I think we can agree that crispy, smoky bacon is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, standing over a hot stove dodging sputtering bacon grease is not. Here is how we can have the best of both worlds: an easy, simple, hassle-free method for cooking perfect bacon, all in the oven. It’s the perfect way to cook a lot of bacon all at once — enough for a crowd!
Why the Oven Is Best for a Big Batch of Bacon
I was a skeptic of oven-baked bacon at first. Give up cooking the long strips in my beloved cast iron skillet? Really? There’s just something that feels so nostalgic and right about cooking bacon that way — tenderly flipping and monitoring the progress of every slice, although yes, while nursing the occasional oil-spatter burn. For a few quick slices, I still think a skillet is the way to go; but when cooking a pound or more of bacon for a big Saturday brunch or for a week of easy meal add-ins, I am a total oven-baked-bacon convert.
How Much Bacon Can I Cook at Once?
I find that one pound of medium-thick bacon fits on a single large baking sheet, like our favorite sheet pan. To cook even more (or if your bacon doesn’t all fit on one sheet), you can cook two baking sheets at once.
Do I Have to Flip the Bacon?
Nope! You don’t have to flip it while cooking. It’s just so easy — there’s no flipping or monitoring involved. You just lay the bacon on a baking sheet, stick it in the oven, and set a timer. The strips of bacon bubble away in the oven (no splattering!) and gradually become the crispy, golden-hued, irresistible bacon we know and love.
How Do I Make the Bacon Extra-Crispy?
Bacon cooked in the oven definitely gets crispy, but I also find that it retains a bit of chewiness near the middle, especially when cooking thick-cut bacon. I love this, but if you love your bacon crispy through and through, then you should try baking it on top of a metal cooling rack set over the baking sheet. Lifting the bacon up lets it cook from all sides and get even crispier. Just make sure to use an oven-safe cooling rack for baking bacon. This one below is one of our favorites: very sturdy, and a total steal!
How We’ve Re-tested This Method
In November 2019, we put eight different methods of cooking bacon to the test to determine the very best. The winner, Martha Stewart’s oven-baked bacon, was practically identical to Kitchn’s recipe: both cooked the bacon at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the bacon’s thickness and desired doneness, and suggested the use of a wire rack for extra-crispy bacon. The difference was in the pan lining, with Stewart calling for parchment and Kitchn’s original recipe calling for foil.
To determine the best way to cook bacon in the oven once and for all, I tested Kitchn’s tried-and-true method again using both regular and thick-cut bacon on both parchment- and aluminum foil-lined baking sheets.
After this further testing, we’ve determined that parchment paper and aluminum foil work equally well. The important variable is an overhang on all four sides of the rimmed baking sheet to contain the hot, rendered fat and make cleanup easy. While extra-wide rolls of both parchment and foil are preferred for this method, regular rolls can be used when overlapped to cover the baking sheet completely. Make sure to let the pan cool slightly before draining the fat.
Depending on your desired doneness, regular sliced bacon will be ready after about 14 minutes and thick-cut bacon at 18 minutes. If you cook less than a full sheet of bacon, the strips cook more quickly, which is why we suggest checking after 12 minutes.