As the old saying goes, "There's more than one way to cook a slice of bacon." ...Wait, that's not a saying? Well, it should be — because we know of at least three great ways to cook bacon and each has its place in the kitchen. Whether you need just a couple slices in a hurry or a big platter of crispy bacon to feed a brunch crowd, these three methods will have you covered.
1. On the stove
We like using a cast-iron skillet for this classic bacon-cooking method, but any skillet will do. You will also need a set of tongs to help grasp the hot slices and flip them.
Start the bacon in a cold pan, laying the strips in the skillet before you turn on a low to medium-low flame. Soon the bacon will begin to release some of its fat. When it starts to buckle and curl, use the tongs to loosen the strips and turn each slice to cook on the other side. Keep flipping and turning the bacon so that it browns evenly and cook to desired crispness. Lay the cooked pieces on a paper towel, brown paper bag or newspapers to drain while you cook the rest of the package. Pour off the bacon fat between batches so your slices aren't swimming in grease.
See the step-by-step instructions: How to Cook Bacon on the Stovetop
→ Tip: try adding a little water to the pan for less splattering and a more tender texture!
2. In the oven
This is the best choice when cooking a pound or more of bacon for a big Saturday brunch or for a week of easy meal add-ins. It's easy, convenient and leaves your stove top free.
Just preheat the oven to 400° and lay the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet. (For even crispier bacon, set a metal cooling rack over the foil-lined baking sheet and lay the raw bacon over the cooling rack.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon, and use tongs to transfer it to a paper-lined platter to drain and finish crisping.
3. In the microwave
This method works 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. Although it uses a lot of paper towels, microwaving bacon means easy clean-up, zero splattering, and safer handling of the hot bacon grease.
Just line a microwave-safe dish with at least 4 layers of paper towels, arrange the bacon in a single layer, and cover with 2 more layers of paper towels. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute per slice of bacon and check for doneness. If needed, 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. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate, so it doesn't stick to the paper towels.
See the step-by-step instructions: How To Cook Bacon in the Microwave
How do you like to cook your bacon?
This post has been updated. Originally published 9/23/09.