How to cook bacon in a microwave: a step-by step guide

It sounds like it shouldn't work, but cooking bacon in the microwave is a fast, fuss free method of cooking crispy bacon

Some crispy bacon on a wooden chopping board
(Image credit: Getty Images / Apomares)

Unless you’re reheating leftovers or defrosting,  microwaving your food is often seen as cheating or worse, lazy. It’s not the way trained cooks or top chefs would do it, so we tend to look down on microwave cooking. 

Most of us cook bacon on the stove, in the oven, and  more recently some of us have started using an air fryer. But no matter which method you choose, cooking bacon is usually a greasy, messy business that requires a lot of clean up afterwards.

However, microwaving bacon actually works. It makes a lot less mess, and it’s super quick and easy, so even if you’re sceptical, it’s worth giving it a try. Once your bacon is cooked, why not follow our advice on how to cook eggs in a microwave too.

What you need

  • Paper towels
  • Microwave safe plate or dish
  • 4 slices of bacon

Crispy bacon on top of scrambled eggs and avocado toast with a black coffee

(Image credit: Getty Images / Carlo A)

How to cook bacon in a microwave

  1. Tear off two or three pieces of paper towel and place on your microwavable plate or in the bottom of a microwavable dish.
  2. Arrange the four slices of bacon on the paper towel so that there’s a small gap between each of the slices.
  3. Cover the bacon with two further sheets of paper towel - this will stop the grease splattering your microwave,  so make sure all of the bacon is covered.
  4. Microwave on high power for four minutes. The general rule of thumb is one minute per slice of bacon. But all microwaves vary so you may have to play around with it, checking the bacon after three minutes and adjusting the timer until you land on the perfect cooking time for your microwave.
  5. Once you’re happy the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove it immediately so that it doesn’t stick to the paper towels. Be careful, as the bacon, dish, and paper towels will be hot.

Cooking bacon in a microwave FAQs

Is there an alternative to paper towels?

There are plenty of accessories you can buy that are designed for cooking bacon in the microwave, like this silicone tray at Amazon or the aptly named Bacon Wizard, at Amazon. But without paper towels you will get bacon grease splattered all over the inside of your microwave. And although we can offer you plenty of advice on how to clean a microwave, you’ll probably want to avoid covering it in bacon fat every day. Plus, buying a special accessory purely to cook bacon is yet another thing to clutter up your kitchen, so we think paper towels and a plate is the best, cleanest, and easiest option. 

What type of bacon cooks best in the microwave?

There’s no set rule on the thickness or type of bacon. Most bacon slices will cook in the microwave. Some, like super thinly sliced bacon, will crisp up faster though. So if you’re cooking very thin or very thick bacon for that matter, you’ll need to keep checking it to avoid under or over cooking it.

How much bacon can you cook in the microwave?

You don't have to limit it to four slices. But, if you want to cook more bacon, add it in layers with two paper towels between each layer. Make sure there are gaps or paper towels between all slices otherwise it’ll stick together. To cook, follow the 1 minute per slice of bacon rule. But be aware that the more bacon you try to cook, the less likely it is to cook and crisp evenly. So if you can, you’re often better off cooking it in batches, instead of trying to cram it all into the microwave at once.

What are the benefits to cooking bacon in a microwave?

When you cook bacon on the stove, you usually add oil to the pan to stop it sticking. When microwaving bacon, there’s no need to add oil. In fact, any oil that’s cooked out of the bacon will immediately soak into the paper towels, meaning your bacon will be less fatty and greasy. Furthermore, because the paper towels catch all the fat splatters, this is by far and away, the least messy way to cook bacon. Simply throw the greasy paper towels into the trash and wash your plate or dish.

Helen McCue
Contributing Editor

Helen McCue is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.

Having completely renovated her current house, Helen reviews kitchen appliances from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. When she’s not working, Helen can be found enjoying the local countryside or dreaming about her next house renovation project.