When you're frying a pound of bacon, do you stand over the stove, turner or tongs in hand, hot grease popping and splattering as you turn, wait, turn, wait, turn... wait? There's a better way: learn how to bake bacon, and you'll never go back to that frying pan again!
Celebratory breakfasts are one of the most enjoyable meals to prepare (during the holidays or anytime of year!) and can include fresh-baked sticky buns, stuffed French toast, and savory brunch casseroles of all kinds.
There's not much crisp, golden bacon doesn't go with. In fact, most breakfast dishes are improved by a rasher or two of bacon.
Which leads me to believe some of us will be frying bacon at least once this month.
Change the word "frying" to "baking," and I'm with you.
That's right, baking. If you've never taken the opportunity to bake bacon, you're in for a revelatory experience.
Not only does learning to bake bacon save you the hassle of babysitting (baconsitting?) as it fries; it's also a much cleaner experience; and yields perfectly cooked bacon: evenly brown, wonderfully flat, perfectly crisp and, of course, ridiculously tasty.
How much hands-on time and effort does it take you to fry a pound or two of bacon? Contrast that to baking bacon: about 5 minutes hands-on time, and zero effort. Bonus: all the bacon gets done at the same time, hot, sizzling, and ready to serve with the oven-warm cinnamon buns.
Convinced? Give it a try. Trust me, you'll never go back to pan-frying bacon again.
How to bake bacon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. If you're baking some other breakfast dish, it'll probably already be at this temperature. And if you're baking something that calls for a temperature other than 350°F, no worries; the bacon won't mind.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Lay up to a pound of bacon atop the parchment. Most packaged bacon comes 16 slices to the pound, and will fit on a half-sheet pan (18" x 13"), with a bit of overlap.
Bake the bacon for about 25 minutes, or until it's started to shrink.
Separate the pieces where they've overlapped, and continue to bake until it's as dark and crisp as you like, anywhere from an additional 5 to 15 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the oven.
This bacon baked for 40 minutes total. Can you hear it sizzling?
Notice how flat it stays as it bakes; no curled, twisted, gnarly pieces.
Transfer the bacon to a flat brown paper bag or a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with the rest of your breakfast. I highly recommend baked Praline French Toast, for you sweet-salty aficionados.
When you bake bacon, cleanup is easy
This is why you use parchment: it keeps your pan clean. (BTW, those stains on the pan aren't from the bacon; they're permanent.)
Simply fold up the parchment with the rendered bacon fat, and discard it. If you want to keep the fat, drain it off the pan into a heatproof jar or other container.
Any fat left on the pan, swipe it off with a paper towel. Then rinse your pan in hot, soapy water. No scrubbing a frying pan; no cleaning messy grease spatters off the stovetop and surrounding counter.
Get it while it's hot! And don't forget the warm cinnamon buns...