The Sheet Pan Hack That Prevents Your Bacon From Curling

Bacon is a treat no matter how it's prepared, but if you're after structural integrity in a sandwich, you need flat bacon. When prepping large quantities of bacon and aiming to store it efficiently, flat bacon is also essential. Everyone has their own bacon preferences regarding appearance, taste, and texture, but if you want to make the crispiest bacon that's uniformly shaped — and as flat as a board — you're going to want to try this sheet pan hack. Trust us.

Cooking bacon on a sheet pan already minimizes curling compared to frying it in a skillet on the stove, but this method ensures it cooks up even flatter. Simply lay strips of bacon in a single, even layer on a sheet pan. Then, place another sheet pan on top so that the bacon strips are sandwiched directly beneath the bottom of the second pan. Then, slide the sheet pans into a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven and cook for 15-20 mins, depending on the thickness of the bacon and your desired doneness. This hack not only guarantees perfectly flat strips of bacon, but also ensures they are evenly cooked.

Line your sheet pans to make cleaning a cinch

Bacon contains a lot of fat, and a significant amount of that fat renders out during the cooking process. This means that no matter how you cook bacon, it can create quite a greasy mess. While oven cooking bacon does prevent the splattering that occurs in a skillet, it can still lead to baked-on grease that is difficult to clean. Also, bacon may stick to a regular metal sheet pan.

To simplify clean-up — and to ensure that the bacon doesn't stick after cooking — it's best to line both of your sheet pans. Aluminum foil is a convenient choice — line the base sheet pan as usual, and then use another piece to cover the bottom of the top sheet pan that you're placing over the bacon. Alternatively, you can use parchment paper or silicone baking mats to sandwich the bacon.

If you're planning to enjoy your bacon for breakfast and want to indulge in a truly decadent meal, consider saving the bacon fat. You can use it to fry mushrooms or eggs, complementing your flat bacon slices beautifully.

How to use flat bacon

Extra flat and crispy bacon is excellent for a classic BLT, a grilled cheese, or a hearty breakfast sandwich. It's also perfect for sweet and savory treats, such as chocolate-dipped confections. When garnishing chocolate-dipped bacon, consider adding flaky sea salt, spiced walnuts, or a caramel drizzle. This method of preparing bacon is ideal for occasions where presentation matters, like a fancy brunch, an impressive burger, or a beautifully adorned quiche or frittata.

Even when presentation isn't a top concern, extra-crispy bacon enthusiasts should try this hack. For the ultimate crispness, a flour dredge could be beneficial. When cut or crumbled, this flat bacon ensures you avoid chewy or overly fatty bits, making it a fantastic topping for rich dishes like loaded baked potatoes, cheese fries, creamy Cobb salads, or indulgent mac and cheese. If your preference leans towards crispy rather than chewy bacon, flat bacon is the way to go.