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8 Methods of Cooking Bacon; Found an Absolute Winner!

People often joke that bacon makes everything better. I tend to agree. I use it a lot as a flavoring agent in recipes — a slice or two to infuse a pot of dried beans with porky richness, for example. But on #treatyoself days, I’ll cook up a mess of bacon as a more substantial component to a dish, or as a standalone food. This is the bacon to pile onto burgers or BLTs, or to enjoy alongside pancakes or waffles, dragging the strips through syrup or runny egg yolks. Yet I’ve never had a consistent, go-to method for cooking that bacon. I’ve cooked it in a skillet and in the oven, and I’ve resorted to the microwave when I was in a hurry.

I’ve read about air fryer and sous vide methods I’d like to try, as well as other hacks for easier cleanup or better texture.

To find which method or methods work best, I tested eight that are touted by trusted website sources and compared the results side-by-side. My house smelled amazing, by the way, and my folks were delighted to help me taste test :)

A Few Notes About Methodology

Tests: I tried each method twice — once with regular-cut bacon and once with thick-cut. For each method, I tested the number of bacon slices that fit into the cooking vessel (skillet, sheet pan, air fryer basket, etc.) and made note of that in my description.

Bacon: I used widely distributed grocery-store brands. For regular-cut bacon, I went with Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon. And for thick-cut, I chose Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon.

Time: The time listed is the cooking time; any preheating time is noted separately. I did not list cleanup time.

Ratings: I rated each cooking method on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing perfection. Texture, cook time, ease of preparation, cleanup, and appearance all factor into the ratings.

Method: Water in Skillet

Total Time: 15 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 16 minutes (thick-cut bacon)About This Method: This technique, touted by Cook’s Illustrated, instructs you to arrange bacon in a cold skillet and add just enough water to cover. You cook over high heat unti