How To Blanch Bacon: A Step-By-Step Guide For Perfectly Mild Bacon

Bacon is a staple in many cuisines and recipes. Who doesn’t love that smoky salty crispy goodness? However, sometimes that intense bacon flavor can overpower a dish. If you want to tone down the flavor while still enjoying the texture, blanching bacon is the perfect solution.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about blanching bacon. You’ll learn what blanching does to bacon, why you should blanch it, how to blanch bacon step-by-step, tips for cooking with blanched bacon, and even some alternatives if you don’t want to blanch. Let’s dive in!

What Is Blanching Bacon?

Blanching is a simple cooking technique where food is briefly immersed in boiling water, then cooled or rinsed in ice water. When it comes to bacon, blanching helps remove excess salt, smoke compounds, and impurities.

It’s especially common in French cuisine, where blanched diced bacon is called lardon. Blanching gives you milder flavored bacon perfect for recipes where you don’t want the bacon to dominate.

Why Should You Blanch Bacon?

There are a few key reasons why blanching bacon can be useful:

  • Removes impurities: Bacon can contain traces of blood, bone fragments, and brine residue from curing. Blanching helps clean the bacon.

  • Reduces saltiness: Bacon is cured in salt and can have a very salty flavor. Blanching helps remove some of the excess salt.

  • Tones down smokiness: The smoking process gives bacon its iconic flavor. For some recipes, you may want a more delicate bacon taste.

  • Cooks faster Blanching partially cooks the bacon so it browns quicker when you fry or bake it later.

  • Adds versatility: Blanching gives you more options for using bacon in recipes where its usual intensity would overwhelm.

In short, blanching allows you to balance bacon’s flavor profile and makes it more adaptable for all sorts of cooking.

How To Blanch Bacon Step-By-Step

Blanching bacon is easy to do at home with just a pot, water, and ice bath. Here is a simple step-by-step guide:


  • Bacon (as much as needed for your recipe)
  • Water
  • Bowl of ice water


  1. Fill a pot with enough water to submerge the bacon. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Add the bacon and boil for 1-2 minutes. This short boiling time is enough to remove impurities and temper the saltiness.

  3. Transfer the blanched bacon with tongs to the ice water bath. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. The ice water stops the cooking process.

  4. Remove the bacon from the ice bath and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.

  5. Chop or slice the blanched bacon as needed for your recipe. It’s now ready to cook and eat!

That’s all there is to it. As you can see, blanching bacon takes just a few easy steps but makes a big difference in the end result.

Tips for Blanching Bacon

  • Use enough water to completely submerge the bacon so it blanches evenly. Don’t overcrowd the pot.

  • Keep an eye on the boiling time. Just 1-2 minutes is sufficient; any longer can make the bacon tough.

  • Chill in ice water for at least 10 minutes to halt the cooking process.

  • Pat the bacon very dry before cooking or it will splatter. Moisture causes splattering.

  • Blanch bacon up to two days in advance and refrigerate until ready to use.

Follow these tips and you’ll turn out perfect mildly flavored bacon every time!

How To Use Blanched Bacon

Once you’ve blanched your bacon, how do you incorporate it into recipes? Here are some serving ideas:

  • Salads: Top green, potato, pasta, or grain salads with crispy blanched bacon.

  • Soups: Add blanched bacon bits or lardons to bean, tomato, potato, corn, and vegetable soups.

  • Pasta: Toss blanched bacon into pasta sauces, frittatas, carbonara, and mac and cheese.

  • Vegetables: Sprinkle over roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and more.

  • Burgers: Top beef, turkey, veggie, and other burger patties with blanched bacon.

  • Sandwiches/Wraps: Add crispy blanched bacon to BLTs, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and paninis.

  • Baked Potatoes: Mix crispy crumbled bacon into loaded baked potato toppings.

The applications are endless! Let the blanched bacon shine in any dish that needs a touch of its flavor without taking over.

Blanched Bacon Cooking Times

The blanching process partially cooks the bacon, so it will take less time to finish cooking than unblanched bacon. Here are approximate cooking times:

Pan-Fried: 2-3 minutes per side

Oven-Baked: 8-12 minutes at 400°F

Microwaved: 45 seconds to 1 minute

These cooking times are for bacon sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Thinner bacon will take less time. Adjust the timing as needed based on your preferred level of doneness.

How To Store Blanched Bacon

Like raw bacon, blanched bacon must be stored properly for food safety and optimal freshness. Here are some storage tips:

  • Store blanched bacon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze blanched bacon up to 2 months in an airtight freezer bag.

  • When reheating blanched bacon, cook to 165°F or sizzle for food safety.

  • Don’t leave blanched bacon sitting out at room temperature more than 2 hours.

Follow these storage guidelines and blanched bacon will keep well for use all week long.

Alternatives To Blanching Bacon

While blanching is a great way to tone down bacon’s intensity, it’s not your only choice. Consider these alternatives:

  • Turkey Bacon: With less fat than pork bacon, turkey bacon has a naturally milder flavor.

  • Canadian Bacon: This lean smoked pork loin has a ham-like flavor.

  • Prosciutto: Dry-cured Italian ham has a delicate, nuanced taste.

  • Pancetta: Dry-cured Italian bacon is less smoky than American-style bacon.

  • Smoked Paprika: Add this spice to impart smoky notes without actual bacon.

  • Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms can mimic bacon’s rich umami flavor.

  • Tempeh Bacon: For a vegantake, marinated baked tempeh makes a great substitute.

So if blanching isn’t your thing, these alternatives can also tone down the bacon effect.

Common Questions About Blanching Bacon

If you’re new to blanching bacon, chances are you have some questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked queries:

Does blanching bacon really work?

Yes, blanching absolutely does mellow out bacon’s salty, smoky flavor. Boiling helps draw out impurities while the ice bath stops the cooking process. Many chefs blanch bacon specifically when wanting a milder taste.

Won’t blanching make the bacon slimy?

It shouldn’t, if properly patted dry after blanching. Excess moisture causes that sliminess, so be sure to dry blanched bacon thoroughly before cooking.

Is blanched bacon safe to eat raw?

No, blanched bacon must always be fully cooked before eating to eliminate any bacteria. Blanching alone does not make raw bacon safe for consumption.

Can you freeze blanched uncooked bacon?

Yes, it is safe to freeze uncooked blanched bacon in an airtight freezer bag for 1-2 months. Defrost before cooking.

Does blanching bacon shrink it?

There may be some minimal shrinking, but not as much as fully cooking bacon. The quick 1-2 minute boil doesn’t drastically affect the size.

Putting It All Together

Here are the key takeaways about blanching bacon:

  • Blanching involves briefly boiling then ice bathing to remove impurities and saltiness.

  • It mellows the strong smoked bacon flavor so it doesn’t dominate dishes.

  • Blanch for just 1-2 minutes then submerge in ice water for 10 minutes.

  • Pat very dry before cooking or it will splatter.

  • Add to salads, soups, pasta, vegetables, sandwiches and more.

  • Store blanched bacon as you would regular raw bacon.

  • Alternatives like turkey bacon also tone down flavor.

Now that you’re a pro at blanching bacon, it’s time to put this skill into practice! Try it in your next recipe that calls for bacon flavor without overpowering everything else.

How to Blanch Bacon | Chef Spike Mendelsohn | Tips & Techniques


How to blanch pancetta?

Blanch the pancetta pieces in a small pan of simmering water for 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

How to get the smokey taste out of bacon?

Blanch Bacon to Tame Its Smoky, Salty Flavor When Using It in Other Dishes. The smoky, salty flavor is the best part of bacon when you’re eating it straight up, but when you’re cooking with it, sometimes the salt and smoke can overpower the other ingredients in the dish.

Is it OK to Blanch Bacon?

You can compromise and get bacon’s delicious flavor, the fat to help cook the dish, and let the other flavors shine through with a quick hot water bath. The Chowhound user who tried this noted that after five minutes of blanching, a notoriously salty/smoky bacon that he used toned down, but it retained its smoky flavor.

Is it OK to use less bacon in a dish?

Some dishes require bacon as an ingredient that adds salt and flavor, but that isn’t the star of the show (coq au vin or beef bourguignon, for example), and just using less isn’t an option because the dish may depend on the added fat.

How do you cook bacon on a baking sheet?

Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet. Arrange 12 ounces bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. The slices can be close together or touching, but don’t let them overlap or they’ll stick together during cooking. Bake the bacon.

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