Bacon is a mainstay in my weekend life, as I’m sure it is for many folks. I guess during the week, too, if we’re being honest here; but when I’m enjoying bacon on the weekends, I go for it and cook them up one package at a time. In a pan, on a griddle, in the oven. I’ve tried most conventional methods, and I’m here to share the best way to cook bacon is in the oven. On a cooling rack. On a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet.

As you can see in the image below, a 12-ounce pack of Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon contains nine strips and they all fit perfectly atop a wire rack placed on a standard half sheet pan (the Nordic Ware brand version is the best, by far—never any buckling). The wire cooling rack is key, of course, as it allows the hot air to circulate all around the slices to ensure crispy bacon, and that no slice is left in a flaccid state lying in its own fat.

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Photo by Hana Asbrink

The method couldn’t be simpler:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C. (To be completely honest, I’ve also started with a cold oven; just add time on the backend accordingly.)
  • Line your half-sheet pan with foil or parchment paper (optional, but this will aid in cleanup immensely).
  • Place your cooling rack on the sheet pan and lay your bacon strips out. You can keep them close together as they’ll shrink while cooking.
  • Cook for 18 to 20 minutes if, like me, you like crispy bacon. If you like your bacon chewier, start checking around minute 15. Know that the bacon will crisp up a bit further while cooling.
  • Remove the sheet pan from oven. Cool for a few minutes, remove each slice carefully with tongs (no need to drain on paper towels), and enjoy! (Maple syrup optional, but wholly encouraged.)
  • Bonus: If the thought of disposing bacon fat haunts you, feel free to toss cubed potatoes in the remnant oil with salt, pepper, and paprika, and roast to your taste (about 20 to 30 minutes).
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Photo by Hana Asbrink

No dangerous oil splattering about while cooking bacon! Full access to the stovetop to tend to other important breakfast favorites like eggs and pancakes! What’s not to love about this hands-off process? (That’s a rhetorical question for sure.)