turkey bacon

Best Way to Cook Turkey Bacon

Ok, so you’re trying to be healthy but you can’t get your turkey bacon to resemble anything like the real thing. What if I told you it’s not the turkey bacon itself but actually the way you are preparing it?

There are several different ways to cook turkey bacon, and we’ll go through each, but I’ll share what the best way to cook turkey bacon is from the perspective of a Culinary Dietitian (and Mom!)

Here’s your hint: limit moisture, add a wee bit of fat, high heat, and a slightly longer cook time.

I suggest you trial and error the few different methods discussed to find one that you like best. 

The nutritional benefits of turkey bacon far exceed that of regular bacon, that it is well worth your time to find the method that satisfies you.

What is Turkey Bacon?

To understand why some cooking techniques are better than others you first need to understand what the actual ingredient is and its characteristics. 

Turkey bacon is, yes, in fact made of turkey, unlike its original counterpart that is pork based. To be specific, the cut of meat is the belly of the pig for regular bacon. 

For turkey bacon the part of the turkey that’s used isn’t as consistent as regular bacon.

Sometimes the thigh of the turkey is used for the darker meat, but majority of the time it is a ground mixture of both white and dark. 

Also unlike regular bacon, turkey bacon typically comes “fully cooked” meaning the meat could technically be eaten as is but it is not recommended.

Not all brands prepare their turkey bacon in this fashion so you are best to just assume the turkey bacon is not cooked yet. 

One of the biggest questions is “what does turkey bacon taste like?” as this is what will likely drive you to purchasing it. 

Turkey bacon tastes like a salty, smoked meat. And what does regular bacon taste like? A salty, smoked meat. 

The flavor of bacon is actually pretty easy to mimic, the difference actually boils down to the texture of the two. 

Without the right cooking techniques in place, turkey bacon lives up to its stereotype of being a flappy, unsatisfying, “healthy” (insert air quotes) alternative. 

When in actuality, turkey bacon has the potential to be a hearty and tasty breakfast meat that actually counts as a protein and not a fat like regular bacon. 

Why Turkey Bacon is Healthier

Turkey bacon is healthier than regular bacon because turkey is a much leaner meat than pork belly. 

So much so, that in the nutrition-world we actually refer to bacon as a fat and not a protein at all. 

Compare this to the fact that the serving of turkey bacon on your breakfast plate will have more protein than the egg. 

With these stark differences of fat and protein content, you can see why a Registered Dietitian would recommend you consume turkey bacon instead.

In fact, if you are looking for other Dietitian-recommended meats, check out this other article to dive deeper into which meats are best for weight loss.

For now though, let’s look into the various methods of cooking turkey bacon so that you don’t ever miss the original stuff. 

Turkey Bacon Cooking Methods

Oven

Cooking turkey bacon in the oven is one of the most common and easiest ways to prepare it.

This method requires very little supervision with easy clean-up. This is the best way if you are cooking the whole pack or serving multiple people.

How to cook turkey bacon in an oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Place a wire rack on lined sheet pan.
  4. Spread out bacon on wire rack without overlapping.
  5. Cook for 10 mins, flip, then another 5-10 mins.
  6. Adjust cook times to your desired level of crispiness.

Stovetop

I prefer this method when I’m cooking for only one or two people. I’ve also found this method creates a texture that most resembles regular bacon. 

How to cook turkey bacon in a pan:

  1. Spray skillet with nonstick cooking oil.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat.
  3. Spread out bacon without overlapping and do not crowd the pan.
  4. Cook for about 5 mins, flip, cook for another 5 mins.
  5. Adjust cook times to your desired level of crispiness.

Microwave

Microwaved turkey bacon is the fastest cooking method you could do, but will least resemble the texture of regular bacon.

Turkey bacon does not get crisp in the microwave, but chewy instead. You are also only able to cook in small batches with this cooking technique. 

So I would reserve this method only for when you are in a pinch for time or simply need to reheat already cooked turkey bacon. 

How to cook turkey bacon in the microwave:

  1. Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels.
  2. Spread bacon out on the plate without overlapping.
  3. Cook for 2-4 minutes.
  4. Adjust cooking time to your desired level of crispiness.

Air Fryer

Using the air fryer to cook turkey bacon is similar to that of the oven – no supervision needed. It also results in one the crispiest ways if you’re a die-hard crunch fan. 

However, depending on how big your air fryer is, you may be limited on how many slices of bacon you can prepare in each batch.

Pro Tip: the best way to cook turkey bacon in the air fryer is to pat dry the strips to remove excess moisture and then give each side a quick spritz of cooking oil spray. 

How to cook turkey bacon in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat air fryer to 360°F.
  2. Lightly spray both sides of each bacon slice with cooking oil. 
  3. Spread bacon out in the air fryer without overlapping or crowding.
  4. Cook for 5 mins, flip, then another 5 mins.
  5. Adjust cook times to your desired level of crispiness. 

The Best Way to Cook Turkey Bacon

Alright so here’s my method and tips for the best way to cook turkey bacon, from a Dietitian and Culinarian’s point of view.

I prefer the stovetop, for several reasons. 

As I am usually just cooking for me and my little family, I don’t need any large-batch techniques like with the oven. 

I also like to limit how many dishes and pans I use when cooking for easier clean-up. So when I cook turkey bacon in a skillet, I can also cook my eggs in this same pan which would impart more flavor into the eggs as well.

The way that I’ve found to best recreate the texture of real bacon is to actually cook the turkey bacon twice.

At the beginning of the week, I’ll cook the whole pack of turkey bacon on the stove, let it cool, then store it in the fridge. 

For breakfast throughout the week, I simply pull out however much I need, give it a few tosses in the hot skillet to heat it through until crisp and voilà

This also helps cut down on cook time during my busy mornings. 

Some other tips for the best way to cook turkey bacon are to: pat dry any excess moisture when taking the strips out of the package, be sure to never overlap or crowd the pan, always keep an eye on it, and try some freshly cracked black pepper for a little more umami zing!

However, maybe even after all of this trial and error, you still decide you are not a turkey bacon fan. That’s okay!

Check out this article on the Healthiest Way to Cook Sausages to never feel guilty about whatever breakfast meat you may choose!

FAQ

Looking for a specific answer to your turkey bacon woes or inquiries?

Some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to cooking turkey bacon are below. So you can easily just skim through to get the directions you need to start sizzlin’ away. 

Do you need cooking oil for turkey bacon?

Cooking oil is recommended for turkey bacon if you want to ensure the recreation of that satisfying bacon crisp. Just a quick spritz of a cooking oil spray will do the trick and will be inconsequential to the amount of calories it adds. 

How to make turkey bacon crispy?

Just like regular bacon, turkey bacon can be crispy if you want it to be. In my opinion, yes turkey bacon is supposed to be crispy. And this can be accomplished by drying off excess moisture, using cooking oil spray, using high heat, and slightly longer cook times.

Is turkey bacon greasy?

By default, no turkey bacon is not greasy because it is extremely low in fat. Even with the above mentioned addition of cooking oil spray, the end result is simply a crisp product – not a greasy one. 

What is the fastest way to cook turkey bacon?

The fastest way to cook turkey bacon, and most other food items for that matter, is in the microwave. However, your bacon may end up more chewy than crispy.

Is turkey bacon cooked already?

Technically yes, most brands of turkey bacon are prepared in such a way that it is similar to deli meat. However, this is not a common practice across the board. So to be safe, always cook your turkey bacon. 

How long to cook turkey bacon?

  • In a pan – about 10 minutes
  • In an oven at 350°F – about 20 minutes
  • In an oven at 425°F – about 15 minutes
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