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The Best Way to Cook Bacon: Oven vs. Stovetop

How to cook bacon is often hotly debated. Cooking bacon in a pan on the stove has always been an easy go-to method. Cooking bacon in the oven has grown in popularity over time. 

Are you curious about which bacon cooking method cooks bacon faster, which method produces the crispiest bacon, or which method offers easier cleanup? Those were the primary questions I wanted to answer in this bacon cooking comparison.

How to Cook Bacon

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Pieces of Bacon draining on paper towels

Whether you're a breakfast aficionado or just looking for bacon cooking tips for the quickest, crunchiest, and most hassle-free way to cook your bacon, I've got answers. Check out the Oven vs. Stovetop bacon battle and discover the fastest, crispiest, and easiest way to cook bacon for breakfast.

I've always believed the stovetop was the champion for cooking bacon. But today, I am sharing the results of a side-by-side bacon cooking test of stovetop versus oven baking.  I'll share what happened in this experiment when cooking bacon in the oven at 400 degrees F against frying it on the stovetop on medium-high heat.

This Cooking Bacon Experiment

To set the stage for the bacon showdown, I wanted to ensure a fair competition. So, I purchased two packages of the same brand and cut of bacon, to eliminate those variables. Then I let both packages of bacon rest on the kitchen counter for about 20 minutes. This brief rest period helps to slightly warm the bacon, making it easier to separate the slices without tearing.

Oven Method Preparation

For oven baking, I covered a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil. This foil lining is a pro-tip for easy cleanup, as most of the grease will drip onto the foil. I then laid the strips of bacon evenly spaced across the pan to ensure even cooking, following Ina Garten's method. I preheated the oven to a toasty 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) to kickstart the baking process.

Stovetop Method Preparation

In the stovetop corner, I opted for a 12-inch non-stick skillet, a size perfect for this bacon challenge. The non-stick surface meant that no extra oil was needed in the pan. The stovetop method required two batches of bacon strips because of the size of the pan. I heated the skillet over medium-high heat, ensuring it was hot and ready for sizzling bacon. I carefully laid the strips of bacon side-by-side in the pan, allowing them to cook in their natural juices.

Timing is Everything:  To keep things fair and square, I used a stopwatch to time the cooking process for each method.  

For consistency purposes, I flipped the bacon as it cooked to ensure both sides were evenly browned and crispy in both methods. 

Slices of cooked bacon on a white plate.


My Observations

Now, let's dive into the sizzle showdown and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each method, starting with the oven method:

The Oven Method

Advantages:

Consistency: The oven method boasts even heat distribution, resulting in uniformly cooked bacon.   

Hands-Off: You can multitask while your bacon cooks without worrying about flipping or splattering. Although, for the sake of consistency in this experiment, I did flip the bacon when using the stovetop method.   

Less Mess: One of the perks is that most of the grease drips onto the pan or rack, making cleanup relatively easy. Lining the pan with aluminum foil is a lifesaver for hassle-free cleanup.

A sheet pan of bacon beside a skillet of bacon.


Disadvantages:

Longer Cooking Time: Oven baking may take a bit longer compared to stovetop cooking. Additionally, it took a tad more time for the oven to come to temperature, extending the overall cooking duration.   

Limited Control: While it offers consistent results, you have less control over the bacon's immediate crispiness as it cooks. During my experiment, I didn't achieve the same level of crispiness with the oven method as I did with the stovetop method.

Greasier Bacon: Oven baking on the aluminum-lined pan resulted in greasier bacon than the stovetop method.  I would recommend placing a rack in the pan like Martha Stewart and Ina Garten do.

With the oven method findings in the books, it's time to turn our attention to the stovetop method. Let's see how it measures up in terms of speed, crispiness, and cleanup.

Cooking Bacon on the Stovetop

Advantages of Stovetop Bacon

Speed Demon: One of the standout features of stovetop cooking is its impressive speed. Bacon sizzles up to crispy goodness in a matter of minutes, making it a top choice for those on a tight schedule, and those who only need to cook a few slices at a time.

Immediate Control: Unlike the oven method, you have immediate control over the bacon's crispiness. You can achieve that perfect balance between crispy and chewy by adjusting the cooking time to your preference.

Intense Flavor: Stovetop cooking tends to infuse the bacon with intense flavors, thanks to direct contact with the pan's heat.

Plenty of Fat: The stovetop method extracts and gathers plenty of fat for cooking eggs.  If you like to save bacon fat for another time, this is your method for cooking bacon.

Disadvantages of Stovetop Bacon

Spatters and Splatters: While the sizzling action is part of the stovetop's charm, it can lead to more grease splattering. Be prepared for some cleanup.

Potential Uneven Cooking: Achieving uniform crispiness can be challenging, especially if you're new to cooking bacon this way. However, flipping the bacon helps mitigate this issue.

The Bacon Cooking Verdict

Speed: During the timed showdown, the stovetop method lived up to its reputation for speed. It delivered perfectly crispy bacon in a fraction of the time it took for the oven method to reach the finish line. 

Cooking bacon in the oven takes a bit more time, typically around 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F. The oven method also requires additional time for preheating.

Crispiness: While the oven method consistently provides evenly cooked bacon, achieving immediate crispiness can be a bit challenging. The bacon tends to be more uniformly crisp but may lack the extra crunch some prefer. 

One area where the stovetop method truly shines is in its ability to offer immediate control over the bacon's crispiness. If you prefer your bacon on the crispy side, stovetop cooking is your ticket to bacon nirvana.

Cleanup: Cleanup after oven cooking is relatively hassle-free, thanks to the bacon grease dripping onto the pan or rack. If you've lined the pan with aluminum foil, cleanup is a breeze. I

Stovetop cooking tends to generate more grease splatter, which can lead to a bit more cleanup. However, it's a small price to pay for the intense, mouthwatering flavors and speedy results. I find I can control the spatter by adjusting the burner temperature.

The Final Verdict: Which Method Wins the Bacon Battle?

The ultimate winner in this bacon showdown depends on your personal preference and priorities:

Choose the Oven Method if you value consistency, hands-off cooking, and relatively easy cleanup. It's perfect for a larger batch of bacon when time isn't of the essence, and you prefer a more uniformly cooked result.

Opt for the Stovetop Method when you crave speedy, extra-crispy bacon with immediate control over texture. It's ideal for a quick morning fix or when you're after that perfect crunch.

In the end, the best bacon-cooking method is the one that suits your taste and schedule. Don't hesitate to experiment with both methods to find your personal bacon-cooking preference. Whichever you choose, rest assured that you're in for a delicious treat every time.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven and Stovetop


bacon and eggs, cooking bacon, best way to cook bacon
breakfast
American
Yield: 4
Author: Donna Urso
Cooking Bacon: Stovetop vs Oven

Cooking Bacon: Stovetop vs Oven

How to cook bacon on the stove or in the oven
Prep time: 2 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 27 Min

Ingredients

Instructions

For Oven Baked Bacon
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil and top with a rack.
  3. Lay the slices of bacon across the rack.
  4. Place the rack on the center rack of your oven. Bake for 18-24 minutes, until you reach your desired crispiness. Flipping the bacon mid-way is optional.
  5. Drain bacon on paper towels.
For Stovetop Fried Bacon
  1. Heat a non-stick 12" skillet oven on medium-high heat. Lay the slices of bacon in the pan. You'll need multiple batches. Do not crowd your slices of bacon.
  2. Cook the bacon, turning as needed.
  3. Bacon slices will be done in 8-10 minutes, depending on the desired crispiness. Drain on paper towels.

Notes

The thickness of your bacon will impact your cooking time.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

354.65

Fat (grams)

33.76 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.31 g

Carbs (grams)

1.09 g

Fiber (grams)

0 g

Net carbs

1.09 g

Sugar (grams)

0 g

Protein (grams)

10.73 g

Sodium (milligrams)

563.02 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

56.13 mg

Nutritional information is approximate.

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