We tested six microwave bacon cookers and after cooking more than a hundred strips of bacon, we chose the Presto – Power Crisp as the best of the bunch. The Presto’s sturdy V-shaped racks cook bacon evenly, and its cool-touch tray lets you easily pull it from the microwave. All parts are dishwasher-safe for simple cleaning and also fold down for compact storage.
There’s no doubt bacon tastes best when oven-cooked — but if you’re looking for a somewhat healthier alternative, then microwave bacon cookers allow bacon fat to drain off into reservoirs. More often than not, however, the microwave bacon cookers we tested dried the bacon out to a jerky consistency. But the Presto’s rack-style design prevented the bacon from shriveling, which allowed the bacon to crisp without drying out.
Top Pick: Presto - Power Crisp
With an efficient, compact design that’s convenient and easy to clean, the Presto - Power Crisp drains away fat and makes bacon crispy.
Our runner-up, the OXO Good Grips – Bacon Crisper, has a ridged silicon tray with a kickstand that lifts the tray and forces the bacon fat to drain into a gutter. It’s more expensive than the Presto, but it outperformed the other bacon cookers that had a similar design.
Runner-up: OXO Good Grips - Bacon Crisper
The OXO - Bacon Crisper drains virtually all of the fat out of bacon, leaving it crispy and evenly cooked.
Table of contents
- How we selected finalists to test
- The six best microwave bacon cookers
- How to cook bacon
- How to microwave bacon
- Important features to consider
- How we tested
- The best microwave bacon cooker
- The runner-up
- Other finalists we tested
- The bottom line
How we selected finalists to test
There are basically two types of microwave bacon cookers on the market, both of which we tested. One type has a rack onto which the bacon is draped so it’s lifted off the tray, and the other type is simply a plastic tray with raised ridges. The companies that manufacturer bacon cookers all boast that their design quickly crisps up bacon in the microwave with little or no mess.
Bacon connoisseurs on Reddit, however, generally dismiss microwaved bacon as lacking both the flavor and texture of traditionally cooked bacon. We combed through reviews online, but most are advertisements. Our best resource proved to be the thousands of Amazon reviews and photographs posted by consumers who documented their results (including the bacon cookers melting in their microwaves).
We focused on finding microwave bacon cookers that had consistently high ratings and stood out as less gimmicky than the many cookers on the market.
The six best microwave bacon cookers
|Product||Price||Type||Performance||Capacity (strips of bacon)|
|1. Presto - Power Crisp||$||Rack||5/5||9-12|
|2. OXO Good Grips - Bacon Crisper||$$$||Tray||5/5||5-6|
|3. MSC International - Joie Piggy||$$||Tray||4/5||4-5|
|4. Cameron Products - Makin' Bacon||$$||Rack||2/5||12|
|5. Emson - Bacon Wave||$||Rack||3/5||12|
|6. Nordic Ware - 60150||$$||Tray||2/5||5-6|
How to cook bacon
Cooking bacon perfectly crisp in a skillet isn’t as easy and is more time-consuming than you may think. A cast-iron skillet is generally considered to be the best type of pan for any frying. Although the cast-iron skillet has superb heat distribution, you still need to regulate the heat at a low temperature for frying bacon. The low-and-slow method allows the bacon’s fat to render and crisp, and the bacon meat to cook evenly and not turn rubbery.
There are, of course, many ridged pans, square pans and grill pans for cooking bacon, but we prefer oven-cooked bacon. Once you’ve laid out the bacon (you can cook up to a pound) in a foil-lined baking sheet and pop it into the oven, it’s virtually stress-free and hands-off for the next 15 to 20 minutes. The bacon comes out crispy and chewy, and cleanup is a cinch. And while you might consider using a toaster oven, cooking bacon in a microwave is a faster alternative.
How to microwave bacon
You could simply microwave bacon on a microwave-safe plate sandwiched between paper towels. We tried out this method before testing the microwave bacon cookers, and it gave us rubbery bacon with bits of paper towel sticking to it.
Depending on the microwave cooker, you can cook between four (the Joie Piggy) and 12 slices of bacon (the Makin’ Bacon) at a time. Substantial shrinkage occurs during the cooking, so you can lay as many slices on the tray as it can hold without crowding them. Also, avoid overlapping the slices as this will cause uneven cooking.
The majority of microwave ovens have a range of 600 watts to 1200 watts, and the microwaves with higher wattage will cook food more quickly and evenly. Most of the bacon cooker instructions are based on your using a 1000-watt microwave oven.
All of the microwave bacon cookers we tested advise cooking the bacon for one minute per slice. However, because of the variance in wattage of microwaves, there’s really no hard rule to follow. For lower-wattage microwaves, you need to add approximately 10 to 15 seconds per slice; conversely, for higher-wattage microwaves, you need to subtract 10 to 15 seconds per slice.
Turkey bacon is literally and figuratively another animal altogether. Turkey bacon is chopped turkey with oil added that’s been compressed into bacon-like strips. It doesn’t have the high-fat content of pork bacon and needs approximately half the time to cook.
How to get crispy microwaved bacon
You can get crispy microwaved bacon, but it’s a bit by trial and error. All of the cookers (or trays) we tested are supposed to produce crispy bacon. Our results were decidedly mixed, and more often than not we ended up with crisped fat and bacon-meat jerky that would put the strongest teeth to the test.
We recommend initially undercooking the bacon; for example, program three minutes for four slices of bacon. After that, turn the bacon over, then reprogram the microwave at 30-second increments, continually checking the bacon until it’s as crispy as you like. Also remember that if the fatty sections of the bacon are golden brown, the bacon will crisp up as it cools.
Should you use paper towels?
If the microwave bacon cooker has a lid (like the Joie Piggy), then it’s not necessary to cover the bacon with a paper towel. Otherwise, we recommend covering the bacon with a paper towel to absorb the significant grease splatter. It’s not necessary to line the cooker with a paper towel, since all of the cookers we tested are designed to capture and drain rendered bacon fat.
Important features to consider
During our testing, we learned that there are several important features about the design of a microwave bacon cooker that you should consider.
Dimensions: Before purchasing a microwave bacon cooker, measure the inner dimensions of your microwave to ensure that the cooker you buy can actually fit. The rack-style bacon cookers are compact enough to fit any size microwave. The tray-style, however, can be either square or rectangle, and depending on its length, it might not turn properly on your microwave’s turntable.
BPA-free plastic: Since the bacon comes in contact directly with the cooker, make sure that it is made of BPA-free plastic.
Gutter design: Since the purpose of the bacon cooker is to drain off as much fat as possible, look for a design that keeps the bacon elevated enough so it doesn’t sit in the captured fat. We found that the rack-style bacon cookers were the most efficient. However, the unique design of the OXO Good Grips, with its kickstand that raises the tray so the fat drains into the gutter, is also excellent.
Ease of storage: The rack-style bacon cookers are the easiest for storage. The racks can be removed, laid in the tray and stored compactly in a cabinet.
Build quality: Microwaving any plastic item has a long-range effect on its stability, so look for a bacon cooker that is made of a sturdier plastic.
How we tested
We used Costco’s Kirkland Signature Bacon for our tests, and its slices can be wider than other bacons. The number of slices that we tested at one time was dependent on the size and shape of the bacon cooker.
For the ridged-tray-style bacon cookers — the OXO, Joie Piggy and Nordic Ware — we had to lay out the bacon horizontally across the ridges, so the bacon stays elevated. Consequently, the ridged-tray cookers could hold only four or five slices at one time.
We were able to fit up to 12 slices on the rack-style bacon cookers — the Presto – Power Crisp, Emson – Bacon Wave and Makin’ Bacon — but due to the bacon width, we avoided overcrowding by testing nine slices at a time.
We followed the instructions for each bacon cooker and programmed the microwave for the recommended cooking times. In each case, the recommended time was too long, since we used a 1700-watt microwave. As a second attempt, we decreased the power level and cooking time for subsequent tests to determine whether a lower power and time combination would affect results.
For our third round of tests we cooked only three slices to see if the bacon cooked differently than when the cooker was loaded to capacity.
Finally, we tested whether or not each bacon cooker was dishwasher safe by washing them in the upper rack of the dishwasher.
Best overall: Presto – Power Crisp
The Presto – Power Crisp is a microwave bacon cooker that has three sturdy plastic racks over which the bacon is draped. As the bacon cooks, the fat drips into a tray underneath the racks. The bacon cooks into a V-shape, which easily slides off the rack. Although the bacon isn’t straight like traditionally fried bacon, it was evenly cooked with a nice crunch.
The Presto – Power Crisp can hold up to 12 slices of bacon, depending on the width of the bacon. The instruction manual recommended 40 to 90 seconds per slice, and we programmed the microwave for five minutes to avoid over-cooking. The bacon was only half-done after that time, so we cooked it an additional three-and-a-half minutes. The fat was beautifully rendered and crispy, and the meat was chewy without being rubbery.
Presto - Power Crisp
For fast and crispy bacon with almost no mess, the Presto - Power Crisp is your best choice.
For our next test, we cooked three slices for three minutes. We prefer our bacon extra crispy, so we added 30 seconds more, and again, it was perfect. As recommended by the manufacturer, we covered the bacon with a paper towel, and it absorbed all grease splatter without the paper towel sticking to the bacon.
The tray into which the racks are inserted is made of heavy-duty black plastic that remarkably stayed cool to the touch. The grease poured easily out of the tray without dripping, and the entire cooker is dishwasher safe.
Of the rack-style microwave bacon cookers we tested, the Presto – Power Crisp is one of the least expensive, and its superior design and construction gave us the best results.
- The Presto – Power Crisp’s design allows more bacon fat to drip off the bacon into a cool-to-the-touch tray underneath.
- The three stand-up racks cook the bacon into an unconventional V-shape but also produced the crispiest bacon of all the cookers we tested.
- The racks can be stored in the tray, so this cooker easily fits in a kitchen drawer.
Runner-up: OXO Good Grips – Bacon Crisper
The OXO Good Grips – Bacon Crisper is double the price of most of the bacon cookers we tested, but it has two unique design elements that we think are worth it. It’s a tray-style bacon cooker with a deep gutter for catching rendered bacon fat. A ridged removable silicone insert fits into the hard plastic tray, which prevents grease from leaking into the tray and is incredibly easy to clean.
The second feature we love is that the tray has a kickstand, which raises the tray to an approximately 45-degree angle. As the bacon cooks, the rendered fat drains and runs off into the gutter.
OXO Good Grips - Bacon Crisper
Keeping with the company's usual high standards, the OXO - Bacon Crisper has a unique design that makes lower-fat bacon.
During our tests, the raised tray had positive and slightly negative effects on the bacon. On the positive side, most of the bacon fat drained away, leaving the bacon very crispy. On the other hand, so much fat had been rendered that the bacon meat of a couple slices was chewier than the other slices.
Admittedly, the OXO is a bit expensive for a microwave bacon cooker, but overall it consistently gave us evenly cooked bacon that nearly matched our top pick.
- The OXO Good Grips – Bacon Crisper’s elevated tray and silicone insert drains virtually all the rendered bacon fat.
- It consistently makes crispy and evenly cooked bacon.
- It’s more expensive than most other cookers, but the unique design elements are worth it.
Other finalists we tested
MSC International – Joie Piggy Microwave Tray
The Joie Piggy — also called the Joie Oink Oink — is a 9-inch by 8-inch curved rectangle tray with slightly raised serpentine ridges. It comes with a vented pink cover with an impossibly cute pig-head handle. Its small size only fits four bacon slices at a time.
It performed well in our tests; the bacon was crunchy and chewy. The tray’s tiny handles, however, made it difficult to remove the hot tray from the microwave. When we lifted the lid, we found that there had been substantial grease splatter since the tray lacks a drainage receptacle. Consequently, we had to dab the collected grease off the top of the bacon with a paper towel.
The Joie Piggy is dishwasher safe, which is fortunate, since the excess splatter thickly coated the inside of the lid.
Emson – Bacon Wave
This best-selling “As Seen On TV” product is an interesting concept. The Bacon Wave is a molded BPA-free tray with three grooved rows, into which the bacon is inserted horizontally. The bacon is then held into place with two plastic skewers inserted through at both ends. The skewer needs to be inserted high enough through each slice to elevate it above the tray.
Packaging claims that the Bacon Wave can cook up to 14 slices, which seems possible, but it’s also ridiculously time-consuming to weave the skewers precisely to hold the bacon upright. As the bacon cooked, shrinkage pulled the slices tightly together, and the fat dripped into the tray as intended. However, there was also a lot of grease absorbed by the paper towel on top.
In our three tests of the Bacon Wave, the fat was well-rendered, but the bacon did not crisp and had the consistency of jerky.
Cameron Products – Makin’ Bacon
The Makin’ Bacon is a small plastic griddle pan that resembles a toy. (It was, after all, created by an eight-year-old girl.) Three t-bars are inserted into three holes, and the bacon is draped over them. The website claims that 16 pieces can be cooked at one time, which is certainly an exaggeration.
The vague instructions claim that six slices can fit on one spindley t-bar. However, the most we could fit were 12 pieces crowded together. Since they kept sliding off, we reduced the number to three per bar, but the ends flopped in the bottom of the tray.
We cooked the bacon per the instructions — six minutes for nine slices — but half were crisp and half were rubbery. Also during the cooking, a couple of the slices had curled and slipped off the t-bar and were lying in the accumulated fat. We continued to cook the bacon in 30-second increments until done. We did get bacon that was crispy in spots, but mostly it was very chewy.
The frying-pan design makes it simple to pour out the accumulated grease, and all parts are dishwasher safe.
Although our winner the Presto – Power Crisp has a similar design, we did not get the same results. The Makin’ Bacon comes apart easily for convenient storage, but it seems cheaply made and a bit on the pricey side for what it is.
Nordic Ware – 60150 (Not Recommended)
The Nordic Ware – 60150 is a tray-style bacon cooker onto which bacon slices are laid across the ridges. Differing from the other ridged-tray cookers we tested, the ridges are in a V-shape, which is supposed to allow the rendered fat to drain down a center gutter into a reservoir at the bottom of the tray. It’s a nice idea, but it limits how many slices can actually fit. We managed to squeeze in six slices.
The Nordic Ware has a serious design flaw: the tray measures 10 inches by 12 inches, which makes it too long to use in a standard microwave. Our large microwave has a center circular revolve with a 14-inch diameter, but the Nordic Ware has a 15-inch diameter and cannot turn. Consequently, we had to manually stop the microwave, turn the tray and restart the microwave.
Results were actually quite good; the bacon had both crunch and chew. But since the Nordic Ware is not dishwasher safe, it’s simply too inconvenient to use.
The bottom line
The best way to cook bacon is undoubtedly in the oven. But if you want to enjoy a healthier bacon with less fat, a microwave bacon cooker will make it fast and easy. Over the course of our research and tests, we learned that a lot depends on how the cooker is designed. All of the bacon cookers we tested gave us good to excellent results, but two stood out as particularly well-designed and convenient to use.
Our top pick — the Presto – Power Crisp — can cook up to 12 slices at a time in about 12 minutes. Its efficient stand-up racks allow the rendered bacon fat to drip into the tray beneath, leaving the bacon crispy and evenly cooked. It also makes disposal of bacon fat easy and is completely dishwasher safe.
The OXO Good Grips – Bacon Crisper is our runner-up, and its unique design with a raised tray and silicone insert made tasty bacon and clean-up a cinch. It’s about double the price of our top pick, but if you don’t mind spending a little more, it’s worth the price.