Every recipe I’ve read that called for bacon bits says to cook the slices of bacon and then crumble them. I don’t know about you, but I rarely want to deal with this on a weeknight. It takes time. It takes attention. It’s hard to get slices of bacon to cook evenly as they curl up, so it’s tough to crumble them afterward.
Luckily there’s a simple solution. Put a few slices of bacon on a cutting board, still overlapped from the package. Take a sharp knife and slice them across the slices, so you get little rows of short bacon pieces (size depending on what you plan to use them for).
Toss them into a pan and turn the heat on medium to medium-high (experiment until you find the temperature on your stove that cooks the bacon well without spattering all over the place or burning). Use a spatula to stir them around frequently; as the fat melts it’ll become easier to separate them.
If you’re doing more than a few slices at a time you may have to use a metal ladle to transfer some of the excess melted fat to a jar before it’s done. (Be sure to run the outside of the jar under hot water first so the hot fat won’t cause it to crack, or spoon the hot fat into a heat-proof bowl, allow it to cool, and then pour it into the jar.)
The bacon is usually done shortly after the oil starts to foam; keep an eye on texture and color. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon onto paper towels on a plate or in a bowl and allow to drain. Then sprinkle in soups, on potatoes, and so on.
No more carefully positioning bacon slices in the pan. No more trying to flatten them out so they’ll cook evenly. It takes a lot less attention. Now we’re happy to make bacon bits whenever we need them. It’s so much easier, in fact, that we’ve started making bacon this way for break fast – we just chop it into slightly larger, bite-sized pieces.