Can I Cook Bacon in a Cast Iron Skillet?

Published Categorized as Cookware, Cookware Advice, Guide, Meat

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Cast iron is one of the most durable materials which is used to make cookware. If looked after properly it will last a lifetime and can even be handed down from generation to generation. Cast iron cookware usually comes pre-seasoned, but you will have to season it yourself at frequent intervals to keep it non-stick. Don’t let this put you off as it’s well worth the trouble and it doesn’t need to be done each time you use your pan. 

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There are plenty of benefits of using cast iron cookware. For a start, they are free from chemicals. A lot of cookware that is non-stick contains perfluorocarbons which are chemicals that can lead to any number of illnesses from cancer to liver damage and so much more. Perhaps you didn’t realize this but cast iron can even add iron to your bodies. So many people suffer from iron deficiency and cast iron cookware can increase your absorption by up to 20 times. Another great thumbs up is that cast iron cookware can be also put in the oven up to any temperature. Perhaps you want to start your dish on the stovetop and then finish it off in the oven. Finally, cast iron is reasonably priced especially compared to stainless steel and its lifespan is much longer making it even more economical. 

It is very versatile, and you can use cast iron cookware to sauté, fry, sear, bake, braise, roast, and broil. The more seasoned your pans get, the better the food will cook and taste. Cast iron cookware saves on energy as it heats up quickly and stays hot for a long time after the energy supply has been turned off. It is easy to clean, and you can even use metal utensils on it.

Cooking Bacon in a Cast Iron Skillet

So, the question here today is can you cook bacon in a cast iron skillet? The simple answer is yes, but there are guidelines to be followed and we’re here to tell you the best way to go about cooking delicious bacon in a cast iron skillet. 

The first thing to do is to make sure that your skillet is well-seasoned. If it hasn’t been seasoned for a while, now’s the time to do it. Seasoning makes the pan non-stick and means that you don’t need to use any extra oil for cooking.

To start with, wash your skillet in hot water. If it looks a bit rusty or coarse, scrape it with a steel wool pad. This will not affect the surface of your skillet. You will want to remove any old oil before seasoning it again. When you have done this, rinse the skillet and dry it with paper towels. Oil both the outside and inside of the pan with vegetable oil. This can easily be done with a paper towel. The next thing to do is to preheat your oven to 325F. When it reaches this temperature put the skillet in the oven upside down. Bake for an hour and then switch the oven off. Leave the skillet in the oven until it cools down. This could take a few hours. You may think that this is a labored procedure, but it is essential for great cooking results.

Once your skillet is seasoned then comes the good part, cooking the bacon. For the best bacon, you will want to put the bacon in a cold skillet and heat the pan and bacon together. If you heat up the oil first your bacon could cook too quickly, and you might even end up with it burning. Heat it gradually. Bacon is thin and doesn’t need too much heat to get a good result. Also, by using a low heat to begin with, some of the oil from the bacon will be released and you will then be cooking it in its own fat. For a start this saves money and in addition, is much healthier as you’re not adding any extra fat to the pan. Another tip is to not put too many slices of bacon in at the same time. The slices shouldn’t be touching each other otherwise they won’t crisp up evenly. Finally, remember that cast iron retains heat for a long time after the burner is switched off. It’s not enough to remove the pan from the heat and leave the bacon in it even for a minute as it will continue cooking. Take it straight out and put it on the plate. Perhaps scramble a couple of eggs in the remainder of the oil to have with your bacon. It won’t take long.

How to Clean your Skillet After Cooking Bacon

If your skillet has been seasoned properly, it should be easy to clean your cast iron skillet. There shouldn’t be many bits of bacon left in the pan, but if there are a few, use a spatula to remove them. You can use metal, but wooden or plastic will do just as well. If, somehow, you’ve got pieces that have stuck, use a piece of chain mail to remove them. Chain mail is made from stainless steel and is safe to use on cast iron. Once you’ve done this use a paper towel to wipe up the grease. There’s no need to wash the skillet. If there’s a little extra grease left that’s fine as it adds to the seasoning which keeps it non-stick. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that you are now convinced that cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet is a good idea. The key is to have a well-seasoned pan and to allow the bacon and the pan heat up together. Don’t let the slices of bacon touch each other and remove the bacon from the pan as soon as it has finished cooking. In this way, you will have crisp and tasty bacon. For a tasty breakfast serve up with eggs and mushrooms.