Can You Put Raw Bacon in Pasta Bake? The Ultimate Guide

Pasta bakes are a delicious, convenient and comforting meal for the whole family. The creamy, cheesy pasta combined with crispy bacon is hard to resist! But can you put raw bacon in pasta bake? The short answer is yes you absolutely can. However, there are some tips and tricks to get the best results when adding raw bacon to your pasta bake.

Why Put Bacon in Pasta Bake?

There are several reasons why bacon makes pasta bake even better

  • Flavor – The smoky, salty, savory flavor of bacon complements the creamy pasta and cheese perfectly Just a small amount adds a big punch of flavor

  • Texture – Crispy, crunchy bacon bits throughout the pasta bake add great texture contrast to the soft, creamy pasta and sauce.

  • Fat – The fat from the bacon bastes the pasta as it cooks, keeping it moist and preventing it from drying out in the oven.

  • Easy Protein – Bacon is an effortless way to increase the protein content of the dish.

  • Come Together – Bacon brings all the elements of pasta bake together into one cohesive, delicious bite.

Things to Consider When Adding Raw Bacon

While you can absolutely put raw bacon in pasta bake, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Fat Content – Raw bacon will release a lot of fat as it cooks. Be sure to drain excess fat during cooking to prevent your pasta bake from being greasy.

  • Shrinkage – Raw bacon shrinks significantly when cooked. Use about 1.5 times the amount of raw bacon you want in the final dish.

  • Cook Time – Raw bacon takes longer to cook than pre-cooked bacon. Be sure to bake your pasta dish long enough for the bacon to fully cook through and get crispy.

  • Chopped vs Whole – Chopped or diced bacon will cook more evenly compared to strips. Aim for smaller pieces no more than 1/2 inch thick.

  • Placement – Nestle chopped raw bacon down into the pasta bake so it’s surrounded by the sauce as it cooks. This prevents overbrowning.

How to Cook Raw Bacon for Pasta Bake

The easiest way to prepare raw bacon for pasta bake is to pre-cook it before adding it to the dish. Here are two simple methods:


  • Chop bacon into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces.
  • Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F, turning occasionally, until crispy, 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels; cool slightly.
  • Add to pasta bake as desired.

Pan Fry

  • Chop bacon into small pieces.
  • Fry in a skillet over medium heat until crispy.
  • Drain bacon on paper towels.
  • Let cool slightly before adding to pasta bake.

Pre-cooking yields crispy, evenly cooked bacon ready to mix into pasta. Baking raw bacon right in the pasta requires a longer bake time and risks uneven cooking.

Step-By-Step Recipe

This simple, creamy bacon pasta bake recipe shows how to add raw bacon for perfect results:


  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain; set aside.
  3. While water boils, bake chopped bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Drain; cool slightly.
  4. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion 3 minutes until soft. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more.
  5. Whisk in flour; cook 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheeses and cooked pasta. Mix in pre-cooked bacon pieces.
  7. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with extra mozzarella.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  9. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.

Pre-cooking the bacon ensures it will be perfectly crispy in the finished pasta bake. Adjust bake times as needed based on the size of your baking dish.

Pasta Bake Ideas with Bacon

While traditional cheese-and-tomato pasta bakes are always delicious, consider these creative options:

  • Carbonara – Toss pasta with crispy bacon, peas, and alfredo sauce before baking with Parmesan.

  • Ranch – Mix bacon with Ranch-dressed pasta, chicken, and cheddar cheese for a skillet version.

  • Spinach & Artichoke – Sauteed spinach, artichokes, bacon, and Gruyere cheese makes a cozy bake.

  • Chicken Alfredo – Chicken, broccoli, bacon, and zesty Alfredo is a hearty, satisfying casserole.

  • BLT – Toss bacon and pasta with mayo, Cheddar, tomato, and lettuce for a fun twist.

  • Taco – Spiced ground beef, salsa, cheese, and sour cream turns pasta and bacon Tex-Mex.

Tips for the Best Pasta Bake with Bacon

  • Use a hearty pasta shape like rigatoni, rotini, or cavatappi that will hold the sauce. Avoid smooth pastas like spaghetti.

  • Undercook the pasta by 2-3 minutes so it doesn’t get mushy when baked.

  • Toss pasta with a bit of sauce to evenly coat before transferring to the baking dish.

  • Use a combination of cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella for maximum flavor.

  • Mix in pre-cooked vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or sun-dried tomatoes.

  • Top with toasted breadcrumbs or crushed chips before baking for extra crunch.

  • Let the assembled pasta bake rest 15 minutes before baking so the sauce absorbs into the pasta.

  • Bake until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is bubbling throughout.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you bake pasta with raw bacon?

Aim for at least 30-40 minutes to fully cook raw bacon mixed into a pasta bake, checking frequently until the bacon is cooked through and crispy.

Should you parcook bacon for pasta?

Yes, it’s best to parcook chopped bacon before adding it to pasta bake for evenly crispy results. Bake or pan fry it just until starting to crisp but still pliable.

Is it OK to mix uncooked bacon into pasta?

You can mix raw bacon into unbaked pasta, but it runs the risk of uneven cooking. Pre-cooking guarantees crispy bacon.

Can you put pasta and sauce and raw bacon in the oven?

Absolutely! Assemble your pasta, sauce, and raw bacon pieces in a baking dish, top with cheese, and bake until bubbly. Just be sure to bake long enough to fully cook the bacon.

How long does pasta bake last in the fridge?

A fully cooked pasta bake will last 3-4 days refrigerated. Reheat individual portions until warmed through before serving.

Enjoy the Cheesy, Bacon-y Comfort

Pasta bake with crispy, savory bacon mixed throughout is the ultimate easy, hearty comfort food. Now that you know you can safely add raw bacon to pasta bake, you can enjoy this delicious meal any night of the week. Pre-cook the bacon, mix up a creamy sauce, and assemble for a crowd-pleasing casserole. Just wait until that first bite of pasta, cheese, and bacon – yum!

Chicken Bacon Pasta Bake – a reader and family favourite!

Leave a Comment