Anyone who can read a package of bacon knows there are three main ways to make bacon. You can cook bacon on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave. Everyone has their favorite method, and we salute you! But if you’re looking for the safest ways for kids to cook bacon, I’m here to help.
Because what parent doesn’t want to wake up to a ready-made breakfast on occasion? Even so, as much as I’ve encouraged my kids to learn how to cook everything, bacon is something I’ve supervised a little more, since an error could lead to a burn instead of just a bad sandwich!
So here are my top tips for cooking bacon safely, no matter how old you are, or which of the three methods you prefer.
1. If you like frying bacon in a pan on the stove…
This is the method my mother used, and I honestly didn’t know there was any other way to cook bacon until I became an adult.
The watch-outs: Snap, crackle, and pop! When bacon heats up, it can burn. The shorter the cook, the closer their face is to the pan, which makes this a dangerous choice.
Make it safer: It may sound totally counterintuitive, but according to The Kitchn (and plenty of other sources), adding water to the bacon pan reduces spattering. And, it makes for crispy, delicious bacon too!
2. If you like cooking bacon in the oven…
Oven baking was the second way I learned to cook bacon and I’m now a fan. You can cook a lot of bacon all at once and there’s no risk of shooting your eye out with popping grease. You don’t even have to preheat the oven before you put the bacon in.
The watch-outs: Because bacon fat renders during cooking, an unsteady cook could spill that super hot pool of fat from the tray when removing the bacon from the oven, which can easily lead to burns. You might want to leave oven-baked bacon to your older, more experienced kids who are less apt to drop the pan if it starts to spill.
Make it safer: Instead of a cookie tray, use a casserole dish with higher sides to cook your bacon more safely. Also make sure pot holders fit well, whatever size your cook’s hands!
3. If you like cooking bacon in the microwave…
Microwave bacon is the easiest bacon! All you need are a couple paper towels, a microwave-safe dish, and the bacon.
The watch-outs: Dishes in the microwave can get hotter than cooks expect. Even experienced cooks sometimes forget to check the temperature before grasping the dish to take it out of the oven. Plus, bacon fat renders in the microwave as it does in a conventional oven, so any kid using this method should be tall enough and steady enough to take the dish out without spilling.
Make it safer: Lay extra paper towels beneath the bacon you’re cooking to soak up the bacon grease. Don’t use paper plates which could start fires — stick with microwave-safe dishes. And remind kids to check the heat of that plate before taking it out of the microwave, no matter what they’re cooking.