Get ready to elevate your bacon game to a whole new level with Candied Bacon! This bacon is a blend of sweet, spicy, and savory that you can’t resist.
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
The first time I had candied bacon for breakfast, it was like a flavor party in my mouth, and I knew I had to share it with everyone. My family and friends loved the recipe! They loved the sweet maple and brown sugar combo mixed with that little kick from the cayenne pepper.
Now, whenever we have a breakfast get-together, people ask, “You’re making the candied bacon again, right?” It’s turned into the must-have dish that everyone looks forward to.
Candied bacon became popular in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Another version, called pig candy, includes pecans. You’ll sometimes find the bacon appearing on restaurant menus under the name “Million Dollar Bacon.”
Ingredients for Candied Bacon
- Bacon – thick cut works best and makes the bacon slightly chewy. You could use regular bacon, but you’ll need to cook it for less time.
- Sweeteners – brown sugar and maple syrup.
- Spices – cayenne pepper and black pepper.
- Small mixing bowl
- Baking sheet
- Baking rack
How to make Candied Bacon
Place oven rack on center rack. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6°C).
Combine brown sugar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
Place parchment paper or foil on a 13×9 baking sheet and a rack over it. Add bacon in a single layer on the rack.
Cover both sides of pieces of bacon with the brown sugar mixture. Try to make sure to pat the mixture on each piece of bacon.
Bake in a preheated oven on the center rack for about 20 minutes, then rotate the tray and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the bacon is done. You’ll know candied bacon is done when it has a deep, caramelized color and the sugar coating appears glossy and sticky.
Remove the bacon from the oven and cover the bacon with maple syrup. Allow it to cool on the rack.
Candied bacon can be used in a variety of ways to elevate both sweet and savory dishes. Try some of the following
- Eat is is a side dish.
- Crumble it over pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
- Add a sweet and salty crunch to salads, especially those with fruits like apple or pear.
- Incorporate it into ice cream, cookies, or brownies for an unexpected flavor twist.
- Place a slice or two on your favorite burger for an extra layer of deliciousness.
- Use a strip as a garnish for a Bloody Mary or other savory cocktails.
How to Store
Store any leftover candied bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also freeze it for up to three months. Just make sure it’s fully cooled before storing.
A note about the bacon
For candied bacon, thick-cut is generally the better choice. The meatier texture holds up well to the additional flavors from the sugar and spices, and the longer cooking time allows for the sugar to caramelize without burning. It also provides a satisfyingly chewy yet crispy texture that’s perfect for this gourmet treat.
If using thinner bacon, cook for less time, about 10-15 minutes.
Also, please note that “thick cut” bacon will vary. I’ve had thick-cut bacon cook in as little as 20 minutes. Keep an eye out on the bacon to ensure it does not burn.
- You can cook the bacon on a rack or directly in the pan. If cooking in the pan, the bacon will cook in the bacon fat and the brown sugar syrup. Once done cooking, just pat the excess grease off with a paper towel.
- After removing the candied bacon from the oven, allow it to cool on the wire rack instead of paper towels; this helps it slightly crisp up without becoming soggy.
Yes, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time as regular bacon cooks faster. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.
Absolutely, but the maple syrup adds an extra layer of sweetness that complements the spiciness.
Looking for other delicious breakfast recipes? Try these out:
- Air Fryer Breakfast Potatoes
- Fried Chicken and Waffles
- Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Candied Bacon Recipe
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoon maple syrup
- Place oven rack on center rack. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6°C).
- Combine brown sugar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Place parchment paper or foil on a 13×9 baking sheet and a rack over it. Add bacon in a single layer on the rack.
- Cover both sides of pieces of bacon with the brown sugar mixture, patting the brown sugar into each piece of bacon.
- Bake in the preheated oven on the center rack for 20 minutes, then flip and cook for 15-20 minutes on the other side.
- Remove bacon from oven and cover bacon with maple syrup. Allow the bacon to cool in the rack.
- Feel free to adjust the cayenne pepper to your heat preference.
- Depending on the cut of bacon, your bacon could cook as quickly as 20 minutes. If using thinner bacon, cook for less time, about 10-15 minutes.