This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Bacon: the agony and the ecstasy. So delicious, so delicious, and yet so very messy to make. Even if you manage to pan-fry a batch without showering the stovetop with grease, you're still left with a pool of molten, gelatinous bacon fat that requires a careful procedure to dispose of. (And, yes, I've tried FryAway, a product that claims to solidify bacon grease for easy disposal, but the results were less than amazing.)
There's also the smell to negotiate. While the proliferation of bacon in the air is tantalizing while you're cooking and even eating it, there's something about it lingering for hours after that doesn't hit quite the same way.
Fortunately, there's a quick and easy way to crisp up that Sunday morning star without the mess. Cooking bacon in the oven requires virtually no cleanup and takes even less time using a skillet. And while oven bacon still permeates the air, not nearly as intensely or for as long.
It is, my hungry friends, the very best way to make bacon. (You can also check out how to stop food from exploding in the microwave, and 10 foods you should never cook in your Instant Pot.)
How to cook perfect bacon in the oven every time
Here are my tips for cooking perfectly crisp bacon in the oven. Spoiler alert: There aren't many steps, and none of them take very long.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. I would avoid air fryer mode if your oven has it since the fast-moving air is more likely to blow grease around the inside. We're aiming for a mess-free scenario.
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil edges up the sides of the tray so the grease doesn't spill over the sides and onto the tray.
Arrange bacon on the tray. They shouldn't overlap but it's fine if the slices are touching since they'll shrink down significantly while cooking. If you prefer super crispy bacon with a bit less grease, you can arrange the slices on a wire rack above the tray for the fat to drip down below.
Cook for eight to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep one eye on the bacon as some ovens run hotter than others. If you like your bacon crispy and well done, give it another few minutes. Remember, bacon does a lot of its crisping after it comes out and cools.
Drain the bacon on a sheet or two of paper towels. After a few minutes, you're ready to serve up those crispy strips with eggs, in a BLT or crumbled to fancy up boxed mac and cheese.
The best part? After cooking bacon in the oven, all you're left with after is a small ball of foil to be heaved effortlessly into the trash.
The best ovens for cooking bacon
When cooking bacon in the oven, I love using a smaller countertop convection model. A large oven works just as well but takes longer to preheat and, dang it, we want bacon now.
The Ninja Double Oven and Breville's Smart Oven Air are two multifunction ovens that work well. Both are large enough that bacon grease won't splatter on the ceiling, but are small and powerful enough to preheat quickly and cook bacon to a crisp in under 10 minutes. (We've also got tips for how to clean your cast iron skillet and how to make boxed mac and cheese taste so much better.)
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