How To Know When Your Bacon Is Ready To Eat


Everyone has a preferred level of doneness for their bacon. Here is how you can always tell bacon has been cooked to each degree.

Cooked bacon is slightly crispy and well browned. Done bacon will also shrink in size by about 40% and have all of its fat content rendered out.

Cooking bacon doesn’t take very long, and is fairly easy. Still because bacon can burn quickly. There is patience required and a little training involved to get it right.

Bacon Degrees of Doneness

Besides being overly delicious bacon is great in that there is more than one way to cook it. Bacon can be fried, baked and simmered in water.

The other important thing is that bacon can be cooked to your own preference. Meaning that some people like very crispy bacon others might like it a little more chewy. 

Typically the most desired level of cooked bacon. Also referred to as the doneness of the bacon. 

It is somewhere in between overly crispy and chewy. This would mean that the bacon is still soft enough to where it doesn’t crumble.

Overly cooked bacon will become very brittle and in the most extreme case will turn black. When the bacon has become burnt. 

One of the main problems when cooking bacon. It cooks very quickly.

The line between the desired level doneness and overly or underly cooked is very thin. 

So it’s best to know when exactly the bacon is cooked. Luckily there are some easy ways to tell.

Therefore you can stop the cooking before it’s too late, or continue so you don’t end up with slightly raw bacon. 

How Do You Know When Bacon Is Done? 3 Ways To Tell

Here are 3 indicating factors to help determine how well done your bacon is. Number one being the best way overall.

1.Color

One of the easiest indicators to notice. Is the color the bacon has become.

Cooked bacon should be golden brown. Overcooked bacon will be a very dark brown. Undercooked bacon is light brown. pink/white color will indicate still raw meat.

Obviously the more done the bacon the darker the color. Any blackness is really just burnt meat. But you may like bacon that has a slight char.

2.Grease

Just another great way to tell bacon is done. Is to notice how much grease has been released from the bacon.

Good well cooked bacon should be soaked in grease. His crease comes from the fat of the bacon slices. It will also taste much better as it’s been cooked in its own fat.

Usually each side of a slice will become covered in a white foamy grease. Once you see the foam form then you know that it’s time to flip the bacon.

If the bacon grease starts to cook away and disappear. Then you will know it is time to pull the food off the stove.

3.Size

Like other meat as bacon cooks it will shrink in size. Usually it will decrease in size by about 40%. This is after the fat has rendered out along with any excess water. 

So as a good indication of meat doneness. Notice how much the bacon is shrunk and that it isn’t continuing to shrink. 

By the time the fat has rendered out and the bacon is shrunk by about 40%, The meat is usually cooked all the way.

You can tell when cooking bacon that the slices start to curl and become wavy. This change happens early but isn’t always an indication of the me being completely cooked.

Again color is usually the best indicator. You can usually remove the bacon as soon as it becomes golden brown and color.

Excess grease that remains on the slices will make it appear that the bacon is going to be flimsy.

Don’t be afraid to remove the bacon as long as the color looks right. Because once the grease dries off either on its own or from a paper towel.

Your bacon will probably become more crispy than it appeared when you removed it.

Master Bacon Cooking

You can easily master cooking bacon just by knowing one important rule.

Time

The number one rule of cooking bacon is to do it slowly.

Bacon is ruined far too often by people rushing the process. A process which by the way doesn’t take very long to begin with.

You can cook bacon in as little as 5 to 10 minutes. But speed is not important.

Knowing this just remember to start with low to medium heat. 

Do not place cold bacon directly into a very hot pan. Instead bring the bacon up to temperature.

This is important because it takes a little bit of time for the fat to render.

Temperature

So just remember do not start with too hot of a temperature. This is also a good way not to let the temperature run away from you. 

When you notice the pan is too hot, because grease is splattering like crazy. It is better to avoid this in the first place.

when you place your bacon in the pan make sure to leave a little room between each slice. That way they aren’t overlapping and can cook equally and evenly.

Cookware

If you really want to make the best bacon you should use a cast iron skillet.

Cast iron skillets with a heavy bottom heat very evenly. As well as becoming seasoned with the bacon grease.

When using other pans such as a non-stick aluminum or steel. You will notice there will be hotter spots of cooking.

This means some slices of bacon may start to cook faster than others, so you may have to move around as they cook.

Just take the ones that aren’t cooking as fast and swap them into the hotter spots.

Also you may consider using a bacon press also known as a grill press or grill weight.

These work to flatten the bacon completely so every part cooks evenly. Rather than having wavy bacon. 

When To Flip?

Really only need to flip bake it once, but there is no rule. You may find it easier to keep an eye on the bacon and  flip it continuously. 

Most recipes for baking in the oven. Do not require any flipping. 

How Long To Cook?

Cooking bacon in a frying pan means you should cook the bacon for about 10 to 15 minutes.

When you are going to bake with a oven instead. You can generally cook the bacon for about 30 to 40 minutes. 

Crispy or Not?

Crispiness is more preference rather than a rule. Bacon that is too done will crumble, which can be useful.

For example if you want to make bacon pieces for a salad topping.

If you were going to eat the bacon by itself. I would aim for a slight crunchiness. So each bite snaps instead of tears apart.

Ways To Cook Bacon

Frying

As mentioned earlier there are three ways to cook bacon. Most common being frying it in a pan on the stove top. 

Baking

The next popular way is using an oven. This way it takes longer, the advantage is you can cook a lot of bacon at once.

Frying/boiling

The third way to cook bacon is by simmering it in water. Basically you are frying it but first you add enough water to cover the bacon. Then bring the water to boil and cook it away.

Once it has evaporated you lower the heat and continue to crisp the bacon.

The last option is said to be one of the best ways to cook bacon. It does take longer but you reduce the risk of over cooking.

The reason being is that once the water has reached the boiling point. The fat in the meat will have rendered completely out at a lower temperature.

Microwaved

Microwaving bacon is also a really great way. Just remember to not wrap completely in paper towel. Just enough to prevent splattering but also allow steam to escape.

Like any cooking method microwaving has is pro’s and con’s. You can actually get a crispy bacon with a microwave. But you lose some of the taste because it doesn’t cook in the bacon grease as well.

Instead a lot of the flavor gets soaked into the paper towel. But you don’t want to make a huge mess in the process. Microwaving is the fastest and least messy way to cook bacon.

Bacon Facts

  • Bacon in the United States is also referred to as streaky or side bacon. Which typically has a lot of fat along the longer edges.
  • Uncured bacon doesn’t have any preservatives

Eric M Wilkens

Content writer and recreational cook. I also enjoy craft beer, comedy and the outdoors.

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