There’s just no substitute for bacon, but it can be a hassle to cook it on the stovetop. You must watch the pan constantly, and it usually leaves a layer of bacon fat all over your kitchen. Hot grease can also pop up unexpectedly and burn you.
You may have heard recommendations to cook bacon in the oven, which works perfectly for cooking a lot of bacon at once, but what if you only want a few pieces? Well, in these situations, you can always use your toaster oven!
Below are four easy steps for cooking bacon in a toaster oven, and why it might be better to go the toaster oven route than the traditional stovetop method.
How to Cook Bacon in a Toaster Oven
Following this method should give you perfect bacon from the toaster oven every time:
- Choose an oven-safe pan that fits into your toaster oven. You can use a non-stick liner to make clean-up easier if you like (see the tips below). Make sure your pan has high enough edges to keep grease from dripping off the sides.
- Lay the bacon out in a single layer on the pan. Do not let any pieces overlap. You may need to cut the bacon to fit, depending on the size of the pan.
- Set the toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (do not pre-heat) and bake to your preferred degree of crispiness. For most ovens, it should take about 8-15 minutes.
- Drain your bacon slices on a paper towel.
This method of cooking bacon is easy, hands-off, and less messy than frying it in a skillet. You should get great results just from following these steps, but for expert-level bacon cooking, check out the tips below as well.
Bacon Cooking Tips (for Toaster Ovens)
- For easier clean-up, you might want to line your baking pan with a silicone baking mat, non-stick aluminum foil, or parchment paper.
- A toaster oven baking rack allows fat to drip off into the pan below, so it will result in bacon that’s a bit less greasy than when it is cooked directly on the pan.
- Watch carefully during the last few minutes of cooking, especially if it’s your first time cooking bacon in your toaster oven. Times can vary depending on the oven and the thickness of the bacon.
- Most recipes recommend a 400-degree oven, but this works at higher and lower temperatures too (within reason). Just adjust your cooking time accordingly, if needed.
- If you want to freeze a big batch of cooked bacon, use your regular oven, and take it out just a couple of minutes before it is done. When you are ready to use your frozen bacon, give it a few minutes in a toaster oven using this same method. A little preparation will provide you with even faster access to bacon for future meals.
- You can save the bacon fat left in the pan to use for cooking. Pour it into a jar (use a coffee filter to catch solids if you prefer) and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. It adds great flavor to a variety of recipes.
For further motivation, here’s a short video of some bacon that was just removed from a toaster oven:
Why Should You Cook Bacon in a Toaster Oven?
Using the toaster oven to cook bacon is an excellent cooking method, but why use it over the traditional stovetop or oven? Below are three main reasons why it’s worth using:
1. Bacon Prepared in a Toaster Oven Cooks Better
Bacon that’s cooked in an oven will cook flatter and more evenly than bacon cooked on a stovetop. Flat bacon is ideal for use in sandwiches or other recipes where you want to stack it with other ingredients.
Some cooks even recommend cooking bacon pressed between two baking sheets for a flatter result, but we found that the open pan in the toaster oven gave us great results for sandwiches.
Using a toaster oven, you can also avoid the uneven cooking that often occurs with frying pans. Uneven cooking can happen because areas of the meat that are in contact with the pan will cook faster, even to the point of burning, while areas that are not touching the pan or the grease will cook much slower.
In a pan, the fatty areas of bacon tend to curl up and away from the heat, which makes it hard to get an even result. In a toaster oven, the temperature is consistent all around the bacon. You will get less curling and won’t have to worry about some parts of the bacon cooking less quickly than other parts.
2. Bacon Cooked in a Toaster Oven is Easier to Clean
Usually, after you’ve cooked up a pan full of bacon on the stovetop, you have to contend with cleaning a greasy skillet. Even if you drain the fat to use for cooking, there is usually a good amount left coating the pan, and it is a headache to clean up.
You can’t pour it down the drain or throw it in the garbage when the fat is still hot. Grease splatters can get all over your range, floor, and even on your skin and clothes. That’s part of the reason the smell lingers so long after cooking.
Oven cooking avoids this problem since you reduce the amount of grease spatter (usually it doesn’t spatter at all because it heats up gradually), and it’s easy to collect the fat in your baking pan.
If you want the most effortless clean-up, cook your bacon on aluminum foil or parchment paper. Make sure the lining fully covers the sides of your pan.
Once the bacon grease is cool enough, you can simply throw away the liner, fat and all. Your pan will probably be completely clean, although it’s still recommended to give it a quick wash along with the rest of your dishes.
3. Bacon Cooked in a Toaster Oven is Easier Overall
There are several compelling reasons you would choose to cook bacon in a toaster oven over a frying pan. First off, you don’t need to supervise bacon when it’s cooking in an oven—and that applies to both a conventional oven and a toaster oven.
Cooking bacon in a frying pan requires watching to make sure it doesn’t burn and turning at least once. But after you slide your tray of bacon in the toaster oven, you can set a timer and not worry about it for several minutes. You can use that time to prepare the rest of your meal or relax.
Also, if you’re cooking several other dishes at the same time, using the toaster oven frees up a burner or your oven for other uses. Making bacon in a toaster oven is an efficient way to multitask when you’re cooking.
Toaster Oven or Conventional Oven?
If you are convinced that ovens are the key to cooking perfect bacon, you might be wondering what advantage a toaster oven has over a regular oven.
There are a couple of times when the toaster oven definitely has the edge. If you only want a few pieces of bacon—four to six would be a typical capacity—a toaster oven works best.
A conventional oven is obviously going to work best when you’re cooking for a crowd or want to meal prep a large amount of bacon. Conventional and toaster ovens take about the same amount of time since neither one needs pre-heating.
However, if you turn on your regular oven, it will heat up your kitchen much more than a toaster oven will. On a hot day, the toaster oven is an ideal choice. Either type of oven should give you similar results, so it just depends on your needs for a particular meal.
Cooking bacon in a toaster oven is easier, cleaner, and overall better than using a frying pan, and more energy-efficient than a full-size oven. This method takes most of the annoyances out of bacon preparation and results in evenly cooked, flat bacon that can be used in any recipe. Haven’t done it yet? Give it a try!
And if you like the idea of using a toaster oven to simplify cooking, then you might also like our article about baking cookies in a toaster oven.