Bacon is one of those rock star foods that can be used in a wide variety of different ways. It can be crumbled into salads or over soups, wrapped around things like shrimp and jalapeños, used as a topping for your favorite burger, or just eaten in all its delicious bacon glory. But the truth is that it’s also is one of the more messy foods to cook. Between splattering oil on the stovetop and a long wait in the oven, sometimes we just need a quicker, neater way to bacon happiness!
Enter microwaved bacon. This super easy, low-mess method comes with a whole lot of pros that can make microwaving bacon a clutch technique when dinner is running late or when you just can’t wait much longer to satisfy that bacon craving. With our two simple techniques, you’ll soon become a pro at transforming raw bacon into perfectly crisp slices, with just a microwave and a few readily available kitchen supplies.
Get more cooking techniques and tips from Mikayla on her blog The Flour Handprint.
The tools you need to microwave bacon
This really couldn’t be easier, seriously! To microwave bacon, all you need is bacon and paper towels. Yes, that’s truly all you need. Of course, to save your microwave the mess, we also recommend using a microwave-safe plate to catch any grease that escapes the paper towels.
If you’re interested in avoiding paper products, you can swap them out for a bowl, but we’ll cover the paper towel and plate method first. We’ll have some more information on how the paper towel-free bowl method might work for you in a minute.
Place bacon in a single layer on a paper towel lined plate
For this step, you’ll put down a layer of paper towels, followed by the bacon. Sounds easy enough, right? Probably because it is. Just choose a big microwave-safe plate (as big as you can that still fits in your microwave) and line it with a few paper towels. Two is normally just about right to soak up most of the grease under the bacon, though you may want to add more if you have thinner paper towels.
Next, lay the bacon flat on top of the paper towels. It’s okay if the bacon pieces touch slightly, but parts of the bacon that overlap will cook unevenly. This will leave you with floppy raw bits, so take care that the slices don’t majorly overlap one another. And since it’s not safe to eat bacon raw, ever, keep them in a single layer. If you’re cooking more than a few pieces, you’ll have to work in batches. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry, as this process goes by fairly quickly.
Cover and microwave
Now, place another paper towel over the top of the bacon slices and pop the plate in the microwave. Cook on high, starting at 30 seconds per piece. For four pieces, we began with 2 minutes of cook time. For us, that wasn’t quite enough to get them up to a properly crisp texture. However, cook times can be highly variable based on your microwave’s model and age, so start with that 30 seconds per piece metric and move forward from there as necessary.
If your bacon isn’t quite crisp enough after that first round, cook it again at 30-second intervals, checking in between each round until the pieces have gotten crisp. For thick-cut bacon, you will almost certainly need to add in extra time to ensure that the bacon is fully cooked.
Discard the paper towels and enjoy!
Once the bacon is cooked how you like it, all that’s left is to eat it. Okay, so there’s the small matter of getting rid of the paper towels. But since they catch so much of the grease, it’s a quick drop into the garbage for them and, in the interests of keeping things neat, you might as well put the plate into the dishwasher while you’re at it. Clean up: done.
Of course, if you have more bacon slices to cook up, just line the plate with new paper towels and begin the process again.
How to microwave bacon without paper towels
Sometimes it feels a bit wasteful to use handfuls of paper towels for microwaving bacon, especially if you’re doing more than one batch. In that case, the solution is a microwave-safe bowl. Instead of paper towels, place a bowl upside down on top of the plate. All the grease from the bacon will drip down the side of the bowl and collect on the plate, so make sure that the diameter of the bowl is at least an inch smaller than the edge of the plate.
Drape the bacon over the bowl in a single layer and microwave the exact same way as the previous method — 30 seconds to 1 minute per piece.
Be careful of hot grease when removing the bowl
Despite laying the raw pieces over a bowl, they’ll cook up surprisingly flat, making this a really great method for applications like sandwiches — fancy a BLT, anyone? But please do remember that instead of the grease being soaked up, it’ll pool around and under the bowl on the plate. This means that you have to remove it carefully from the microwave to ensure you don’t burn your hands with hot grease.
Since all that grease is pure bacon goodness, this is a great method to use if you like to save bacon grease for cooking. And if you’d rather not keep it around, this is how you should get rid of hot grease.
Crisp, crumbly bacon is just a few minutes away
We can’t tell you that there’s not a textural difference between stovetop, oven, and microwaved bacon. Different heat applications change the way all that fat gets rendered out and so affects the final texture of the bacon. For microwaved bacon, if it’s less than crisp, it may be a bit chewy. That said, the bacon often crisps up as it cools. However, if you discover it’s not quite done to your liking, you can simply pop it back into the microwave for another 30 seconds until it’s reached the right texture for you.
Once you’ve cooked it thoroughly though, you’ll have bacon ready to crumble into any number of things. Consider adding it to an eggy breakfast sandwich, a broccoli salad, or, you know, just munch on the bacon by itself!