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Baking bacon vs. frying bacon

  • k

Which do you prefer? Is there a texture difference? I like mine crisp, does baking do the job? It just seems faster and less messy to do it in the oven in one batch.

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  1. For small amounts, I just microwave on a paper plate with paper towels.

    If I am doing a n=bigger batch, I always do it in my cast iron skillet...good for taste and for the pan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine

      We have baccon every Sat. & Sun morning and we do it in the microwave too. It comes out with a nice texture. However, if I were feeding a crowd I'd opt for the oven. It's easier and less mess.

    2. I always make my bacon in the oven. It's easy and I use disposable aluminum pans so there's no clean up. My SO likes his crisp, me not so much so I use 2 pans and just take mine out of the oven first.

      1. I like to bake it and I do think it is way less messy. It also allows me more room on my small cooktop. I line a baking sheet with foil and put in the oven at 450. It done in about 10 mins or so..and yes it is crispy. Clean up is a breeze too.

        1. No difference - to me it tastes exactly the same, texture and all. You can definitely get it nice and crispy in the oven - just did it today actually for BLTs for lunch.

          Haven't cooked bacon in a skillet since I learned about the oven method. It just comes out so great and the clean-up is so easy! I put a big piece of aluminum foil over a rimmed baking sheet and turn up the edges (to keep the grease contained) and bake at 400 until crispy.

          Try it, it will blow your mind :)

          1. I much prefer baking it as it evenly browns both sides and doesn't tend to curl up as much.

            1. I don't know that it's any faster unless you're cooking a whole pound at a time. And pouring off the fat as it melts off is more of a PITA with a cookie sheet than a skillet. On the other hand, a self-cleaning oven to deal with all the spattered grease on the oven walls and a dishwasher to handle a baking sheet and especially rack would certainly cut down on "user time" anyway and lets you go about cooking the rest of what you're making while the bacon cooks. (I do it when I'm making breakfast for a lot of people at once, but nor usually.)

              I'll use a microwave if forced to (or for the odd 1-2 slice snack) but IMX it doesn't really come out right - I find it stays "flabby" far through the cooking process and then suddenly goes too crisp in just a few seconds if you get the final timing wrong. Though if you like it extra crisp, you might like that. On the other hand, spattered bacon grease in the microwave is even grosser than in a regular oven, so be sure to stick a piece of people towel or something over the top, at the very least...

              1. I did bacon both ways last weekend, the same thick sliced bacon. All 9 of us, from the age of 6 through 72, preferred the pan cooked bacon over the oven cooked. Oven is way easier, but I had to admit, there is just something missing in the taste as well as the texture using that method. Most of us like crispy, but some like a bit of soft along with the crisp. Soft as a part of crispy is done away with in the oven.

                1. I use very thick cut bacon and prefer pan frying. I've tried the baking routine, but I find that the texture is different. I can't stand very crispy bacon (like 99% of the stuff in restaurants). With the thick cut, I can get just the right amount of crunch on the outside while leaving just the right amount of chew in the middle. I actually like using a cast iron grill pan to cook the bacon because the bacon doesn't sit in a puddle of grease while it's cooking.

                  If I'm making a pound at a time, then I'll resort to putting it on a screen on a sheet pan. The trick to making bacon that doesn't curl is to start the bacon out in a cold skillet.

                  The microwave should be outlawed for the awful effect it has on bacon.

                  1. I like to bake it. Much less of a mess. You don't have to stand over it and baby sitt it so much. And you don't have to hassle with getting splattered with the bacon grease the whole time you are cooking. If I want an extra treat, I sprinkle the bacon with brown sugar too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KellBell

                      I like to use a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne!!!

                    2. Frying.

                      In fact, I'll go one step further ... you've got to deep-fry bacon.

                      And one more step even further ... dip the bacon in some tempura batter and deep fry. Yum.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Now that sounds so sick and decadent, it's gotta be fabulous!

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Tempura? Meh! You haven't lived until you've tried Chicken Fried Bacon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfbTO0....

                          1. re: JungMann

                            I think I just felt my arteries clench up

                            1. re: WCchopper

                              Anyone up for a field trip to Sodolak's?

                        2. Coincidentally, just tonight, technically last night, given the time, I oven-cooked bacon. I lined the pan with foil, then baked the bacon. I agree, baking is much less messy, but it does not turn out the same way as it does when it is fried in a pan. The bacon did not get crispy-crunchy the same way as it does when I fry it in a pan.

                          1. I had a pancake brunch this summer, so baking clearly was the way to go. It turned out great, crisp, delicious, and easy! I found some racks to put on my baking sheets so the strips were held above the grease. Everyone loved it. I especially like how it stays flat.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                              karen's right, using a rack is the key if you go the oven-baked route. it allows you to render out the fat and keep the bacon crisp. plus, if you have some other use for bacon grease, it's conveniently left over in the bottom of the pan.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                These things are certainly true, but I have to disagree with the folks who say baking it means easier clean up. I can't bake bacon without there being a lot of smoke, and a mess in my oven, which means when I run the clean cycle, more smoke from my oven. Also, cleaning the rack the back sits on isn't very easy (we have a rack with a grid pattern, a la Alton Brown's racks), my husband hates it (he does the dishes). I dno't get all that much spatter when I fry it in a pan (maybe that means I'm doing it wrong, but it seems to come out fine), and he doesn't grumble when it comes time to wash the pan. *shrug* I prefer it baked, but I usually do it fried for these reasons. :)

                                1. re: Morganna

                                  If you don't get much splatter, then you are doing it right! I was taught that to fry bacon perfectly, fry it while naked! The pan temp should not be so hot that it splatters.

                                  1. re: Sam at Novas

                                    I'm declining any invitation for breakfast.

                                    1. re: bkhuna

                                      *giggle* Ooh baby baby. :) Can I watch? ;)

                                      1. re: Morganna

                                        So I was thinking you're not THAT Morganna and was going to leave it alone, as you probably get the remark all the time, but now I'm not so sure...

                                      2. re: bkhuna

                                        Fortunatly for all, one must do this just once to learn the proper pan temp. ;-)

                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I'll third the rack recommendation. The bacon come out nicely crisp and looks very appealing since it lays flat. I also line the baking sheet with heavy duty foil which makes it very easy clean-up. I also use a grid-type rack and cleanup has not been an issue.

                                    1. re: HungryLetsEat

                                      I'll put another vote in for baking. Here's a trick I learned: use a cookie/cake cooling rack (heavy duty preferred). No need to buy a special bacon rack. Set it in a sheet pan large enough to hold it. Lay bacon on it and bake between 375-390 F depending on thickness of bacon. It comes out flat, crispy AND tender. It's much easier to cook - less attention needed. The temp is better controlled in the oven - less risk of burn and uneveness. And the clean up is better. The rack also helps with spatter, there tends to be a bit less than if you bake on just a cookie pan. Placing the rack in a deep pan will also help with spatter. If you really want to stop spatter (but not save bacon grease) use a deep pan like a roasting pan, get a rack that is larger than the pan (so the rack sits on top of the pan) and fill the pan about 1/3 with hot water. This will catch the drippings and prevent them from spattering out. Make sure you don't let the water evaporate completely or else you will get spattering.

                                2. for me it depends on the quantity. i prefer baking as it's so easy; put it on a jelly roll pan, pop it in the oven, take it out and serve. however, i've found the oven only works if i'm doing enough bacon to cover at least half the pan's surface. otherwise, the bacon doesn't release enough fat for the bacon to "ovenfry" in. if i'm not doing that much bacon, then i fry it.

                                  as to the clean up, i never line the jelly roll pan. i've found that the bacon fat actually penetrates and releases the baked-on stains on the pan. as long as i don't let the fat cool too much, clean up is a breeze. and i don't waste the foil.

                                  1. This has all given me an idea for a Noble Experiment (a phrase meaning Loony Notion): set a one-pound SLAB of bacon, uncut, onto a rack in a pan and slow-roast it to an internal 190º. Waddaya think? Is it gonna be worth the fifteen bucks or so, not to mention putting a slab of good smoked dry-cured goodness at risk?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      No, a noble experiment/loony notion is two guys lighting socks on fire to try to boil the water in a toilet in a college dorm and setting off a fire alarm. Okay, so maybe that idea was chemically induced. And not so noble. But definitely loony. One guy went on to law school and the other guy got a job at IBM. But I digress...

                                      I am thinking that slow-roasting the bacon will get it really hard and dry on the outside. Could the slab be turned into a massive quantity of bacon bits for your salad?

                                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                                        that's hilarious! mind if i ask on which collegiate campus this experiment occurred?

                                        as far as the bacon goes, i don't think it'll get too dry as long as you keep it low & slow...maybe even basting occasionally with the pan drippings.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          SUNY-Albany, during the 1978-1979 academic year. You think a physics major might know better. It's one of my favorite college stories. Okay, someone is about to jump on me for saying that. I know, fire is not a toy, but I still giggle thinking about this one.

                                      2. re: Will Owen

                                        Could you do this with, say, pork belly? I've had it braised.Isn't it the same cut as bacon? Does it need the moisture or is the fat enough to keep it from becomeing a shingle? Inquiring minds want to know.....

                                        1. re: WCchopper

                                          Braising probably would be the way to go, though I have a largish oval gratin pan with a rack that fits in it, and if the bacon were sitting on that over a little water at, say, 250º for a few hours...

                                      3. My favorite is in the Foreman grill. They come out perfectly crispy and less grease than any other way.

                                        If I have to do a whole lot I bake on a rack in the oven, in a shallow pan. But that's not often!

                                        1. Oven all the way!!! Comes out crispy, no mess and I have the drippings to use for other dishes!

                                          1. Long long time ago I worked in a small diner and at night when we were washing the floors the owner would have sheet pans of bacon baking. the next morning the bacon was used for cooked to order breakfasts and grilled briefly. it was pretty good, as i remember.
                                            Now i have to make a lot of bacon for a church brunch and I am hoping to recreate this technique as the day of the brunch will be nuts. has anyone tried par baking the day before? thanks in advance

                                            1. For the three slice quickie, nothing easier than the MV with some Bounty.

                                              But when little jfood have those sleepovers, the oven is the way to go. Grap a rimmed baking sheet and it fits one package of bacon. Into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, Out it comes, immediately onto the Bounty.

                                              Clean-up trick. Let the pan cool. Then take the Bounty paper towels that the bacon was on and use it to "suck up" the grease in the baking sheet and toss in the garbage. The you do not throw the grease into the sinl, it has been absorbed into the paper towels and the pan is not that hard to clean.

                                              Is there a difference between oven and pan, jfood does not think so. Yes you have to run the self-clean for the oven but roasting chickens 2-3 times a week and finishing fish/steak in a pan 1-2 times per week at 425 degrees causes more dirtiness in the oven than bacon once every 2-3 weeks.

                                              1. I microwave the entire pound of bacon at once using one of those white plastic bacon racks (which work like a charm) and I cook it only about 3/4 as done as we like it. I sop up all the grease I can on paper towels, then I keep the partially-cooked bacon in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When we want breakfast bacon or a BLT it takes just a few seconds to wrap a couple of slices in paper towel and zap them for another 15-45 seconds, according to personal taste.

                                                1. Has anyone tried Ina Gartens Maple Roasted Bacon? I've been meaning to try this.

                                                  3/4 pound thick-cut smoked bacon (16 slices)
                                                  1 to 2 tablespoons good maple syrup

                                                  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
                                                  Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Remove the pan carefully from the oven; there will be hot grease in the pan! Brush the bacon slices with maple syrup and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the bacon is a warm golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: egbluesuede

                                                    That's pretty much the process I follow....so next time I'll try adding the maple syrup. Sounds delish!

                                                    1. re: HungryLetsEat

                                                      I second danhole. I was waiting for someone to say the foreman grill. This is the best way to cook bacon. The grease slides into the tray and the bacon gets the perfect texture no matter how you like it. If you haven't tried it on the foreman, it is worth giving it a try.

                                                      1. re: HungryLetsEat

                                                        I tried it this way over the weekend. I feel guilty because it tasted soooo good. Sweet, sticky, crunchy in places, chewy in others. I won't say how many pieces I had....

                                                      2. re: egbluesuede

                                                        do that often--today will bake a couple lbs, sprinkle with maple sugar but will let it cool then dip in chocolate for a special treat at Sundays Packer party

                                                      3. I bake my bacon, on a cooling rack in a half-sheet pan, starting in a cold oven set to 425. It comes out exactly the way I like it -- cooked through with no flab, but still chewy -- every time. And when the meal is done, we tip the pan and rack over the stoneware crock we use to save our bacon grease, flip the rack upside down in the pan, squirt in some Dawn and add hot water to soak for a few minutes. Pan and rack come out spotless, and there's no grease spatters in the oven -- anyone who's getting grease all over their ovens isn't doing it right, either not using a rimmed pan or baking the bacon at far too hot a temperature.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                          I usually use a 400 degree oven, and while my primary issue with oven baking is the smoke it causes (the smoke point for lard is 370 degrees) I do still get spatter that makes my oven smoke when I cook at 400 for other things. Possibly I'm using way cheaper bacon than you, which has a higher moisture content and so more spatter in my oven. :)

                                                          As for the cleaning, maybe I'll recommend that to my husband. :)

                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                            I cook mine @ 350 in a cast iron skillet in the oven. the oven method contributes less smoke and splatter than the stove top way. Also use higher quality bacon.

                                                          2. Tried this myself yesterday for breakfast and what I ended up doing was setting the oven to 350, instead of 400. Had absolutely no smoke at all. It took a little longer, but the bacon came out perfect anyway. Now that I have an utility sink, clean up was easy, as well. Just popped the pan and its rack into hot, soapy "Dawn" water and let it soak for about fifteen mins, then it scrubbed up nice and easy.

                                                            1. I prefer using my G5 (George Foreman.) Results are perfectly flat strips of bacon with little to no excess grease. The only drawback is that you can only do 5 strips at a time.

                                                              1. I like baking. Pan cooking makes too much of a mess.

                                                                Plus, after baking you have nice clean and tasty bacon grease that you can save :-)

                                                                1. i bake.

                                                                  stay tuned for the next episode of bakin' bacon with beelzebozo

                                                                  1. DW was putting together a new dish calling for a cup of crumbled bacon. Since I was the "bacon expert" in the household she asked me 20 questions about how I cook bacon. After about the eigth question, I volunteered to do the bacon up.

                                                                    Baked it in the oven. It was a 12 oz package that required two cookie sheets. Lined the sheets with Dollar Tree aluminum foil, set the oven to heat to 325 and waited a spell. When the oven reached temp, I lined up the bacon strips and put the packages in the oven. Bacon on the lowest shelf cooked MUCH faster than the bacon on the top shelf. Everything came out exactly as I wanted it to. Elapsed time: about 56 minutes, beginning to end.

                                                                    Now we're waiting on the dish to meld a lot of other ingredients while it rests in the 'fridge.

                                                                    I'll report on success in a later post...