Bacon lardons are like little morsels of magic. Matchstick pieces of bacon are fried until golden brown. When they’re slow-cooked just right, the outside is crispy while the inside is chewy.
Their salty flavor and crispy texture are simply sublime. Bigger and more substantial than bacon bits, they’re a little crispy and a little tender when cooked just right.
Learn the origin of this delectable bacon tidbit, how to perfect the art of making lardons with sliced or slab bacon, plus 15 tasty ways to use them in recipes.
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- What is a Bacon Lardon?
- Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for this Recipe
- Ingredients Notes
- Equipment Needed
- Step by Step Directions with Photos
- How to Make Slab Bacon Lardons
- Pro Cooking Tips
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Recipes Using Bacon Lardons
- Bacon Lardons vs. Pancetta
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- More Fun Things to do with Bacon
- Bacon Lardons Recipe
- Save for Later
What is a Bacon Lardon?
Bacon lardons have several official definitions.
When used in French cuisine, they are usually made of pork belly or fatty bacon, and can be in the shape of a strip or a cube. They are also sometimes called lardoons.
In times of war when meat was scarce, the French discovered that cutting bacon in lardons was a way to add a great deal of flavor to a dish from a smaller quantity of meat.
In old cookbooks, you might see a reference to lardons which were thin strips of lard or fat that were “threaded” on a special needle and pulled into a roast or other meat to add flavor and tenderize tougher cuts.
Lardons are sometimes made from back bacon or uncured pork belly, but Bon Appetit magazine recommends making lardons from bacon for maximum flavor, and we heartily agree!
Some people prefer their lardons skinny (about 1/4 inch thick or so) and cooked until crispy; these are sometimes called “matchstick lardons.” Others prefer thicker lardons (1/3 to 1/2 inch thick) that are cooked until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Whether you make them from thick-sliced bacon or slab bacon, we’ve got you covered with photos and directions below.
Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for this Recipe
Lardons of bacon are bite-sized bits of pure deliciousness!
Bacon lardons are extremely versatile, and can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.
They’re bigger than bacon bits, making bacon cut into lardons a great choice for hearty meals, stews, charcuterie boards, casseroles, appetizers and much more.
To make lardons, you can use one of two products:
Thick sliced bacon – Check the butcher case at your grocery store for hand-sliced thick cut bacon. The thicker slices you can find, the better.
Slab bacon – Available from your butcher and at larger stores. (Be sure to remove the rind before cooking so you don’t have any hard edges on the lardons.)
You won’t need any fancy cooking equipment to make your own lardons:
Cutting board – We love our solid maple pig shaped board!
Sharp knife – a must for cutting the bacon in even matchstick pieces for lardons.
Large skillet – read about our choice for the Best Frying Pan for Bacon.
Paper towels for draining
Step by Step Directions with Photos
Here’s how to make Bacon Lardons with thick-sliced bacon. (Scroll down for directions to make lardons with slab bacon.)
Step 1: Cut bacon in 1/4- to 1/3-inch matchstick strips. I prefer to cut across the short side of the bacon strips so that each lardon has a mix of fat and leaner meat.
If you instead cut the strips from the bacon lengthwise, you will have some lardons that are pure fat and others that are mainly meaty. It’s totally your preference!
Step 2: Arrange the bacon pieces without touching in a cold skillet.
Step 3: Cook slowly over medium-low heat, watching, rearranging if necessary for even cooking, and turning when the edges start to bubble, just until golden brown.
Watch the lardons carefully toward the end of cooking, as you don’t want them to get too crispy. If some of the lardons cook faster than others, just remove them from the pan as they finish cooking.
That’s it! Serve and enjoy!
How to Make Slab Bacon Lardons
Lardons cut from a slab of bacon are a bit more authentic, since you can cut them in thicker pieces.
Cutting the slab bacon into thicker strips produces lardons that have tender insides and crispy exteriors after you cook them.
Ask your butcher to cut the rind off of the slab, or cut it off yourself. This is important, because the rind becomes very hard when cooked and will ruin the crispy-tender effect of perfect lardons.
Cut the slab in pieces that are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick by about 1 or 1 1/4 inches long.
Cook the pieces in a large skillet over medium-low heat, turning when each side is browned and bubbling, until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and enjoy!
Pro Cooking Tips
Before cooking the lardons, arrange them in the skillet so they’re not touching. This will help them to fry more evenly and prevent them sticking together.
Start with a cold skillet and slowly heat the pan. This will help the lardons heat up gradually and evenly without overcooking the outer surfaces.
Low and slow is the way to go. Cooking the lardons over medium-low heat will help them cook evenly — perfectly crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Cooked lardons may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days tightly wrapped to keep oxygen out and stored in a cool section of the fridge. For more information, be sure to read our guide to storing cooked bacon in the refrigerator.
You can reheat the lardons in a large skillet over medium heat until they just start to sizzle, about 5 minutes.
Recipes Using Bacon Lardons
Here are 15 delicious ways to use these tasty morsels:
- As croutons on a salad.
- To top baked potatoes.
- Sprinkled on macaroni and cheese.
- Out of hand, as a delectable snack.
- In a quiche or breakfast casserole.
- Sprinkled on soups and chowders.
- Added to fried cabbage or Brussels sprouts.
- As a pizza topping.
- In a classic Coq au Vin.
- Strewn over mashed potatoes.
- To garnish pasta.
- Added to risotto.
- Mixed with cooked beans.
- Layered on a grilled cheese sandwich.
- In a hearty stew, like Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon.
Bacon Lardons vs. Pancetta
While bacon and pancetta are both made from pork belly, pancetta is an Italian cured meat that is never smoked. Instead, it is salt cured and dried and generally has a milder flavor than smoked, cured bacon.
Because pancetta and bacon have a similar texture and salty, savory flavor, pancetta can be substituted for bacon when making lardons.
They can flavor everything from omelets and stews to salads and popcorn! See our list above of recipes you can make using bacon lardons.
The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of your lardons, how hot your oven cooks, and the amount of moisture in the bacon. 1/3 inch thick lardons in a large skillet over medium-low heat should be perfectly cooked in about 10-15 minutes.
Bacon lardons are naturally keto and low-carb. Just be sure to use a Keto-friendly brand of bacon.
Absolutely! For best results, spread the lardons on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. When they are frozen, remove from the tray and store in a zip-top freezer bag. (Squeeze any excess air out.) Frozen lardons will keep for about 1 month.
More Fun Things to Do With Bacon
If you love exploring fresh new ways to use bacon, you might enjoy trying these recipes:
You might also enjoy the Bacon Lardons web story.
Let’s get cooking, shall we?
Bacon Lardons Recipe
- 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, or substitute:
- 1/2 pound slab bacon
- Cut the bacon in 1/4- to 1/3-inch matchstick strips. If using sliced bacon, cut strips across the short side of the strip. If using slab bacon, cut slabs in 1/4 to 1/3-inch slices, and then cut each slice in pieces that are 1- to 1 1/4 inch long.
- Arrange the bacon pieces without touching in a cold skillet.
- Cook slowly over medium-low heat, watching, rearranging if necessary for even cooking, and turning when the edges start to bubble, until golden brown. If some of the lardons cook faster than others, just remove them from the pan as they finish cooking.
- Drain lardons on paper towels.
Save for Later
If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin: