Bacon is a favorite breakfast food for many people. It’s delicious, filling, and best of all, it doesn’t take too long to cook!
But one thing that can be frustrating about bacon is when it curls up on itself as it cooks.
In this article, we will discuss ways that you can prevent your bacon from curling so that your breakfasts are always perfect.
How to Keep Bacon From Curling
You can keep your bacon from curling by lining a baking sheet with foil, laying strips of bacon on top in a single layer, laying a grate on top of the bacon, and sticking it in the oven to cook. The grate will keep the bacon from curling during the cooking process.
Why Does Bacon Curl When Cooked?
The reason any food tends to curl up when cooking is because different components of the food are expanding and shrinking at the same time.
Bacon fat will cook much faster than the proteins inside the meat so as the fat gets cooked up and shrinks in size, it causes the bacon to start curling.
If your pan is too hot when you throw your bacon on the extreme heat, it will immediately seize up the fat in your bacon and cause a quick curling reaction.
The curling is also a byproduct of water being dehydrated from the bacon.
Usually, the water is from a wet cure that is injected into the meat when processed.
Can You Prevent Curling From Happening?
There are several methods you can use to keep your bacon from curling quickly, or at all.
One way is to watch the heat of the pan you are cooking in. The hotter the pan the quicker the fat will cook and the quicker the water will dehydrate.
If you keep your pan at low or medium-low temperatures, it will take longer to cook but it will also cause your bacon to become less curled.
Another method to try is flipping your bacon constantly.
This method keeps the bacon from becoming cooked too quickly on any side and helps distribute the shrinking and expanding forces evenly.
Because a lack of water can cause your bacon to curl more often, you could purchase a type of bacon that doesn’t contain nearly as much water or fat.
Lean bacon that has a healthier fat to meat ratio will be better to prevent your bacon from curling.
Buying dry-cured bacon will also be better because it won’t contain nearly as much liquid in the meat.
You can also use some kind of iron press to lay on top of the bacon while it’s cooking in the pan or griddle.
It will flatten out the bacon and prevent is physically from changing shape.
Does Curling Affect the Taste of Bacon?
You won’t notice any change in taste from bacon curling or not curling.
Either way, your bacon is going to taste delicious.
You will, however, notice a change in how even the bacon is cooked.
As the bacon curls, the ends tend to flare up and won’t touch the pan like the other parts of your strip.
This can cause uneven cooking and the fattier end parts will not be as satisfying to eat as if you cooked them flat on the pan.
The parts that are touching the pan have a greater chance of burning because of the uneven cooking.
Curled bacon is often a bigger pain to use in sandwiches too, because it makes the sandwich bulkier and more awkward to eat and you don’t get an even piece of bacon with each bite.
Does a Bacon Press Help Bacon From Curling?
Want to keep your bacon from getting curly for the rest of your life?
The easiest fix is buying yourself a bacon press which is essentially a flat iron circle with a handle attached that sits on top of your bacon.
The iron is so heavy that it will automatically flatten your bacon to keep it from curling when you put it on top.
There are a ton of different sizes and weights of bacon presses you can get and you don’t have to use it just for bacon.
You could use it for steak too, or any protein in order to make it cook faster or flatten out a bit.
Because the iron is flat it’s pretty easy to clean up too.
If you don’t want to mess with the other methods outlined above to keep your bacon from curling, this is your answer.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Keep Bacon From Curling
How long do you cook bacon on both sides?
When a pan is on medium-low heat and has reached its full temperature, place the bacon on one side and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, using tongs, flip the bacon to the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Because the bacon is fairly thin, it doesn’t need to cook evenly on both sides to be fully cooked.
How do you know when to flip bacon?
You’ll notice the bacon turning from a pale pink color to a deeper red and the fat will begin to render causing the bacon to change in size and shape. Take a pair of tongs and pick one end of the bacon up to look at the underside to see if it’s ready to flip.
Keeping Bacon From Curling
Not all bacon has to curl when you cook it.
You can use a grate to keep your bacon straight or you can cook it at low temps to keep the fat from cooking faster than the meat.
Either way, your bacon will taste delicious, it just depends on what you’re going to be using it for.