For all those bacon fans out there, it is common to ask, “Can you cook store-bought bacon bits?”
Everyone appears to have a soft spot in their heart for bacon. Salty yet crispy, it pairs well with breakfast foods like pancakes and eggs.
Bacon bits from a jar are convenient when you do not have time to cook real bacon, but is it okay if you want to cook store-bought bacon bits?
Yes, you can cook store-bought bacon bits, but you do not always have to because most of the time they are pre-cooked in the microwave.
Tip: Do not use bacon bits as a snack because they are usually very high in fat, calories, and salt, making them unhealthy for a snacking option.
Can You Cook Store-Bought Bacon Bits or Not?
Yes, it is fine to cook your store-bought bacon bits, but you should also pay attention to what types of bits you have.
It may come as a surprise, but so many brands offer bacon bits with no meat.
Yes, some brands begin the preparation process with breakfast meat, but that is not always the case.
Those with some meat used in the preparation tend to be branded as “genuine” bacon bits.
And based on the types of bacon bits you buy, you will have to decide whether or not to cook them and how.
Types of Bacon Bits to Check
Bacon bits come in several varieties, each of which is noticeably distinct from the others.
It is important for you to know what those chunks are made of before deciding whether or not to use them in a dish.
Bacon bits are typically referred to as “bacon bits” by the general public. However, vegan “bacon” is a popular alternative to the real thing and is cheaper.
It is also possible to use other types of meat, such as turkey, to create bacon bits in addition to the pork.
Since many of these items look the same, reading the label is the best way to ensure you buy the proper pieces.
Can You Cook Store-Bought Bacon Bits in the Microwave?
Bacon pieces sold in stores are often microwaved rather than prepared using traditional ways, leading to a rubbery feel.
Plus, they have a coating of preservatives to keep them fresh for longer. Salads might sometimes benefit from the addition of bacon crumbles.
But sometimes, you really need to think about cooking them before use.
It is fine to cook bacon in the microwave so long as you place it between the layers of paper towels to handle the grease better.
And depending on the bacon bits you buy, you can only heat them in the microwave.
Can You Cook Bacon Pieces in a Frying Pan?
Yes, it is possible to do that, and it may be a way for those looking for how to make store-bought bacon bits crispy.
Put the bacon bits in a heated frying pan and spread them out evenly. Keep swirling until the bacon turns golden and crispy, usually in about 5 minutes.
Scoop the cooked bacon out with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel plate. Do not put anything in the fridge or freezer until it fully cools down.
Tip: Look for vegetarian bacon bits if you do not want to eat meat but still want the flavor of bacon added to your dishes.
Can You Use Store-Bought Bacon Bits without Cooking?
It depends on the variety of bacon bits you choose.
Bacon bits usually work best when used as a garnish. They add a satisfying crunch to salads, baked potatoes, and other side dishes.
Bacon bits from the supermarket should only be used as a garnish because their flavor does not compare to freshly cooked bacon.
This becomes readily apparent with the bulk consumption of the bits.
So, yes, you can use store-bought bacon bits without cooking if the label says they have already been cooked and are the real deal.
What About Imitation Bacon Bits?
Well, no need to cook those bacon bits really!
These are usually hickory-smoked soy chunks that have been flavored to taste like real bacon.
Use as a garnish for vegetables, salads, and casseroles. The artificial chunks can also be used as a meat substitute in place of real bacon.
And you can use them to make tasty baked goods like cornbread and biscuits.
Can You Cook Bacon Bits Bought from Different Brands?
It all depends on the types of bacon bits you buy from various brands. Paying attention to the label to know the best way to consume these chunks is essential.
As mentioned, you can find imitation and real bacon bits.
So, you must consider this important point before deciding how to consume them.
Hormel Bacon Bits
In order to produce its bacon bits, Hormel uses “genuine” bacon, which is “cured with salt, water, sodium nitrite, and sodium erythorbate.
The final two are common food additives that improve flavor and extend shelf life in cured meats.
Sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite are both safe for human consumption; however, some people are sensitive to both and experience side effects such as headaches and weariness.
The ingredients list on the Hormel packaging for their bacon shows it also contains dextrose, sugar, smoke flavoring, sodium phosphate, and more.
It means that they are always cooked and seasoned well, and you do not have to go through any preparation when ordering from Hormel.
McCormic’s Bacon Bits
McCormick’s “bacon flavored bits” have no bacon in them despite the name.
On the contrary, McCormick’s “bac’n” is entirely cruelty-free to vegans. Textured soy flour, made from ground soybeans, is the primary ingredient because of its high protein content.
No need to cook these either!
How Do You Cook Your Own Bacon Bits?
Making your own bacon bits at home is the best way to ensure they are absolutely crispy and that you know exactly what goes into them.
You can toss it over casseroles, pizza, salads, or anything else you think would benefit from a little bit of bacon magic, and you will have the perfect seasoning.
Here is how to do it:
How to Make Bacon Bits on the Stovetop
- Take the raw bacon out of its packing.
- Place it, still piled, on a big chopping board.
- Cut the strips lengthwise and crosswise with a sharp knife.
- Slice the bacon until it is no larger than 1/2 inch on either side.
- Get a large pot, like a Dutch oven, hot over medium heat.
- Cook the raw bacon and add it when the pan is hot.
- Stir the mixture occasionally and wait for 8-12 minutes to cook.
- Stop when the chunks are a deep golden brown and bubbling.
- Take it off the heat, and transfer the bacon bits to a paper towel-lined basin.
Tip: Be sure to use a sharp knife for cutting because bacon can be extremely tough to cut or it is better to cook bacon bits in the oven.
How to Make Bacon Bits in the Oven
- Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet with a rim.
- Arrange pieces of bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- The oven should be cold before the baking sheet is put inside.
- Set the temperature to 375 F after putting the sheet in the oven.
- Cook for about half an hour.
- Be sure to check on the bacon in the last few minutes of baking.
- Wait for it to be sizzling and just a shade or two darker.
- Put the bacon on a paper towel-lined dish to absorb the grease.
- Wait 5-10 minutes for it to cool before slicing.
Once cooled, the strips may be firm and crisp, not pliable. Line up the bacon strips on a chopping board and mince them with a knife until they are the size you want.
How long you bake the bacon will determine how thick and crisp you like it.
Consider cooking bacon bits in the oven to avoid grease splattering and make it easier to cut your bacon after you have cooked it.
Can you cook store-bought bacon bits? You may be wondering about it, but the truth is that you do not have to.
Depending on your chosen brand, you can use these bacon chunks straight from the package in your salads and other dishes.
But, if you want it to be really crispy, you will be better off cooking your own bacon bits at home, and it is fun too.