Best Way to Cook Bacon: Microwave, Oven or Skillet?

We tested them all — here’s how it went and what we thought.

Best Way to Cook Bacon: Microwave, Oven or Skillet?

There are few things better than a good BLT with some crispy bacon. But it can be difficult to cook it right. No one wants slices that are too chewy, burnt to black or still have fat that hasn’t rendered down. So what’s the best way to make perfectly cooked bacon? We tested three methods: between paper towels in the microwave, twisted up in the oven, and with a little water in a skillet. Here’s how the bacon looked and tasted and what we thought of the cooking method.

MICROWAVE

Method

Place bacon between two double layers of paper towels. Space the slices so they don’t touch. Put the bacon and towels on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 5-7 minutes for crispy.

Taste

Flat. Not much flavor.

Pros

This method is easy to set up and clean up.

Cons

Microwaves can be finicky, so you risk uneven cooking or overcooking if you simply wait for the microwave to beep. We had to continually check on the microwave because the slices can go from underdone to burnt in a matter of seconds. This method does not always cook all the slices uniformly.

Daphne's Opinion

"It's not perfect. Sorry, microwave."

OVEN TWIST

Method

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take each slice of bacon, twist into a long spiral and line them on the parchment. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Flip the bacon and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.

Taste

Chewy with a bit of occasional crunch.

Pros

Easy set up and clean up. You can simply slide the pan into the oven and only worry about a single flip. The spiral twists create little grooves and pockets that hold grease for flavor.

Cons

Messy to set up and can be difficult to flip. Crispy edges come out inconsistent, and sometimes there can be a little too much grease pooling... if there is such a thing.

Jamika's Opinion

"Not exactly what I was looking for."

SKILLET WITH WATER (WINNER!)

Method

Place strips of bacon in a nonstick skillet. Add just enough water to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Simmer on medium-high heat until the water has cooked off. Then reduce heat to medium and cook until bacon is crispy.

Taste

Perfectly tender and juicy with crispy edges.

Pros

We loved this method and prefer it over cooking bacon in the microwave or oven. The water helps render the bacon fat, assuring there are no undercooked bits of chewy fat left on the strips. This also helps reduce dreaded splattering. It allows the edges to crisp while keeping the center meat tender and chewable.

Cons

None! While you do have to stand by the stove and monitor the bacon while it cooks, your effort is rewarded with perfectly tender and flavorful bacon.

Gail's Opinion

"Pretty much by a landslide, the best way for making bacon is stove top in water. Who knew?"

What We’re Watching

"The Good Dish" host Daphne Oz holds a piece of moist chocolate cake

Daphne Oz, Gail Simmons, Jamika Pessoa and their chef friends reveal their favorite cooking hacks for better food. How to caramelize onions faster, get the crispiest fish and easily cut crusty bread. Why you should put baking soda in tomato soup and mayo in your favorite cakes. Plus, Shirely Chung makes DIY Chinese take out scallion pancakes and reveals the best day to go to restaurants and whether you should order one of the daily specials.

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