How to Cook Bacon

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The different methods of cooking bacon- oven, stove and air fryer- are tested to see which one is our favorite!

pinterest image for Ways to Cook Bacon

I’ve pretty much always cooked bacon in a frying pan on the stove, because it’s honestly just auto pilot at this point. It’s what I’m used to and seems the most convenient.

But I’ve always wanted to test cooking bacon in the oven and I’ve been hearing more about cooking bacon in the air fryer, so it seemed like the perfect time to put all 3 to the test!

All of the bacon used was from the exact same pack. I wanted to be sure it was all the same brand, same thickness and same salt content. I’m not a scientist at all, but it seemed like a good idea to have the same starting point for each method I was testing!

Frying Bacon on the Stove

Since this is where my comfort zone is, I thought I would start here.

The best way to cook bacon in a frying pan is low and slow. I always place my bacon in a cold pan, rather than a pre-heated pan. I turn my burner to medium low and let it cook slowly until crispy.

3 strips of raw bacon in a frying pan

Pros:

  • Only took about 10 minutes
  • Since I can watch it the whole time, I can control when it’s ready to be pulled off. Sometimes there’s a fine line with bacon between needing more time and being too well done, and a frying pan let’s you eye that up the easiest.
  • This is also the only method that would allow you to cut your bacon into smaller pieces and fry them up that way. I do this frequently, so this is something I keep in mind.
  • The end product was perfectly crispy, but not too well done.

Cons:

  • It makes the biggest mess out of all 3 methods. There are grease splatters everywhere and you really do need to wear an apron.
  • It needs more attention than the other methods. I flip my bacon a few times when it’s on the stove whereas the other two methods I only flip once.
  • You can only fit a small amount of bacon at a time so you need to cook it in stages.

3 strips of bacon cooked on the stove top

Bacon Cooked in the Oven

Most people I know seem to swear by cooking bacon in the oven, so it was time I gave it a shot! I was pleasantly surprised!

raw bacon on a foil lined sheet

Pros:

  • The biggest pro to me was how much you can cook at once. The cookie sheet in the picture above is actually the smallest one I own. I could have easily fit two much larger baking sheets and cooked quite a bit of bacon at one time.
  • This also seems to be the cleanest method. Just throw the foil away at the end and you’re good to go.
  • The bacon was delicious! At first it didn’t seem like it was going to crisp up, but after removing it to paper towels, it really did crisp up very nicely.

Cons:

  • This method took the longest out of all 3 that I tested. It took about 14 minutes total at 400 degrees. Not a ton longer, but that’s about 50% longer than pan frying.
  • I’m not sure I would take the time to heat the oven up for that long if I only needed a few slices. This is more a method for large batches it seems.

3 strips of bacon cooked in the oven on a cutting board

Cooking Bacon in the Air Fryer

I’m just going to say that this was my least favorite method and one I probably won’t ever use again! The bacon didn’t taste as burnt as it looks, but it wasn’t great either!

3 raw bacon slices in an air fryer basket

Pros:

  • Took the least amount of time

Cons:

  • Was the most well done, almost on the verge of being too well done! I cooked it at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping once halfway through. I saw on a number of other sites that they recommended 10 minutes in the air fryer, so I figured I would check it at 8 minutes and track it from there. Umm, it was already a bit too crispy for my liking at 8 minutes!
  • Even if it hadn’t cooked too long, I still wouldn’t be thrilled with this method because the air circulating flipped the bacon around and made it curl into itself. It didn’t stay flat pieces of bacon.
  • This was also the method where I could cook the fewest pieces at one time. Not a fan of that either!

3 strips of bacon cooked in the air fryer that look burnt

I was glad I took a little time to test them out, and could easily see myself baking bacon in the oven more often when I’m cooking anything close to a pound of bacon. It’s just easier to do the large batches at once.

But I think overall, I still liked the stove top the best! It was just easier to keep my eyes on and came out tasting the best.

If I learned anything, though, it’s that my beloved air fryer can’t make any food better…

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