Whether you cook your bacon in a frying pan, a microwave, oven, or even an air fryer is totally up to you, but it pretty much always has to be cooked before eating it, right?
When you toss in an alternative option like turkey bacon, the details can get confusing.
Turkey bacon is designed to be a healthier alternative to traditional bacon, though one would assume that you follow the same rules in order to prepare it.
But is turkey bacon cooked already? Turkey bacon has not been pre-cooked, but some varieties have been smoked or cured. Cured turkey bacon can be eaten on its own, but it’s always safest to cook it first.
In this guide, we’ll discuss whether turkey bacon has technically already been cooked and whether or not you can eat it raw or if it requires additional cooking in order to enjoy. It’s a pretty unique product, so there is a lot to uncover here.
Is Turkey Bacon Pre-Cooked?
How much do you know about turkey bacon as a product? Where traditional bacon might be cured, it is not usually cured enough to eat raw and still needs to be cooked to be consumed.
Turkey bacon is meant to be an alternative to pork, with less fat in it. This meat product is made of chopped and smoked turkey meat that has been formed into thin strips to resemble bacon.
Most of the time, turkey bacon is cured before it ever goes out to the shelf at a store. It might also be smoked. You will need to check the packaging to be sure, but this is the majority for turkey bacon.
While traditional bacon needs to be cooked and usually has a pretty high grease content, turkey bacon is almost the opposite.
Turkey bacon will not produce a heavy grease content, so if that is something you’re looking for; you will need to revert to regular bacon.
Turkey bacon is almost more comparable to lunch meat. When you buy turkey lunch meat, you are buying meat that has been smoked and cured and cut into lunch meat slices.
It is almost the same for turkey bacon except that it has been formed into strips instead to resemble bacon.
Turkey bacon is cooked and re-formed before it is packaged and sold. It looks like real bacon but it is fully cured and typically smoked.
Can You Eat Turkey Bacon without Frying It?
If you are just not in the mood to fry up your turkey bacon, you don’t have to. Again, always double check the packaging to be sure it really is cured, but there’s a 99% chance it is cured and the chances are pretty high that it was smoked as well.
Those processes actually “cooked” the bacon so that you don’t have to worry about it if you don’t want to. You can eat cured turkey bacon without frying it.
Although, for most people, that is really not an appealing thought. The texture and coldness of uncooked turkey bacon is largely unappealing.
How To Cook Turkey Bacon
If you do want to cook your turkey bacon, there are a lot of different ways to do so. A lot of people really like the air fryer because it’s simple and convenient but also because you don’t have to battle as much grease in the process.
You can fry it on the stove, cook it in the microwave, cook it in the air fryer, or even cook it in the oven. It’s really up to you.
How To Cook Turkey Bacon On The Stove
The stove tends to be the most common way of preparing any kind of bacon, be it pork or turkey. Here’s the best way to do it:
- Heat a skillet on medium heat on the stove.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and allow that to heat. You can skip this step, but it helps to crisp up the bacon more.
- When the oil is heated, place your strips of turkey bacon into the skillet and allow it to cook.
- Flip the bacon strips every 2-3 minutes until they are browned and crisp. Total cook time will be about 8-10 minutes.
- Once cooked, move the bacon strips to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess grease.
- Serve and enjoy!
How To Cook Turkey Bacon In The Oven
If you prefer the oven, try these steps for cooking turkey bacon in the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. We prefer parchment paper in this case.
- Arrange the turkey bacon on the pan in a single layer. If some edges overlap, this will be fine.
- Place turkey bacon in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Flip the bacon over and return it to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. How long will depend on how crispy you like your bacon.
How To Cook Turkey Bacon In An Air Fryer
If you’re interested in testing the air fryer, here are some simple instructions for you to try!
- If the strips will not fit in your air fryer, cut them in half.
- Place the turkey bacon pieces in a single layer on the tray or in the basket of the air fryer.
- Allow the bacon to cook in your air fryer for about 5 minutes. We recommend 360°F, but you may need to play around with the temperature in your air fryer.
- Flip the bacon over and cook it for an additional 5 minutes.
How To Cook Turkey Bacon In The Microwave
Finally, check out these microwave instructions.
- Cook only a small amount at one time.
- Place up to 4 strips of bacon onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Be sure the bacon strips are in a single layer.
- Microwave on high for 2 minutes
- If needed, turn the bacon and cook another minute.
Cooking times may vary here because not all microwaves are created equally. If you’ve got some extra time, we have a ton of tips for you in our article on how to cook turkey bacon in the microwave for the absolute best results.
The Benefits Of Turkey Bacon
There are some benefits associated with turkey bacon. A lot of people have turned to turkey bacon simply because it’s a healthier option than the alternative.
It is less greasy, has a lower fat content, and even has fewer calories than regular bacon does. This combination leads those looking for healthy alternatives straight to turkey bacon.
In addition, turkey bacon can be a good alternative for people who do not eat pork or need a pork alternative. There are many reasons for this, including religious preferences, so turkey bacon can come in handy here as well.
Turkey bacon is easy to cook and work with and it can even be uncooked, if it is cured.
When you compare it to regular bacon, it won’t have the same amount of grease and it probably also will not get as crisp.
We hope that you find this guide to turkey bacon to be a valuable resource. The gist is that turkey bacon is cured typically before you buy it.
In this case, you don’t necessarily have to cook it, but it will taste better if you do. Cooking is also always the safer option, though.
We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional details as well.
How Can You Tell When Turkey Bacon Is Fully Cooked?
With a lot of meat cooking, you can simply test the internal temperature to know if it is cooked to a safe level. Turkey bacon does not necessarily require cooking.
A good rule of thumb to know when your turkey bacon is done is when it is browned in color and crisping around the edges.
Is Turkey Bacon Better Than Regular Bacon?
As far as health properties go, turkey bacon is considered to be a healthier option.
If you are used to regular bacon, you will find that it has less grease and also will never have quite the same crispy texture as regular bacon. It does have fewer calories, lower fat, and less grease content.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Turkey Bacon?
Yes, turkey bacon should be refrigerated both before and after cooking. You can typically store it in the fridge for up to 5 days after cooking and you can freeze it as well.
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