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.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

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.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

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.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

Bake the bacon for about 25 minutes, or until it's started to shrink.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

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.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

This bacon baked for 40 minutes total. Can you hear it sizzling?

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

Notice how flat it stays as it bakes; no curled, twisted, gnarly pieces.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

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.

Next: cleanup.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

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.

Bakin' the bacon via @kingarthurflour

Get it while it's hot! And don't forget the warm cinnamon buns...

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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