Bacon can be dangerous. I’m not talking about nitrates or all that stuff that makes bacon such an indulgent, irresistible ingredient—I’m talking about how easy it is for a knife to slip on the cutting board when you’re trying to chop slippery bacon slices straight from the package. No one wants to go to the emergency room for a bacon-chopping mishap. That’s why pro chefs do the safe (and time-saving) thing and store their bacon in the freezer.
That one simple step not only saves your fingers but saves time, making it easier to chop and prep bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, or any sliced meat called for in a recipe. Because the fat becomes rock-hard in its frozen state, it stays in place when it’s time to dice it up. The end result is perfectly sized cubes or slices that crisp much better in your pan.
How to freeze your bacon? That depends on how you most frequently use it. Throwing the whole package of bacon into the freezer might save a few minutes during your post-supermarket put-away session, but it’s nearly impossible to separate the individual slices once they’ve been frozen as a block. Either peel the slices apart and freeze them as single slices on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet until frozen solid, or in blocks of 2 to 4 slices if you typically chop up a bunch of bacon at once. When the slices are completely frozen, they can be transferred to zip-top freezer bags, vacuum sealed, or tightly wrapped in foil until ready to cook.
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Slice or dice the frozen bacon and add to the skillet, then place over heat and cook per recipe instructions. Bacon slices can also be cooked directly from their frozen state in the oven—line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and fit a wire rack inside the pan. Place the bacon slices on the wire rack and bake at 400 degrees F until crispy.
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After the bacon has been cooked, you can still use the freezer to your advantage! Drain any extra bacon drippings from the pan or baking sheet and store a freezer-safe glass container. Freeze indefinitely, using the savory, flavor-rich drippings in place of butter or oil in your favorite recipes.
Now go forth and get your bacon on like a pro!
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