How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
Cooking bacon in the oven is a smart move for several reasons: It cuts down on mess (aka, no grease splatters on your stovetop), and also allows you to crisp up more strips than you could typically fit in a frying pan. You can easily pull it off with a wire baking rack, aluminum foil, and a rimmed baking sheet—simply set the rack within a foil-lined baking sheet, place the bacon strips on top of the rack, ensuring none of them are dangling over the edge, and let the oven do its magic. The strips will cook evenly, and all of the grease will be caught in the foil below. Ta-da, you've got bacon, and cleanup is a cinch, too.
However, if you don't have a wire rack, worry not—oven-cooked bacon is still within reach thanks to a handy trick from our Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple. In a throwback episode of Mad Genius, he demonstrates how to turn a sheet of aluminum foil into a DIY rack. Start by grabbing a large sheet of foil, longer than the length of your baking sheet. Starting with one of the short ends of the sheet, fold that end over about half an inch. Then, flip the sheet over, grab that same end, and fold it over half an inch. Keep folding the foil accordion-style until you reach the end and are left with a thin folded strip of foil. Then, unfold the strip—you should end up with a ridged foil rack that can nestle neatly inside your baking sheet.
To cook the bacon, place that ridged foil on a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange the bacon strips perpendicular to the ridges. (The valleys between the ridges will catch the rendered fat.) Justin cooks the bacon for 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F, until it's nicely browned and crispy. As he points out, another added bonus of this DIY rack is that it's disposable—drain off the rendered bacon fat to save for another use, and then discard the foil once it has cooled.
This foil rack method would be particularly helpful if you're hosting breakfast or brunch, since you can turn out a generous helping of bacon to serve as a side dish, include in omelets, or even offer as part of a build-your-own breakfast sandwich bar, and have minimal cleanup afterwards. You can also make a batch of bacon for topping burgers, making next-level grilled cheeses, or whenever you want to add a salty, savory, crispy element to your meal. You're only a sheet of foil and a baking sheet away.