You did it. You invited three other families over for brunch, promising the allure of homemade food with a bottomless pitcher of bloody mary’s.
Your friends say don’t go overboard, just make something simple. Simple? OK then. You promise you won’t go over the top, maybe “just” some sourdough bread from your local artisan shop and a quick cook of eggs and bacon, A LOT of crispy savory bacon actually. That’s always a crowd-pleaser. The mere thought of the promise of lots of bacon pleases your particular crowd. You got this!
Until you realize you don’t got this.
How the heck are you going to make bacon for 20 people without manning a skillet and constantly making sure you don’t get splatters of grease on you while trying to maintain the facade of an engaging host?
You certainly don’t feel you got this. But you do, we promise you, you do!
You’ll be able to deliver your promise of simple homecooked meals without having to play short-order cook for the duration of brunch. How? Host/Hostess, meet the oven: your best friend when it comes to making bacon for a crowd.
Let’s first go over serving size. A typical serving of bacon is about two slices in diners. But come on, you know your tribe, two slices ain’t gonna do it! Scour the net, and popular thought is to plan on three slices per person instead. But the safest route is to allocate four pieces per guest because, hello, BACON!
So let's say your total headcount is 20 people; you’ll want to have 70 to 80 pieces of bacon. Don’t worry, you still got this! So how many pounds of bacon is that and again and how are you going to deliver on your promise of lots of scrumptious bacon perfectly cooked?
First, you’ll need to figure out how many pounds of bacon to get for your party and whether you’ll be serving thick or thin slices. Tastylicious reached out to major producers of bacon in the United States and found the following: “On average, there are 16 slices of bacon in a pound. Thick-sliced had as few as 10 slices, while thin-sliced had up to 30 in a one-pound pack.”
For your party of 20, again depending heavily on the bacon slice type you get, you’ll probably want to buy anywhere from 4 to 8 pounds of bacon.
Now here’s the part you came here for - how to cook up a big batch of bacon? Simple. You’ll want a large sheet pan and parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
Rim a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange bacon slices on top of parchment paper/foil in a single layer; they can be touching and even a smidge overlapped. You just want to make sure you don’t overlap too much otherwise some pieces may not cook through evenly.
If your bacon doesn’t all fit on one sheet or if you want to cook more simultaneously, simply cook two baking sheets of bacon at once between your top and bottom oven rack.
Oven preheats and cooking times will differ depending on, again, the thickness of the bacon. However typically, unless slices are super thin (in which case, we cook it in a 350°F preheated oven), we preheat the oven to 400°F.
The bacon should be baked until crispy and golden-brown, about 14 minutes for regular bacon and 18 to 20 minutes for thick-cut bacon. Set a timer and check your bacon after the 12-minute mark.
This is all you have to do. You don’t even need to flip your bacon as you would need to do if you were coddling it via stovetop cooking.
Once your bacon is cooked, remove the sheet pans from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve immediately and pat yourself on the back (in your head) for being able to feed your crowd BACON!
It's worth mentioning that baking your bacon is advised even if you’re not making a big batch. Even if cooking only one package/pound of bacon, you can still do it in the oven but on a half-sheet pan if needed. It’s just so easy and an almost passive process compared to doing it on the stove!Constantly have bacon on your mind? You’ll want to read our Buyer’s Guide and reviews of the best bacon subscription services. Yes, you read correctly, there are actually bacon subscriptions where you can get bacon delivered straight to your door!