Homemade Bacon Bits

Homemade Bacon Bits: Yield from 1lb of bacon

Making homemade bacon bits* might be common knowledge, but how to rock out at doing so is newly acquired knowledge for me. Tonight I found myself in a situation where I wanted some bacon for part of my lunch tomorrow – a salad – and figured as long as I was frying bacon and committing to cleaning up after it, I might as well do some prep work for Baconalia II – specifically the bacon-y bits for the baked good.  

There are a couple of options for bits of bacon.  The first is to buy them.  There is the whole “Bac-Os” thing, but um, they are kind of gross and very unnatural.  The fact that they are vegan does not help matters; that’s just not okay. Another buying option is bags of pre-cooked actual bacon pieces.  This sounds great for the lazies, like me, except for the slight hitch-in-the-plan where my grocery store does not carry them.  One of my friends buys them at her local Costco.  I would be all over that option, except for the details that she lives five hundred miles away and I don’t have a membership to Costco. Details. 


When I’ve needed bits o’ bacon in the past, I’ve made bacon and then bitted it up.  I’ve bitten up cooked bacon with both scissors and knives and they both suck.  As I am mostly a grown-up, I own quality kitchen scissors and knives, so I don’t think that was the issue.  The primary issues were that the process was a total time suck and it wasn’t fun or satisfying at all…  This time I was determined to do it myself and in a way that didn’t make me want to stick a fork in my face, because I was done. 

Forthwith, I turned to the internet, the lover and worshipper of all things bacon.  By combining several “How to Make Bacon Bits” recipes and reviews, I created my own process.  My process is fantastic and I don’t anticipate getting bacon bits any other way.  Here is what I did: 

1.) I wanted to make sure the bacon was “good” and worth bitting, so I fried up a couple of pieces to check its quality and freshness.  I like to fry my bacon in a heavier metal pan with 2” sides.  (My bacon passed all tests.) 

2.) Chill the (uncooked) bacon slices in the freezer BRIEFLY.  Warm bacon is harder to cut tidily than bacon straight from the fridge, so I decided to help my bacon a little more: I left mine in for about five minutes. Basically long enough to help it hold its shape at the start while you cut it, but short enough that you can still easily separate the strips. 

3.) Stack a couple of pieces of bacon directly on top of each other.  This step should be fast and does not need to be perfect. 

Stacked and Semi-Sliced Bacon

4.) Cut the stack of bacon down the middle lengthwise.  Then, cut through both lengthwise halves about every ¼”- ½”.  This step can be adapted to produce different sized bits.  Remember that bacon reduces in size as it cooks.  Repeat until all of your bacon is bits.  The second time I did this, partway through the stack my bacon became much fattier, so I switched to my kitchen scissors – to exercise quality control.  This worked out just fine for me. 

5.) Place a pan (ideally with higher sides as above – it’s just tidier) on your stovetop; turn heat to a happy medium temperature.  

6.) Once pan is heated, dump all of your uncooked bacon bits into it.  Pictured is a full pound.  Mmm…sizzle.  It is a-okay if there are clumpy together; they WILL separate as they cook.  Pinky swear. 

7.) Stir the bits around rather a lot or as you are so inclined to do so.  I like using a rubber spatula. 

A pan of bacon fat with some bacon accents

8.) There is going to be a lot of grease cooking off of these babies.  Try not to freak out and just keep repeating to yourself that there’s increased surface area and it’s okay; it’s going to be okay.  The first time I tried this I seriously considered freaking out and bagging the project as everything was covered in foamy, boiling, grease.  That picture above is not illustrating a fluke – I’ve done this three times now and with two brands of bacon.  Just rejoice that you are not eating all of that grease.  I promise it will still taste like bacon and still be delicious.  Also?  You’re still stirring off-and-on here. 

Colander-esque Spoon Saves the Day (and the Bacon)

9.) Once the bacon is done to your liking (a personal choice, which I mostly do not judge) it’s time to remove it from the pan. Um, this is a step where the internet was NOT helpful.  It all was like “yo, drain” except WHAT/WHERE/HOW?  I mean, it sounds like colander and drain, but, um, gross.  Even though I rent, I still have some respect for both the building and, you know, the environment.  My normal method of scooping out strips with a fork and letting the grease cool to cook with or throw away was not going to work here.  Too many and too small with the bits.  Enter my brilliance; my brilliance opened the utensil drawer and honed in on the colander spoon.  I don’t know what its actual name is, but that pretty much sums it up: a shallow spoon, with a big circle scoop with many small holes in it.  It was perfect.  A slotted spoon would probably work pretty well too.  I GUESS you can use a colander if you are really desperate to do so, but if that is your situation, please do it into another pan or something versus running the grease down your drain. 

10.) As you remove bacon, transfer it to a plate with some paper towels.  There is still an unhealthy amount of grease on it, so a quick blot is a good idea. Plus, if you are planning to save some of these and work through them, I’m pretty sure you don’t want them hanging out in your fridge, covered in their own filth. 

I am pretty excited to know that the trick to homemade bacon bits is to cut the bacon PRIOR to cooking it.  The bits above will be utilized in cookies, but I think this would be great for adding to a soup or for omelets.  Actually, it’d be great for just about anything, but that’s inherent to anything that is bacon. 

*I used lowercase here, so not a proper, trademarked product or anything


3 Responses to “Homemade Bacon Bits”

  1. 1 Tes
    May 21, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I love it. Now I know what snacks to make for tonight movie time. Thanks for sharing.

    • May 22, 2010 at 1:12 am

      Oddly there seem to be a growing number of bacon and popcorn combinations. I had some at a restaurant about a month ago and it was really good! It was popcorn (they used bacon fat instead of oil, but I’m generally the microwave sort) with bacon bits, bits of sage, and powder-y parmesan cheese. I’ve also heard of tossing bacon bits into popcorn and then adding caramel. Hope you enjoyed your movie night and its snacks.

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