Does Crispy Bacon Really Have Less Calories? Sorting Fact From Fiction

Crispy, crunchy bacon is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There’s just something about that perfect balance of saltiness and smoky meaty flavor that makes bacon irresistible. But when you’re watching your calories and fat intake, you may wonder – does draining off the fat by cooking bacon extra crispy actually reduce the calories?

The short answer is yes crispy bacon does have slightly fewer calories than soft chewy bacon. But the difference may not be as big as you think. Let’s take a closer look at the facts on bacon calories and fat content.

Understanding Calorie Counts for Raw vs Cooked Bacon

If you look at the nutrition facts label on a package of raw bacon, you’ll see it contains a whopping 36 grams of fat and 134 calories per slice. That’s based on eating it raw. Of course, we never eat raw bacon!

Cooking causes a significant reduction in calories and fat content as some of the fat renders out The exact nutrition counts depend on a few factors

  • Cooking method – Pan-fried, baked, microwaved or grilled bacon can vary in fat content.

  • Cook time – The longer you cook bacon, the more fat renders out.

  • Thickness – Thinner bacon crisps up faster, releasing more fat.

  • Brand – Nutrition varies between different brands and types like regular, center-cut or turkey bacon.

General ballpark figures suggest each slice of pan-fried regular bacon contains approximately:

  • Calories: 40-50
  • Fat grams: 2-7
  • Saturated fat: 1-3 grams
  • Protein: 3-4 grams

So cooking slices to a nice crispy texture reduces the calories and fat grams considerably compared to raw.

Does Crispy Bacon Really Have Fewer Calories Than Chewy Bacon?

Cooking bacon until very crispy and brittle does render out a bit more of the fat compared to bacon that’s still a little chewy. But the difference is smaller than you may expect.

For example, 2 slices of pan-fried bacon cooked to a chewy texture may contain about:

  • 100 calories
  • 14 grams fat

While 2 slices of super crispy bacon may have around:

  • 90 calories
  • 12 grams fat

So the crispier bacon has slightly less fat and calories – but only by 10 calories and 2 grams of fat per 2 slices. Not a huge difference compared to the thought of cutting 36 grams of fat down to 12 grams!

To put it another way, chewy bacon and crispy bacon have about the same calories per gram. The difference is the crispier bacon simply weighs a bit less with some of the rendered fat dripped off.

How Different Cooking Methods Impact Bacon Calories

The cooking method makes a bigger difference in fat content than crispiness. Here’s how common methods compare:

  • Pan-fried: Higher in fat since the bacon fries in its own grease. Great flavor!
  • Oven-baked: Healthiest option as fat drips off, leaving bacon crispy.
  • Microwaved: Fast and convenient, but can leave bacon greasy.
  • Grilled: Nice flavor, but dripping fat can cause flare-ups.

Pan-Fried Bacon Calories and Nutrition Facts

The classic method of crisping bacon in a skillet renders off some but not all of the fat. Nutrition for about 2 pan-fried slices includes:

  • Calories: 80-100
  • Fat grams: 6-15g
  • Saturated fat: 2-5g
  • Protein: 6-8g

Tips for reducing calories in pan-fried bacon:

  • Use a bacon press to force out more grease
  • Drain bacon on paper towels
  • Opt for center-cut bacon with less marbling

Oven-Baked Bacon Nutrition

Baking bacon in the oven allows the grease to drip off the bacon more evenly, leaving it nice and crispy but less greasy. 2 slices of oven-baked bacon nutrition typically contains:

  • Calories: 60-80
  • Fat grams: 2-6g
  • Saturated fat: 1-3g
  • Protein: 6-8g

Baking on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet is ideal. The bacon cooks evenly and excess fat drops through rack right onto the sheet below.

Microwaved Bacon Calories and Fat

The speed and convenience of microwaving appeal to many bacon lovers. But the results can be more greasy than oven baking or pan frying. Nutrition for 2 slices of microwaved bacon is approximately:

  • Calories: 70-90
  • Fat grams: 9-12g
  • Saturated fat: 3-5g
  • Protein: 6-8g

Tips for minimizing fat when microwaving bacon:

  • Use paper towels to absorb grease
  • Opt for thinner bacon
  • Don’t overcook

Grilled Bacon Nutrition Facts

Grilling imparts delicious smoky flavor to bacon but also comes with some drawbacks. The dripping bacon grease can cause flare ups over direct heat. And the constant manipulation makes it tricky to crisp up evenly. Nutrition for 2 slices of grilled bacon includes:

  • Calories: 60-80
  • Fat grams: 2-6g
  • Saturated fat: 1-3g
  • Protein: 6-8g

Grilling thinly sliced bacon over indirect heat works best. A grill basket also helps contain the bacon strips.

Calories In Turkey Bacon vs Regular Bacon

Many people consider turkey bacon the “healthier” lower fat, lower calorie option to regular pork bacon. But is it really that superior nutritionally? Let’s compare 2 slices:

  • Turkey bacon calories: 40-50

  • Pork bacon calories: 60-100

  • Turkey bacon fat: 1.5-3g

  • Pork bacon fat: 3-15g

The turkey bacon is a little leaner and lower in calories than regular bacon. But pork bacon prepared properly via oven baking has similar fat and calorie counts to turkey bacon. The turkey does have an advantage for sodium, providing about 225mg vs 480mg for regular bacon.

Tips For Enjoying Bacon While Watching Calories

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you love bacon but want to watch your weight:

  • Opt for center-cut bacon with less marbling
  • Use the oven-baked method whenever possible
  • Cook until crispy to render the most fat
  • Blot with paper towels to soak up extra grease
  • Measure portions and stick to just 1-2 slices per serving
  • Consider turkey bacon some of the time for less calories
  • Pair bacon with low carb veggies like cabbage or Brussels sprouts
  • Avoid stacking bacon on top of carb-heavy foods like pancakes or sandwiches
  • Crumble bacon on salads for flavor without overdoing portions
  • Choose lower sodium bacon and drain well after cooking

The Bottom Line on Bacon Nutrition Facts

So does crispy bacon really have fewer calories and less fat than chewy bacon? The answer is yes, but just slightly in terms of total fat and calories. What makes a bigger difference is choosing the healthiest cooking method and draining off excess grease.

Oven-baked bacon crisps up nicely and allows more fat to render out, while microwave can leave bacon greasy. Opting for center-cut or turkey bacon can trim additional calories and fat grams compared to regular bacon.

While bacon is high in saturated fat and sodium, incorporating a few slices into an overall healthy diet is fine for most people. Pay attention to portion sizes, balance it nutritious vegetables and lean proteins, and use healthy cooking methods to enjoy crispy bacon as part of eating well.

Eat Twice As Much, Keep Calories The Same (Eat These Instead)


Is crispy bacon healthier than regular bacon?

The healthiest way to cook bacon is to cook it until crispy (but not burned), which allows the most fat to melt off.

How many calories in a slice of crispy bacon?

In general, an average 8 gram slice of bacon will run you somewhere between 38 and 45 calories. Unsurprisingly, plain bacon will cost you a little less than seasoned and calorie count goes up when the Average Weight does (thicker bacon will have more calories).

Is bacon less calories when cooked?

Yes, the nutrition information for bacon usually includes the total calories along with all the fat. So, once cooked, if you discard the bacon grease that renders out, you will likely be discarding some of the calories, as well.

How many calories in a crisp piece of bacon?

There are 90 calories in 3 slices (18 g) of Maple Leaf Ready Crisp Bacon. * The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

How many calories are in a slice of bacon?

Stay away from the slices that are over-marbled with fat, and instead look for leaner, thinner cuts of this savory meat. Yes, bacon is delish. But it’s not always the healthiest choice. Just three slices of bacon contain 161 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 581 milligrams of sodium (per Very Well Fit).

Is Bacon healthy?

Yes, bacon is delish. But it’s not always the healthiest choice. Just three slices of bacon contain 161 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 581 milligrams of sodium (per Very Well Fit ). So how do you cook your bacon so it’s as healthy as possible, yet still crunchy, and yummy every time?

Is Canadian bacon healthier than American bacon?

Canadian bacon is usually sold fully cooked and has less fat and fewer calories than conventional American bacon. As you’ll see below, a single slice of Canadian bacon contains fewer grams of fat and calories than conventional bacon, but it still hosts plenty of sodium.

How many calories are in a slice of Canadian bacon?

One pan-fried slice of Canadian bacon (13.8g) contains 84 calories, 4g of protein, 0.2g of carb, and 0.4g of fat. It also includes 137mg of sodium. Turkey bacon is another option often found in grocery stores.

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