America seems to have a love affair with sexy, luscious bacon. Imagine: The delightful smoky snap as you sink your teeth into a mile-high BLT... or the unmistakable aroma of sizzling, tender beef filet hugged by thick, juicy bacon strips on the grill. Bacon is everywhere—elevating the humble breakfast egg or featured in beer-and-bacon flights at pubs around the country.
I grew up with bacon sizzling in a cast iron pan on my mom’s stovetop, then in college, it became faster to lay strips on a microwave bacon cooker. As I became more sophisticated in the kitchen, I wanted to get the best out of my bacon, and I learned about what dry oven heat can do for these tasty morsels. Let’s talk about how to cook bacon in the oven!
The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your bacon, your oven, your personal preference for doneness, and the type of pan that you use, so check on your bacon mid-cook every two minutes after the following bake times. Here are a few averages for your favorite types of bacon:
- Standard packaged bacon: 400F degrees for 15 to 25 minutes
- Center-cut bacon: 375F for 15 minutes
- Thick-cut bacon: 400F for 20 minutes
- Turkey bacon: 375F for about 15 minutes
- Pancetta (Italian bacon): If diced, 400F for 10 minutes to get crunchy
- Duck bacon: 400F for 15 to 20 minutes
Flavors, like black pepper, applewood, maple, or hickory, generally don’t affect the cooking time.
✅ Check out our Bacon Jerky how-to!
How to cook bacon in the oven
When it comes to cooking bacon in the oven you have two options. You can either cook it on a baking rack or you can cook it directly on the lined pan. The rack allows the bacon to stay elevated away from the grease so it bakes in dry air instead of “boiling” in its own juices.
Pro Tip: Never pour bacon grease down your sink or into any drain. It will harden and clog pipes. Collect bacon grease in a covered container (great for further cooking and baking) or scrape pans directly into the trashcan.
Fun Fact: Wrapping food in a layer of fat (like bacon) to lock in moisture and add flavor is called Barding.
Cook bacon on a baking rack
Cooking bacon on a rack is basically elevating the bacon off of the pan so that it is cooked evenly and it is not laying in its own grease while cooking. There are pros and cons to this method. Try using a wire grilling tray that you might use for grilling shrimp or veggies on a barbecue grill if you don’t have a specific baking/cooling rack.
✅ When bacon is cooked on a cooling rack it will generally turn out crispier.
Cook bacon directly on baking pan
The other option is to cook the bacon on a baking sheet directly. This option means that the bacon will be a bit greasy when it is done but that is easily solved by draining and patting the cooked bacon with paper towels. We actually cook bacon using this method quite often. However, we do use a silicone baking mat when doing so.
✅ Bacon cooked directly on the pan may turn out more tender than crispy, and more sopping with grease.
✔ Learn about our favorite bakeware
What does a rasher of bacon mean?
The term “rasher” can refer to one slice—or even several slices—of bacon (or ham) that are part of a serving or portion. It may have hailed from a Middle English verb which translates “rashen” as “to cut.”
Tips for cooking perfect bacon in the oven
• Make sure that your baking pan has sides at least half an inch high to hold the rendered fat. This is important so that the pan contains the bacon grease.
• Bacon that has come to room temperature before baking will be more evenly cooked, with meat and fat cooking at around the same speed. It might be hard to wait, though.
• Try placing your bacon pan in a cold oven, then turning on the heat so it renders the fat slowly, which can help prevent tough bacon.
• If filling the entire pan without much space between slices, add five minutes to total cook time.
• Leave space between slices of bacon when placing them on the pan so the heat circulates around each slice.
• You can add flavor to punch up average bacon (if there is such a thing). Try a sprinkle of brown sugar or cracked black pepper on your bacon before cooking. For some sweet heat, spoon some honey onto each slice then a dash of cayenne. Barbecue bacon is a thing too—spoon on bbq sauce and turn on the oven to broil for 5 minutes for a caramelized bbq coating.
• Lining the baking pan in aluminum foil or parchment paper makes clean up so much easier. Allow the bacon grease to cool and solidify and then carefully remove the foil from the pan and wrap it up to dispose in the trash. NEVER pour bacon grease down any drain.
• After the bacon is cooked, place the bacon on paper towels to drain excess grease.
• Save the grease in a covered container. Bacon grease is great for seasoning cast iron pans, greasing a pan for fried eggs, and adding to cornbread or pancake batter.
No matter how you cook your bacon, it is likely going to turn out delicious because, well, it’s our favorite—BACON! (the maple kind). Remember this guy?