How to Season Uncured Bacon: The Complete Guide

Uncured bacon has been gaining popularity over recent years as more people look for nitrate-free alternatives to traditional cured bacon. While uncured bacon offers health benefits, it can lack the salty smoky flavor that bacon lovers crave. That’s where seasoning comes in! Properly seasoning uncured bacon can elevate it from bland to brilliant. This complete guide will walk you through everything you need to know about seasoning uncured bacon.

What is Uncured Bacon?

Uncured bacon is pork belly that has been preserved without the use of nitrates or nitrites. Instead of chemical curing agents natural ingredients like celery powder vinegar, sea salt, and spices are used to cure and flavor the meat. This process results in bacon that has

  • No artificial preservatives
  • Less sodium
  • A subtly different flavor

While traditional cured bacon gets its signature salty, smoky taste from sodium nitrite, uncured bacon tends to have a more naturally porky flavor. It can also lack the deep red tint that cured meats have.

Uncured bacon is sometimes referred to as “natural bacon” and it fits with the rising consumer demand for products with shorter, simpler ingredient lists. If you’re looking to reduce your nitrate intake or sodium consumption, it can be a healthier alternative to regular bacon.

Why Should You Season Uncured Bacon?

Out of the package, many brands of uncured bacon taste quite plain compared to what most of us are used to. Since they are missing those artificial preservatives, you lose a lot of that salty, smoky bacon flavor.

Seasoning uncured bacon before cooking infuses it with extra taste and dimensions. It allows you to customize the flavor exactly how you like it. A good seasoning blend can give uncured bacon more:

  • Overall flavor intensity
  • Smokiness
  • Savory, salty qualities
  • Sweetness
  • Herbaceous notes
  • Spice and heat
  • Crunch or texture

Properly seasoned uncured bacon transforms into a far more satisfying breakfast meat. The flavor possibilities are endless!

Tips for Seasoning Uncured Bacon

Follow these tips to get the most out of seasoning your next pack of uncured bacon:

  • Season liberally. Don’t be shy with seasoning uncured bacon. It needs a heavy hand to make up for the lack of curing agents.

  • Season both sides. Flavor will penetrate better if you coat both sides of each slice.

  • Experiment with rubs or marinades. Dry rubs add great texture while wet marinades pack a flavor punch.

  • Maple syrup boosts sweetness. The subtle sweetness of maple syrup perfectly complements the salty seasoning.

  • Let it sit. Allow time for the seasoning to penetrate into the meat before cooking.

  • Flip frequently when cooking. Frequent flipping will prevent burning and evenly distribute seasoning.

  • Blot grease while warm. Blotting helps seasoning adhere while cooking grease can make it slide off.

Now let’s get into some specific seasoning ideas and recipes!

5 Simple Ways to Season Uncured Bacon

If you’re new to seasoning uncured bacon, these easy seasoning mixes make a great starting point.

1. Brown Sugar and Pepper

The sweetness of brown sugar balanced by the bite of black pepper is a foolproof flavor combination.

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2. Maple and Pepper

For the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, try maple syrup and pepper.

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coarse ground pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

3. Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika adds a bacon-like smokiness without needing to actually smoke it.

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder

4. Cajun Spice

Cajun seasoning mixes are designed to add big, bold flavor.

  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

5. Italian Herbs

Herbs like rosemary, oregano, and sage give Italian flair.

  • 1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, rosemary, sage
  • 1⁄2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1⁄4 tsp crushed red pepper

Making a Seasoned Bacon Breakfast

Any of these easy seasoning mixes can be used to make bacon the star of breakfast. Here’s one idea for putting them to use:

  1. The night before, coat bacon slices with your chosen seasoning, coating both sides.

  2. In the morning, cook seasoned bacon in a skillet until crispy.

  3. Fry eggs in the leftover bacon grease for extra flavor.

  4. Serve eggs and bacon over toast or baked potatoes.

The possibilities are endless when you add seasonings to uncured bacon!

Creative Seasoning Blends for Uncured Bacon

Once you’ve mastered the basics, try crafting your own signature seasoning blends. Let your imagination run wild combining sweet, savory, spicy, and smoky flavors.

Everything Bagel

All the classic “everything bagel” flavors on crispy bacon.

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tbsp dried minced garlic
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

Mexican mole

Sweet and smoky with a bit of heat.

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper

Jerk style

Lively Jamaican jerk flavors.

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper

Chinese five spice

Warm and anise-scented blend.

  • 1 tbsp five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

Dukkah spiced

Nutty and herby Middle Eastern mix.

  • 2 tbsp hazelnut dukkah spice
  • 1⁄2 tsp oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp thyme
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne

The flavor combos are endless. Create your own or use these for inspiration.

Marinating and Brining Uncured Bacon

Another way to infuse uncured bacon with layers of flavor is to marinate or brine it before cooking.

Maple Bourbon Marinade

  • 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
  • 1⁄4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Put bacon slices in a zip top bag and pour marinade over top. Seal bag, removing excess air, and refrigerate 8 hours up to overnight.

Apple Cider Brine

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1⁄4 cup salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 4 allspice berries

Heat cider, salt, and spices in a pot until salt dissolves. Cool completely then submerge bacon in brine. Refrigerate 8-12 hours. Rinse and pat dry before cooking.

Allowing time to marinate gives the flavor more chance to seep in. Brining keeps the bacon moist and tender too.

Recipes with Seasoned Uncured Bacon

Ready to put your seasoned uncured bacon to use? Incorporate it into these delicious recipes:

  • Chop into salads – spinach, wedge, taco, etc.

  • Make bacon jam to top burgers or spread on toast

  • Wrap around scallops, shrimp, chicken or meatloaf

  • Crumble into baked beans, soups, or chili

  • Top pizza, nachos, baked potatoes

  • Fold into omelets, frittatas, and quiches

  • Mix into pasta carbonara

  • Layer in a BLT sandwich

  • Use in place of pork belly in ramen or mapo tofu

  • Bake into breakfast casseroles and stratas

  • Make candied bacon using a brown sugar rub

With the right seasoning, the possibilities for uncured bacon are endless. Now that you know how to elevate uncured bacon’s flavor, you may never go back to the artificially cured kind! What unique seasoning combo will you try first?

How To Make The Best Homemade Bacon


Should you season uncured bacon?

The cooking methods are the same for uncured belly slices as for store bought bacon, except that we season the belly slices ourselves with salt, pepper, and other spices before we fry it in a pan or bake it in the oven. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted.

What seasonings are good on bacon?

Even though it doesn’t necessarily come with a mild flavor, bacon is a total blank canvas. With the help of some extra ingredients and spices for your bacon, you can take its original savory, salty, and smoky flavor and enhance it with things like chili powder and coffee, Sriracha, maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey.

How do you add flavor to cured bacon?

Brown sugar, molasses, garlic, bourbon, different wood species and a host of other options can be used to create your own signature bacon, and let’s be honest, it’s going to be one helluva tasty process of trial and error.

Does uncured bacon taste different?

Overall, the taste of the bacon really comes down to the way you decide to prepare it. However, uncured bacon will have more of that pork-like flavor that you’d expect at your local smokehouse.

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