How To Drain Bacon Without Paper Towels

bacon FB

Photo credit: Cookbookman17, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution

In case you’re new to my blog (welcome!), I feel the need to tell you I am currently obsessed with decluttering, simplifying, and eliminating wasteful practices in my life, all thanks to the book Zero Waste Home. One of the easiest things we’ve done was eliminate paper products from the kitchen- you can read about that here.

Lots of people are on board with trying to reduce their use of disposables in the kitchen, but when it comes to draining bacon, most people still opt for paper towels. So today I thought I’d share how we drain our bacon without using any paper products.

{Aside: I don’t fear bacon. I buy bacon from pastured hogs cured in a traditional manner (great grandparents style). If I can’t get my pastured source, I buy organic from the grocery store, but not often. If you’re looking for clean sources of food, this is a great online retailer.}

how to drain bacon small

After cooking bacon in our cast iron pan on the stove, we simply transfer it to another cast iron pan and let the grease drain off for a while before serving. It is slightly greasier than it would be if we blotted it with paper towels, but it’s completely acceptable to us. The added bonus is that the second cast iron pan gets a nice coating of bacon grease, helping it to stay seasoned and imparting a delicious bacon flavor into the next thing cooked in it.

When cooking large batches of bacon, sometimes even the bacon in the draining pan ends up sitting in a pool of grease. In those cases, I’ve used a cooling rack (for cookies- like this one) above an empty cast iron skillet to allow the bacon to drip while not actually sitting in the grease. Like this:

bacon on cookie rack

If you’d rather use something to absorb the grease, Paperless Kitchen has five additional ways to drain your bacon without paper. My personal fave- devote a kitchen towel as your bacon-draining towel. After the bacon has drained, hand wash the towel in the sink with your dish soap, and hang dry (thus avoiding a greasy towel in your laundry). Find out the other four ways to drain bacon without paper towels here.

What do you think? Do you have a creative way to drain bacon that does not involve paper towels? Please share in the comments!


P.S.- You must save your bacon grease for cooking! We just use this little ceramic grease catcher and store it on our counter.

bacon pinterest

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  1. imho, the only way to drain bacon is the last picture you’ve posted- one must save the delicious bacon grease for cooking!

  2. THANK YOU! The only thing we still use paper towels for is killing bugs (we live in Louisiana) and bacon de-greasing. Which is pretty much every morning (also pastured bacon, you are speaking my language!)… about to try this now! Yahoo! That has really been bugging me… now as for the bugs… hmmm

    • Victoria Collins says:

      I keep a broom handy and use it to stab whatever bug is around, then I vacuum it up. Perfect way to kill roaches. 🙂

    • I usually grab either a shoe or a piece of junk mail to kill the bugs. (I haven’t gotten around to trying to stop the junk mail from coming to our house… maybe next month!)

  3. OK, I am totally joshing here, but, Ashley! I can’t believe you are still frying bacon! So old school!
    Gotta bake it on a tray in the oven – 350 degrees for 12-25 minutes depending largely upon the thickness and fattiness of your bacon. I usually go for about 20 minutes, and I use really thick, meaty bacon. This is SO awesome because bacon goes from being high maintenance and feeling a little bit like a battle, to being very low maintenance and easy!
    But your tray idea has given me a fabulous idea. What if I put one of those metal grid thingies on the tray, and baked the bacon on the on the metal grid? Then it would drain as it cooked!

    • ok, CLEARLY, from all the comments, we have to try baking bacon! So I told my husband and he was not on board- he thinks bacon has to be fried! I’ll try it during hunting season when he’s not home for breakfast!

      • I love crispy bacon so I was totally against tying the baking, but we were doing Christmas brunch and needed it to all be done at the same time. Oh mylanta, the maple drizzled bacon (from our bacon guy) turned out like bacon candy! Crispy & chewy, and a little caramelized. SO good!

        • Oh- the trick is to put it into the oven as you turn it on- DON’T preheat! Weird I know, but it doesn’t work the other way.

  4. What a great idea! I especially like the idea of keeping a cast iron pan well seasoned. Thanks for sharing the idea.

    • You got it! That’s how we cook our bacon, and have done for many years. We put foil on the bottom of a baking sheet with the metal cooling rack on top. We then wipe off the foil with an old towel and recycle the foil.

  5. I cook my bacon in the oven on a rack like the one you have pictured. There’s no grease splatter mess to clean up, the bacon slices don’t curl, and they can go right from the oven to your plate. I do at least a pound at a time and freeze the leftover bacon for use during the week since there’s only 2 in our family.

  6. Againstthegrain says:

    I cook bacon slowly in a 250-300°F oven for 45 min-1.5 hours on a wire rack that fits inside my large 1″ deep sheet pan. Higher oven temps (esp the broiler setting) will result faster cooking bacon, but also a grease splattered oven and unevenly cooked bacon. Depending on bacon thickness, moisture content, and other factors – I start with 45 min of baking, then set the timer again and check on it every 10-15 min until it’s done.

    This method isn’t the fastest way, but it doesn’t require turning or a lot of “at the stove” attention, there’s no greasy splatter to clean up, the lean meaty parts and the fatty parts cook evenly, and the strips remain quite flat, which is why it is the way restaurants cook bacon (sometimes I cook the bacon until it’s only partially done and store it in the fridge or freezer for crisping up later in a stovetop pan). Baked bacon slowly renders just the right amount of excess fat without drying out the bacon too much. The fat drips through the rack and collects in the sheet pan, which I later cool just a bit and pour through a very fine mess s/s strainer into my bacon grease can for the prettiest white bacon grease you’ve ever seen. No paper towels needed, either. Most efficient when cooking large amounts of bacon, though smaller amounts can be cooked the same way in a countertop/toaster oven.

  7. Well I still use coffee filters for my coffee, so I put my bacon ti drain on a couple coffee filters 🙂 I have used a towel before too

  8. I guess I have a reason to buy another cast iron pan! 😉

  9. This is great!
    While I do keep a few rolls of paper towels on hand for things like Pet Accidents, I refused to get one out this morning to drain bacon… and this is *exactly* how I did it.
    This afternoon I saw the post! 🙂

  10. The way I cook my bacon is by using broiler pans, and baking the bacon in the oven. The slots in the two part pan allow the grease to drip to the bottom. Since I’ve started cooking my bacon this way, unless it was just a few pieces, I won’t ever go back to cooking it on the stove. I put it in a preheated 350º oven and cook it til it’s at my desired doneness, no more flipping the bacon either. When everything is all said and done, I drain the grease from the bottom pan in my container for future use. 🙂

  11. Hmmm…lots of bacon bakers here…
    For me, baking bacon is like boiling chicken…bacon should be fried, at least in my house. I do like you…on a cooling rqack over a cast iron skillet, then poured into one of those pressed aluminum grease holders with a strainer and lid that has “Grease” pressed into the side…just like on grandma’s kitchen counter.

  12. I usually cook mine in the oven and then when I take it out, I set my pan with just one side resting on the edge of my burners so the other edge is tipped down towards the center of my stovetop. The grease all goes to the side that is tipped down, allowing the bacon to drain without dirtying anything else.

  13. Definitely try baking the bacon a pound at a time (2 cookie sheets). It’s plenty crispy with no mess and reheats easily if there’s any left. Tilt pan and pour grease into glass jar for seasoning veggies etc. we don’t see the need to press the good grease out:-).

  14. I go back and forth pan frying and baking my bacon- and I bake it on wire racks on a baking sheet! So awesome and the fat just pours into a (reused) jelly jar for future use. It really is a great way to cook it and is a real bonus for those of us who just LOVE crispy bacon!

  15. Like your technique…. But just became infatuated with your little “mit” on the handle of your cast iron skillet! Did you make that? LOL! Little off topic, but I LOVE this post for more than just the bacon draining!

  16. I cover a drying rack with junk newspaper ads that come in the mail every week. On top of that, I put a towel. I use this method for anything that is fried and greasy.

  17. Sandy (aka Grannie) says:

    I also bake my bacon in the oven; however, I have a rack that fits perfectly into a pan. All the drippings go to the bottom and the bacon is not greasy…………

  18. Krista M. says:

    Love the idea of devoting a towel just for bacon!


  1. […] love this simple tip from Whistle Pig Hollow for how to drain bacon without using paper towels! Now why didn’t I think of that […]

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