At first, I was skeptical of oven-baked bacon. Giving up cooking the long strips in my beloved cast iron skillet? Really? There’s something so nostalgic and right about cooking bacon this way – tenderly flipping each slice and monitoring its progress, though, yes, putting up with the occasional burn from oil splatters. For a few quick slices, I still think a skillet is best, but for making a pound or more of bacon for a big Saturday brunch or for a week’s worth of easy additions to meals, I’m a total convert to baked bacon.
I find that a pound of medium thickness bacon fits on one baking sheet. To cook even more (or if your bacon doesn’t fit on one sheet pan), you can cook two sheets at once.
1 to 2 pounds of bacon
Preheat oven to 400°F: Turn on the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. If you are cooking multiple sheets of bacon, place a second rack in the upper third of the oven.
Arrange bacon on a baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes cleanup easier). Place the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. The bacon can be close together, but it must not overlap or the bacon will stick during baking. If necessary, use a second baking sheet.
Bake the bacon: Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the bacon is golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you like it. Start checking at about 12 minutes to control the speed of the bacon cooking. The bacon grease will crackle and bubble as the bacon cooks, but should not splatter as it does on the stovetop. Pour in the bacon grease as necessary so that the bacon is not completely submerged in the grease.
Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate: Remove the bacon from the oven and use tongs to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and finish crisping. Serve immediately. You can also refrigerate leftover bacon for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months; reheat bacon in the microwave before serving.
Clean up: If you want to save the bacon grease, let it cool slightly, then pour it into a container and refrigerate. If you don’t want to save the grease, let it set on the baking sheet, then crumple the foil around it and discard.