The Best Bacon You Can Buy for All of Your BLT and Breakfast Needs

The best bacon is meaty, smoky, and the perfect balance of sweet and salty. We tasted the top bacon brands on the market and these were the seven best bacon brands.

There are certain truths we hold to be self-evident. One of them is that all bacon is good. Seriously, even not-great bacon bottoms out in “good” territory. And people don’t just like bacon—they worship bacon. They buy bacon lip balm and bacon bandages. They turn love of bacon into a personality trait. We get it. It’s salty, porky, smoky, and, in the words of the great King Curtis, “Bacon is good for me.”

As the Sporked team sat down at a table scattered with plates of sizzling pork strips, we realized we had to determine what separates the merely good bacon brands from the certifiably best bacon brands. We looked for strips with the correct balance of saltiness and sweetness (that means more saltiness than sweetness). Good, smoky flavor was a plus. And more meat than fat was a must. Bacon fat tastes amazing, but a single meal shouldn’t send you to the hospital with chest pain.

For this tasting, we were joined by Mythical creative executive Santiago Massa, who claims to eat bacon almost every day, arteries be damned. We found the seven best bacon brands that will take any BLT, breakfast plate, or bacon-wrapped scallop from good to great.

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coleman uncured bacon

Best of the Best

Coleman Natural Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon

My absolute favorite thing to do with bacon: cook it in a skillet, set it aside, and then fry eggs over-medium in the grease. (And then eat it all, of course.) I treat this as a special-occasion breakfast preparation, and this is straight-up special occasion bacon in everyday bacon clothing. “This is really, really good quality meat,” in-house bacon expert Santi said, praising Coleman’s meat-to-fat ratio. He also astutely detected brown sugar in the brine. “This has a little bit of sweetness and extra flavor,” he said. “Whatever it’s coated with gives it a nice crunch without having to render down the fat.” From the texture to the flavor, this blew everyone away. Next time I’m treating myself to grease-fried eggs, this is the bacon I’m using. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

pederson's bacon

Best No Sugar Added

Pederson’s Natural Farms No Sugar Added Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon

They say you eat with your eyes first. Well, if your eyes were your only means of consuming food, you’d probably skip this bacon from Pederson’s Natural Farms. These strips were a slightly odd, almost grayish color, but we were all glad we didn’t let that put us off. “Don’t let the look fool you,” Santi said after taking a bite. “It’s a little more complex than others we’ve had.” Yup, even though this bacon doesn’t have any added sugar (brown or otherwise) to compliment the salty pork flavor and even though it looks unappealing in a lineup alongside other bacon brands, it packs so, so much rich, unique bacon flavor, which could be attributed to the hickory smoke and humanely raised pigs. “If you close your eyes and chew, you’ll be really happy,” Santi said. “Gosh darn, this is a good slice of bacon.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

nueske's bacon

Best Smoked Bacon

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon

If a restaurant uses Nueske’s bacon in its BLT or club sandwich, you can bet the menu says so. This is high-quality bacon that doesn’t come cheap, but its smoky, woody flavor is totally worth it. If you like super smoky bacon—like, bacon that tastes like it was prepared at a BBQ joint—you’re going to freak out for this stuff. “I really like this because it tastes very authentic and homemade,” Santi said. “The meat itself is very high quality.” And there’s lots of meat in every strip. This bacon put me in the mood to go camping, but even if you don’t cook it on a cast iron skillet over a campfire while you sip coffee from one of those cute speckled enamel mugs, it’ll taste like you did. Go ahead and eat your breakfast outside to set the mood.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

appleton farms bacon

Best Thick Cut Bacon

Appleton Farms Gourmet Thick Sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon

Some days call for a fatty breakfast. Maybe you’re depleted from partying. Maybe you didn’t eat dinner the night before and need to make up for lost calories. Either way, this thick-sliced bacon from Aldi is going to hit the spot. “The fat dissolves in your mouth,” Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo observed after taking a bite. “This feels like a well cured piece of meat.” Santi was a little underwhelmed by the overall flavor, but agreed that this bacon is basically breakfast medicine: “This is exactly like IHOP on a hungover morning—you just need something fatty in your system.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

farmer john bacon

Best Breakfast Bacon

Farmer John Premium Classic Bacon

If you live in Los Angeles, you know Farmer John as the former purveyor of the beloved extra-long hot dog that’s served at Dodger Stadium (the team has since gone with another supplier; long story). The brand also knows its way around a package of porky, smoky backfat. This classic bacon really tastes like a classic—Danny referred to it as “utility bacon,” exactly the stuff you always have in the fridge for a fatty, satisfying weekend breakfast. Compared to some of the other brands we tried, this bacon leans fatty, but everyone who tried it agreed that the fat tasted really, really good. “I feel like the fat on this is probably the yummiest fat we’ve had today,” Santi said. “There’s quite a large amount of fat, but I’m not mad at it.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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kirkland bacon

Best Bacon for Recipes

Kirkland Thick Sliced Center Cut Bacon

Honestly, I’d probably eat clumps of sod if they were wrapped in this center-cut bacon from Costco. Some bacon is built to be wrapped around other foods, like scallops or bunches of asparagus. It has to be thick enough to serve its purpose as a wrapper, but its saltiness has to be tempered so it doesn’t totally overpower the food it’s hugging.  This bacon fits the bill—but it’s so much more than a wrapper. Right away, Danny decided this would be great cooking bacon. Cube it and put it in split pea soup. Slice it into matchsticks and use it  as a lardon replacement. Santi had other, low-carb ideas: “If you put this in a pan and render down that fat, this would be good as the bread for a burger instead of a bun.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Sporked

Rating:

8.5/10

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trader joe's applewood smoked bacon

Best Sweet Bacon

Trader Joe’s Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon

If you’re not into sweet bacon, this applewood-smoked offering from Trader Joe’s is going to be off-putting. But if you’re a person who likes to drizzle a little syrup on your strips when you’re having pancakes or french toast, you’ll love that you can cut out the middleman with this greasy, good stuff. Pair this one with a super savory breakfast like a cheese omelet or eggs florentine for a little sweetness on the side. Santi detected an almost cinnamon-y flavor in these strips. Sounds like Christmas breakfast fodder to me.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Sporked

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • The Kirkland bacon is incredibly cheap considering the quality. It’s our go-to at Costco every time we need bacon!

    Reply
    • It’s delicious!

      Reply
  • I don’t know who this Santi guy is, but he seems handsome.

    Reply
    • WE LOVE SANTI.

      Reply