Bacon is one of the most popular meat options today. Anyone looking to make their breakfast unforgettable or make a burger deluxe will opt for adding bacon. Nothing beats crispy bacon. But what if your time is limited, or you don't want to deal with the mess that can come with cooking bacon on the stovetop?
Have you considered cooking bacon in the microwave? Whether you've used this method before, thought about using this option, or hadn't considered it until now, you're probably wondering: is microwave bacon bad for you?
There are several methods available for making perfectly cooked bacon. Most commonly, it is pan-fried on the stovetop. But did you know the cooking method you choose will impact the nutritional value of the bacon? How does a microwave impact bacon?
Bacon is not the healthiest food choice. Filled with fat and a high sodium count, it does not provide much nutritional benefit. Healthier options are available for bacon lovers. Turkey bacon has comparable protein values, but often has a bit less saturated fat and sodium than traditional bacon. Additionally, turkey bacon is pre cooked bacon and only needs to be heated until it reaches the desired level of crispiness.
With that in mind, the method you use to cook your bacon impacts its nutritional value. Notably, many scientists believe that a microwave is the best tool to cook bacon.
Cooked bacon from a microwave oven
If you are going to eat bacon, cooking it in the microwave can be a good idea. The levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines found in bacon are significantly lower when cooked in a microwave versus pan fried bacon.
Typically, it is a bad idea to cook meat in a microwave. Microwaves are highly powered compared to other cooking devices. They emit low levels of radiation, and as a result, using them too much may be harmful when cooking some foods.
However, bacon is a unique meat product and can safely be cooked raw in a microwave. The reason for this is that bacon is extremely thin. As a result, the heat from the microwave can quickly cook the meat without fear of it being undercooked.
Furthermore, bacon has a higher fat content than most meat products. The fat allows the bacon to reach a high enough temperature to crisp up. You will not get your meat crispy if you microwave other meat products.
When you cook bacon with conventional cooking methods like roasting, boiling, or frying, you lose up to 90% of the nutrients. However, this is not the case when you use a microwave.
The reason is that microwaves raise the temperature much faster than other cooking tools. An oven can take 10 to 15 minutes to preheat depending on the temperature you need it to reach. Placing butter in a room temperature pan on high will take around 5 minutes to melt on the stovetop.
However, microwaves raise the temperature with incredible speed. As a result, the nutrients are subject to heat for less time. The result is more of the nutrients remaining in the bacon. So, your bacon stays as nutritious as possible.
The most significant benefit of microwaving bacon is the speed and efficiency of the method. There are other benefits besides speed and efficiency. Notably, microwaving can positively impact your caloric intake when eating bacon.
Studies conducted by nutritionists and other experts have found that microwaved bacon has fewer calories and fat than bacon cooked using traditional methods.
The reason is found in the method for cooking bacon in the microwave. Paper towels are a recommended resource as they absorb most of the grease emitted by the bacon when you cook it. As a result, the amount of fat and calories you intake are lower.
If you are convinced and ready to cook your bacon, you do not need a lot of preparation. You can cook bacon in a microwave without much difficulty. All you need to cook is your bacon, the microwave, paper towels, and a microwave safe plate (or a specially designed tray that is made to microwave bacon).
Raw bacon on a paper towel on top of a microwave safe plate - to avoid a mess, make sure your bacon and paper towel are completely contained by the plate (as opposed to what is shown above)
Place your raw bacon slices on a paper towel and fold the paper towel to cover the bacon. You should then cook it for one to two minutes per slice. Bacon cooks quickly, so shoot for the shorter end of the spectrum first and give it extra time if it looks undercooked.
Keep in mind that the cook times are for a 900W microwave. If your microwave is stronger or weaker, you will need to adjust the times accordingly. To avoid food poisoning, parasite infestations, and other nasties, make sure that your bacon is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.
Once you cook your bacon, you can take it out of the paper towel and eat it immediately. There is nothing else you need to do other than prepare whatever you are eating with the bacon.
To enhance your results, you can get a microwave bacon cooker. The design of microwave bacon cookers allows grease to drain away from the meat, leaving a crispier product.
Photo of a microwave cooker which lets grease drain off of the bacon
There are not many disadvantages to cooking bacon in your microwave. When it comes to your health, microwaving your bacon is not worse than cooking on a stovetop. Instead, the only negative is that you do not get to take advantage of everything the bacon has to offer.
Specifically, when you cook bacon in a microwave, you cannot use the bacon grease. Instead, the bacon grease gets absorbed by the paper towel. While this might have marginal health benefits, it takes away from the flavor.
Additionally, bacon fat can substitute for butter or oil. Cooking your bacon on the stovetop allows the use of leftover bacon grease. As a result, your breakfast eggs can hint at that delicious bacon flavor when you cook them in the leftover grease.
Not being able to use bacon grease to cook your other food is disappointing. But if that is the biggest issue with microwaving bacon, you should not have many complaints.