Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Bacon
Our Test Kitchen blindly tasted eight different brands to find the best bacon. Find out which you should fry up for breakfast, BLTs and more.
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There’s nothing better than waking up to hot, crispy bacon served with eggs and pancakes. But why stop at breakfast? The best bacon recipes include dishes for appetizers, lunch, dinner and even dessert. No matter the meal, bacon is a great way to add saltiness and crunch.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: All bacon is good bacon. You might be right, but our Test Kitchen wanted to find the best bacon. Here’s how we found the top bacon brands that you can rely on.
What Makes the Best Bacon?
Our Test Kitchen fried up and tried eight brands of bacon that you commonly find at the grocery store and evaluated them according to these standards:
- Flavor: Great bacon is salty and savory, with a little bit of smokiness.
- Appearance: Raw bacon should have a healthy mix of fat and meat. It should look natural—not artificially pink or red.
You might be wondering why we didn’t judge this product’s texture. That’s because a lot of bacon’s texture depends on how it’s prepared. As long as you avoid these common bacon mistakes when you’re frying (or baking!) it, you should end up with nice, crisp bacon.
Our Test Kitchen’s Preferred Bacon
After tasting eight different brands of bacon side by side, our Test Kitchen agreed that these three stood out the most.
Best Thick-Cut Bacon: Nueske’s
Top honors go to Nueske’s, a Wisconsin-based brand. This bacon got remarkably high praise from our culinary and editorial staff alike. This thicker-cut bacon fries up nicely, providing a bit of crunch without being crumbly like finely sliced bacon. This bacon is also perfectly smokey, something that you don’t often find in mass-produced bacon. Overall, this bacon tastes authentic, like what you’d be served up alongside farmhouse breakfasts; that’s because Nueske’s bacon is still smoked in traditional smokehouses using applewood. Now, that’s some old-fashioned cooking we can get behind.
Best Widely Available Bacon: Oscar Mayer
The biggest name in bacon made it into our top three in this test. While it has a more mild smokiness, our Test Kitchen experts thought its nice pork flavor has just the right amount of salt. For a great basic bacon that you can find at any grocer, we definitely recommend Oscar Mayer.
Best Budget-Friendly Bacon: Farmland
Farmland—a supermarket staple—also performed well. Like Oscar Mayer, there isn’t a ton of smokiness in this bacon, but it has a nice pork flavor. This bacon is just a bit saltier than the others in our top three, but it still has a great balance of pork and fat as well. For bacon on a budget, this is your brand.
What to Make with Bacon
What to make with bacon? More like what not to make with it! You can use it on BLTs or paired with just about any appetizer or main dish, like in these bacon-wrapped recipes. You can even use bacon in desserts; it works similarly to salt (and we all love a good salted caramel recipe).
One of our favorite unique bacon recipes is this gentleman’s whiskey bacon jam, which is a great addition to any snack tray and tastes great on grilled cheese.
Teddy Nykiel, Taste of Home Associate Digital Editor, contributed to this article.