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Best Frying Pan for Bacon

Need help choosing the best frying pan for bacon? Our guide will help you cut through all the options and select a long-lasting skillet that will help you cook the most amazing bacon.

Here in the BENSA test kitchens, we cook a lot of bacon. A quality frying pan is a must for cooking bacon quickly, and pan-fried bacon has the beautiful wavy, browned appearance we associate with classic bacon.

But which skillet cooks the best bacon?

A ceiling mounted pot rack filled with 10 different frying pans and skillets.

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Where do you begin when there are so many different materials to choose from? Should you buy a hard anodized nonstick frying pan, stainless steel, copper, cast iron, ceramic, carbon steel, aluminum or another material?

What size is best, and which skillet will produce the most evenly cooked bacon?


Want to get right to the good stuff? Click on any of these headings to jump ahead:

  1. What to Look for in a Bacon Skillet
  2. The #1 Bacon Frying Pan
  3. Best Value Cast Iron Pan
  4. High End Cast Iron Skillet
  5. The Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
  6. Essential Accessories for Cast Iron Frying Pans
  7. Ways to Use Pan Fried Bacon
  8. More Tasty Ways to Cook Bacon
  9. Save for Later

What to Look for in a Bacon Skillet

Here at the BENSA test kitchen, we cook a lot of bacon. Our criteria for choosing the best pan is tough. Here are all the qualities we demand:

  1. The pan must be large enough to accommodate at least 8 strips of bacon. The average strip of raw bacon is about 11 inches (yes, we measured) so we need a frying pan with a diameter of at least 12 inches.
  2. It must conduct heat well and cook evenly.
  3. It must be durable and long lasting.
  4. It must not have any toxic coatings.
  5. It must be easy to clean and maintain.
  6. It must be well designed with a sturdy handle.
  7. It must be handsome to look at!

The #1 Bacon Frying Pan

We won’t keep you in suspense about the best pan for cooking bacon. Allow us to introduce the 12-inch cast iron skillet.

This classic kitchen workhorse checks all the boxes from our criteria above, and has an enduring quality that means you could pass down your frying pan to your kids and grandkids.

A pound of cooked bacon strips in a black skillet on a mottled black background.

Cast iron is slow to heat, but once it’s hot it maintains its temperature for a long time. It’s easy to maintain, and did you know that you can season a cast iron pan with bacon grease?

With regular use, a cast iron pan will develop its own patina — a natural nonstick surface — that will allow you to cook a lot more than just bacon.

Here are our Top 3 picks for the best cast iron skillets for bacon. (Note: Click the links for current prices.)

Best Value Cast Iron Pan

Lodge 12 inch cast iron frying pan skillet.
Photo: Lodge Cast Iron

This 13.25-inch Lodge cast iron skillet can easily handle 10 strips of bacon, and is heavy enough for cooking bacon on the grill and campfire cooking.

A true American cookware classic, Lodge cast iron skillets have been made in Pittsburgh, Tennessee since 1896. Lodge pre-seasons their pans with 100% pure vegetable oil, and with proper care your skillet can last for generations.

High End Cast Iron Skillet

Joan 12 inch polished cast iron skillet from Butter Pat Industries.
Photo: Butter Pat Industries

If you’re not on a budget, the Joan 12-inch Polished Cast Iron Skillet is a dream.

The high-end cast iron skillet of choice for many chefs and professional cooks, this pan is lighter in weight than traditional cast iron. Bacon cooked on the stove will be less likely to stick to the pan’s hand-polished surface.

Best Enamel Cast Iron Skillet

For beautiful looks along with all the benefits of cast iron, our choice for best enameled cast iron cookware is the Le Creuset brand.

Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet in cherry red color.

The 11.75-inch Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet is gorgeous, with a sturdy handle, dual pour spouts and a hard enamel coating that is chip- and crack-resistant.

The pan is also oven and broiler-safe to any temperature.

It’s shown here in Cherry red, and comes in a variety of other colors including Cobalt blue, Flame orange, Caribbean, Cassis and Marseille.

Essential Accessories for Cast Iron Pans

Silicone Handle Guard – Cast iron pots get very hot and retain the heat for a long time. A protective handle sleeve will make it easier and safer to remove the pan from the stovetop or grill.

Spatter Guard – Unlike a lid which builds up steam in a pan, a spatter guard allows air to continue flowing over the bacon so it gets crispy while keeping grease spatters at bay.

Heavy Duty Oven Mitts – The easiest way to move a hot cast iron pan is to slide oven mitts on both hands and grasp the regular handle with one hand and the assist handle with the other.

Trivet – To protect countertops and other surfaces, set the hot cast iron pan on a trivet. A magnetic trivet will grip the bottom of the pan to help keep it steady.

Ways to Use Pan Fried Bacon

Ready to use that tasty, hot-from-the-skillet bacon? Here are some of our favorite bacon recipes:

bacon lettuce avocado tomato sandwich skewered with pig toothpick.

More Tasty Ways to Cook Bacon

If you enjoy bacon you might also enjoy:

Save for Later

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

A pound of golden brown, crisply fried bacon in a black cast iron skillet.
eliza cross

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...

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