The Complete Guide to Cooking Crispy, Flavorful Bacon Ends in the Oven

As a bacon lover, I’m always looking for ways to stretch my bacon budget and get the most out of each package. That’s why I love cooking up bacon ends in the oven – it’s an easy way to turn what might otherwise go to waste into something truly delicious!

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk through everything you need to know to cook bacon ends to crispy, flavorful perfection using your oven. You’ll learn:

  • What are bacon ends and why cook them?
  • How to prep bacon ends for the oven
  • 3 foolproof oven baking methods
    • Basic baking
    • Baking with a rack
    • Baking with bacon grease
  • Pro tips for extra crispiness
  • How long to bake bacon ends
  • Serving suggestions to use them in recipes

So let’s get cooking and turn those bacon ends into crispy, smoky deliciousness!

What Are Bacon Ends?

Bacon ends are the irregularly shaped leftover pieces from slicing a slab of bacon into uniform strips, They tend to have more fat than meat

You can buy bacon ends and pieces packaged together for a discounted price compared to regular sliced bacon Or save the ends from your regular bacon to cook later

Bacon ends work great for chopping up into small pieces to add bacon flavor into recipes. With a little oven magic, you can transform them into delicious crispy bites.

Why Cook Bacon Ends?

There are several advantages to cooking up your bacon ends in the oven

  • It reduces food waste by using up scraps instead of throwing them out

  • It’s economical – bacon ends cost less than regular sliced bacon

  • Baking gives you crispy, evenly cooked bacon without having to watch over a skillet

  • Oven baking renders out more fat, making the bacon healthier

  • You can bake a large batch at once to use throughout the week

With so many benefits, there’s no reason not to give your bacon ends some oven love!

How to Prep Bacon Ends for the Oven

Start with a pack of bacon ends you’ve purchased or trimmed bacon slab scraps.

Inspect the package – look for one with both fat and meat like regular sliced bacon. If it’s mostly fat, skip it.

Cut or break into smaller pieces if desired. I like roughly 1 inch chunks.

Spread out the pieces in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, rack, or pan. Make sure they aren’t overlapping.

Now you’re ready to cook using one of these simple oven methods.

Oven Baking Method 1: Basic Baking

The easiest way to oven bake bacon ends is similar to cooking regular bacon.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Arrange bacon ends in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy and browned to your liking.

  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

The direct heat from underneath crisps up the bacon ends beautifully. Just keep an eye on them as they bake so they don’t burn.

Oven Baking Method 2: Baking with a Rack

Using a rack elevates your bacon ends for even crispier results:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet.

  3. Arrange the bacon ends in a single layer on top of the rack.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy and browned.

  5. Remove rack and let bacon ends drain on paper towels.

The rack allows air flow all around the bacon ends, cooking them evenly on all sides.

Oven Baking Method 3: Baking with Bacon Grease

For ultra flavorful bacon ends, try baking them right in bacon grease:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Spread a thin layer of bacon grease on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  3. Arrange bacon ends in a single layer on the grease.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy.

  5. Remove from oven and let drain on paper towels.

The bacon grease infuses the ends with even more savory bacon flavor.

Pro Tips for Extra Crispy Bacon Ends

If you like your bacon ends super crispy, try these tips:

  • Use thick cut ends – they’ll crisp up better than thin pieces.

  • Cook at a higher temp – try 425°F.

  • Cook a few minutes longer – aim for 18-22 minutes.

  • Place the ends on a rack – air flow crisps better.

  • Blot excess grease during baking with a paper towel.

  • Sprinkle with a little brown sugar before baking for caramelized flavor.

Follow those guidelines for shatteringly crispy bacon ends every time.

How Long to Cook Bacon Ends in the Oven

Cooking times can vary based on thickness, oven type, and personal preference. General baking times are:

  • Thin ends: 12-15 minutes
  • Medium ends: 15-18 minutes
  • Thick ends: 18-22 minutes

Your best bet is to start checking them at 12 minutes and go from there. Stop cooking when they look perfectly golden brown.

Err on the lower time if you like chewy bacon. For maximum crispiness, cook longer. Adjust to your oven and preference.

Now that you know how to cook bacon ends in the oven, let’s talk about deliciously fun ways to eat them!

Creative Ways to Use Bacon Ends

The smoky, salty flavor of baked bacon ends lends itself to all sorts of recipes. Here are just a few serving ideas:

  • Breakfast sandwiches – add crispy bacon ends to egg sandwiches

  • Baked potatoes – top with bacon ends, cheese, sour cream, and scallions

  • Burgers – crumble bacon ends over beef patties

  • Pizza – sprinkle bacon ends over pizza before baking

  • Pasta – stir bacon ends into carbonara, Alfredo, or pasta salads

  • Soups – add bacon end bits to chowders, potato soup, or baked potato soup

  • Salads – mix with greens, veggies, avocados and vinaigrettes

  • Appetizers – fold into deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, or jalapeño poppers

  • Snacks – eat the crispy ends straight from the oven

As you can see, the possibilities are endless for using up those delicious bacon ends!

Get Cooking!

Now that you’re armed with all the instructions for baking up perfectly crispy, flavorful bacon ends in the oven, it’s time to get cooking!

Try out the different methods to see which you prefer. Mix up the seasonings and flavors – add some cracked black pepper, brown sugar, or cayenne pepper for a kick.

Keep an eye on cooking times and make any adjustments needed for your oven. Store excess crispy bacon ends in an airtight container to sprinkle on recipes all week long.

Most importantly, have fun transforming leftover bacon bits into these amazingly crispy, craveable oven-baked bacon ends. Enjoy!

How do I Cook Bacon Ends and Pieces? Cook them in the Oven!


Is it better to bake bacon at 350 or 400?

Bake at 400 Degrees F. Some recipes recommend baking bacon at other temperatures or starting the bacon in a cold oven, but I found that a preheated 400 degrees F is the best temperature for baking bacon.

What are bacon ends and pieces good for?

The ends and pieces are perfect for making bacon bits that you can use in our Keto Broccoli Bacon Salad, Keto Cheddar Bacon Ranch Stuffed Burgers, or this Keto Chicken Jalapeño Popper Soup.

How long should I cook bacon for in the oven?

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on 2 aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheets, or, for extracrispy bacon, arrange on 2 wire racks set over 2 foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake until the bacon is browned and starts to ripple, or to desired doneness, 10 to 20 minutes.

How long should bacon be in the oven at 400 degrees?

Once you place the bacon in the oven, heat it to 400 degrees F and bake the bacon to your desired crispness. It should be done in about 20 minutes (note that this time is slightly longer than other recipes, because the bacon will be in the oven while the oven pre-heats.

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