is baking bacon healthier than frying

This method for making bacon leaves you with crispy strips and very little mess to clean up. Its pork perfection.

Bacon is a weekend tradition for most people. It’s hard to find something bad about someone frying up a bunch of greasy pork strips. Maybe the dirty stove and pans that need to be cleaned afterward. The best way to make bacon takes the stovetop and skillet out of the equation. You can leave oven bacon cooking and forget about it. If you line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, there won’t be any mess to clean up afterward.

I’ve switched to making a lot of the Sunday morning staple in the oven bacon. Here I’ll show you how easy and clean it is to do. You can make a whole package at once, which isn’t possible with most frying pans. If you add a wire rack that can go in the dishwasher, it will drain some of the extra fat while the strips are cooking, leaving you with leaner, crispier strips.

Below, youll find the simple steps needed to cook perfect bacon in the oven. When its done, Ive outlined 9 genius ways to use leftover bacon fat.

Is Baking Bacon Healthier Than Frying? A Breakdown of the Pros and Cons

Crispy salty smoky bacon is the ultimate weekend breakfast treat. But all that greasy, fatty pleasure comes at a cost – namely to your health and waistline.

Frying bacon on the stovetop in all its hot, popping glory may be traditional, but is it the best cooking method? What about baking bacon in the oven instead?

In this article we’ll compare pan-frying versus baking to determine which is the healthier bacon prep, looking at differences in calories fat, safety, taste and more. Let’s weigh the pros and cons to decide if you should give up the skillet for the oven.

Calories and Fat Content

First up, how do the two cooking methods stack up calorie-wise?

Pan-frying can cost you about 77 calories per slice since the bacon cooks in its own rendered fat.

Baking racks up around 44 calories per slice since the grease drips off onto the pan.

So baking saves you about 33 calories per slice compared to frying. That adds up fast, especially if you eat 2-3 slices a meal.

In terms of fat, frying adds about 9 grams of total fat per slice and 4 grams of saturated fat.

Baking has around 5 grams of total fat per slice and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Again, you trim about 4 grams of fat by opting for the oven. Over a week of breakfasts, choosing baked over pan-fried could mean avoiding 28 grams of fat!

Clearly, baking is the more calorie and fat-conscious choice. You avoid cooking the bacon in all its grease, which reduces the amount that seeps into the meat.


Another benefit of baking is increased safety. Pan-frying involves hot grease popping and splattering, increasing your risk of burns. The stove and surrounding surfaces can be coated in grease, creating a slippery hazard.

With baking, there’s no stovetop spatter to dodge. The enclosed oven contains any grease drips neatly on the lined pan. Once the bacon is out of the oven, minimal cleanup is needed.

Baking also removes the fire hazard of grease-fueled flare ups. Leaving bacon unattended in a pan allows the grease to overheat and potentially ignite. Oven-baking virtually eliminates this risk.

For households with kids, baking avoids the dangers of having infants and toddlers near a hot, grease-filled skillet. Overall, baking is the safer choice.

Taste and Texture

Here’s where things get subjective, as people have different preferences when it comes to bacon’s taste and mouthfeel.

Some argue pan-frying makes bacon crisper and imbues it with more savory flavor from direct contact with the hot grease.

However, others feel baking allows you to experience more subtle, wood-smoked notes. With less grease coating it, the natural taste of the bacon comes through.

In terms of texture, baking produces flatter, more uniformly crisp bacon as it lies flat on the rack. Pan-frying can cup and wrinkle the bacon, creating chewy bits.

With baking, you do need to flip the bacon midway for even cooking. And baking time varies more based on thickness. Thinner slices become crisper compared to fatter fried strips.

Ease and Convenience

When it comes to convenience, baking wins hands-down. All you need is a baking sheet, aluminum foil, and a wire cooling rack. Arrange the bacon on the rack and bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping once.

With frying, you have to stand watch at the stove while grease crackles and pops. The bacon requires frequent flipping and removing to prevent burning. Individually frying in batches is time consuming.

Baking allows you to prep a dozen or more slices at once with little monitoring needed. Just pop it in the oven, set a timer, and go about your other kitchen tasks until the timer dings.

In terms of cleanup, baking creates minimal mess requiring just foil disposal and rack hand washing. Frying leaves you scrubbing grease off the stovetop, nearby surfaces and appliances, cabinets, walls, utensils, and so on.

When time, convenience and easy cleanup are priorities, baking can’t be beat.


Does one cooking method retain more nutrients than the other?

Studies comparing frying and baking found minimal differences in nutrient retention. Both caused similar losses in protein, vitamins and minerals.

However, baking had lower levels of harmful Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). These form when proteins and sugars react at high temperatures. Diets high in AGEs are linked to increased inflammation and oxidative stress.

So baking may have a slight protective edge when it comes to formation of detrimental compounds. But both methods result in some nutrient breakdown.

Cost Comparison

There are no major cost differences between frying and baking. Both use the same amount of bacon.

Baking requires aluminum foil and some added cost for energy to preheat the oven. Frying uses slightly more energy for stovetop cooking but avoids foil cost. Overall, expenses are minimal and similar either way.

Environmental Impact

Which method is more eco-friendly? Baking is the greener choice.

Frying produces more grease drippings that must be properly disposed of due to environmental contamination risks. Baking minimizes grease so there is less waste.

In terms of energy use, an oven is more efficient than a burner when cooking larger batches. So baking multiple servings at once conserves energy.

Baking is also safer for our avian friends! Frying can attract birds close to homes, exposing them to hot grease dangers and potential house fires. So wildlife benefits when we bake.

The Verdict

After looking across all factors – health, taste, time, cost and environment – baking comes out the winner for the best bacon cooking method.

While some bacon purists insist on fried for flavor and texture, baking offers many advantages:

  • Fewer calories and less fat
  • Increased safety
  • Convenience and easy cleanup
  • Lower antioxidant loss
  • More eco-friendly

For the health and waistline-conscious who want to keep enjoying bacon in moderation, baking is clearly the way to go. You can have your bacon and eat it too!

Baking Tips

Follow these tips for crisp, evenly baked bacon every time:

  • Use thick-cut bacon for less brittle results
  • Preheat oven fully before baking
  • Line pan with foil for easy cleanup
  • Place bacon slices on wire rack, don’t overlap
  • Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes
  • Flip bacon slices midway through
  • Blot grease after baking
  • Allow to cool before eating for crispiest texture

Skip the greasy skillets and enjoy your morning bacon via the oven instead. Your heart, your hips and the kitchen will thank you! Just be sure to make enough for sharing.

is baking bacon healthier than frying

How to cook perfect bacon in the oven

is baking bacon healthier than frying

Here are my tips for cooking perfectly crisp bacon in the oven. Spoiler alert: There arent many steps, and none of them take very long.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not use air fryer mode if your oven has it. The fast-moving air is more likely to spread grease inside the oven. Were aiming for a mess-free scenario.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, or use a nonstick sheet pan for a more eco-friendly approach. If you choose foil, make sure the edges go up the sides of the tray so the grease doesn’t run off the sides and onto the tray.

If youre using nonstick bakeware, I prefer a ceramic sheet pan or tray but Teflon works well, too.

Arrange bacon on the tray. The strips shouldnt overlap, but its fine if they touch since theyll shrink down significantly while cooking. You can put the bacon slices on a wire rack above the tray so the fat can drip down below if you want really crispy bacon with a little less grease.

Cook for eight to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep one eye on the bacon as some ovens run hotter than others. If you like your bacon crispy and well done, give it another few minutes. Remember, bacon does a lot of its crisping after it comes out and cools.

Read more: Make Your Next Burger in an Air Fryer and Thank Me Later

is baking bacon healthier than frying

Drain the bacon on a sheet or two of paper towels. Once they’re done, you can serve the crispy strips with eggs, in a BLT, or broken up to make boxed mac and cheese better.

The best part is that when you’re done cooking bacon in the oven, all you have left is a small ball of foil that you can easily throw away.

A few countertop ovens for cooking bacon

For bacon, I love using a smaller countertop convection model. A big oven works just fine, but it takes longer to heat up, and we need bacon right now.

The Best Bacon You’ll Ever Make (And Every Method to Avoid) | Epicurious 101

Is Bacon healthy?

Yes, bacon is delish. But it’s not always the healthiest choice. Just three slices of bacon contain 161 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 581 milligrams of sodium (per Very Well Fit ). So how do you cook your bacon so it’s as healthy as possible, yet still crunchy, and yummy every time?

What are the benefits of eating baked chicken?

Roast chicken provides a good amount of protein with lower amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which contains more red meat. In addition, chicken meat contains large amounts of niacin and phosphorus, as well as small amounts of other minerals and also vitamin B-12, which is part of the beneficial vitamin B complex.

Is Bacon good for breakfast?

But it isn’t just for breakfast. Whether you enjoy bacon crumbled over a wedge salad, chopped up and blended with chocolate, piled high on top of a sandwich, or if you are a purist and eat it straight out of the frying pan, bacon is meant to be a flavorful, and satiating experience for your taste buds (via The Spruce Eats ). Yes, bacon is delish.

Should you bake Bacon in the oven?

In addition to the most obvious end (gobbling the slices directly from the plate), baking bacon in the oven is an ideal method any time you have a recipe that calls for adding cooked, crumbled bacon, or if you want to make a standard recipe a little more decadent.

Should Bacon be preheated before baking?

For most recipes, you’d wait for the oven to preheat before you start baking. When baking bacon, however, we suggest sliding the sheet pan into the cold oven so the bacon sits inside as the oven comes to temperature. Now that you’ve mastered baking bacon, all that’s left to do is start using those gorgeous cracking strips.

What is the difference between uncooked and thick cut bacon?

Uncooked, the only difference between the two is how thick the bacon is sliced – thick-cut bacon is 50% thicker. Once cooked, regular bacon is crispier while thick-cut bacon has a bit more chew. I think the oven method works best with regular bacon, as it doesn’t render nearly as much grease onto the baking sheet.

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