Read this before cooking bacon in the oven

If you've ever thought of making bacon in the oven, we have two words for you: Do it. Though the less common way to prepare everyone's breakfast meat, it really is the best way. The perfectionists at Cooks Illustrated tried every cooking method, including pan-frying and microwaving in their quest for the best bacon, and they found out that the oven is the best tool for the task. One reason: On the stovetop, it's really easy to overcook your bacon to tasteless, dry, crumbling sadness. Pan-frying, especially if you're cooking at a higher temperature, can take your bacon from just right to overdone and even burned in just a couple of minutes. 

Another advantage to oven-baking is less splatter, which means you can say goodbye to those unpleasant little burns and all that grease on and around your stove or cooktop. Oven cooking also reduces bacon shrinkage, and, if you're cooking up the whole package, is much faster than cooking multiple batches in your frying pan, according to Housewife How-Tos. Plus, as The Kitchn points out, oven cooking requires no flipping or monitoring — just set the timer and go about your business.

Oven-frying is easy and nearly fool-proof

Both the Cooks Illustrated editors and Housewife How-Tos advise using a rimmed baking sheet to contain the rendered fat and prevent a greasy and dangerous mess in your oven. Cooks Illustrated suggests cooking the bacon in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for nine to 10 minutes for medium-well bacon and 11 to 12 minutes if you like it crispy. Placing the bacon on a wire rack placed on top of the baking sheet can result in even crispier bacon, faster (via The Kitchn). Housewife How-Tos contributor Katie Berry suggests a slightly different method: Put the sheet of bacon on the middle rack of a cold oven (this cooks the bacon more slowly, resulting in less curling), then set it for 425 degrees and let it cook for 15 before checking on it. Very thick bacon will take longer.

How do you know when it's done? Perfectly cooked bacon is golden brown to brick red. The browner it gets, the drier it becomes. Using the oven method produced this perfect color. Cooks Illustrated says, "The texture was more like a seared piece of meat than a brittle cracker...and all of the flavors were just as bright and obvious as when pan-cooked." A few additional tips include: (1) Lining your cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper makes for easier cleanup, (2) placing the strips on a paper towel to absorb excess grease, and (3) cooking two sheets at a time if the bacon doesn't fit on just one. Rotate the sheets halfway through cooking.