clear strip of fat, you need to cook for a few more minutes. And yes, it crisps up as it cools.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        I do this too. The difference is that I use a cookie sheet (lined with foil) and a rack. The bacon goes on the rack which keeps it out of the drippings. The bacon comes out nice and flat and perfectly crisp.

                                      2. My favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. Lay a "drying sheet" upside down on a baking sheet, then lay the bacon on top of that. Bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.

                                        My other favorite treat is to sprinkle the bacon (before you put it in the oven) with plenty of brown sugar and a lot of black pepper. It's so delicious!

                                        1. start with a cold pan don not turn bacon until it starts to crisp then pour off excess fat, and finish til crisp til desired crsipiness