How to Keep Bacon Warm, So It Stays Crispy All Breakfast (or Brunch) Long
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

The eggs are fried. The pancakes are flipped. The mimosas are poured. Only one thing is missing from your epic brunch spread: bacon. The salty, crispy breakfast icon is an absolute essential on lazy and busy mornings alike, but it can be tough to time it just right if you’re cooking for a crowd. Read on to learn how to keep bacon warm all morning long.

To Keep Bacon Warm for 30 Minutes…

If you only need to wrap up, say, toast and coffee before serving the bacon, just put the cover on the skillet with a crack for air to get in (so it doesn’t get steamy) and leave it on the stove. If you need 30 to 45 minutes, transfer the hot skillet to a warm oven. You can partially cover the pan with a lid or tent it with foil—just don’t totally cover it because that will soften the bacon. If you’re cooking for a crowd, bake the bacon instead of pan-frying it on the stove, reduce the heat once it’s cooked and leave it in the oven with the door slightly cracked until you’re ready to eat.

To Keep Bacon Warm for Up to Two Hours…

Pop it in a warm oven on a rack atop a lined baking sheet so the bacon can drain. Set the oven to its lowest heat (about 200°F or so), line a baking sheet with foil and place an oven-safe rack on top. Transfer the bacon to the rack and place the baking sheet in the oven. Leave the oven door slightly ajar and let the bacon sit until you’re ready to serve it. (Oh, and don't drain the bacon between two layers of paper towel—this practice creates steam and moisture, which sucks the crispness right out and leaves you with limp bacon.)

To Keep Bacon Warm All Morning…

Use your slow cooker. To keep bacon strips crisp in a Crock-Pot, just set it to warm, give the insert a spritz of cooking spray and pop the bacon in. You can also use a chafing dish and serve the bacon buffet-style if you’re cooking for a crowd.

To Reheat Bacon…

You can quickly warm day-old bacon in the oven on a baking sheet (this is easiest for big-batch bacon) or in a skillet on the stove. The microwave is also shockingly effective, as it draws moisture out of food, and it’s particularly great for smaller quantities of bacon. Simply take the bacon out of the fridge, let it warm up for a few minutes at room temperature, then place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Microwave the bacon in 30-second intervals until it’s hot and crispy again.   

However you reheat it, just remember moisture exposure is the number one reason crisp bacon turns soggy and rubbery, so avoid it at all costs. If you know you’re going to be making bacon in advance, feel free to overcook it a bit to compensate for any potential softening that could happen in reheating. (BTW, you’ll want to strain the leftover fat in the pan and store it in your fridge to make bacon grease pancakes and other savory delicacies later on.)

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