Bacon is one of life’s glorious gifts, but cooking it perfectly is an elusive feat if you get distracted for even a minute or two. But that’s only because you’ve been cooking it on the stovetop and not in the oven. Bacon cooked in a convection oven is just as foolproof, provided you’re a little cautious. Plus, it frees up your stovetop hustle for important things like making hash browns and perfect eggs.
Understanding Convection Ovens
Convection ovens work by circulating the hot oven air with one or more fans. With hot air swirling around, there’s not only a more even cooking experience, but also a quicker one. A perk of the air movement is you can cook more than one tray of food, and, in theory, each tray will cook evenly without getting rotated midway.
This is the theory, but in practice, nothing is perfect, and you’ll get to know your oven through experience. If you’re making bacon for a crowd, lay out two or more trays of bacon and cook them at the same time on convection. Worst-case scenario: You’ll have to move a few strips around and take some out early.
Bacon: Convection Oven Skills
The trick with oven-baked bacon is that putting bacon on a cold pan and baking it can make the bacon stick to the pan and over-stretch, causing it to burn or dry out. To avoid that, either use cooking spray or parchment paper. Parchment paper is not the same as wax paper; it won’t melt in the oven, and it’s a must-have for anyone who loves roasting potatoes or baking potato wedges! Do not use aluminum foil, as the bacon will stick to it, and it’s frustrating to remove.
Lay the bacon out nice and flat with space between each strip. In a normal oven, you would bake bacon at 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but the hotter/faster aspect of convection cooking means the sweet spot is 325 to 350 degrees.
Cooking times will vary between 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the moistness of the bacon, the amount of sugar in its cure and the thickness of the slices. Bake it for about 8 minutes; then turn the slices over and continue. Don’t be afraid to cook it low and slow, as this yields fantastic texture. Keep an eye on it and remove it when it’s reached the doneness that you love. Drain it on some paper towels, and you’re ready to enjoy bacon goodness.
Air Fryers vs. Convection Ovens
If regular ovens are the starter level of oven baking and convection ovens are the next level up in intensity, then air fryers are sort of like a double-strength convection oven. The air moves faster and hotter, and that’s why they work so great for things like chicken and potatoes.
But some air fryers will warn you that they’re not for cooking high-fat foods because of fire risks, so you’ll have to nix crisping up meats like bacon, pork belly and duck confit.
Bacon: Toaster Oven Tips
Toaster ovens work great too, but be sure you’re not on “toast” mode, as that can mean it’s cooking too fast on the top, and you could easily start a fire. Some folks swear that toaster oven bacon is an epiphany, and they’d never go back to stovetop.
Bacon in Convection Microwaves
Be careful; only use the “convection mode” on the convection microwave if you’re using a metal tray. Otherwise, the process is the same as any other convection microwave. The smaller cooking space may mean that the cooking time speeds up, so keep an eye on things and check it after 7 minutes in case it looks like time to flip it.