It's a food that excites all the senses. You hear it sizzling and popping, see the bubbles and steam as it becomes perfectly browned and smell the comforting, yet slightly overwhelming aroma throughout the entire house. Once it's finished, cooled and plated, you pick it up to reveal the warm, greasy and crisp texture, then taste the salty, charred flavor of this hearty breakfast as you take the first bite. While this may be a true cooking experience, pan-frying bacon in the mornings is likely a distant memory if you're watching your weight. It's loaded with fat and high in calories, so you try to steer clear.
Instead of swearing off this flavor-packed pork, just rethink the way you prepare it! Baking bacon can turn a fat-laden calorie bomb into a practical side dish or recipe ingredient; pan-frying a slice can cost you about 77 calories, while cooking it in the oven as described below is only about 44 calories per slice. Using a cooling rack on top of your pan and foil will allow the grease that drips out of the bacon to fall rather than allowing the bacon to be cooked in it. This reduces the amount of grease on your cooked bacon, as well as the calories. You can also remove excess grease and oil from the cooked product by cooling it on top of a paper towel and patting it dry.
To cut this tasty food’s unhealthy properties even more, try buying center-cut (reduced-fat) or reduced-sodium bacon. Center-cut will lower the calories compared to other cuts and will reduce the fat content as these are leaner, trimmed slices. Reduced-sodium bacon won’t help you cut calories, but if you’re trying to watch your salt intake, this type will cut most (and sometimes all) of the sodium content.
>> Read more: Bacon 101: Your Guide to Friendly Cuts
To bake bacon in your oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.
- Lay the bacon strips on the rack, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until desired crispness.
Not only does baking your bacon make your breakfast healthier, it also makes cooking safer and cuts your cleanup time. When you pan-fry bacon, you’ve got to watch the stovetop closely while dodging burning, popping grease splotches. It can also easily catch fire if you don't remove the excess grease as the bacon cooks. Once your bacon is prepared, you’re left cleaning out the greasy skillet and scrubbing the walls, cabinets, countertops and nearby appliances that were hit by spitting grease. Baked bacon requires minimal cleanup and, since it isn't cooking directly in the grease, your oven doesn't fall victim to messy grease spots. You also only need to check the oven once or twice to ensure it is cooked to your liking, it allows you to cook a large amount at once, and it frees up the stovetop for whipping up omelets or egg whites as your bacon cooks.
So baked bacon is healthier, safer and mess-free – every mom’s dream.
But it isn't just a breakfast staple! When you want more bacon midday, try baking it for our Chicken Alfredo Pizza which makes a healthy, flavorful lunch or dinnertime meal. It's only 200 calories per serving and will satisfy those salty cravings.