What You Need To Know Before Putting Bacon In The Oven

If there's one task in life that's worth perfecting, it's bacon cookery. While you could argue that bacon is delicious no matter how you cook it, there is one method that reigns supreme — and that's using your oven. This hands-off cooking approach saves hot grease from splattering all over you and your kitchen, plus it enables you to cook a bunch of bacon in one fell swoop. That last bit is especially helpful because everyone knows "a bunch" is the only acceptable serving size of bacon — and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Contrary to popular belief, bacon actually has some positive health qualities, like a high concentration of "good" fats, which may reduce inflammation, and its salty sweetness can potentially help stabilize blood sugar (via Psychology Today). This delicious breakfast staple does come with a few health risks, though, such as high blood pressure and an increased risk for certain cancers, so you may not want to eat bacon every day. 

That said, the occasional binge probably isn't a bad thing, especially if you know how to cook it properly. But before you attempt to cook bacon in the oven, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Simplicity is key when it comes to cooking bacon in the oven

People have developed all kinds of techniques for using the oven to cook bacon, including using stacked baking sheets to prevent the bacon from curling up like it does in a frying pan, or the even fussier approach of using crimped sheets of aluminum foil. Serious Eats tested these methods — and a couple others — only to find out that simplicity is the key. 

Just lay the bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet (line it with foil if you want to skip clean-up) and slide it into a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes — adjust the cooking time depending on your desired level of crispiness. Cook's Illustrated says you don't even need to flip your bacon strips as they cook, just rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking. Once your bacon is cooked to your liking, drain it on paper towels to blot away excess grease, and your job is done.

If maximum crispiness and less grease is your thing, place your bacon on a wire rack inside that baking sheet. Per The Kitchn, this allows for evenly circulated heat, which results in super crispy bacon. Since the wire rack lets the fat drip away, this method is also one of the healthier ways to cook bacon — so, bonus! Some trial and error may be required to determine your favorite version of oven-cooked bacon, but there are worse things in life than taste-testing batches of bacon, right?