The first time I encountered candied bacon was at a New York institution of a restaurant called Peter Luger’s.  Peter Luger’s was a steakhouse with a larger-than-life reputation.  The huge, aged steaks, the brusque waiters, the famous steak sauce…it was beloved by carnivores lucky enough to score a reservation, and flush enough to pay the tab.  

Candied Bacon

My dad was a fan, as was his dad, and often picked it when we were celebrating something good.  No one left the table anything other than stuffed, and while there were some very classic appetizers to order (sliced tomatoes and onions with their secret sauce, a wedge salad), there was also something utterly perplexing – a single strip of crispy, sweet thick bacon.  We won’t even get into the meat-as-an-appetizer-for-meat discussion.  I’ll hold back my thoughts on that.  But I do remember thinking that I had not seen anyone eat anything in recent memory with as much pleasure as my dad ate that candied bacon.

What is Candied Bacon?

Candied Bacon, or bacon candy, is simply bacon that has been brushed or sprinkled with something sweet, then baked until crispy and caramelized.  (Sometimes it’s called pig candy, but I’m just not a fan of that name).  You can use thick or thin sliced bacon, but I prefer thicker slices which have a more toothsome bite even while the outside gets that burnished, crisp exterior.  As you would expect thinner slices will crisp up faster than thicker.  You should watch to make sure the bacon doesn’t tip over from crisp to burnt (which absolutely has happened to me.

Candy Bacon

It’s smoky and sweet and salty and crispy and chewy and just plain ridiculous.  You can use brown sugar, maple syrup or honey or even a combo.  I also like to add a little heat to mine with a tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper and/or a bit of freshly ground black pepper.  You do NOT need salt!  The bacon is plenty salty!

Storing Bacon Candy

You can store candied bacon in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.  Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers of bacon so they don’t stick together.  If the bacon starts to soften, crisp it back up in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes, watching it carefully.

Candied Bacon in Oven

How to Eat Candied Bacon

One delicious bite at a time!  Serve it as an appetizer or a snack, or as part of a brunch.  It’s a real treat for the holidays, and if you serve it up at a cocktail party, be prepared for it to go and go FAST.  I once saw a piece slid into a Bloody Mary, which seemed kind of cool, kind of odd.

You can also think about slicing it crosswise or crumbling it and adding it to salads, like a Cobb Salad, a Waldorf Salad, or a wedge salad.  Maybe place a slice or two into a grilled cheese.   Add it to a graze board!  Or sprinkle it over a soup (see suggestions below).  

How to Make Candied Bacon

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (seriously, do this!) and place a wire cooling rack in the baking sheet.  

Lay the bacon strips on the rack crosswise, making sure they don’t overlap at all; it’s ok if they are just touching.  Lightly and evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the strips of bacon, using about 1 teaspoon per strip.  Very lightly dust a bit of black pepper and also some cayenne if desired on each strip.

How to Make Candied Bacon

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the sugar is melted and the bacon is a deep mahogany brown and fairly crisp.   You may want to check midway through the baking to see if the bacon is cooking evenly; if there are areas that seem to be cooking faster than others, rotate the pan in the oven.   Remember that the bacon will continue to crisp up a bit as it cools.

How to Make Candied Bacon

Let the bacon cool on the rack for at least 3 minutes; that caramelized sugar is hot, and you could burn your mouth if you can’t resist for a few minutes!  You can do it!

How to Make Candied Bacon: Smoky and sweet and salty and crispy and chewy and just plain ridiculously delicious.

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What to Serve with Candied Bacon:

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Candied Bacon

Smoky and sweet and salty and crispy and chewy and just plain ridiculously delicious.
Yield: 8 People
Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 8 strips thick cut bacon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire cooling rack in the baking sheet.
  • Lay the bacon strips on the rack crosswise, making sure they don’t overlap at all; it’s ok if they are just touching. Lightly and evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the strips of bacon, using about 1 teaspoon per strip. Very lightly dust a bit of black pepper and also some cayenne if desired on each strip.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until the sugar is melted and the bacon is a deep mahogany brown and fairly crisp. You may want to check midway through the baking to see if the bacon is cooking evenly; if there are areas that seem to be cooking faster than others, rotate the pan in the oven. Remember that the bacon will continue to crisp up a bit as it cools.
  • Let the bacon cool on the rack for at least 3 minutes; that caramelized sugar is hot, and you could burn your mouth if you can’t resist for a few minutes! You can do it!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 77mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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