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Salty, peppery, sweet, and smoky — an absolutely addictive flavor combo!

You’ll be the holiday hero when you serve this amazing Pig Candy, a.k.a. candied bacon! Thick cut bacon dredged in brown sugar and black pepper bakes in the oven until it caramelizes into sweet and crispy goodness!

Everyone loves this irresistible bacon so much, it has a permanent spot on our Christmas brunch table. A bacon lover’s delicacy, each bite has a little chew, while the outside crust is crispy and sweet.

Candied bacon also makes a delicious cocktail party appetizer, a great addition to cheese and charcuterie boards, and can even be dipped in chocolate for an extra indulgent treat!

Can’t get enough bacon? I have a couple of bacon appetizers I know you’ll love — my Hot Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip with Bacon and this Roasted Red Pepper and Bacon Bruschetta. Or, for a sweet and salty treat bake up a batch of these Maple-Glazed Bacon Muffins. YUM!

slices of candied bacon in a glass mug sitting on a green and red napkin

Key ingredients & substitutions for candied bacon

  • Bacon — Look for a quality thick cut bacon with a good mix of fat and lean meat.
  • Flour and brown sugar — As the bacon cooks and the fat renders, the flour helps create a slightly chewy texture while the brown sugar caramelizes into a crispy crust.
  • Pepper — Regular ground black pepper is too fine, so I always use coarse ground black pepper or freshly ground black peppercorns. Adjust the amount of black pepper or add a dash of red cayenne pepper if you like it a bit spicy.
  • Maple syrup — Maple syrup is an optional ingredient. You may want use it to baste the bacon at the end of cooking if you like maple flavor.

How to make this pig candy recipe?

dredging mixture of flour, brown sugar, and black pepper for bacon

STEP 1 | Prep

In a shallow dish, combine flour, brown sugar, and coarsely ground black pepper until thoroughly mixed.

One at a time, lay a slice of bacon in the flour mixture. Coat on all sides, shaking off the excess. Lay the bacon on a wire rack (inside a baking sheet) with a little space between each slice.

tips

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil overlapping the edges before placing a wire rack on top. This will catch the rendered bacon grease and make clean up a bit easier.
  • Cut the bacon slices in half for more bite-size candy.

STEP 2 | Bake

Cook the bacon for about 30 minutes. Midway through the cooking, remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip each slice of bacon to the other side. Continue baking until the bacon is crisp.

STEP 3 | Baste

For more sweetness, use a basting brush to coat each slice of bacon with maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let cool completely on the rack, then remove to a plate for serving.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of bacon do you use?

Use either a quality pre-packaged bacon or bacon purchased from the butcher counter. Using thick cut bacon gives the candied bacon a little bit of a chewy texture even though it’s crisp on the outside.

I sometimes use peppered thick cut bacon from the Fresh Market butcher counter. Peppered bacon makes delicious candied bacon—but be sure to omit the pepper in the dredging mixture.

How do you reheat pig candy?

IF there are any leftover pieces of Candied Bacon — and that’s a BIG IF — wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To reheat the bacon, open the aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bacon begins to sizzle.

slices of sugared pepper bacon in a clear glass mug

Pig Candy: behind the recipe

John and I make it a priority to get away to a bed & breakfast as often as possible to relax and rekindle. It was at the Von Bryon Mountaintop Inn several years ago that I took my first bite of pig candy — it was amazing!

Right then and there, I knew I had to make candied bacon at home, so the innkeepers were gracious enough to share the recipe.

Several years later, the Von Bryon Mountaintop Inn ceased to operate as a B&B. I’m so glad that I didn’t miss out on learning how to make their signature bacon before that happened!

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

slices of sugared pepper bacon in a clear glass mug

Pig Candy {Candied Bacon}

Salty, peppery, sweet, and smoky — an absolutely addictive flavor combo! Thick cut bacon dredged in brown sugar and black pepper bakes in the oven until it caramelizes into sweet and crispy goodness!
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 329 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.
  • Combine flour, brown sugar, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge bacon on both sides, shaking off the excess.
  • Place the dredge bacon on the wire racks on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the desired crispness, turning half way between baking.
  • If desired, brush the bacon with maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Remove bacon from the wire racks and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Adjust the amount of black pepper or add a dash of red cayenne pepper if you like it a bit spicy.
  • Always use the coarse ground black pepper or fresh grind your own. Regular ground black pepper is too fine for this recipe as you want the flecks of pepper that burst with flavor when you crunch into the bacon.
  • To reheat the bacon, open the aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bacon begins to sizzle.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 20gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 957mgSugar: 9g
Keyword bacon, breakfast
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had some thick cut bacon and had no plans for it. This recipe had perfect timing!! We had this delicious recipe this morning for breakfast. Both of my kids are just acquiring their taste buds to try new things and they loved this bacon!! Thanks for sharing — delicious!

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