The Best Way to Cook Bacon

... is actually more than one way. The perfect method depends on the circumstance. Here's how to get perfect bacon every time, no matter what.
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Bacon 101 01:01

Cook bacon like a pro with these tips from our Food Network Kitchen.

What meal isn't improved by crispy, chewy bacon? Making this essential food may seem like a no-brainer, but then think back to all those fatty, floppy strips you've been served. Even the simplest food benefits from proper cooking. Here are three foolproof methods to see you through breakfast and beyond.

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Bacon with Scrambled Eggs and Toast - Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera

Photo by: LauriPatterson ©Lauri Patterson

LauriPatterson, Lauri Patterson

The Classic Method: In a Skillet

This tried-and-true method is the obvious choice when you need to cook 6 to 8 slices at a time.

1. Pull out the bacon from the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. At room temperature, bacon just cooks up better (just like steak).

2. Don't preheat the skillet. Lay out the bacon strips without overlapping in a cold pan. This helps the fat render slowly, for consistently cooked strips.

3. Cook over medium heat — again, good for even rendering. Turn the strips as needed until they reach the desired crispness, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Drain well on a paper-towel-lined platter.

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down view of cooked bacon on sheet pan

Photo by: Rusty Hill ©©Rusty Hill

Rusty Hill, ©Rusty Hill

For Feeding a Crowd: In the Oven

Make this your go-to method when you need bacon for a big group and don't want to bother making multiple batches. Plus, there's no turning and cleanup is simple.

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and lay out as many bacon strips as will fit snuggly without overlapping.

2. Place in a cold oven. Then heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake to desired crispness, 25 to 35 minutes.

3. Drain well on a paper-towel-lined platter.

For Just a Few Strips: In the Microwave

When you need only a few pieces of bacon for a burger or BLT, this is a quick and easy way to go.

1. Line a microwave-safe plate with 2 layers of paper towels.

2. Lay out the bacon strips without overlapping. Cover with 2 more paper towels.

3. Cook in the microwave on high to desired crispness, 4 to 6 minutes. Since the strips cook on paper towels, no draining is necessary. 

Photos: Karen Cohen, Lauri Patterson/iStock, Rusty Hill/Getty, InaTs/iStock

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