How to Cook Bacon in the Oven?
You know that perfectly cooked bacon you get when you go out to a restaurant, I can 99% guarantee you it was made on a sheet pan.
Now plenty of people will call this, “making bacon in the oven”, but in a commercial kitchen we call it, “sheet pan bacon”.
And when you’re cooking for crowds, you don’t have time to cook hundreds of pieces of bacon in a frying pan or on a flat grill.
So, to get that perfectly cooked bacon in bulk, we use convection ovens and sheets pans.
But you can make this bacon at home in your regular oven.
It’s perfect for any time you have guests but it can also be done for just one or two people and it frees up your stovetop to cook other things and you’re not dodging bacon grease while cooking it.
But before I show you how to cook bacon in the oven or sheet pan bacon as we call it, there are some things you need to know about cooking bacon in the oven.
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The most important thing for preparing bacon for the oven is a sheet pan.
Use a heavy-duty sheet pan. When you’re taking bacon out of the oven, all that grease that you would have been dodging on the stovetop is now in the bottom of this low rim pan.
You want a reliable sturdy pan that does not warp when it gets hot and a good type of sheet pan to use is a commercial-grade pan.
In my home, I prefer to use aluminum foil, for a quick clean-up.
In the commercial kitchen, I use sheet pan liners.
The most convenient thing I like about sheet pan liners is that if it doesn’t fit your sheet pan you can always fold or cut it to fit.
If you have the extra long foil, then you’ll only need one sheet to cover the pan.
The foil needs to be about an inch longer than the length of the pan on each end and about an inch wider than the pan on each side.
It can be regular foil or thick, doesn’t matter.
Overlapping a pan with two pieces of foil doesn’t keep the bacon grease from getting between the foil onto the actual pan, but it definitely makes washing that greasy pan easier.
It does the same thing as foil, the only difference is, it doesn’t cover the sides of the pan and with foil, once the grease cools down, you just fold it up and toss it.
You don’t have to line your baking sheet, but you will have to scrub it after.
You do not have to flip the bacon, flipping it isn’t going to make it any crispier, if you want crispier bacon? just cook it a little longer.
Using Multiple Sheet Pans
If you’re cooking two sheet pans of bacon, halfway through cooking, move the bottom pan to the top rack and the top pan to the bottom rack.
Ovens are hotter in the back, halfway through cooking the bacon, rotate the sheet pan if it’s not cooking evenly.
Can you use a cookie sheet, you can, but I wouldn’t suggest it. If your cookie pan is sturdy enough and does not warp from high heat and has a RIM around it to prevent the grease from dripping off the pan, you can use it to make bacon on, ONLY if the rim is high enough to keep the bacon grease from dripping off of.
And keep in mind the size of the rim.
A cookie sheet from a retail store has a shorter rim than a sheet pan because it’s for cookies to be easily taken off of, that’s why it’s called a cookie sheet.
So, be very careful with the grease in the pan when taking it out of the oven.
Use a regular baking dish, yes, glass is also fine or a roasting pan. If that’s all you have and the bacon fits, then use it.
As long as it’s made for the oven and has a rim, you can use it.
You do not need to add a baking rack to your sheet pan, it’s a waste of money if you’re buying it just for that purpose, it’s hard to clean and it’s just extra work.
Making bacon in the oven is convenient and easy and you’re going to get that perfect piece of bacon that you could easily eat 6 slices of, so don’t make it more than it is and be all extra about it. It’s a pan, a liner, and bacon.
And definitely check the size and make sure it fits securely into your sheet pan.
Cooking your Bacon in the Oven
Do not leave your bacon unattended, just because you cook the bacon in the oven, does not mean you can set it and forget it, just like it burns on the stovetop, it can burn in the oven.
How long should bacon cook in the oven?
Well, first of all, till it’s done and second, that’s a little tricky to answer.
Because not all ovens are the same.
And when you get an oven thermometer you’ll figure that out.
You can take a look at this post on “how to use an oven thermometer” to figure out your oven temp.
I can tell you to cook it at 350 for 35 minutes because I know my oven and how it performs, but I don’t know yours and I can probably guess your oven is off and you don’t even know it.
So, get you an over thermometer and figure out the temp in your oven.
I can give you a time limit to cook something, but you have to know the exact temperature of your oven for it to work, or you’ll be trying to complain when it burns or it’s raw because of what I told you.
So, cook your bacon in the oven at 375 or 400, and after 15 minutes start checking it until it’s cooked how you want.
And that’s how you will find out how long it takes to cook back in the oven.
Cooking Sheet Pan Bacon
- Line your sheet pan
For easy cleanup at home, I use foil:
- place a piece of foil about an inch longer than the pan on both ends.
- place another piece over it to overlap it
- smooth it down and wrap it over the rim
- smooth out the corners and they don’t have to be perfectly smooth.
2. Layer the bacon on the pan as close together as possible without the pieces touching. Bacon has a big end and a small end, I alternate the bacon slices so that I can get more on a sheet pan.
- Or if it’s just a couple of pieces, space them out.
3. Put it in the oven, this bacon was cooked at exactly 350 degrees for 27 minutes. And here you can see the amount of scrubbing you would have to do if you don’t use a liner.
4. Drain the bacon grease from a smoothed-out corner of the pan into another pot or pan.
If you’re not going to use the grease for something else and you’re just going to get rid of it, there is no need to drain it into another pan, set the sheet pan to the side and let the grease cool down.
5. Bacon grease part 2
Not using the bacon grease; cover a plate with 2 paper towels and remove the bacon from the pan and place it on top of the paper towels to drain excess oil.
6. Cleaning up
After the bacon grease has cooled down, fold or ball up the foil and toss it.
Tip for making it this far into the post:
Bacon will stick to a pan or foil.
If you let the bacon sit on the pan for about 30 seconds after removing it from the oven, the bacon will release from the pan or foil and you’re not trying to struggle with stuck bacon and a hot sheet pan or breaking the bacon into pieces.
Conclusion for Cooking Bacon in the Oven on a Sheet Pan
It is safe to make bacon in the oven, but make sure you’re using a sturdy sheet pan with a rim, your pan and or baking rack can handle high heat.
Do not add oil or butter to the bacon, it makes its own grease.
After you’ve made bacon the first time, you’ll know what to do the second time and how long you like it cooked for, if you like chewy bacon cook it less, and if you like crispy bacon, cook it a few minutes longer.
So, how do restaurants get that perfectly crispy bacon without burning it? Well, one, we use commercial-grade ovens that cook differently than a home oven, and two, a good cook is going to know their equipment and use timers because we’ve probably got 9 other things cooking.
How can you get perfectly cooked bacon at home? Another tricky question, you see every time you open your oven to check on the bacon, you will let heat out and your oven temperature will drop, and then the oven has to come back up to the temperature you had it set for. Which makes your bacon take longer to cook.
So, to get bacon perfectly cooked the way you like it, you watch it!
If you’re setting the oven at 350, start checking it at 20 minutes and then every 7 minutes after that.
If you’re setting it for 375, start checking it after 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that.
You’ll figure it out and then eventually be able to tell when it’s ready just by looking at it.
Visit the Guide to Sheet Pans to find the recommended sizes for a standard 30′ home oven.
Have any questions or comments about cooking bacon in the oven, let me know.