Today, we are mastering a life skill: Baked Bacon in the oven. At the end of this post, not only will you know how to make bacon that turns out impeccably cooked and uniformly crisp every single time, but you’ll also proudly refer to yourself as a bacon perfectionist.

Paper towels topped with slices of crispy oven baked bacon

The secret to perfect fried bacon is that it isn’t fried; it’s baked.

Cooking bacon in the oven is the method most restaurants use, and it is foolproof.

Ever wonder how your favorite brunch, burger or BLT spot achieves those flat, thick, and magically crisp bacon slices? I’d wager my last piece that the bacon is baked.

Oven baked bacon is easier to make, healthier, and produces better results than fried bacon (Air Fryer Bacon is another great method).

Baked bacon is one of those rare culinary situations where the method that yields a superior result (baked bacon) is actually easier than the conventional method (pan frying).

  • An oven-safe rack allows the heat to circulate evenly around the bacon, a key component of bacon excellence.
  • Baked bacon is hands-free to make, quick to clean up, and won’t splatter you with hot grease while you stand at the stove to babysit it.
  • The best way to cook bacon truly is in the oven!

Ready to dive into how to cook perfect baked bacon? Let’s do it!

Slices of crispy meat cooked in the oven

Is It Healthier to Bake Bacon?

Here are a couple of reasons why it is better to cook bacon in the oven than on the stove:

  • One of the great things about baking bacon using this specific method is that the grease from the bacon drips off and is collected below the rack, which means it stays off your bacon and out of your body.
  • Another step I take to make my oven baked bacon healthier is patting off any remaining grease with a paper towel. This further reduces the amount of fat left on each slice. As a bonus, this also makes the bacon crispier too.

While baked bacon is arguably healthier than fried bacon, it is still bacon.

Enjoy it in moderation as one tasty component of a balanced diet.

Whenever we have bacon, I like to serve it with other lean proteins, fruits, whole grains, or vegetables to make a complete meal.

How to Make Oven Baked Bacon

Let’s take a closer look at how to cook bacon in the oven.

Cooking bacon in the oven allows you to make large batches of bacon at once, with every slice evenly cooked and crisp. 

It’s also safe to put bacon in the oven. If you know how to cook bacon on the stove, then you know that it requires time spent over the skillet, lots of flying grease, and a mess to clean up afterward.

With this easy method, you can cook bacon in the oven without the risk of splattering yourself and with almost no mess.

Uncooked bacon slices on a baking rack

The ONLY Ingredient

  • High-Quality Bacon. This might sound obvious, but I can’t overstate its importance: the better quality of bacon you buy, the better your final baked bacon will taste. I promise it’s worth it!

Tips for Buying Bacon

  • Purchase bacon from the butcher counter at the grocery store. It’s usually only a dollar or two more than the pre-packaged stuff, but the taste is remarkably better.
  • Go for the thick cut bacon (no wimpy bacon here!). It’s easier to layer onto to sandwiches, makes more of an impact when sprinkled on salads, and is extra satisfying when munched on its own.
  • For flavor, focus on the quality of the bacon first. Bacon that is applewood smoked is always good, but any flavor is delicious when it’s well sourced.
Crispy bacon slices on a baking sheet topped with foil and a baking rack

Tips for Perfect Oven Baked Bacon

  • Bake at 400 Degrees F. Some recipes recommend baking bacon at other temperatures or starting the bacon in a cold oven, but I found that a preheated 400 degrees F is the best temperature for baking bacon. It cooks the bacon evenly no matter its thickness and the bacon won’t splatter.
  • Use a Rack. Not only does the rack make the bacon healthier, but it also helps make it crispy and evenly-cooked.

How Long to Bake Bacon

How long bacon should be cooked in the oven will vary based upon the thickness of your bacon and your desired crispness.

  • For Thin-Cut Bacon. Regular, thin-cut bacon will typically bake in 12 minutes at 400 degrees F. If you want it extra crispy, you can let it bake a little longer, but keep a close eye on it.
  • For Thick-Cut Bacon. Thicker bacon will take 14 to 20 minutes, depending upon your thickness and how crisp you would like it to be.

The time the bacon takes to cook will also vary by how many slices you are making at once.

If your sheet pan is very crowded, you may need to extend the baking time by a few minutes.

Baked Bacon Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cooked bacon will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If it starts to smell funny or change appearance, throw it out.
  • To Reheat. Recrisp your bacon slices on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • To Freeze. Store baked bacon slices in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove and thaw slices as desired.
Crispy strips of oven baked bacon on paper towels

How to Use Baked Bacon

Now that you’ve mastered the life skill of how to make oven baked bacon, it’s time to use it!

Favorite Recipes Using Cooked Bacon

Recommended Tools for Making Bacon in the Oven

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know When Bacon is Bad?

If your bacon is in its original sealed package, you can go by the expiration date listed on the package. If you’ve already opened the package, make sure to cook up the bacon within 1 week of opening to be safe. (Confession: I’ve used bacon more than 1 week after it’s been opened, but the comfort level is up to you.)
If at any point your bacon starts to change color or smells off, it’s safest to discard it.

How Do I Bake Bacon Without a Rack?

If you don’t own an oven-safe rack, cook the bacon directly on the aluminum foil.

Can I Freeze Bacon?

Uncooked bacon can be frozen in an airtight package for up to 6 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. If you don’t think you’ll use a whole package within 1 week of opening, freeze the unused portion right away.

perfectly cooked slices of oven baked bacon on sheets of white paper toweling

Baked Bacon

4.75 from 32 votes
PERFECT Baked Bacon—Easy oven method that results in perfect, crispy bacon every time. This is the best way to cook bacon. So much better than frying!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins

Servings: 1 to 100!

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices bacon or any number of strips and thickness you like (see notes for recommendations)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions
 

  • If making an amount of bacon that will fit on a single baking sheet without overlapping (about 6 to 8 slices, depending upon the bacon and sheet), place a rack in the center of your oven. If making a larger amount, place the racks in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up (if you prefer to bake the bacon without foil, leave the foil off), then place an ovenproof baking rack on top. Spritz the baking rack lightly with nonstick spray. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the baking rack.
  • Bake until you reach your desired level of crispness. This could be as early as 12 minutes if you are using thinner bacon and like it less crisp or 20 minutes or more if you using a thicker cut and like your bacon really crispy. If baking two racks at once, rotate their positions halfway through.
  • Once cooked, immediately transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and lightly pat dry (this keeps it from getting soggy). Let cool just enough so that you don’t (completely) burn your tongue. Devour immediately or use to top salads, pastas, and sandwiches, or in any of these recipes.
  • To clean up: Let the bacon grease cool and harden, then crumple it up inside the foil and discard. If you’d like to use the bacon grease for another purpose, let it cool for a few minutes, transfer it to a lidded container or jar, and refrigerate.

Notes

  • I like and recommend thick-cut applewood smoked bacon. The applewood smoke flavor is classic, and the thick cut provides maximum bacon crunch and full flavor. I also prefer center cut bacon when possible, as it is more lean and “meaty.” If you can get the bacon from the butcher directly or from a local supplier, that’s even better. With bacon, quality really counts, and it’s worth the splurge. We are making bacon, after all.
  • TO STORE: Cooked bacon will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If it starts to smell funny or change appearance, throw it out.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm gently in the microwave or use at room temperature.
  • TO FREEZE: Store baked bacon slices in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove and thaw slices as desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bacon stripCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgPotassium: 44mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Loved that I had to scroll through pages and pages of nonsense and ads to find the temperature and cook time.

    1. Hi Antonio. You actually didn’t have to do that at all. All you needed to do was hit the “jump to recipe” at the top of the screen to get to the recipe faster. The post contains lots of tips and information for those who like it, so I think the “jump to recipe” button would be great for you.

  2. How did I not know about this method years ago? It’s so much easier!! I crowd my baking sheets full of bacon, and then rotate them, flip the bacon if it’s on a rack or use parchment directly on the pan, with bacon on top. It takes closer to 45 minutes for my oven to cook the bacon crispy but I’m sure it’s because my whole oven is packed full.5 stars

  3. Hi Erin,

    How do you think this would work with subbing out the baking sheet for a cast iron skillet? With or without rack?

    Here is my thinking: When I pan fry bacon, my kitchen fills with smoke (and I have no hood. *sad trombone*). I would hope that baking would either eliminate this or keep most of the smoke in the oven and slowly seep out instead of walking around in a smoke cloud for an hour.

    Also, if I don’t save the bacon grease for another dish… free seasoning of my skillet!

    I kind of also wonder if the bacon may cook faster or more even with that hot, hot skillet cooking the bottom side of the bacon.

    Regardless, I am almost certain to try it tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Todd! I haven’t tested this out with a cast iron skillet but it would likely work. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

      1. It turned out great. The one on a rack turned out better and noticeably less salty than the one directly in cast iron. There was zero smoke to speak of. I was able to knock out the rest of breakfast and leave the bacon unattended, which was a nice surprise. After seasoning the two skillets, I still had 2 oz of grease left, which was also neat.

        Having experimented, I will most likely go with your baking sheet method instead… I could really only get about 4 slices of bacon per skillet, which is usually enough. But, the baking sheet sounds a lot less fussy.5 stars

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