Bake your bacon for minimal mess
EC: Cooking Bacon in the Oven Is the Easiest Way to Feed a Brunch Crowd
Credit: All Photos by Maxine Builder

The first time I saw someone cook bacon in the oven was at a friend's lake house. We were a group of 20 or so, and since I got up before 11 a.m., I was implicitly tasked with making breakfast along with the two or three other early risers. We had three dozen eggs to scramble, two 1-pound packs of bacon, and only one large frying pan. The obvious solution to this mathematical breakfast conundrum, according to my friend, was to put the bacon in the oven, and that's where I learned how to bake bacon. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that this has been a game-changing cooking technique.

Baking bacon is so much easier frying it up on the stovetop, especially if you're making bacon for a crowd or for a large-scale recipe. Oven bacon is reliably crispy, evenly cooked, and delicious—not burned, even though you don't have to constantly keep an eye on it. You can make a whole pound of bacon in one fell swoop. Plus, baking bacon allows you to make bacon with no mess at all, and that is especially clutch when you're crashing at your friend's parents' lake house, and you can't be held responsible for the bacon grease splatters on their exceedingly fancy marble countertops.

All you need to cook bacon in the oven is bacon, an oven, aluminum foil, and a baking sheet.

Turn on the oven to 400°F. While that heats up, take your baking sheet, which should have ridges, and cover it in aluminum foil. (You'll see why the ridges are important in a few steps, trust.)

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Place the slices of bacon on the aluminum-covered baking sheet. It can be any kind of bacon, and you can place it however you want. Just be sure not to stack the slices of bacon. You want a single layer of pork so everything can cook evenly.

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Once the oven is hot and your bacon is laid out, pop that baking sheet in the oven. Let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon (and, to be quite honest, how good your oven is).

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And that's it. You don't have to turn the sheet in the oven or pick up the pieces and flip them. Once you think your bacon's done, take the baking sheet out of the oven, pick up the pieces of bacon (ideally with tongs, but a fork or even chopsticks will do in a pinch), and place them on a paper towel to let them drain.

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All you have to do to clean up the bacon grease is wait for the sheet to cool, then wad up that piece of aluminum foil and toss it in the trash. This, of course, is why you want the baking sheet with edges—because otherwise, you'd get bacon grease everywhere, including the inside of your oven.

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All that's left is to eat this pound of crispy bacon, which shouldn't be a problem. And hey, if you eat it too quickly, you can easily make another round with no mess.

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder