Have you ever wondered how long professional chefs cook bacon in the oven? Cooking bacon in batches using the oven saves time on pan-frying.
This is especially handy when preparing meals for a large family or gathering. But often, this method proves to be difficult for most people.
So we have tested various bacon recipes and come up with the following guide on how long to cook bacon in the oven.
Do you, for example, struggle to get your bacon chewy, crispy, or tender when cooking bacon in the oven? Does it tend to come out dry and crumbly? Maybe your cooking time is not adequate, or maybe it is too long.
How long to cook bacon in the oven will depend on the type of bacon you choose, its thickness, the oven’s temperature settings, and your preferred taste. You should also take into account whether you will add spices to your bacon gradually as you cook it.
Types of Bacon and Temperature Settings
Different types of bacon take different amounts of time to cook in the oven, depending on the set temperature.
- Smoked bacon is precooked bacon. Hence, it takes a shorter time to prepare than regular bacon. Cooking this bacon for 8 to 10 minutes at 375°F is enough to get it crispy and tender.
- Turkey bacon is turkey meat seasoned and shaped into bacon. Due to the curing process involved, turkey bacon has a higher concentration of sodium and saturated fat than ordinary turkey meat. It is the alternative bacon for people who do not eat pork bacon for personal or religious reasons. Manufacturers also smoke turkey bacon. Therefore, it takes approximately 12 minutes of cooking at 400°F to get it evenly done in the oven. You also need to turn the bacon slices about every 2 to 3 minutes.
- Slab bacon comes from the belly of a pig. It is quite thick. However, they also cure this bacon with pleasant spices and seasonings. Slab bacon gives you the flexibility to cut it into whatever shape or thickness you prefer. The time taken to cook slab bacon will depend on the size of the lardons. Uncut slab bacon can stay in the oven for up to 24 hours at 147°F.
- Canadian bacon is bacon cut from the pig’s back. It is much leaner than the regular bacon, hence lower in calories. It, therefore, takes approximately 10 minutes to cook in the oven.
- Pancetta slices take 10 to 12 minutes to cook in the oven at 450°F. This is an air-cured pork belly. This bacon is not smoked.
Regular bacon is 1/16 inches thick. Such bacon can be placed in the oven as individual slices. There are also thick-cut bacon slices that measure twice as thick as regular bacon slices.
Then we have the center-cut pieces. The pork belly cuts near the bone. And finally the slab bacon, which is unsliced bacon.
Spicing the Bacon
If you want to add spices, sauces, or other toppings to your bacon, you will need to cook it for longer than you would have without the toppings.
When you add sugar syrup, for example, give it another 5 minutes to allow the bacon to absorb the syrup.
How do you prefer to cook your bacon? Everyone has his or her preference. Some like it crisp, while others like it to be slightly chewy. Still, others want to see it almost burnt. Your preference dictates how long to cook bacon in the oven.
Besides, the longer the bacon stays in the oven, the more fat it drains. Therefore, if you want low-fat bacon, keep it in the oven for longer. However, rub in your favorite sauce or syrup as the bacon cooks to keep it tender.
Tips To Make Crispy Bacon
- Make sure you have high-quality bacon.
- Use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Parchment paper makes it easier to recover the fat for later use.
- Add a rack to your baking sheet. Bacon on the rack tends to shrink less than when you place it directly on the parchment paper.
- To minimize bacon shrinkage, avoid preheating your oven.
- It makes no differences whether you stretch the bacon first before putting it into the oven.
How Is Bacon Processed?
Regular store-bought bacon is cured pork meat. However, now there are non-pork bacon varieties such as turkey bacon, which we mentioned above.
After slicing the chunks of meat, these factories season bacon slices and package it for the market while others undergo further treatment. This additional treatment is what we call curing.
The Curing Process
Bacon is cured by adding salt and artificial nitrites to the meat. These help to keep it fresh for longer and improve its flavor. Salt and sodium nitrites are the most common ingredients used in the curing process. These also give the bacon its attractive pink color.
There are two ways of curing bacon:
1. Pumping/Wet Curing
Here, they mix water with the preservatives to make a curing solution. They then pump the curing solution directly into the meat using fine hollow needles. This ensures the curing solution is evenly distributed. The process takes a few hours to complete.
2. Dry Curing
No water is used during the process of dry curing. Instead, they rub the preservative ingredients directly to the meat. They then leave the meat to cure for at least 2 weeks.
After the two weeks, they smoke the cured meat is packed and ready for sale. Dry cured bacon does not shrink when cooked because it contains very little water.
Whereas all bacon undergoes the curing process, some manufacturers label some bacon as uncured.
This bacon is ideally cured using naturally occurring preservatives unlike in wet curing, where artificial preservatives are used. Uncured bacon doesn’t have added chemicals.
So do you now know how long to cook bacon in the oven? Baking time is crucial. If you are not cooking it long enough in the oven, you may never achieve that perfect, brown tender bacon.
The best way to cook bacon in an oven is to not preheat the oven. Instead, when you are ready, set it to the desired temperature settings and put the bacon in for the recommended time.
Halfway through, ensure that you flip your baking trays for even cooking. When you start smelling the bacon, check it and ensure that your oven is cooking it properly.
If you’re interested in reading more about cooking techniques and great recipes, check out our article on some of the best cooking channels on YouTube.