Oh, bacon! What would we do without you? There is nothing as good as a deliciously smoky, salty, and extra crispy piece of bacon in the morning!
Unfortunately, we have started running into a big problem. Because our lives have become so rushed, we started making things in advance. But bacon loses its crispiness when stored.
So, how can you reheat bacon and keep it crispy at the same time? You can use a hot oven, cover the bacon with foil, and heat it for roughly 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can reheat the bacon in an air fryer, or as a last resort, a microwave.
Today, we will have a look at exactly what makes bacon crispy and also discuss the many ways to get the ultimate evenly crispy bacon piece.
We will then also discuss some ways you can properly store it or simply keep it warm for a while. And finally, we will dive into the many ways you can reheat bacon while keeping its crispiness.
What Is Bacon, Really?
We know that this might not seem all that relevant, but it is arguably the most important factor to consider when making crispy bacon.
For those who aren’t really sure exactly what bacon is, it is a type of salt-cured pork product that is cut from various parts of the pig. It is always cut into slices that vary in thickness.
The different parts naturally will have different characteristics. These differences, however small they might seem, will have a drastic effect on how the bacon cooks and ultimately, what the end result will be.
To get evenly cooked and consistently crispy bacon, you need to understand what creates this delicious crispiness.
So, first, we’ll look at what makes bacon become crispy. The crispiness of bacon all comes from its fat content. The fat renders in the pan, which creates crispiness, but also the fattiness that coats the rest of the piece.
Think about how deep-frying works; the fat (oil) is what helps crisp up the food. Bacon fat does the same thing. So without a ton of fat, or if that fat is simply not cooked correctly, it doesn’t help make bacon crispy.
Types Of Bacon
As we have mentioned, there are different cuts of bacon. The most popular and common ones include streaky bacon, back bacon, cottage bacon, and jowl bacon.
Streaky bacon is cut from the pork belly and is arguably the most common type of them all. It is a long thin piece of bacon that has alternating layers of fat and meat (muscle) running parallel to the rind.
Streaky bacon is an excellent type to crisp up, as there is a ton of fat to render.
Back bacon, as the name suggests, is cut from the loin in the middle back part of the pig. This cut has much less fat compared to streaky bacon.
It is also usually a larger piece and not very rectangular. Back bacon, while it can still create nice crispy pieces, need some additional fat to help it along.
Cottage bacon is taken closer to the head of the pig. In some parts of the world, they also refer to it as shoulder bacon.
These pieces are also less fatty compared to streaky bacon and, much like back bacon, you need additional fattiness to help it crisp up nice and evenly.
Lastly, you have jowl bacon which is cured and smoked slices from the pork’s cheeks.
You also get un-smoked versions called Guanciale. These are fattier than back bacon and shoulder bacon, however, they are very moist, which could potentially cause un-crisp bacon.
Why Bacon Does Not Stay Crispy
When you are making crispy food, what you are essentially doing is trying to remove as much moisture from the ingredient or product as you can.
This can be done in many different ways, but the key is choosing the correct method for the correct product. If you don’t effectively remove enough moisture, your product will become floppy again in mere minutes.
The other big reason food doesn’t stay crispy is when it is being stored incorrectly or for too long.
If you store bacon in any area where it is exposed to moisture, it will lose its crispiness. This includes storing it out at room temperature, and even in the fridge.
How To Reheat Bacon
If you want to reheat frozen bacon, first you have to completely defrost it in the refrigerator. This is very important so that you don’t have an excess amount of moisture when you reheat the bacon pieces.
If your bacon has simply been stored in the fridge, you’re ready to go. Just choose one of the methods below and follow along!
1. How To Reheat Bacon In The Oven
This method works great if you have a ton of bacon to reheat. And the additional sheet of foil that covers the bacon helps prevent drying out the pieces too much.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (210°C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, non-stick baking paper, or some aluminum foil.
- Place your bacon on the sheet (no need for a wire rack) and cover the tray with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Place the bacon inside the preheated oven and wait until you hear the bacon sizzle. This will take about 5 minutes. Once your bacon has been properly heated, you can remove it from the oven and serve it immediately.
2. How To Reheat Bacon In The Microwave
You probably know by now that we have a love-hate relationship with microwaves, but this is definitely the fastest way to reheat your bacon, especially when you have no time on your hands.
- Place some paper towels on a microwave-safe plate or inside a microwave-safe container. Place the bacon strips on top of the paper towel and inside the microwave.
- Reheat the bacon on the highest microwave setting for roughly 30-45 seconds. You may need to experiment a bit with the timing, as different microwaves have different temperatures.
- Once the bacon has been fully heated, remove it from the microwave and serve it immediately. Remember that your plate is going to be extremely hot when it is removed.
3. How To Reheat Bacon In An Air Fryer
The fantastic thing about using an air fryer to reheat bacon is that it already is a fantastic piece of equipment that will help make and keep food crispy.
All you have to do is place the bacon inside the air fryer and heat it at roughly 360°F for 4-5 minutes. Make sure not to overload the fryer and for the best results, only place the pieces in a single layer.
How To Make Crispy Bacon
Making crispy bacon is actually extremely easy if you follow all of our tips. There are a few ways you can cook bacon and still get it crispy. The most popular way to cook bacon is in a pan, but alternately, you can cook it in an oven.
To make perfectly crispy pan-fried bacon, start your bacon in a cold pan. Place the pan over a medium to low heat setting.
Once your bacon starts sizzling, you can increase the heat to a medium setting. As the bacon cooks, fat will render off (lose moisture) and become crispy.
To make crispy bacon in an oven, it is important to place the bacon on a wire rack so that the hot air can circulate around the slice. This will help the fat to render evenly and also help cook all the meat simultaneously.
Tips for Cooking Crispy Bacon
- Starting out with bacon off in a hot pan is the worst decision you can make. While it may be extremely satisfying hearing the sizzle, unfortunately, hot pans cause the bacon to cook unevenly and also usually cause it to burn before making it properly crispy. Instead, start your bacon in a cold pan. This way, you allow the bacon fat to slowly render while it evenly cooks. The end result? Perfectly crispy bacon that has been evenly cooked with no burnt parts.
- Do not burn your bacon. We know that many people love a piece of extra crispy bacon, but let’s be honest, you know when you have burnt it! Crispy bacon should still have a very bacon-like flavor and it should not have any black burnt pieces. That is why following our tips is so important for getting evenly crispy bacon!
- Never overcrowd your pan with bacon pieces. We know, we know! It is nearly impossible to be patient when you can already taste the deliciously salty crispy bacon, but too much bacon creates steam in your pan. Steam creates moisture and moisture creates soggy bacon that will never be crispy. When you see any sign of steam coming from your pan, remove a few pieces to ensure those remaining become nice and crispy.
- Use a cast iron pan. Pans that don’t heat evenly will also not cook your bacon evenly. Cast iron is an excellent heat conductor and stays heated for a very long time. The bacon fat that renders will also help season the cast iron pan and ultimately protect it and extend its shelf life.
- Bring it to room temperature before cooking it. Do not cook cold bacon. Fat and meat have different characteristics and also cook in different ways. By bringing both to the same temperature before cooking them, you will allow the fat to render more quickly and cook at the same time the meat does.
- Never buy cheap or thin bacon. Bacon isn’t the most healthy type of food, but nevertheless, we love to indulge every now and then. So by eating it less often, you can ultimately afford better quality bacon. Bacon should be made from quality meat, be well-smoked or salted, and be cut in nice thick slices. There is nothing worse than a thin piece that burns instantly while still being floppy and watery.
- Don’t throw out your bacon fat. It is packed with delicious salty, smoky, and umami flavors that can be used to help cook virtually anything. You can use it to help cook other meats, vegetables, and even things like eggs or stir-fry. To keep your bacon fat, allow it to cool slightly and strain it into a glass jar. Store the bacon fat in the fridge. It will solidify as it cools, but simply reheat what you need later. For more on storing bacon fat, check out our article, How Long Does Bacon Grease Last?
How To Properly Store Bacon
We actually have an entire article dedicated to properly storing bacon, so if you want all the best tips and tricks for keeping your bacon as crispy and fresh as possible, go check it out!
But, for your convenience, here’s the condensed version.
Once your bacon has been cooked or if you simply have some leftovers, there is virtually only one short-term storage method and one long-term method.
Just keep in mind that neither will keep your bacon entirely crispy, however you can extend its shelf life.
To store some leftover bacon for a couple of days, you absolutely have to keep it inside the refrigerator.
Place the leftover bacon inside an air-tight container and make sure it is properly sealed. You can stack the bacon on top of each other, as it will still become less crispy regardless.
You can keep your cooked bacon inside the refrigerator for about 2-3 days.
A long-term storage method you can try is freezing the cooked bacon. The biggest problem with this method is that your cooked bacon pieces will become stuck to each other (when they freeze together) and be a nightmare to separate.
But of course, we also have a solution for that! Once your bacon pieces have been cooked, allow them to cool completely. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Place the sheet inside the freezer and allow the bacon to flash-freeze for about 2-3 hours. You can cover the sheet with some plastic wrap just to protect the bacon from freezer burn and foreign odors.
Once the bacon has frozen you can then transfer the pieces into one container. Because they were frozen individually, they will not stick to each other. This means you can remove only the amount you need instead of reheating the entire batch.
Make sure that the container is properly sealed before placing it in the freezer. Your frozen cooked bacon will keep in the freezer for up to three months, however, we would recommend using it within a month.
How To Keep Bacon Warm and Crispy
There are a few ways you can keep your bacon warm and crispy without having to reheat it. This is mainly if you are serving some bacon buffet-style, or if you are having a large number of guests over. The easiest method to use is the oven.
Keeping Bacon Warm In An Oven
- Set the temperature to 200°F (90°C). You don’t want to continue cooking the bacon – you only want to keep it warm.
- Place a wire rack or cooling rack over a baking sheet. Arrange the cooked bacon pieces in a single layer on top of the baking sheet.
- Place the entire rack in the middle of the oven. Use a wooden spoon or folded towel to prop the oven door open about 1-2 inches. This will allow the bacon to retain its moisture while still keeping it warm and crispy.
Your bacon will keep warm for about 2 hours before it starts becoming too dry.
Alternative Ways to Keep Bacon Warm
You can also use a slow cooker to help keep your bacon crispy. Simply place the warm bacon in the slow cooker and set it to the lowest possible setting.
Another way you can keep bacon crispy is by leaving it inside your pan. Keep the heat at its absolute lowest and keep the pan covered with a lid or a sheet of foil.
How Long Does It Take To Make Crispy Bacon?
To make crispy bacon in a pan is much quicker compared to making crispy bacon in an oven. In a cast-iron pan, it will take less than 10 minutes per batch. The more fat there is, the longer it will take, as you want the fat to fully render.
In a hot oven, bacon will take roughly 18-20 minutes to become evenly crispy. This time will vary depending on how crispy you want your bacon pieces to be.
Can You Cook Crispy Bacon On A Waffle Iron?
We have been hearing rumors for a few months now so we thought we’d try it out ourselves.
What we can say is that you can definitely cook bacon and get it crispy using a waffle iron. Once preheated, your bacon will take only about 8 minutes to become completely cooked and crispy.
It is a relatively quick method and it does cook the pieces from all sides. Our biggest issue with this method is that you cannot cook large slices of bacon and you can only work in very small batches at a time.
Is Crispy Bacon Healthier?
Technically, you are rendering out the fat so the piece will have a lower fat content.
However, we don’t necessarily believe that this will make it healthier. The piece will still be coated in bacon grease and the difference won’t be as drastic.
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