Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Bacon

Our Test Kitchen blindly tasted eight different brands to find the best bacon. Find out which you should fry up for breakfast, BLTs and so much more.

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Test Kitchen Preferred The Best BaconTaste of Home

There’s nothing better than waking up to hot, crispy bacon served with eggs and pancakes. But why stop at breakfast? The best bacon recipes and bacon-wrapped recipes include dishes for appetizers, lunch, dinner and even dessert. No matter the meal, bacon is a great way to add saltiness and crunch.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: All bacon is good bacon. You might be right, but our Test Kitchen wanted to find the best bacon. Here’s how we found the top bacon brands that you can rely on.

The Search for Amazing Bacon

There are plenty of bacon brands out there to choose from. For this test, our culinary staff fried up eight brands, including mom-and-pop options and the biggest name in the business, in efforts to find brands worthy of being called Test Kitchen-Preferred.

In this delicious test, our team judged each strip according to these standards:

  • Flavor: This is, of course, the most important criteria. Good bacon should be savory, salty and a bit smoky. These three qualities should be in perfect balance.
  • Appearance: Raw bacon should have a healthy mix of fat and meat. It should look natural—not artificially pink or red.
  • Texture: While the texture of bacon depends largely on how you cook it and if you cook it well (avoid these bacon mistakes), it is an important metric. Our Test Kitchen wanted to know if bacon advertised as thick-cut was really hearty, if the bacon was crisp, chewy or too fatty. All these come into play when choosing a satisfying breakfast side.

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Bacon Brands

Tkp The Best BaconTaste of Home

After tasting eight different brands of bacon side by side, our Test Kitchen agreed that these brands were the best picks to enjoy with breakfast and beyond.

Worthwhile Splurge: Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon

Tkpf21 Nueskes Bacon E09 29 13bTaste of Home

Whether it’s for an extra special meal or just because, you won’t regret spending a little extra on top-notch bacon. Nueske’s out of Wittenburg, Wisconsin has gained a serious following for its craveable bacon.

Even in this blind test, our experts were able to pick Nueske’s out thanks to its signature flavor and thick-cut style. Right away, our Test Kitchen pros were able to spot the high quality of the product with distinct streaks of fat and meat that fried right up into crunchy-edged strips.

Flavor-wise, this one just couldn’t be beat. The pork, salt and smoke all worked in harmony to create bacon that testers came back for again and again. And after testing eight brands, you know that coming back for seconds is a big deal. So snag this brand to enjoy with hearty farmhouse breakfasts or to even eat on its own. We wouldn’t blame ya!

  • Price: $24.99 for a two-pound package
  • Price per ounce: $0.78 per ounce

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Best Supermarket Option: Hormel Black Label Applewood Thick Cut Bacon

Tkpf21 Hormel Black Label Bacon E09 29 12bTaste of Home

If you’re looking for great bacon and you want it now, you’re likely headed to the supermarket or a big box store. And that’s just fine because you can find dynamite bacon right at these common shops: Hormel Black Label Applewood Thick Cut Bacon.

Our Test Kitchen staff enjoyed the way this bacon sizzled up. Visually, it looks great on the plate thanks to distinct layers of fat and meat. And the flavors were spot-on; there’s just enough salt present here to complement a bit of sweetness and woody smokiness.

The texture of this bacon was also satisfying. The edges fry up crispy while the center retains a bit of chew so you feel satisfied as you bite into that BLT.

  • Price: $6.99 for a 12-ounce package
  • Price per ounce: $0.58 per ounce

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Crispiest: Wright Applewood Thick Cut Bacon

Tkpf21 Wright Bacon E09 29 11bTaste of Home

While some folks are fans of thick-cut, hearty bacon, others are looking for rashers that cook up thin and crispy. If the latter sounds more like your preferred bacon style, try Wright Applewood Thick Cut Bacon.

After frying a package of Wright bacon up in our Test Kitchen, our pros delighted in this thin and crunchy bacon. Wright has a pronounced pork flavor, the right level of salt and just a touch of sweetness courtesy of that applewood. There’s not as much smokey flavor here, so smoke-lovers take heed.

This all being said, this brand is perfect for frying up and munching on as you enjoy some eggs or chopping to sprinkle over salads.

  • Price: $10.98 for a 24-ounce package
  • Price per ounce: $0.46 per ounce

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Best Thick-Cut: Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon

Tkpf21 Bentons Bacon E09 22 10bTaste of Home

Want a bacon that tastes like it came right from an old-fashioned butcher shop? You’ll get that flavor with Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon because, well, that’s exactly what Benton’s is.

This family-owned business out of Madisonville, Tennessee specializes in slow-cured hams and smokey bacon. These thick-cut rashers deliver big-time on flavor. Biting into these strips, our Test Kitchen got pronounced hickory flavor along with a rich savory flavor and a great chew—all while managing to fry up crisp.

For nostalgic flavor and a hearty cut, our Test Kitchen enthusiastically recommends Benton’s. And rest assured that it won’t be hard to eat that four-pound package fast (though you can freeze uncooked bacon).

Also check out this farmhouse-style bacon grease container that has nearly 12,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.

  • Price: $34 for four one-pound packages
  • Price per ounce: $0.53 per ounce

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How to Make Bacon

How To Cook Bacon In The OvenTaste of Home

With your preferred bacon brand in hand, you don’t want to stumble when it comes to preparing it. While there are lots of ways to make bacon, there are a few that yield better results than others (sorry, microwave!). Want to know some of the easiest bacon recipes?

  • Fry it: This is the most common way to make bacon at home. Use a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat to fry the bacon, turning the strips occasionally. Be careful of any grease spatter and be sure to use your exhaust hood.
  • Bake it: Avoid the mess that comes with frying bacon by baking it. Place the strips on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes and that’s it! Bacon made easy.
  • Air-fry it: Yes, you sure can use your air fryer to prep bacon. Set the fryer to 375ºF and lay the strips in the basket. In about five minutes, you’ve got bacon ready for breakfast with minimal mess.

Just remember when you’re done frying (or baking or air-frying), get rid of the grease the right way or store it for future use.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.