Bacon is one of the most beloved slices of meat that people add to their breakfasts and what makes it even better is that it can be used in a number of different meals and foods. Naturally, because of its versatility, there are going to be arguments about the right way to prepare your bacon.
There are two main methods of preparation that people work with when it comes to their bacon. Most people will either fry their bacon in a pan or they will prepare the bacon in an oven instead.
Preparing the bacon in a pan helps make chewy, greasy slices of bacon that really speak to the heart, while preparing bacon in the oven will allow for crispier, crunchier pieces of bacon. As such, people tend to appreciate oven-cooked bacon just a little bit more often.
The question then becomes a matter of how exactly you prepare the bacon in the oven. There are so many variables that come with the oven that to people who want to make the perfect helping of bacon, it can be hard to determine what you need to do.
First things first; you need to figure out what you want to cook the bacon on top of. There are two main choices that people go with for this, though just about anything will work.
The Best Surface to Cook Bacon on
While you don’t necessarily need anything special to cook your bacon on, there are some surfaces that will be far better for your bacon than others.
The only surface that you really shouldn’t cook bacon on is wax paper, simply because the wax will melt or catch fire in the oven at the temperatures you have to cook for the bacon to reach perfection and nobody really wants this to happen.
Among the surfaces you can choose, you have the option between cookie/baking sheets, parchment paper, silicone mats, foil-lined baking trays, and racks. The most common choice is typically a decision between two surfaces, with those surfaces being a foil-lined baking tray or a rack.
The choice that will be best for you depends entirely on what you want from your bacon. If crispiness is a priority for you, then you should opt for a rack. Racks that people use for their bacon aren’t unlike the type of rack that people use to cool cookies or bread on and they don’t have to be anything special, aside from having a somewhat open bottom to allow the grease to fall through.
Otherwise, you will want to opt for a foil-lined baking tray. You technically do not need the foil on the tray but it makes it significantly easier to clean up the grease and general mess that comes with cooking bacon, though some people argue that it can help cook the bacon to perfection.
Using a Rack for Baking Bacon
Using a rack is often considered optimal for a number of reasons, especially if you find that you are a fan of the crispier bacon slices.
The main reason for this is that because the rack is away from the surface of the baking tray, it helps to keep the bacon slices from touching the fat and grease that they produce, thus keeping them a bit crispier and healthier for you overall.
Bacon fat is something that a number of people appreciate and even if you are following a diet that has a focus on a high fat intake, such as keto, you do not want to keep the bacon soaking in its own fat as this completely defeats the purpose of cooking the bacon in the oven rather than pan-frying it.
Of course, if you want the bacon to cook in its own fat and be less crispy but you simply do not want to pan-fry, then this is a fine option.
You don’t really need anything particular when you are searching for a rack that you can cook your bacon on. As long as the rack you have chosen is oven-safe, fits into your oven, and fits on top of a baking tray that you can use to collect the grease, it will work for your bacon-cooking needs.
Most bacon racks that you can use will be the same type of rack that you would use to cool cookies down on as the goal is quite similar, being that you need to have an open bottom to let either grease fall or for the heat to release.
You do not need to change the amount of time you cook your bacon for or the temperature at which the bacon cooks at when you use this method.
All you will generally need to do is place a small rack onto a standard baking tray (the tray is there to make it easier to collect the grease and so the grease doesn’t fall to the bottom of the oven), and then you will need to put the bacon onto the rack and slide the whole thing into the oven.
Overall, the rack for bacon is going to be the best if you want the crispiest bacon around and it is also much healthier for you not to have your bacon slices cooking in their own fat and oils.
Using a Foil-Lined Tray for Baking Bacon
Another option that you can consider is using a foil-lined baking tray for your bacon. Again, it doesn’t necessarily need to be lined with foil but cleaning up after the bacon will be immensely easier when you have a sheet of foil that you can simply pick up and dispose of (or you can keep the fat for other baking needs).
Using this option for your bacon is easier and a bit more accessible for cooking bacon, as not everyone may have a rack that they can easily fit into their oven. The bacon that you will get out of this will not always be the right crispiness for you but it is still a very common and viable method for cooking your bacon.
The main downside of this method is that your bacon will still be cooking in the fats and oils that it produces. This will lead to less crispiness in the bacon slices and more fatty content in your food, which is also not as healthy for you.
If this is something that you prefer or are generally okay with, then you have nothing to worry about when it comes to cooking your own bacon.
You do not need to do anything special for this cooking method either. All you really have to focus on is making sure that the bacon slices are adequately spaced apart so that they can cook properly, but this is not exclusive to being baked on a baking tray.
You may need to be a bit more careful about touching the hot oil when you cook your bacon in this manner, since the fats and oils will be sitting at the same level as the bacon, but this is also an easily avoidable problem as long as you are careful about where you put your hands when you are picking up the bacon slices.
You don’t need to do anything different with the temperature of the bacon or the amount of time that it cooks either. You can simply line the baking tray of your choice with foil, place the slices of bacon onto the foil, and then stick the tray into the oven and you will have the perfect bacon slices to enjoy.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.