Do You Use Olive Oil to Cook Bacon? The Pros and Cons Explained

Crispy salty bacon is a staple breakfast food for many. While most bacon has enough fat to cook itself, some people still like to add oil to the pan before frying up their morning bacon. But is olive oil the right choice for cooking this pork product?

In this article we’ll examine the pros and cons of using olive oil to cook bacon to help you decide if it’s the best option.

Why Do People Use Oil When Cooking Bacon?

Although most mass-produced bacon contains ample fat, there are some reasons people still choose to use added fats like oil when cooking it:

  • Prevent sticking – If your pan is not well-seasoned or doesn’t have a good non-stick surface, bacon can weld itself to the bottom. Adding oil helps prevent this.

  • Supplement lean bacon – If you use a very lean or low-fat bacon it may not release enough grease to fully self-baste. Added oil makes up for this.

  • Speed cooking – Oil helps distribute heat evenly and can quicken fat rendering. This may reduce overall cook time.

  • Flavor – Some people feel that adding certain oils or fats complements the flavor of bacon.

  • Ease flipping – Oil makes it easier to flip and maneuver the bacon while cooking without it falling apart.

  • Handle high heat – With very high heat cooking methods like deep frying, added oil helps regulate temperatures.

So for some cooks, introducing supplemental oil to the bacon cooking process provides benefits like preventing sticking, speeding cooking, and boosting flavor. But is olive oil in particular a good choice?

Why Some People Use Olive Oil Specifically

Among the many oils out there, some bacon cooks reach for olive oil instead of more neutral oils. There are a few potential reasons behind this choice:

  • Health benefits – Olive oil is often touted as a “healthy” oil due to its monounsaturated fat content and antioxidants. Using it may mitigate some of bacon’s negatives.

  • Flavor – The fruity, peppery notes of extra virgin olive oil may complement the smokiness of bacon.

  • Common ingredient – Many home cooks already have olive oil on hand, so it’s convenient.

  • Texture – Olive oil has a silky mouthfeel that may translate well to perfectly cooked, crispy bacon.

  • High smoke point – With a smoke point around 375-400°F, olive oil can handle pan frying temperatures.

For those who choose to use supplemental oil with their bacon, olive oil seems like a sensible choice given its health reputation, flavor, and cooking properties. But it’s not necessarily the perfect pairing.

Potential Downsides of Using Olive Oil to Cook Bacon

While using olive oil to cook bacon may have some advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Lower smoke point – Compared to oils like avocado, peanut and grapeseed oil, olive oil has a lower smoke point which limits high-heat cooking.

  • Impacts flavor – The distinctive flavor of olive oil competes with the smoky, salty flavor people expect from bacon.

  • Less crisping – Olive oil doesn’t get as hot as more neutral oils, which may result in less crispy bacon.

  • Health concerns – Heating olive oil at very high temperatures may reduce its health benefits and produce harmful compounds.

  • Cost – Due to processing methods, high quality extra virgin olive oil is expensive, making it a pricier choice for cooking.

  • Waste – Olive oil’s low smoke point means you have to discard the portion you cook with, wasting money.

For all these reasons, olive oil may not be the best oil choice when cooking bacon. You can likely achieve better results using a more appropriate oil.

Better Oils to Use for Cooking Bacon

If using supplemental oil for cooking bacon, there are several better options compared to olive oil:

  • Avocado oil – With its very high smoke point (around 500°F), avocado oil is excellent for high-heat cooking like pan frying. It has a mild flavor that won’t compete with bacon.

  • Peanut oil – Also with a high smoke point (450°F), peanut oil is great for crisping bacon without burning. It has a subtle nutty flavor.

  • Grapeseed oil – A neutral-flavored oil good for high temperatures around 420°F. Grapeseed oil helps bacon get perfectly crisp.

  • Lard or tallow – Rendered pig or beef fat has been used to cook bacon for generations. They impart great flavor at a high smoke point.

  • Butter or ghee – The milk solids in whole butter may burn, but clarified ghee has a smoke point of about 450°F when cooking bacon.

These oils are affordable, have mild flavors, and can withstand the heat needed to perfectly fry bacon. Compared to olive oil, they’re better suited for cooking this fatty pork product.

Proper Method for Cooking Bacon with Oil

If you do want to use a small amount of supplemental oil when cooking your bacon, here is a proper method:

  • Choose an oil suited for high heat like avocado, peanut or grapeseed oil. Avoid olive oil.

  • Add just 1-2 tsp oil to your cold pan or enough to coat the bottom thinly.

  • Heat the oiled pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes before adding bacon.

  • Place bacon slices in the pan without overlapping and cook about 5 minutes per side.

  • Turn the heat down if the oil starts to smoke. Cook until desired crispness is reached.

  • Drain the cooked bacon on a paper towel-lined plate before serving.

Be sure to select the right oil for high heat, use sparingly, and adjust temperature as needed to prevent burning or smoking. Following this method will produce crispy, flavorful bacon.

Should You Use Oil When Cooking Bacon?

Whether or not to use supplemental oil when cooking bacon comes down to personal preference:

For using oil:

  • Can prevent bacon from sticking to the pan

  • Speeds up fat rendering slightly

  • Provides extra flavor from oil like avocado or peanut

Against using oil:

  • Most bacon has enough internal fat already

  • Purists feel added oil negatively impacts bacon flavor

  • Extra oil means more calories per serving

Given these pros and cons, oil should be seen as optional when cooking bacon. If you do use it, stay away from olive oil and choose an oil suited for high heat instead. But you can certainly still achieve delicious bacon by cooking it directly in a well-seasoned pan.

So next time you’re frying up a batch of sizzling bacon for breakfast, consider the points above as you decide whether it’s worth adding supplemental oil to the process or not. Either way can work well with the right techniques. Bacon on!

COOKING WITH OLIVE OIL? – You need to know THIS!!


Should you use olive oil when cooking bacon?

Cooking streaky pork bacon in a FRYING PAN: Cut the rashers in half, because if you overload the pan with long pieces you won’t get as much in the pan, and the bacon won’t cook as well. Lightly oil the pan with olive oil. Why? More even cooking.

What oil is best for cooking bacon?

Put 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook for 2-4 mins on each side, depending on how crispy you like it.

Can you cook bacon without olive oil?

Whether proper British bacon or streaky bacon (American), no oil is needed as enough fat renders. Best to start bacon on low heat and a cold skillet to render as much fat as possible by the time the meat portion is cooked but not incinerated. Raise the heat to moderate at the end if you want crispy.

Can you use olive oil to cook bacon and sausage?

Drizzle the olive oil over the sausages. This helps to ensure they’ll get a nice, brown crust. Bake the sausages for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them once or twice during cooking. If the sausages are thick, be aware that they may take up to an hour to cook.

Do you need oil to cook bacon?

You don’t need oil or butter to cook most bacon varieties. When exposed to low heat, the fat on the bacon strips renders, cooking the meat and preventing it from sticking to the pan. In this article, you will learn why you don’t need oil to cook bacon, how to cook bacon without oil the right way, and what are the exceptions. What Is Bacon Anyway?

Should Bacon be cooked in oil or butter?

Some people prefer to cook bacon in oil, while others prefer butter. Bacon is already fatty enough, so it is not necessary to cook it in oil or butter. However, cooking bacon in oil or butter can help to change the flavor of the bacon. Using oil or butter can also help to prevent the bacon from sticking to the pan.

How to cook bacon without oil?

Here is how to cook bacon without oil so that the fat is properly rendered and the bacon doesn’t burn: Start with choosing the right type of bacon. The slices should have enough fat to melt and cook the meat. Put the bacon slices in a cold pan. Unlike cooking other foods, when cooking bacon you should let the pan heat up along with the bacon.

How to fry bacon in a frying pan?

To pan fry bacon, one needs a frying pan and either oil or butter. A non-stick pan is highly recommended to prevent the bacon from sticking to the pan. To pan fry bacon, heat the frying pan over medium heat and add oil or butter. Once the oil or butter is hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy, flipping occasionally.

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