Once you try this candied bacon recipe, there’s no going back.
It’s a little bit of everything: salty, sweet, smoky, savory, and spicy. One bite will have you instantly hooked, and one slice is never enough.
You can enjoy it on top of a burger, jazz up a salad with it, or even eat it on its own. Get ready to meet your new favorite type of bacon!
What Is Candied Bacon?
Candied bacon is bacon coated in brown sugar that caramelizes in the oven. It’s crispy and crunchy with a sticky coating.
While the texture is on point, the flavor takes it over the edge. It’s a perfect balance of smoky, salty flavors from bacon with a punch of sweetness from caramel brown sugar.
If salty-sweet foods had an official mascot, it would be candied bacon.
Plus, it’s incredibly versatile. Eat it as a snack, pile it on a burger, or add it to your Bloody Mary bar.
If you have bacon, the rest of the ingredients are just pantry staples. Here’s everything you need to make this amazing candied bacon recipe:
- Thick-cut bacon – Thick-cut bacon is a must in this recipe. The brown sugar coating needs time to caramelize in the oven. If the bacon’s too thin, it’ll burn before it caramelizes.
- Light brown sugar – Be sure to use light brown sugar over dark brown. Dark brown has a higher molasses content. While more molasses means more flavor, it also caramelizes too quickly in the oven. This could make your bacon burn.
- Ground black pepper – A touch of freshly ground black pepper is all the seasoning you need. It adds a hint of peppery, savory flavors, which go well with sweet and salty.
- Cayenne pepper – You don’t have to add cayenne pepper, but I think it adds a certain something. All those rich, sweet, and salty flavors get another layer from the spice.
How to Make Candied Bacon
Making candied bacon is easy. (Maybe a little too easy!) It’s similar to making crispy bacon in the oven with an extra step. Check out how quickly this recipe comes together.
1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Prep the bacon. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Mix the brown sugar. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pepper, and (optional) cayenne pepper.
4. Season the bacon. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bacon. Then, press it down into the bacon so it sticks.
5. Bake. Place it in the preheated oven, and bake it for 20-25 minutes. When the outside is bubbling and caramelized, take it out of the oven.
6. Cool. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool for a few minutes before handling. Then, place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Serve. Once it cools, it’s ready to eat and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Candied Bacon
Candied bacon is easy to make, but I have a few tips to avoid any mishaps. Here’s how to make your candied bacon come out perfect the first time.
- Have some parchment protection. Candied bacon is a messy business. Be sure that you protect those baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon mat. If you don’t, they’ll never be the same. Trust me, I know from experience.
- Be patient! It’s tempting to take a little bite once they come out of the oven. Resist the urge! That caramelized coating is like hot lava. Allow the bacon to cool completely before diving in. You won’t be able to taste it if you burn off your tastebuds!
- The thicker, the better. Candied bacon cooks low and slow for that caramel coating. If you use thinly sliced bacon, it will burn before the brown sugar gets a chance to caramelize.
- Give it space to shine. Don’t overlap bacon on the baking sheet. If the slices overlap, the melted brown sugar causes the pieces to stick together. Give them plenty of space to avoid this. If you have to, work in batches.
How to Store & Reheat
It’s doubtful your candied bacon will see the light of a new day. In the rare case of leftovers, here’s how to store it:
- To Store: Allow the candied bacon to cool completely, then transfer it to an air-tight container. You can also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Before popping it in the freezer, wrap it tightly and then place it in a freezer bag. Try to remove as much air as possible before freezing. Frozen candied bacon will stay fresh for 1-2 months.
Pro storage tip. Candied bacon is incredibly sticky. When storing it in layers, place a piece of parchment paper between layers to prevent them from sticking together.
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