How to Fry Bacon

frying bacon in cast iron skillet
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Frying bacon is one of those kitchen skills it can take some time to master. While it's a simple, one ingredient task, it can take some trial and error to get perfect results. Perfectly fried bacon can be used in everything from main dishes to salads to appetizers or just as a snack. 

Prep Work

To fry bacon to crisp perfection, start with a cold skillet. Make sure your skillet is large enough to fit your desired amount of bacon without crowding.

Carefully separate the bacon pieces from each other and place them side by side in the cold skillet. Don't stretch the bacon as you remove it from the package. It can help to roll the package between your hands into a cone before you open it; this will help loosen the slices and make it easier to separate without ripping or stretching the raw bacon.

Frying the Bacon

Now place the skillet over medium heat. The bacon will begin to sizzle and turn translucent. The most important tip: don't move the bacon until it releases easily from the pan.

You can gently lift the edges as the bacon starts to brown on the first side, but don't lift it or force it until it releases. Then turn the bacon, using tongs, and cook on the second side until it releases easily again. This whole process should take about 10 minutes for thinly sliced bacon, or up to 15 minutes or so for thick sliced bacon. Take caution during this process as the bacon grease will likely be sizzling out of the pan, and will be very hot.

Keep turning the bacon frequently for even cooking. The bacon is done when it looks like crisp bacon. The sizzling noise will subside dramatically, and when there are no more pink, white, or translucent areas on the bacon, meaning the fat has been rendered out, it's ready. Remove it to a paper towel to drain, then eat or use in your favorite bacon recipe.

If you are not using the bacon right away or are cooking large amounts of bacon, you can use the oven to rewarm or keep the cooked bacon warm. Simply heat the oven to 250F and place the bacon on baking sheets in the oven. 

Bacon Grease

The bacon grease can be used for cooking other tasty delights, stored for up to one month, or discarded properly. Bacon grease should never be discarded into a sink drain, even with a disposal. Bacon grease will harden as it cools and can easily clog pipes. Bacon grease can be stored in a sealable container either in the refrigerator or freezer, or simply thrown out in the trash. 

Oven Fried Bacon

Another option for cooking bacon is to bake the bacon in the oven. Oven baked bacon can be less messy and may allow you to cook more bacon at once since more slices will fit on a baking sheet than in your standard skillet. Either method will produce delicious, crispy bacon for you to eat right away or use in your favorite recipes.