Bacon. In the microwave. It seems so wrong, and yet...and yet...also a little bit right. You guys, this really works, and it's perfect for when you just want a few quick slices of bacon without the fuss of pulling out a pan.
I tested this method for cooking bacon with thick-cut and regular bacon, with just a few slices and with several layers of bacon, and with different amounts of paper towels. The results were universally — and somewhat surprisingly — good! The bacon became crispy in just a few minutes while also being entirely hands off and about as mess-free as bacon can be.
The basic idea here is to sandwich uncooked bacon between a few layers of paper towels in a microwave safe dish or plate. Microwaved at high power, the fat quickly renders out and the meat cooks. The paper towels absorb all the extra fat, so your microwave doesn't get splattered and clean up is as easy as throwing the paper towels in the trash.
I found that the average cooking time was about 1 minute per slice of bacon. This is a little less for very thin slices and a little more for thick-cut slices. You also want to stop cooking the bacon just before you think it's actually done; it will continue to cook and crisp for a few seconds out of the microwave.
I also found that this method worked best for those times when you just want a few slices of bacon, like for a quick breakfast sandwich or to crumble over a salad. While you can add more layers of bacon and microwave them all together, the bacon doesn't cook as evenly and it starts to take longer. At that point, I'd rather just switch over to the oven-baked bacon method.
On the "pro" side of this technique, you get easy clean-up, zero splattering, and safer handling of the hot bacon grease. I also noticed that the bacon aroma was much less strong and didn't seem to linger quite as long in the kitchen. For cooking a slice or two of bacon, I felt like this method saved a lot of time and hassle.
On the "con" side, cooking bacon in the microwave uses a lot of paper towels. After testing a few different amounts, I decided that 4 layers on bottom and 2 layers on top was ideal. You can get away with less, but clean-up is a little messier. If you like to save your bacon fat for cooking, you will also lose your liquid gold here — the stovetop method is still best for that.
After being skeptical about this technique for a while, I'm a convert. Do you cook your bacon in the microwave? Have any other tips or techniques to suggest?
After a few minutes of microwaving, the fat has rendered from the bacon and been absorbed by the paper towels.
How To Cook Bacon in the Microwave
What You Need
Bacon, any thickness
Microwave-safe dish or plate
- Line the bottom of the dish with paper towels: I recommend at least 4 layers of paper towels to soak up all the grease from the bacon.
- Lay the bacon in a single layer: If needed, slice your bacon in half so that it fits neatly in your dish. Lay as many slices of bacon in the bottom of the dish as will fit. The slices can be close together, but don't let them touch or they'll stick together during cooking.
- Cover the bacon with paper towels: Cover the bacon with another 2 layers of paper towels. Make sure none of the bacon is visible — if any is visible, the grease will splatter in the microwave and make a mess.
- Add more layers of bacon (optional): If you'd like to cook more bacon, add them in additional layers with 2 paper towels between each layer. Be sure to add a final 2 layers over the top.
- Microwave for 1 minute per slice of bacon: Place the dish with the bacon in the microwave and shut the door. Microwave on high power for 1 minute per slice.
- Check the bacon: Take a peek under the top layer of paper towels and check the bacon. Microwave in additional 30 second bursts until the bacon is just shy of being as done as you like it — the bacon will cook a little more once you remove it from the microwave, so stop cooking when the bacon isn't quite as done as you like it.
Depending on your preferred crispiness, the thickness of the bacon, the power of your microwave, and how much bacon you're cooking, the exact cooking time my vary. If some pieces are done before others, remove the finished pieces and continue cooking the remainder.
- Transfer the bacon to a plate: The bacon tends to stick to the paper towels if left to cool in the dish, so transfer them to a plate as they are done. If the bacon is still dripping with fat, lay them on a paper towel to finish draining.
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(Image credits: Emma Christensen)