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Bacon Lardons: The Complete Guide

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.

A pile of golden brown cooked bacon lardons on parchment paper.

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Contents

Want to get right to the good stuff? Click any of the links below to jump ahead:

  1. What is a Bacon Lardon?
  2. Why You’ll Go Hog Wild for this Recipe
  3. Ingredients Notes
  4. Equipment Needed
  5. Step by Step Directions with Photos
  6. How to Make Slab Bacon Lardons
  7. Pro Cooking Tips
  8. Storage and Reheating Instructions
  9. Recipes Using Bacon Lardons
  10. Bacon Lardons vs. Pancetta
  11. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  12. More Fun Things to do with Bacon
  13. Bacon Lardons Recipe
  14. 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.

Ingredients Notes

Thick sliced bacon on a pig shaped cutting board with a sharp knife.

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.)

Equipment Needed

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!

Raw bacon cut in matchbook pieces, on a bamboo cutting board.

Step 2: Arrange the bacon pieces without touching in a cold skillet.

Several dozen raw bacon lardons in a cold cast iron 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.

Bacon lardons cooking in a black cast iron skillet with rendered bacon fat.

Step 4: Drain on paper towels. (I always strain and save the bacon drippings. Here’s what to do with bacon grease and 20 recipes with bacon fat.)

Several dozen cooked bacon lardons draining on a paper towel.

That’s it! Serve and enjoy!

Finished bacon lardons piled on a crumpled piece of parchment paper.

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.

A cut slab of cured smoked bacon resting on top of an uncut bacon slab.

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.

Raw bacon lardons cut from slab bacon in a red bowl.

Cook the pieces in a large skillet over medium-low heat, turning when each side is browned and bubbling, until golden brown.

Crispy golden brown lardons cut from slab bacon and cooked.
Slab Bacon Lardons

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

Penne pasta noodles with bacon lardons on top.

Here are 15 delicious ways to use these tasty morsels:

  1. As croutons on a salad.
  2. To top baked potatoes.
  3. Sprinkled on macaroni and cheese.
  4. Out of hand, as a delectable snack.
  5. In a quiche or breakfast casserole.
  6. Sprinkled on soups and chowders.
  7. Added to fried cabbage or Brussels sprouts.
  8. As a pizza topping.
  9. In a classic Coq au Vin.
  10. Strewn over mashed potatoes.
  11. To garnish pasta.
  12. Added to risotto.
  13. Mixed with cooked beans.
  14. Layered on a grilled cheese sandwich.
  15. 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.

FAQs

What are bacon lardons used for?

They can flavor everything from omelets and stews to salads and popcorn! See our list above of recipes you can make using bacon lardons.

How long to cook 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.

Are bacon lardons keto?

Bacon lardons are naturally keto and low-carb. Just be sure to use a Keto-friendly brand of bacon.

Can I freeze bacon lardons?

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?

Finished bacon lardons piled on a crumpled piece of parchment paper.

Bacon Lardons Recipe

Eliza Cross
Learn how to make golden brown bacon lardons to use as a garnish or tasty ingredient in recipes.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Bacon Basics
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 307 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, or substitute:
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.
They may also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month. For best results, spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
To reheat lardons, spread in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 0.8gProtein: 21gFat: 23.7gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1310mgPotassium: 320mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Keyword croutons, garnish, lardons
Tried this recipe? Show us on IG!Tag us at @BensaBaconLovers!

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin:

A pile of bacon lardons on white paper.
eliza

About Eliza & BENSA

BENSA was founded by bacon expert Eliza Cross, author of more than a dozen cookbooks. She has written three bacon cookbooks including the award-winning Bacon Beans and Beer, the bestselling 101 Things to Do With Bacon, and the popular sequel 101 More Things to Do With Bacon. Learn more about BENSA...

11 thoughts on “Bacon Lardons: The Complete Guide”

  1. 5 stars
    These are perfect on top of salads and cheesy pastas for my family. I need to make more of these bacon lardons on hand cause I tend to run out!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Is it acceptable to eat bacon lardons as a snack? Because I definitely did haha. I put some in my jalapeno mac and cheese for dinner and they were perfect!

    Reply

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