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Ah, bacon, how I love you. With fried eggs sprinkled over a salad or in yummy savory muffins… those are just some of the ways I enjoy rashers of happiness. What’s so great about bacon is that it can be prepared in advance, so if the craving for cured meat strikes – you’ve got some available within minutes.
How to Meal Prep Bacon
Bacon is so versatile in how it can be used for meal prep. For instance, it’s excellent for a protein kick for breakfast or as a source of protein for salads and savory baked goods like quiches or muffins. And let’s not forget the classic BLT. These are all great options if you’re a meal prepper who loves bacon.
Quiches or Savory Muffins With Bacon
Cheesy bacon and egg muffins and quiches are an excellent source of protein to start your day or nibble after a gym workout. Depending on your recipe, they can be very low in carbs and ideal for keto diets. Additionally, savory bacon muffins can be baked in advance and then frozen for a quick meal on the go.
When baking savory muffins or quiches, you can add some fresh Italian herbs to the mix and chopped-up spinach, leeks, fried onion, or peppers. Of course, you would need to cook the bacon before adding it to the mix to be baked. And depending on your preferences, the bacon can be cooked to a crispy and crumbly texture or softer, partially cooked cubes.
Bacon muffins and quiches can last in the freezer for up to two months, provided they are carefully packaged. To prepare them for freezing, allow the muffins to cool completely and wrap them individually with cling wrap or parchment paper. Then, freeze them in a sealable container or ziplocked bag.
When it’s time to reheat them, allow them to thaw a bit and then heat up in increments of 15 seconds in the microwave until warmed through.
Meal Prepped BLTs
BLTs are an excellent go-to for meal-prepped breakfasts and lunches. They can be made using any bread, but my favorite is fresh, chunky-sliced ciabatta. Prepared BLTs can last in the fridge for two to three days, provided they are stored correctly and the bacon is cooked to a crispy state.
To prepare the bacon for BLTs, it is recommended that you bake it on a tray in the oven. In that way, you can prepare many rashers simultaneously and ensure they remain flat and don’t curl up. Additionally, you can weave your bacon rashers into a lattice so that it is square-shaped, and you will have a bit of bacon in every bite. I like practical ideas like that!
Tasty Bacon Jerky
Another excellent way of preparing bacon for quick meals is to turn it into bacon jerky. My girls and I love smoked bacon jerky, although I’ve never considered making it myself. Bacon jerky can be eaten as a snack or added to other dishes. And it’s a lot simpler to make than you think.
To make bacon jerky, you will need twelve or more rashers of thick-cut bacon, an oven, aluminum foil, and a baking tray. If the bacon is damp when removing it from its packaging, pat it dry with a paper towel before lining up the rashers on the foil.
Depending on your flavor preferences, you can choose plain or smoked bacon. Additionally, you can baste or season the bacon before dehydration with chili or barbecue sauce, brown sugar, maple syrup, or black pepper.
Bake at 225°F for one hour and check or rearrange the bacon strips. After each hour, flip or rotate the strips so they can dehydrate evenly. Don’t add additional sauces during this time, as it will delay the dehydration process. If you use thick-cut bacon, it should take up to four hours for the bacon to reach a chewy texture and allow the fat to render sufficiently.
Since the fat in bacon jerky is rendered, the shelf-life of the jerky will be longer. So you can store your bacon jerky in a sealable container and eat it on the go!
Preparing Bacon So It Can Be Frozen
Cooked, frozen bacon is convenient because you can take it straight from the freezer and warm it up in the frying pan (for about one minute) or microwave oven (about 30 seconds). Additionally, cooked bacon can last up to six weeks in the freezer, provided it’s prepared and packaged correctly. Here’s how:
When meal-prepping bacon so it can be frozen, you should cook it to a level slightly below your preference. Then, wrap each porting in a paper towel to cushion it, especially if it’s already crispy. The wrapped portions can be put in a zip-lock bag or plastic container and then frozen.
Meal Prepping Bacon in an Oven
In most cases, bacon is usually fried in a skillet and needs to be monitored closely. However, when meal-prepping, you might not have enough skillets to cook a large batch of bacon. That’s where your oven and baking trays come in handy.
When meal-prepping bacon in the oven, you can cook it on a rack so the fat drips off or in a tray so that it cooks in its fat. Using a rack allows you to make “wavy bacon” or straight bacon, depending on how you lay down the rashers. Additionally, you can weave the bacon into a lattice before baking it for those BLTs, as mentioned earlier.
- For wavy bacon, lie the bacon on the rack and push it through the gaps before cooking. Don’t weave it over and under the bars because it will be difficult to remove it once cooked.
- For straight bacon that doesn’t curl up at the sides, lay the rashers on a tray and place an inverted grid over it. The inverted tray will prevent the bacon rashers from curling, making them easier to store or use in BLTs, for instance.
The recommended temperature for cooking bacon in the oven is 400°F. It should take about 15 minutes to see delicious, crispy bacon, so keep a close eye on it. Additionally, if you have two trays, rotate them about halfway through to cook the bacon evenly.
How Long Can Cooked Bacon Be Refrigerated?
If you want to refrigerate meal-prepped bacon, it is advisable to cook it to one level below your preference. Then, drain it on a paper towel and store it in a zip-lock bag. That way, it should last in the fridge for up to five days, and you can reheat it quickly to your desired texture or crispiness.
How Long Can Raw Bacon Be Kept in the Freezer?
Raw bacon in an unopened, vacuum-sealed container can be frozen for up to a month. When stored longer, the bacon fat becomes rancid. To avoid this, divide your raw bacon strips into meal-size portions (e.g., four rashers). Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, and label the package with the date. Storing bacon this way will extend its lifespan in the freezer.
Bacon is an excellent form of protein that can be meal prepped in several ways. Meals prepared with bacon can last for up to three days in the fridge and in the freezer for longer, depending on how it was packaged. Additionally, partially cooked and frozen bacon is handy to have on hand, as it reduces the preparation time when preparing a meal.
Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.