How to Cook Canadian Bacon
Unlike other varieties of bacon, Canadian bacon, which looks and tastes similar to thick-cut ham, usually comes pre-cooked. Because of this, it’s easy to whip up as part of a hearty meal at any time of day. Simply throw a few slices into a hot pan with a tablespoon of butter or hot oil, or run it through the microwave for 20-30 seconds per slice. You can also heat up Canadian bacon in bulk in the oven if you’re cooking for a crowd.
Part 1Pan-Frying Canadian Bacon
Swirl the butter or oil to coat the entire surface of the skillet evenly. Once it begins to sizzle slightly, it will be hot enough to add the Canadian bacon.
If you’re looking to cut calories, choose a lighter oil like olive or canola.
Lower each slice carefully to avoid being splattered by piping hot butter or oil. Once they’re nestled at the bottom of the skillet, press them lightly with the back of a fork or spatula to make sure they’re resting directly against the cooking surface.
Use a pair of tongs to place the bacon slices in the skillet if you’re worried about getting burned. You should be able to fit 2-3 slices of Canadian bacon in a standard 12 inches (30 cm) pan, depending on how large they are. Most types of Canadian bacon are about as big around as a silver dollar.
Exact cooking times will vary based on how thick the bacon is cut. In most cases, it will only take a minute or 2 to sear the first side to a crisp brown finish. Particularly thick slices may require the full 2 minutes in order to get the right color.
You can also leave the slices in the skillet for a little longer if you like your Canadian bacon a little extra dark or crisp.
Use a fork, spatula, or tongs to gently flip each slice. They’ll need another 30 seconds to a minute on the second side, although it may not take them quite as long to finish frying since they’ve already been partially cooked.
Watch out for pops and splatters as you’re turning the slices. Thinly-sliced cuts of meat like Canadian bacon sometimes have a tendency to curl when cooked with intense heat. You can prevent this by using a bacon press, or by dipping each slice in cold water before you throw it in the skillet.
Transfer the slices to a clean plate or layer of paper towels to let them cool. After a couple minutes, they’ll have reached a safe temperature for eating. Dig in!
Pair your Canadian bacon with other breakfast staples like eggs, grits, gravy, and tomato slices. Place your leftovers in an airtight storage container and put them in the refrigerator. When properly stored, the cooked bacon will keep for 3-4 days.
Part 2Microwaving Canadian Bacon
Ideally, you should select a dish that’s roomy enough to hold all of the bacon you plan on cooking at once. Be sure to leave 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) between each slice so they'll cook faster and more evenly. They'll take longer to heat up if they're overlapping.
While not a necessity (Canadian bacon is much leaner than regular bacon), a ridged bacon rack can come in handy for collecting the fat that drips out of the slices as they heat up. If you’re preparing a large amount of Canadian bacon, you may need to do it in batches.
Use as many sheets as it takes to cover the slices entirely. They’ll help absorb excess grease and prevent splattering fat from making a mess of the inside of your microwave.
If the dish you’re using is on the smaller side, try stacking the bacon slices and paper towels in alternating layers.
Canadian bacon already comes par-cooked, which means you’ll just need to put it in long enough to warm it up. For 1-3 slices, set the cook timer to 30-35 seconds. For 3-6 slices, bump it up to 45-60 seconds to make sure it gets heated evenly.
If you’re making more than 6 slices of Canadian bacon at once, increase the cook time by about 10-15 seconds per slice. Perform a quick touch test after the first couple minutes to see if the bacon is ready to eat. If it still feels slightly cool in the center, it may need an additional 10-20 seconds.
Since the microwave affords you more control over the temperature, you shouldn’t have to wait long. While your bacon is cooling, you can finish getting the rest of your meal together.
Stash any uneaten portions of bacon in the refrigerator in an airtight container and try to consume them within 3-4 days.
Part 3Cooking Canadian Bacon in the Oven
Set the oven to “Bake” or “Convection.” While it’s heating up, you can begin loading the Canadian bacon onto a baking dish.
You can also cook Canadian bacon under the broiler, if your oven has one. If you opt to use the broiler, make sure it’s set to “High.”
Leave at least 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) of space between each slice to promote even cooking. Depending on the size of the baking sheet you’re using, you may be able to prepare a dozen or more slices per batch.
There’s no need to grease your baking sheet, as there’s enough fat in Canadian bacon to keep it from sticking. If you like, you can brush your bacon slices with maple syrup or sprinkle them with brown sugar just before they go in the oven to create a sweet-and-savory flavor.
Slide the baking sheet onto the center rack of the oven. If you’re broiling your Canadian bacon, place the baking sheet on the top rack instead. Set a timer to help you keep track of how long the slices have been cooking.
Add an extra 2-3 minutes to your total cook time if you prefer your Canadian bacon a little more done. If you're broiling your bacon slices, they'll only need 3-4 minutes on each side. Don't forget to flip them halfway through, as the broiler will only heat them on one side.
It will be extremely hot when it first comes out of the oven. Once the slices have had a few minutes to cool, transfer them to individual plates, pile on any other dishes you’re serving, and enjoy!
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.