Finding the Best Nitrate-Free Bacon Brands

Bacon is a beloved breakfast food for many but concerns over nitrates and nitrites in conventional bacon have led to an increasing demand for nitrate-free options. With so many brands now offering “uncured” or “no nitrate” bacon it can be tricky to know which ones live up to their claims.

In this article, we’ll walk through what to look for when choosing nitrate-free bacon, explain the curing process, and recommend some top nitrate-free brands to try

Why Consider Nitrate-Free Bacon?

First, let’s look at why you may want to choose nitrate-free bacon in the first place.

Conventional bacon is cured using nitrates or nitrites to preserve the meat and enhance color and flavor. However, studies have linked nitrosamines, compounds that can form from nitrites, to an increased risk of cancer.

While more research is needed, some consumers prefer to take a precautionary approach and minimize nitrate/nitrite intake from processed meats like bacon.

Going nitrate-free doesn’t mean completely eliminating nitrates/nitrites, as we’ll explain shortly. But it does offer bacon with reduced levels from natural sources rather than synthetic additives.

Understanding the Curing Process

Now, here’s an important point about nitrate-free bacon – it still contains nitrates and nitrites, just from natural sources like celery powder rather than artificial additives.

Here’s how the curing process works:

  • Conventional bacon is cured with sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite. This gives it a pink color and preserved shelf life.

  • “Nitrate-free” bacon replaces artificial nitrate/nitrite with natural sources like celery powder, sea salt, etc. These naturally contain nitrates that convert to nitrites during curing.

  • The end result is still bacon with nitrates and nitrites, but at lower residual levels than conventionally cured bacon.

So when you see “uncured” or “no nitrate/nitrite added” on labels, know that it still contains naturally-occurring nitrates that convert to nitrites. But the sources are generally viewed as more healthful than artificial additives.

What to Look for When Choosing Brands

When comparing nitrate-free bacon brands, here are some helpful criteria to consider:

  • Ingredient list – Look for nitrate/nitrite-free ingredients like celery powder or sea salt. Avoid anything listing sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite.

  • Less processed – Seek out minimally processed options without a lot of preservatives or additives beyond those naturally present.

  • Pasture-raised – Pasture-raised pork tends to be more ethically raised without antibiotics or hormones. This is healthier for you and the environment.

  • Leaner cuts – Center-cut bacon contains less fat/calories than traditional bacon. Go for the leanest option.

  • Lower sodium – Curing adds sodium, but some brands offer lower-sodium versions. This is ideal, especially if you already consume a high sodium diet.

5 Top Nitrate-Free Bacon Brands

After comparing many options using these criteria, here are 5 great nitrate-free bacon brands to try:

  1. Niman Ranch – Cured with sea salt and celery powder. Antibiotic- and hormone-free pork.

  2. Applegate Farms – Celery powder cured. Several flavor varieties including turkey bacon.

  3. Pederson’s Natural Farms – Cured without any added nitrates/nitrites. Pasture-raised pork.

  4. Wellshire Farms – Uses celery juice powder. Lower-sodium and sugar-free.

  5. Oscar Mayer Natural Uncured Bacon – Relatively affordable nitrate-free option cured with celery powder.

Cooking and Serving Tips

When cooking nitrate-free bacon, remember that it may cook faster than conventional bacon since it contains less nitrites. Watch it closely to avoid overcooking.

Baking it in the oven is an easy hands-off cooking method. You can also pan-fry it on the stovetop.

Regardless of the brand you choose, always enjoy nitrate-free bacon in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Accompany it with antioxidant-rich foods like berries and dark leafy greens to further minimize any risk.

The Bottom Line

In the end, nitrate-free bacon offers a minimally processed alternative to conventionally cured options, with any naturally occurring nitrates/nitrites coming from healthier sources.

While research on the health impacts is ongoing, nitrate-free options are an easy swap for those looking to cut back on artificial additives. Just be sure to read labels closely and choose high-quality brands for the greatest benefits.

How to Make Amazing Bacon – Very Simple and Nitrate Free


Who sells bacon without nitrates?

Graig Farm Organics This bacon is dry cured here on the farm using a traditional family recipe. The dry curing process only uses sea salt and therefore does not contain any nitrates.

What is the healthiest bacon you can eat?

Turkey bacon is likely healthier for you than conventional bacon since it’s not red meat. Turkey bacon, however, is still processed meat. Stick to small portions, pair it with nutrient-rich foods, and choose nitrate-free versions if you enjoy turkey bacon and want to keep eating it. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Does butcher bacon have nitrates?

Bacon has up to 380 mcg of nitrites per 100 g of weight. It’s also incredibly high in 5.5. mg nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites tend to be pervasive in bacon production, which leads some brands to label their packaging as nitrite-free.

What are the best nitrate-free Bacon brands?

If you’re looking for nitrate-free bacon, here are some top brands to consider: 1. Niman Ranch: This brand uses natural sources of nitrates, such as sea salt and celery powder, in their bacon. Their pork is also free from antibiotics and hormones. 2.

Where can I find nitrate-free Bacon?

Niman Ranch: This brand uses natural sources of nitrates, such as sea salt and celery powder, in their bacon. Their pork is also free from antibiotics and hormones. 2. Applegate Farms: Applegate Farms offers a variety of flavors of nitrate-free bacon, all made with celery powder as a natural source of nitrates.

Is Bacon nitrite free?

Bacon and other cured meats with celery powder are not truly nitrite free, and should be avoided by those looking to buy nitrate free bacon and nitrite free bacon. This bacon is typically titled “uncured bacon” or “pure bacon” or “nitrate free bacon,” but they still contain nitrites.

Is Pederson’s Bacon nitrate-free?

Pederson’s Farms: This brand uses a unique curing process without any added nitrates or nitrites in their bacon. Their pork is pasture-raised and free from antibiotics and hormones. Cooking nitrate-free bacon requires a slightly different approach than regular bacon.

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