Making candied bacon is one of those a-ha moments—why didn’t I ever do this before? The magic happens in the oven and only takes half an hour. Eat it as is, crumble it over salad, or use it to garnish a Bloody Mary. We don’t need to tell you what to do with bacon, right?
Candied Bacon. Addictive Bacon. Sugar Bacon. These are all names that I’ve seen on the menus of popular brunch places selling three strips of this bacon for an embarrassingly high price.
The good news: You can just make it at home!
Better news: It truly is delicious and all the other superlative adjectives that people put in front of it!
The even better news: It only has two ingredients. Yay!
What Is Candied Bacon?
Candied bacon is a wonderful food that combines salty, sweet, and crispy. If made correctly, the bacon has crispy edges and a crackly crust from the caramelized sugar on top.
And to make it correctly you need to bake the bacon, which we will do!
Two-Ingredient Candied Bacon
Ultimately, you only need two ingredients for candied bacon: bacon and sugar. But there are many versions that you can easily make once you have the basic technique down!
- For the bacon, I prefer a classic strip bacon, not thick-cut. The thick-cut takes too long to get crispy, but you could use it if you like chewier bacon.
- For the sugar, I prefer light brown sugar. Plain granulated sugar doesn’t caramelize as well, and dark brown sugar has too much molasses in it. You could also use a coarse sugar such as turbinado if you wanted a little extra texture on your bacon. For me, though, just classic light brown sugar is the way to go.
- You definitely shouldn’t use any sugar substitutes for this recipe. They won’t caramelize the same way or form a crunchy crust.
Mix It up!
Once you have those two basics picked, you can really start to be experimental with other flavors and toppings.
Let your mind run wild here. I’ve made candied bacon with maple syrup mixed with the brown sugar (that version is provided below in the recipe as an alternative), but you could also use honey or stir in some spices or other seasonings.
Sriracha? Yes. Black pepper? Yep. Dried herbs such as rosemary? Absolutely
Tips for Making Candied Bacon
There are a few tricks to making candied bacon at home.
- First, you have to bake it. Trying to candy bacon in a skillet is just going to lead to a mess, and the bacon won’t stay in perfect strips.
- Second, to get really crispy and evenly cooked pieces, it helps to elevate the bacon so air can circulate. I recommend placing the bacon on an oven-safe wire rack placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. The wire rack will help the bacon cook and get crispy, and the foil will make for easier cleanup! Situate the strips perpendicular to the wire rack so the bacon doesn’t fall through as it cooks.
- Third, adjust the baking time as needed. Depending on the bacon you use, you may need longer or shorter baking times. I would start checking the bacon at 18 to 20 minutes, and it might need up to 25 minutes to get really crispy.
- Finally, when the bacon comes out, be sure to let it cool before eating it. This is the hard part. The sugar on the bacon is basically molten and if you bite into it right out of the oven, your tongue will regret it!
What to Do With Candied Bacon?
I recommend eating it! Ha! You can serve it as a side dish to almost any brunch. You can chop it up and serve it with toothpicks for an appetizer. You can stick it on a Bloody Mary Bar, or crumble it on top of a classic wedge salad! Go crazy with it!