Making bacon and eggs can often times become a morning ritual—but have you ever stopped to consider if you’re using the right pan for the job? Like whether you should be using nonstick or stainless steel? I’ll help you compare options and choose the best pan to cook bacon and eggs.
What’s the Best One-Pan Solution for Cooking Bacon and Eggs Together?
The best pan for cooking bacon and eggs is a large, 10 or 12-inch nonstick pan, like one of these made by All-Clad. You need the pan to be large enough to cook up a serving of bacon and eggs in the same pan, side by side. A nonstick coating works great for bacon and is essential for the making the best eggs of nearly every style.
You can absolutely use this recommended frying pan for either bacon or eggs individually or cooking them together. If you’re interested in learning more about cooking bacon and eggs individually and what other types of pans you can use, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
What is the Best Pan for Cooking Bacon?
My favorite way to cook bacon is actually in the oven on a baking sheet. This method is especially useful when cooking for a large group, since you can fit more strips of bacon on a sheet pan and it frees up the stovetop for cooking eggs and other items. Set the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line the baking sheet with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Then place the bacon in a single layer, and cook for about 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through for even cooking.
An electric griddle is also a great choice when making breakfast for a crowd. Similar to a baking sheet in size, you can easily cook a whole pack of bacon in one batch. Electric griddles are very versatile—so you can cook bacon on one half and cook up something else to go with your breakfast on the other side (pancakes anyone??) Plus, the nonstick coating on electric griddles and set-temperature dial make it easy to evenly cook bacon with less worry about burning it.
It’s also easier to clean up bacon splatter on and around an electric griddle than the oven, which is one potential drawback to the oven method. If you do end up creating a bit of a mess in the oven from bacon splatter, check out this link to easily clean oven spills without using harsh chemicals.
What is the Best Pan to Cook Eggs in?
For most types of eggs—whether scrambled or fried, I recommend nonstick all the way! I use my stainless-steel pans for cooking almost everything, but eggs are one of the few exceptions. Since eggs are delicate and prone to sticking, I prefer to use a nonstick pan for a hassle-free breakfast. The size of the pan just depends on how many eggs you’re making. I have a small 6-inch nonstick pan that is perfect for making one or two eggs quickly and easily.
You can use a stainless-steel frying pan to cook eggs too, but you’ll need to be extra careful that there’s a complete layer of butter or oil between the egg and the pan at all touchpoints. If there’s even a small bit of the pan that’s left ungreased, the egg will likely stick, which could ruin the outcome especially in preparations like omelets or fried eggs.
Why Do Eggs Stick to the Pan?
Eggs are very high in protein, and foods that are higher in protein are in fact scientifically predisposed to sticking. The reason for this is that the proteins in the food can actually form chemical bonds with metal atoms in the pan, which is more prone to happen if using a stainless-steel or aluminum pan than a coated nonstick pan.
When nonstick pans are brand new, you can likely cook eggs without using any grease at all without a problem, but over time the coating will begin to break down and become less effective. This is why even when you use a nonstick pan for eggs, you will still want to grease the pan beforehand to ensure the eggs won’t stick.
As I mentioned before, you can still use a stainless-steel or other metal pan for eggs as long as you take the proper steps to prevent sticking. In addition to making sure you use enough oil to completely coat the bottom and sides of the frying pan, you also need to make sure the pan and oil are hot enough to prevent sticking. Hot oil will cause food to release water upon hitting the pan which creates a steam effect that prevents the food from fusing to the pan.
Additionally, when the oil is hot enough, it reacts with the atoms in the pan to form a “patina” which acts as a nonstick coating. When the atoms in the pan react with the oil, there are less free atoms that are able to bond with the food, and therefore less sticking. Cast-iron pans, when properly seasoned, have created a nonstick patina in this way. Unlike cast-iron pans which require special care to maintain their patina, you need to recreate the patina on metal pans each time they are used, since dishwashing detergent will destroy it.
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Is it OK to Cook Eggs in Bacon Grease?
You can absolutely cook eggs in bacon grease! While it’s not necessarily the healthiest option, cooking eggs in bacon grease is a great solution when cooking everything in one pan, and it also adds a ton of flavor.
Cook bacon in the skillet first—then set aside on a paper towel-lined paper plate to absorb the excess grease. Carefully wipe out some of the bacon fat from the pan using a wad of paper towels, so that only a thin layer of grease remains. Add the eggs—scrambled or fried, and when the eggs are almost done, push them to the side of the pan and add a couple strips of bacon back to the pan to reheat before serving.
What Else Should I Use to Grease My Pan?
Even when you’re using a good quality nonstick pan to cook eggs, you’ll probably want at least a little bit of a greasy coating to further support the nonstick properties and also add flavor. I recommend using butter because it adds the most flavor, but you can also use a neutral vegetable oil or olive oil, which will add a different flavor. Olive oil is a great compliment to savory frittatas, for instance. You can also use nonstick cooking spray—utilizing a spray can allows for a very light coating, which makes it the best option if you’re trying not to add a lot of excess fat or calories to your morning meal.
When cooking bacon, whether in a nonstick or stainless-steel pan, you don’t have to grease the pan at all! When the bacon starts to cook, it will release a lot of grease. Be patient—the first couple minutes the bacon may stick but after that, it will come right off. You don’t want to add additional fat because bacon is already greasy, and you really don’t need it.
Cooking bacon and eggs together in the same pan is a great option to reduce waste and meld flavors by utilizing the bacon fat for the type of grease that the eggs need anyway.