The Complete Guide to Cooking Irish Bacon in the Oven

Irish bacon, sometimes called back bacon, is a delicious type of cured and smoked pork that comes from the loin muscle of the pig. It’s leaner than American-style bacon made from pork belly, with a milder flavor and texture reminiscent of ham

Cooking Irish bacon in the oven is one of the easiest, most foolproof ways to prepare it. The dry, ambient heat of the oven crisps up the bacon beautifully without the need for oil or constant monitoring. With just a few simple steps, you can have piles of perfectly cooked Irish bacon ready for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know to master oven-baked Irish bacon from choosing the right Irish bacon to cooking tips and serving suggestions. Let’s get cooking!

Selecting Irish Bacon for Oven Cooking

When buying Irish bacon to cook in the oven look for high-quality thick-cut bacon packs. Thinner slices may overcook and dry out faster. Ideally, choose bacon that’s

  • At least 1/4 inch thick
  • Bright pink and lean-looking, not too fatty
  • From pasture-raised heritage breed pigs (better flavor)
  • Nitrate/nitrite-free and minimally processed

Reputable Irish or British bacon brands like Wellshire Farms and Cahill’s make excellent oven-baked Irish bacon. Or visit a local butcher shop and ask them to slice bacon extra thick for baking.

Allow about 4 to 6 ounces of Irish bacon per person if serving it as a main breakfast protein. For a side dish, 2 to 3 ounces per person is plenty.

Preparing Irish Bacon for the Oven

Proper prep is key for evenly cooked oven bacon:

  • If the Irish bacon is excessively salty, rinse it briefly under cool water before baking.

  • Cut the bacon into individual slices, or into rectangular chunks if you prefer bite-sized pieces.

  • Lay the bacon slices/chunks out in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet without overlapping. Overcrowding leads to uneven cooking.

  • (Optional) Lightly brush both sides of the bacon with maple syrup or honey for added flavor/glaze.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F to start crisping up the bacon.

How to Bake Irish Bacon to Perfection

Baking times may vary based on oven type, slice thickness, etc. But in most standard ovens, expect thick Irish bacon slices to take about 12-15 minutes at 375°F. Here are some tips:

  • Bake the bacon on the middle oven rack for optimal heat circulation.

  • 12 minutes is ideal for getting crispy bacon without drying it out. Check frequently near the end.

  • The bacon will shrink in size and release some fat/liquids onto the baking tray.

  • Look for the edges to brown and sizzle when it’s almost done.

  • Remove from oven right when the center of the slices look opaque and cooked through.

  • Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to briefly soak up any excess grease.

And that’s it – crispy, hassle-free Irish oven bacon is ready to enjoy!

Troubleshooting Oven Bacon Issues

If your Irish bacon turns out overly charred, shriveled up, limp or unevenly cooked, here are some likely causes:

  • Baking temperature too hot. Stick with 350-400°F to prevent burning.

  • Bacon slices too crowded on the baking tray. Leave space between slices.

  • Bacon too thin. Thinner slices overcook quicker. Opt for 1/4 inch+ thick.

  • Fat not drained. Let bacon drain briefly

Rashers – an Irish Bacon recipe


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.

How long does it take to cook bacon 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.

Is it better to cook bacon in the oven or on the stove?

You can cook a few slices in a skillet or the microwave, but when cooking a big batch, the oven is the surefire way to go. This method is almost entirely hands-off and results in perfectly crispy, chewy, evenly-cooked bacon.

Do you have to flip bacon when cooking in oven?

You don’t have to flip it while cooking. You just lay the bacon on a baking sheet, stick it in the oven, and set a timer. The strips of bacon bubble away in the oven (no splattering!) and gradually become the crispy, golden-hued, irresistible bacon we know and love.

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