This candied bacon recipe is the ultimate! It’s super easy to make and requires just 4 ingredients. Made in the oven, this candied bacon is sweet, salty, and slightly spicy. Serve it as a fun appetizer or as a side dish at breakfast.

candied bacon on a gray plate

Why I Love this Candied Bacon Recipe

First and foremost, this recipe is was bacon dreams are made of. Each slice is sweet, salty and slightly spicy. Secondly, the amount of WOW factor you get out of such little time and effort is incredible. You really only need two ingredients to make candied bacon, and just two spices to make it spicy candied bacon.

Ingredients for this Recipe

thick-cut bacon

You can also use regular-cut bacon. I like thick-cut because it stays a little chewy. If you love a crisp slice of bacon, go ahead and use regular bacon, though check out my recipe notes for instructions.

light brown sugar

I find light brown sugar works best here. Granulated doesn’t caramelize very well here and brown sugar tends to have too much moisture. For added texture you could try raw sugar such as turbinado or demerara.

chili powder & cayenne pepper

Use your favorite chili powder here! I like the balance of sweet, salty and spicy but you can skip the spice altogether if you prefer.

Step-by-Step Instructions for this Recipe

  1. Line a baking sheet with oil then set a wire rack inside.
  2. Arrange bacon slices over rack in even layer.
  3. Bake the bacon for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and spices together.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over bacon slices and bake until crispy, about 15 minutes.
  6. Let the bacon cool for 5 to 10 minutes before diving in. As it cools it will crisp up.
candied bacon on a gray plate

FAQs & Test Kitchen Tips

Can I use maple syrup?

You can add maple syrup to the sugar and spice mixture, but I wouldn’t replace the sugar with maple syrup. Add 2 tablespoons maple syrup to the sugar mixture before spreading it on the bacon. Maple candied bacon, yum!

Can I make this on the stove top in a pan?

I do not recommend making this on the stove top, it makes a mess and the bacon doesn’t get evenly caramelized. Plus, making candied bacon in the oven is so hands off!

How to Serve Candied Bacon

Candied bacon is great anytime of the day. Serve the sweet and spicy bacon with breakfast, as a festive appetizer, or even a dessert (one reader even drizzled his with chocolate!).

Candied bacon is also great on breakfast sandwiches are used as a garnish for bloody marys.

Variations of this recipe

  • Add dried rosemary to the sugar mixture.
  • Skip the spice and add cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweeter version.
  • Add minced orange zest for a bit of freshness.
  • Swap the chili powder and cayenne for more mild black pepper.

More Bacon Recipes to Love…

Did you make this spicy candied bacon recipe?!  Let me know how it went—leave a comment and star-rating below. And if you snapped a pic, share it on IG and tag me @zestfulkitchen. I love seeing what you make!

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candied bacon on a gray plate

Spicy Candied Bacon

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This candied bacon is sweet, salty, and slight spicy. Crisp and caramelized, this candied bacon makes a fun appetizer or tasty breakfast side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Heat oven to 375°F (190ºC) with rack set in middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil then set a wire rack in sheet.

Arrange bacon in a single layer on rack and bake 20 minutes.

Combine sugar, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; evenly sprinkle on bacon slices then return to oven and bake until crispy, 15–20 minutes more.

Let cool 5 minutes, then serve.



Notes

Make ahead tip: cook the bacon halfway through (before adding the spice mixture) then store in a zipper-lock bag in the refrigerator. Day of, arrange bacon on rack in sheet pan and reheat for 5 minutes at 375°F (190ºC) before topping with sugar mixture and continuing to bake.

If you’re using regular bacon, skip the pre-cooking step and top the raw bacon slices with the sugar mixture right off the bat.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 137
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 286mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 23mg

Keywords: Spicy Candied Bacon, Candied bacon

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photography by Austin Day and styling by Lauren Day.

This recipe and article were originally published on June 14 2018.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Made this spicy candied bacon last weekend and OH MY we LOVED it. So easy to make and perfectly spiced.

  2. I tried this bacon over the weekend. To take it to the next level, I drizzled it with melted chocolate and allowed the chocolate to set until firm. It was delicious, with or without chocolate. I used the bacon without chocolate to make BLT’s. Yum.