How to Cook Bacon

There are many ways to cook bacon, from the classic stovetop to the speedy microwave, and even the oven. Frying bacon in a cast-iron skillet on the stove is best for small batches and tender texture. The microwave’s best for—you guessed it—quick cooking for a few strips at a time. Preheat the oven if cooking for a crowd, prepping thick bacon, or looking to minimize clean up.Read on for step-by-step instructions for each method.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

1. Place a wire rack in a 15x10-inch baking pan. Lightly spritz with cooking spray.

 Coating a wire rack over a baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Place bacon strips in a single layer on rack.

arranging bacon strips on top of wire rack in a single layer.

3. Bake at 350° to desired degree of crispiness, 20-30 minutes. How long to put bacon in the oven depends on your desired texture: briefer for softer, longer for crisper. When it’s done to your liking, remove from oven.

Removing baking sheet of bacon from the oven.

4. Use a tongs to remove bacon strips from wire rack.

 Using tongs to remove bacon strips from wire rack.

5. Pour off grease into a heat-safe container.

Pouring bacon grease into a heat-safe container.

6. Place rack and pan in dishwasher.

How to Cook Bacon in the Microwave

1. Place 2-3 sheets of paper towel in a microwave-safe dish.

Placing two or three sheets of paper towel on a dish before microwaving bacon.

2. Top with up to 4 slices of bacon.

 Arranging up to 4 pieces of bacon on top of paper towels for cooking in microwave.

3. Place 1-2 sheets of paper towel on top.

Covering bacon with one or two sheets of paper towel before microwaving.

4. Microwave approximately 1 minute for every piece of bacon. Thick bacon will need a little more time and thin bacon will need less.

5. Remove and place on serving plate when it’s just a little underdone (bacon will carry-over cook a little).

 Bacon cooked in the microwave will continue to cook after removing from oven.

How to Cook Bacon on the Stovetop

1. Place a single layer of bacon strips in a cold skillet, preferably cast-iron.

Arranging bacon in a single layer in a cold cast-iron skillet.

2. Cook on a medium-low heat – you want to render a lot of the fat out of the bacon and this takes time. Don’t rush it.

Cooking bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat.

3. Turn bacon occasionally with tongs so bacon cooks evenly. Since most pans don’t heat evenly, you should move the bacon to a different part of the pan when flipping it.

Flipping bacon strips with tongs for even cooking.

4. When cooked to desired doneness, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towel, clean newspaper or a cut-up paper bag to absorb the excess grease.

Removing bacon strips from cast-iron skillet to cool on a plate lined with paper towel.

5. Pour grease from skillet into heatproof dish until cool. Discard or save for another use.

Pouring bacon grease from cast-iron skillet to a heatproof container.

6. To clean pan, fill with ½-inch of water and bring to a boil. Lightly scrape with a spatula to help remove any stuck-on residue.

Got extra bacon? You can always stash leftovers in the fridge. Crumble them on salads, layer onto sandwiches and reheat for breakfast any day.