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How do restaurants cook bacon so fast?

Restaurants are able to cook bacon very quickly compared to home cooks. There are a few key reasons restaurants can churn out perfectly cooked bacon so fast:

  • High-powered commercial cooking equipment
  • Pre-portioned and pre-sliced bacon
  • Cooks dedicated to cooking bacon
  • Constant batches of bacon being cooked

While home cooks are limited to using skillet pans on a stove, restaurants have access to powerful appliances that can cook bacon exactly as needed. Commercial griddles, convection ovens, microwaves, and deep fryers enable restaurants to cook bacon in large batches consistently.

Having the bacon already portioned out and sliced upfront also saves time. Bacon is delivered to restaurants in ready-to-cook portions so cooks don’t waste time weighing out and slicing up slabs of bacon. The bacon is simply grabbed out of the package and thrown on the cooktop.

High-Powered Commercial Cooking Equipment

One of the biggest advantages restaurants have is commercial cooking equipment that can produce a high amount of heat very quickly. Home cooks are limited to stovetops and skillets that take several minutes to heat up. Restaurants use appliances specifically designed for fast, consistent cooking.


Flat-top griddles are commonly used for cooking bacon in diners, breakfast restaurants, and cafeterias. Griddles have an expansive cooking surface that allows restaurants to cook over a pound of bacon at once. The heat is consistent across the cooking surface so the bacon cooks evenly. The grease and fat that render out of the bacon run into grease traps.

Commercial griddles are made of thick, heavy-duty metal that retains heat well at high temperatures. They typically use gas or electricity to reach temperatures upwards of 300-400°F in just minutes. This high, even heat quickly crisps and browns the bacon slices.

Convection Ovens

Many restaurants use convection ovens to cook large batches of bacon quickly and consistently. Convection ovens have powerful heating elements and fans that circulate hot air around the bacon. This allows the heat to penetrate the bacon more evenly, reducing hot spots.

Convection ovens preheat rapidly, often reaching optimal bacon cooking temperatures of 375-400°F in just 5-10 minutes. The bacon can be lined up on sheet pans and cooked in minutes as the hot air envelops the slices. The constant air circulation makes the bacon extra crispy.


Although less common than griddles or convection ovens, some restaurants use commercial microwaves to cook bacon. Commercial microwaves are much more powerful than home models – often 1000+ watts compared to 700-1000 watts for home microwaves.

The high-energy waves of commercial microwaves rapidly heat up the bacon between sliced papers or on paper-lined sheet trays. Slices of bacon can be cooked in just 1-2 minutes per batch using a microwave with enough power.

Deep Fryers

While less common, some restaurants deep fry bacon for a unique texture. Commercial deep fryers heat up to 350-375°F, which can cook sliced bacon in 60-90 seconds per batch. The hot oil helps render fat while completely crisping up the bacon.

Proper deep frying requires frequently filtering and replacing the oil to avoid overuse. But when done right, deep frying gives bacon a crunchy exterior while keeping the inside tender.

Pre-Portioned, Pre-Sliced Bacon

Another factor that enables restaurants to churn out hot bacon so fast is having the bacon pre-portioned and sliced before it even gets to the restaurant. This saves cooks the time and effort of weighing out slabs of bacon and manually slicing each piece.

Most restaurants buy “ready to cook” (RTC) bacon from food distributors. The bacon is:

  • machine sliced
  • cured
  • portioned into pound packages

Each pouch contains around 20-30 slices of uniformly cut bacon. Cooks can grab a pouch, tear it open, and pour the bacon right onto the hot griddle or pan. There’s no prep work involved.

Having pre-cut slices of around 0.7-0.8oz enables restaurants to precisely control bacon portion sizes. Customers get the right amount of bacon and restaurants reduce waste from uneven slicing.

Buying RTC bacon in bulk from big distributors also keeps costs lower for restaurants compared to labor-intensive in-house bacon preparation. The time and money saved allows restaurants to serve more bacon dishes cost effectively.

Cooks Focused on Bacon

Most restaurants have dedicated cooks that just handle cooking bacon and other breakfast meats during busy periods. Rather than bouncing between tasks, these cooks can fully focus on managing the bacon.

The constant batches ensure a steady stream of freshly cooked bacon. Cooks will lay out a full sheet pan of bacon and immediately start the next batch as the current one cooks. They get very adept at visibly inspecting when the bacon is perfectly done.

Leave a dedicated bacon cook on the griddle and they quickly develop a rhythm and flow for pumping out perfectly crisped bacon consistently. Their expertise and focus enables maximizing the output.

Constant Cooking in Batches

While home cooks may just cook enough bacon for a few servings at a time, restaurants are continually cooking bacon in batches. There’s no downtime between batches in a busy restaurant, enabling them to build up a reserve of cooked bacon.

During popular breakfast hours, a restaurant may be constantly cooking bacon on multiple appliances simultaneously:

  • Full sheet pan in the convection oven
  • 1-2 lbs on the flat-top griddle
  • Batches in the microwave

The constant cooking means hot, crispy bacon is always coming out and ready to go on dishes. The batches keep the flow of bacon steady during even the busiest rushes. The volume cooked enables the bacon reserve to keep replenishing as orders come in.

Proper timing is necessary so that bacon doesn’t sit too long before getting served. But keeping the cooking constant ensures the bacon supply meets the customer demand.

Tips for Cooking Bacon Faster at Home

While restaurants have equipment and processes perfected for fast bacon cooking, home cooks can still significantly decrease bacon cook times using some restaurant techniques:

Use Thick-Bottomed Cookware

Thick, heavy pans like cast iron hold heat well and cook bacon more evenly. The better heat distribution crisps up the bacon quicker than thin pans. Lay bacon slices out in a single layer for the fastest, most even cooking.

Preheat on Medium-High

Don’t put bacon into a cold pan. Preheating the pan for 2-3 minutes on medium high before adding the bacon significantly decreases cooking time. The hot pan starts crisping the bacon immediately.

Cook in Batches

Avoid overcrowding the pan, which steams the bacon and makes it cook unevenly. Cook bacon in smaller batches for optimal heat distribution.

Blot Excess Grease

Blot bacon slices with paper towels before cooking to remove excess surface grease. This helps them crisp up quicker by reducing the grease that needs to render out.

Flip Bacon Regularly

Don’t let the bacon sit too long before flipping. Frequently flip bacon every minute or so to promote even crisping. This reduces the risk of soft spots.

Add Salt and Pepper After

Salt draws out moisture, which can make bacon take longer to get crispy. Season the bacon after it’s cooked instead for faster cook times.

Cook to Desired Doneness

Crispness preference affects cook time. Cook bacon just until your ideal texture is reached to avoid overcooking.

Drain and Blot Excess Grease

After cooking, transfer bacon to paper towels to soak up grease for a crisper texture.

Key Factors for Fast Bacon Cooking in Restaurants

Factor How it Enables Faster Bacon Cooking
High-powered commercial cooking equipment (griddles, convection ovens, commercial microwaves, deep fryers) Very hot and rapid heat source crisps bacon quickly
Pre-portioned, pre-sliced “ready to cook” bacon Saves time on weighing and slicing bacon
Dedicated bacon cooks Focused attention on just cooking bacon
Constant batches Steady stream of freshly cooked bacon always emerging


Restaurants are able to achieve such fast bacon cook times through specialized high-powered equipment, bacon prepped for easy cooking, dedicated cooks, and constant batch cooking. Home cooks can apply techniques like preheating pans, cooking in smaller batches, and frequent flipping to reduce the time needed to cook bacon at home. While restaurant techniques require an investment in commercial appliances, the process can be emulated on a small scale in your home kitchen.