This Cast Iron Bacon is cooked to crispy, golden brown perfection in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Ready in just 15 minutes, bacon is a versatile ingredient that can be served as a breakfast side dish or crumbled over soups, salads, and more. Learn everything you need to know about how to cook bacon in a cast iron skillet.
Cast iron skillets are the perfect tool for cooking bacon. They distribute heat evenly, resulting in crispy, perfectly cooked bacon every time. Plus, cast iron skillets are versatile and durable, making them a great investment for any home cook.
But the real secret to getting that crispy, flat bacon that doesn't stick to your skillet is all in the technique.
Starting with a cold cast iron skillet and cooking the bacon low and slow produces crispier, more evenly cooked bacon. It also keeps it from curling up and sticking to the skillet, resulting in flat slices without needing a cast iron bacon press.
So, keep reading to learn how to cook bacon in a cast iron skillet and impress your family and friends as you serve up mouthwatering cast iron bacon for breakfast.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Cooked to Perfection- The bacon is rendered low and slow in a cast iron skillet so you can cook it to perfection every time. Whether you prefer your bacon chewy or crispy, this cast iron bacon recipe has you covered.
- Easy- With minimal splattering and guaranteed crispiness, even beginner home cooks can master this easy bacon recipe.
- Ready in 15 Minutes- From start to finish, it only takes 15 minutes to get crispy bacon on your breakfast table.
- Versatile- This simple bacon recipe is perfect not only as a breakfast side dish but can also be used in soups, salads, sandwiches, and more.
Here are some notes on the key ingredients. For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Good-Quality Bacon- When it comes to bacon, quality matters. Look for thick-cut bacon that doesn't contain a lot of sugar or other added ingredients. I typically use uncured bacon because it contains only naturally-occurring nitrates. Applegate Naturals Uncured Sunday Bacon is my favorite.
Cured vs Uncured Bacon
At the grocery store, you may notice certain types of bacon labeled as "uncured." The difference between cured and uncured bacon comes down to the method used to preserve it.
Traditionally, bacon is cured in a mixture of salt, sugar, and nitrates. These ingredients are added to the bacon to help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
On the other hand, uncured bacon is not preserved using the traditional curing process. Instead, it's preserved using salt and celery powder, which only contains naturally-occurring nitrates.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Cast Iron Skillet- A cast iron skillet is an excellent tool for cooking up crispy and delicious bacon. Of course, the larger your skillet, the more bacon you can cook at one time.
- Tongs- The perfect tool for flipping bacon, a good pair of tongs comes in handy for this recipe.
Tips for Buying a Cast Iron Skillet
Many people like to find antique cast iron skillets at thrift stores or antique shops and refinish them at home. Alternatively, you can often find restored cast iron skillets on online marketplaces like Etsy.
If you want to buy new, I recommend Lodge brand products. Lodge cast iron skillets are affordable, high-quality, and made in the United States.
How to Cook Bacon in a Cast Iron Skillet
Here is how to cook bacon in a cast iron skillet.
Step 1: Assemble bacon in cast iron skillet. Start the bacon in a cold cast iron skillet. Add as many strips as you can fit without overlapping too much. Fry the bacon in batches or use multiple skillets, if necessary. You can also cut the bacon strips in half to ensure the entire piece of bacon is able to make contact with the skillet.
Step 2: Cook the bacon. Turn the burner on your stovetop to medium-low. Cook the bacon for 10 minutes, then flip. Allow the bacon to cook for an additional 3 minutes before flipping again. Continue cooking and flipping the bacon until your desired doneness is achieved.
Step 3: Drain the bacon. Transfer the bacon from the skillet to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat. Allow the fat in the skillet to cool slightly before discarding it or transferring it to a container to reserve.
Tips for Success
- Use high-quality bacon. Look for thick-cut, naturally smoked, uncured or dry-cured bacon for the best flavor and texture.
- Start with a cold skillet. Letting the bacon and the skillet heat up together renders out more fat, leading to crispier bacon that won't stick to your cast iron skillet.
- Avoid overcrowding. Each piece of bacon should be able to make contact with the skillet. Overlapping the bacon slices will result in parts that are undercooked.
- Cook low and slow. Cooking the bacon over medium-low melts the fat slowly, which leads to crisper bacon. It also means less splattering.
- Don't overcook the bacon. Bacon can quickly go from perfect to burnt, so make sure you keep an eye on it. It will also continue to crisp up slightly after it's removed from the skillet.
How Do You Clean a Cast Iron Skillet After Cooking Bacon?
If you start your bacon in a well-seasoned, unheated cast iron skillet, cleaning it after cooking the bacon should be relatively easy.
- Pour any excess bacon fat into a storage container to save for other recipes.
- Scrape off any pieces of bacon that are stuck to the skillet using a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Use a paper towel or tea towel to wipe up any remaining grease and pieces of bacon.
- That's it! There's no need to wash the rest of the grease out of the skillet. In fact, that small amount of leftover bacon fat will add to the seasoning of your cast iron skillet, helping to make it non-stick.
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet With Bacon Grease
If you don't want to cook with the leftover bacon grease, you can always use it to season your cast iron skillet.
A "seasoned" skillet is a skillet that has a small amount of fat bonded to the metal, resulting in a naturally non-stick surface. Using leftover bacon grease is an effective, economical, and easy way to season your cast iron skillet.
Here's how to season a cast iron skillet with bacon grease:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pour a small amount of bacon fat into the cast iron skillet. Use a paper towel to spread the fat around, coating the entire surface of the pan in a very thin layer of fat (including the sides, bottom, and handle).
- Place the skillet upside down on the top rack of the oven with a rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any fat drippings.
- Bake the skillet for one hour.
- Turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool completely inside of the oven before removing it.
- Repeat these steps one or two more times for the best results.
How to Cook Bacon Without a Cast Iron Skillet
Don't have a cast iron skillet? I highly recommend investing in one!
But, in the meantime - how do you make bacon without a cast iron skillet?
It's easy! There are a variety of other methods you can use to cook bacon without a cast iron skillet. They include:
- Stainless Steel Skillet- Follow the same instructions outlined in this recipe.
- Non-Stick Skillet- Opt for a Teflon-free non-stick skillet for bacon. Then, follow the instructions outlined in this recipe.
- Oven- Cook bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 400°F for 10-15 minutes.
- Microwave- Place bacon on a paper towel-lined, microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Air Fryer- Cook bacon in an air fryer preheated to 350˚F for 7-10 minutes.
What to Serve With Cast Iron Skillet Bacon
I think a better question is what can't you serve with bacon? Naturally, bacon pairs well with all kinds of breakfast dishes. Some of my favorite breakfast pairings include Southwestern Frittata, Scrambled Eggs on Toast, and Buttermilk Sourdough Pancakes.
Bacon can also take your side dishes to the next level. Try mixing crumbled bacon into some Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, Sautéed Sweet Potatoes, or Roasted Green Beans and Carrots.
How to Use Leftover Bacon Fat
After enjoying all of that deliciously crispy bacon, we can't forget about the bacon fat. Often discarded, bacon fat is liquid gold in the kitchen.
Bacon fat is perfect for sautéing and can be used to replace butter or oil in a lot of your favorite savory recipes. I sometimes use bacon fat to make 4-Ingredient Potato Soup, Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie, and Chipotle Chicken Tacos.
Or use it to enhance the flavor of your favorite vegetable sides. Some of my favorites include Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli, Sautéed Asparagus, Honey-Chipotle Brussels Sprouts, and Air Fryer Fingerling Potatoes.
You can also swap the butter for bacon fat in these Sourdough Tortillas.
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store leftover bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer- Allow the bacon to cool completely before storing it in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container. Freeze leftover cooked bacon for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
- Stovetop- Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add the leftover strips of bacon to the skillet and heat for 1-2 minutes per side.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay strips of bacon out on a parchment or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Heat for 5-7 minutes or until fully warmed through.
- Microwave- Place strips of bacon on a paper towel-lined, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds or until heated through.
- Air Fryer- Lay strips of leftover bacon in an air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 400°F and cook the bacon for 2 minutes or until hot.
Did you know that you can cook bacon up to four days in advance and reheat it just before serving?
If you're considering making bacon ahead of time, my suggestion would be to cook it until it's just about to turn crispy. This way, when you reheat it, you can easily achieve that perfect crispy texture without overcooking it.
It's a great time-saving hack for any breakfast or brunch party!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you start with a well-seasoned, cold pan, you should have no problems with the bacon sticking to your cast iron skillet. However, if your bacon contains a lot of added sugar, you may run into issues with the sugar burning and sticking to the skillet.
No, a cast iron skillet does not need to be greased before frying bacon. Starting the bacon in a cold skillet and setting it over low heat cooks the bacon in its own fat.
Yes, bacon grease can be used to season cast iron. See the "How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet With Bacon Grease" section above for instructions.
According to the USDA, an open package of bacon will last up to one week in the refrigerator. For longer storage, you can freeze raw bacon for up to 4 months.
Cook turkey bacon following the instructions outlined in this recipe. Keep in mind that turkey bacon typically contains less fat than regular bacon and may cook more quickly.
How to Cook Bacon in a Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 pound good-quality bacon see notes
- Start the bacon in a cold cast iron skillet. Add as many strips as you can fit without overlapping too much. Fry the bacon in batches or use multiple skillets, if necessary. You can also cut the bacon strips in half to ensure the entire piece of bacon is able to make contact with the skillet.
- Turn the burner on your stovetop to medium-low. Cook the bacon for 10 minutes, then flip. Allow the bacon to cook for an additional 3 minutes before flipping again. Continue cooking and flipping the bacon until your desired doneness is achieved.
- Transfer the bacon from the skillet to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat. Allow the fat in the skillet to cool slightly before discarding it or transferring it to a container to reserve.
- What is considered good-quality bacon? Look for thick-cut, naturally smoked, uncured or dry-cured bacon for the best flavor and texture.
- Quick Tip: Bacon can quickly go from perfect to burn, so make sure you keep an eye on it. It also continues to crisp up slightly after it's removed from the skillet.
- Storage: Store leftover cooked bacon in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.