Bacon is one of those foods that nearly everyone loves. Whether you have leftover bacon (a curious concept) or want to cook it in advance to save time later, reheating bacon is easy to do. There are several good ways to heat up bacon in the morning or whenever your meal takes place.
Par-cooking Bacon the First Time
If you're intentionally cooking bacon to reheat later, you have the opportunity to control how much you cook it the first time. The secret to perfect, reheated bacon is to only par-cook bacon it the first time using whatever method you prefer: stovetop, oven or microwave. Then, when you reheat it, you can finish it to your liking much more quickly.
Many bacon lovers extol crispy-but-not-burnt bacon, but if you're one who prefers your bacon soft and chewy instead, par cooking bacon can still work if you're careful. Just par-cook it slightly under how you like it, and watch it judiciously while reheating so it doesn't overcook.
To reheat bacon, it's essential that you have leftover bacon to begin with. Par-cooked bacon won't be quite as enticing to those who like to sneak it out of the frying pan, so they'll be motivated to wait until you finish cooking the bacon before indulging.
Storing Cooked Bacon Safely
After cooking or par-cooking the bacon, store it in a container with a tight-fitting lid or wrap it tightly with aluminum foil. Cooked or partially cooked bacon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days and for three months in the freezer if it's wrapped thoroughly. Bacon is thin enough that, even when frozen, it will reheat quickly. Allow bacon to thaw naturally in the refrigerator, so you can easily separate the slices without tearing them.
Reheating Bacon in the Oven
Place bacon slices 1/2 inch apart in a baking pan lined with aluminum foil if you want less cleanup. Place in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven, bake for 5 minutes, and check for doneness.
Total cooking time will depend on how much or how little you cooked the bacon in advance and whether you prefer your bacon crispy or chewy. If you're just reheating bacon that was thoroughly cooked in advance, it won't need to reheat as long as par-cooked bacon. Check on the bacon every few minutes until it's done to your liking.
Carefully Reheating in the Microwave
Place bacon slices 1/2 inch apart on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels. The best way to microwave bacon is on high for 10 seconds; then check to see if it's hot. If the bacon was frozen or par-cooked, it will take longer to be done. Continue microwaving for 10-second intervals, checking after each, until the bacon is hot and cooked to your taste.
Reheating Bacon on the Stovetop
Using a frying pan or cast-iron skillet, place bacon strips in single layer, without touching, and add water until bacon is just covered. This method is especially good for bacon that has become dry. Bring water to a boil, then turn the heat to low for fully cooked bacon or medium for par-cooked slices. Allow the bacon to cook until reheated through or cooked to your liking. Watch it carefully as the water cooks away, so the bacon doesn't burn.
Keeping Bacon Warm While Waiting
To keep bacon warm while the rest of your meal cooks, place the bacon in a pile in a double layer of aluminum foil (this keeps grease from leaking out if one layer is punctured) and cover it loosely with a top piece of foil. Put the foil pouch in a low oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit or on top of a hot stove in which other foods are cooking in its oven.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area and writes about food for eHow.com and leaf.tv. She started baking on her own at age nine, creating appetizers at 10, and making family meals by 14. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, where she often cooked elaborate meals and desserts for friends.