How to Cook Bacon to the Perfect Crisp Doneness Every Time

No matter where you stand on the crispy versus less crispy bacon debate, we have instructions to make it exactly the way YOU like it.

Updated January 10, 2024

Hello, fellow bacon lovers. It's time to have a serious convo about one of the world's tastiest foods. Yup, we're talking about bacon. Sure you can buy pre-cooked bacon or microwavable bacon, but will that really satisfy you? Nah. We didn't think so. That's why we're here with tips and tricks to cook bacon perfectly — so that you aren't wasting your energy on bacon that's not worthy of you. 

Two Ways to Cook Bacon

We're not here to get into the bacon debate (so crisp it shatters or floppy with a little chew). We know you've got your own preferences, just like we have ours. Instead, we're offering our tips to get you where you want to go with your bacon — perfectly cooked just the way you like it.

Pan-Fried Bacon

Pan frying is a great way to get the less crisp bacon that so many people prefer. While you can get the bacon somewhat crisp, you won't get it so crisp it shatters. For best results, start the bacon in a cold pan. Use our timing chart as a handy reference.

Type Crispness Time (per side)
Thin cut Floppy 2-3 minutes
Medium 3-4 minutes
Crispy 4-5 minutes
Thick cut Floppy 3-4 minutes
Medium 4-5 minutes
Crispy 5-6 minutes
  1. Place the bacon in a single layer in your frying pan, filling up the frying pan but being careful not to overlap pieces of bacon. Don't overcrowd the pan!
  2. Turn your burner on to medium.
  3. Monitor your bacon continuously to ensure that it doesn't burn. Cook according to the chart, above.
  4. Place pieces of finished bacon on a paper towel and pat the tops with more paper towels to remove excess grease.

Roasted Bacon

Oven-roasting your bacon is the best way to cook it if you want it so crispy that it shatters (but you can still make it floppy in the oven, too). 

Type Crispness Time (total)
Thin Cut Floppy 11-13 minutes
Medium 13-15 minutes
Crispy 15-17 minutes
Thick Cut Floppy 16-18 minutes
Medium 18-20 minutes
Crispy 20-22 minutes
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack over the baking sheet.
  3. Lay the bacon side by side on the rack.
  4. Cook in the preheated oven according to the chart above. Begin checking at the earliest time range and then check every minute or two until it reaches the perfect degree of crisp. 
  5. Blot with paper towels before serving.

Tips for Cooking Perfect Bacon Every Time

You've got the basics. Now it's time for the masterclass in bacon cooking. Before you know it, you'll be a bacon master!

  • Never cook bacon cold. Always allow the fat to soften before cooking, regardless of your method. The grease that melts when the bacon is cooking is what helps keep the bacon from going too brittle and burning too quickly.
  • Never cook your bacon on high — only cook it on medium. High heat makes the bacon burn too easily.
  • If you're pan frying, line a bowl with tin foil to pour the grease in as you go. Then when the grease hardens, you can wrap it up in the foil and toss it in the trash. Never pour bacon grease down the drain because it will coagulate and cause problems in your plumbing.
  • Save your bacon grease. Used bacon grease makes for great cooking oil because it's already flavored. Pour hot grease into a container that can both stand heat and go into the fridge. Keep for up to three months. Do not freeze.
  • Blot uncooked bacon before you pan fry it to reduce the amount of splatter it makes.
  • To make bacon bits, cook the bacon in strips and then crumble them versus cutting the bacon up before cooking it. You'll get more evenly cooked bacon bits.

Related: How to Make Hot Bacon Salad Dressing

Bacon Variations (Yes! Variations!)

marinated bacon

You probably already know how versatile bacon is. We love ours in a BLT as much as we do next to a plate of eggs, adding flavor to a braise, or making a salad yummy. Sure, it tastes amazing by itself, but you can also add even more flavor with our quick variations. 

Marinated Bacon

Once you've tried marinated bacon, you may never want plain bacon again. (Ha! Who are we kidding?) To marinate, use about ½ cup of marinade per pound of bacon. Rub your marinade over both sides of the bacon, making sure to rub the marinade into the fat. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. Pan fry or oven roast as usual. Try any of these marinades for delightfully different bacon:

  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Hot honey
  • One cup of pineapple juice plus one teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Molasses
  • Italian dressing

Baked Bacon Cups 

You know what's better than bacon in a salad? Salad in bacon (we think that should really be the natural way of things)! You can use these cute bacon cups as an edible vessel for all types of salads, from a yummy potato salad to a crisp green salad. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Turn a muffin pan upside down, so that you will be molding the bacon around the back of the pan rather than in the muffin tin.
  3. Line your muffin pan (upside down) with foil. Line the pan for as many cups as you need.
  4. Lay two strips horizontally over the back of the muffin cup.
  5. Weave two more bacon strips into your existing strips in such a way so that there are minimal gaps.
  6. Wrap a piece of bacon around the bottom. Secure it with a toothpick if needed.
  7. Bake (upside down) on a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes, or until the bacon cups are crisp.
  8. Take the bacon out and allow the bowls to cool. 

Sugar 'n Spice Rub

If you haven't tried a sweet, spicy rub on bacon, you're missing out. Use one of our easy rubs (below). Rub it into the raw bacon slices and let it sit for about 20 minutes before cooking using the oven roasting method above. Try one of these combinations with one pound of bacon:

  • 1½ tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of cracked pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of apple pie or pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Bacon Lovers, Unite!

Fellow bacon lovers, let's not let the debate about floppy versus crispy bacon divide us. We have to remember what's truly important here — the bacon. With these methods, you can make your bacon exactly the way you love it, and we can all join hands and dance together in bacon bliss. 

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How to Cook Bacon to the Perfect Crisp Doneness Every Time