Help us help you bacon better
Credit: Rostislav Kuznetsov / EyeEm/Getty Images

Bacon! It is delicious. We can't get enough of it. And yet you may be making some sub-par bacon at home. Why, you ask, is your bacon flabby rather than perfectly crisp? Why is it a little burned on the outside, but the fat hasn't really rendered? What is up? Does the universe just hate you and not wish your bacon to be cooked properly?

No, my friend, no. Odds are that you are making one of these oh-so-common mistakes that are ruining your bacon and ruining your life. But take heart, because change is close at hand. With a few simple tricks and best practices, you too will be snacking on crispy, incredible, perfect-in-everything bacon like some kind of bacon mastermind. Here are some mistakes to watch out for that you can easily rectify.

You're Starting Your Bacon In a Hot Pan

It seems intuitive to heat your pan before adding your bacon, but it actually does all the wrong things. Adding your bacon to an already hot pan means that the fat doesn't properly render, resulting in a strip of bacon that can be undercooked and overcooked at the same time—those tell-tale strips that have burned outsides but still have flabby pockets of fat on the inside. No good! Instead, put your bacon in a cold pan and warm the whole thing over medium heat, ensuring that the fat renders and the bacon gets to your preferred level of crispiness.

You're Overcrowding the Pan

I understand: Once you start thinking about bacon, you want as much bacon as possible as soon as possible. But! But. Adding too many strips to the pan means that none of them will cook properly. In fact, it means that your bacon will steam instead of fry. While steamed bacon is an interesting concept, it's probably not what you're going for on your average Saturday, so avoid the whole situation by cooking your bacon in batches. It's worth the wait, promise.

You're Using a Pan In the First Place

OK, this one isn't a mistake as much as a suggestion. You know that you can cook bacon in the oven, right? It's true! It's much less messy and way easier to make sure every strip cooks evenly. You just put those strips spaced out onto a sheet pan, throw the sheet pan in the oven at about 400 degrees, and keep an eye on it for your desired doneness. Easier than trying to avoid grease spatters and juggling a bunch of pans on the stovetop, right?

You're Using Too Much Salt

Whether or not you should salt your bacon is a personal preference. But remember that bacon on its own is plenty salty, so if you want to add salt to your bacon, do it carefully—nothing is worse than a slice of bacon that's perfectly cooked but way, way, over-seasoned. It's a sad, sad day.

You're Throwing Away Your Bacon Fat

You know not to throw bacon grease down the drain, right? Right. But you can also keep the bacon grease and cook all kinds of delicious things in it—eggs, potatoes, vegetables, whatever you want. That stuff is liquid gold! Don't toss it. Recycle it.