I was an adult before I knew it was possible to successfully cook bacon any other way than in the microwave. It’s how my mom always did it. When dad did it on the stove, it burned to a crisp.
That’s because dad’s bacon cooking technique was off—he was using high heat, and bacon in a skillet likes it low and slow. Microwave bacon, on the other hand, requires no technique outside of pressing buttons. For the cooking-impaired, it’s foolproof.
Does Microwaving Bacon Work?
While the microwave might not be the absolute very best way to cook bacon (that honor might go to bacon in the oven), it has plenty of assets going for it.
- Speed. It’s quick.
- No special equipment needed, just a microwave-safe plate and paper towels.
- Easy cleanup. No greasy spatters on the stove! The paper towels absorb the bacon grease. When you are done, simply throw the paper towels away.
- Small batch size. Need just a few slices with breakfast, or to crumble over a salad? This is how to do it.
The Best Bacon for Microwaving
The results you get depend on the bacon you buy. Water, fat, and sugar content vary from brand to brand. We microwaved six different brands of bacon, from brand name to discount, and learned a few things.
- Thick-cut bacon does not get as crisp. “I couldn’t get the thick bacon as crispy; it became more chewy than crisp,” noted recipe developer Jasmine Smith of the Simply Recipes test kitchen. If you don’t mind your bacon this way, this won’t be a problem.
- Cheap bacon may not get as crisp, either. This might be the case when using any method to cook really cheap bacon, though. “Cheaper bacon is often thinner and fattier than the higher quality, more expensive varieties,” says Jasmine. “Something to keep in mind when selecting bacon for this recipe—both work; it just depends on your texture preference.”
In short, if you like crispy bacon, mid-price bacon that’s neither too thick nor too thin is the best choice for microwaving.
How Long to Microwave Bacon
Jasmine found that for regular bacon, a total of 4 minutes did the trick. Flipping halfway through helped the bacon cook more evenly.
For thick-cut bacon, 5 minutes worked better, with a flip at the halfway mark.
We tested our bacon in 1000 and 1200-watt microwaves and the timing was the same in both. However, you may need to add a little more time if your microwave is lower wattage.
Tips and Tricks
- Tester Marianne Williams recommends choosing a plate that’s larger than your paper towels. “Different brands of bacon can be longer than others too, so pick a microwavable plate that can fit them so that the fat doesn’t drip off of the plate.”
- Don’t like wasting paper towels? My mom uses many sheets of newspaper instead. It’s not as absorbent, so if you go this route, be especially careful when removing the plate from the microwave.
Crumble-Ready Recipes for Cooked Bacon
- Cobb Salad
- Ultimate Club Sandwich
- Grilled Cheese BLT
- Bacon and Gruyère Egg Bites
- Loaded Baked Potatoes
Put the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate:
Line a microwave-safe plate with 2 layers of paper towels. Place the bacon on top, without overlapping. Cover with another 2 layers of paper towels.
Microwave the bacon:
Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes for regular bacon or 2 minutes 30 seconds for thick-cut bacon.
Flip the bacon:
Peel back the top layer of paper towels and use tongs to flip the bacon strips. Microwave another 2 minutes for regular and 2 minutes 30 seconds for thick-cut, until the bacon is deep golden-brown and crispy.
Remove the bacon from the paper towels, being mindful of hot grease, and place on a clean plate. Serve.
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