There are different opinions on how you should cook bacon. Some say microwave, some say stove top in a pan or skillet, and others swear by the oven. All work and all have their pros and cons.
- Pros: Easiest method, load the tray, start the microwave, forget about it until you need it. Great for one or two people for breakfast. Extra crispy “well done” bacon is only takes one extra minute. Easy to cook bacon to different crispy levels to cater to different tastes (simply remove some bacon, then run the rest for another minute). Cook time is very reliable, once you know how long it takes to get to the level you like, it will always be the same time.
- Cons: Need a microwave bacon tray. Limited quantity per microwave round. Different trays top out at different amounts but you will need to repeat cooking for lots of bacon. You have to empty the grease between rounds.
- Pros: Can do huge amounts of bacon all at once. Baking time does not change much between small quantities and large quantities.
- Cons: Messier than microwave. Need a sheet pan with sides or you risk dripping bacon grease inside your oven. Longer cook time than microwave makes it annoying for small quantities. Extra crispy “well done” bacon can take a very long time. Difficult to cook to different crispy levels.
- Pros: No special equipment needed, just a regular pan.
- Cons: Messy and potentially painful as bacon grease will splatter on the stove and you during cooking. Longer cook time than microwave. Requires you to pay attention so you don’t burn the bacon or smoke the grease. Bacon sits in the grease while cooking so you need to rest it on paper towels to absorb the extra grease.
I personally use the microwave for most of my bacon needs. The only time I use the oven is when I need a very large amount of bacon all at the same time and don’t feel like repeating microwave rounds. I almost never cook bacon in a skillet, it just takes too much attention and work, but it is a good option if you don’t have a microwave bacon tray and only want to make a few pieces.
No matter what method you choose, I do recommend you keep the bacon grease at the end. That stuff is gold for making breakfasts. Check out this Tip for more info.
Generally the way I cook my breakfasts would be to start heating a pan on the stove over medium heat with some saved bacon grease. Load the microwave tray with bacon and start it cooking. Then move back to my heated pan, spread the now melted grease around with my spatula, drop a few eggs in and cook the eggs. When I plate the eggs, I can grab the finished bacon waiting patiently in the microwave (and dump the fresh grease from the microwave tray into my bacon cup to save for later). If I am cooking something that will take more than 5 minutes in the pan, I can wait to hit start on the microwave until I am part way finished on the stove. One pan, one microwave tray, one spatula and no mess.
I could do the bacon in the skillet, but then I have to wait 10 minutes for the bacon to be done, move it to a plate with paper towels to absorb the extra grease on the bacon, drain off the extra grease from the pan, then I can add the eggs to the pan and finally get them started. Meanwhile my bacon is getting cold. I can use a second pan to make my eggs while my bacon is frying, but if I’m going to dirty a second pan, I might as well just dirty the microwave tray instead. Meanwhile, I splattered grease all over my stove top, burned my hands with flying grease. If I save the extra pan and cook the eggs in the bacon pan after my bacon is done, then I have to worry about my bacon getting cold… no that’s a lie, I have to worry about eating my bacon before my eggs are ready. A pile of hot bacon sitting next to me isn’t going to last long enough to get cold.
As for the oven, while I can mostly ignore it like the microwave, it still takes longer and the timing is less reliable. I inevitably wind up having to interrupt my eggs to get the bacon out of the oven (which risks me burning my eggs) or finish cooking the eggs long before the bacon is done, letting my eggs get cold.
All in all, microwave is the way for me. Fast, easy, and reliable.