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Candied Bacon Recipe + Sample Holiday Brunch Menu

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Trust me — you will be the holiday hero when you make this amazing Candied Bacon Recipe for your family and friends. Thick-cut bacon is coated with brown sugar and coarse-ground black pepper and bakes until it has a crispy sweet crust. The salty, peppery, and sweet flavor combination is absolutely addictive!

Although I typically make this Candied Brown Sugar Pepper Bacon for our family’s Christmas brunch, it also makes a delicious cocktail party appetizer.

Before I left my publishing career, I would take candied bacon to our office holiday breakfast. The first time it was so popular people couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the day.

Every year after that a coworker would sign me up to bring the bacon before asking me. I always complied of course, because I couldn’t disappoint my candied bacon fans!

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

Candied Bacon Recipe with Brown Sugar & Black Pepper

John and I make it a priority to get away to a bed & breakfast as often as possible to relax and rekindle. On one of those weekends several years ago, we were treated to a bacon lover’s delicacy at the Von Bryon Mountaintop Inn.

Thick slices of bacon, peppered and with a hint of maple flavor, were cooked to perfection. Each bite was a bit chewy, yet the outside coating was crispy and sweet.

I knew I wanted 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.

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

What kind of bacon do you use?

As with any recipe, quality ingredients make all the difference. For this candied bacon, look for a good thick-cut bacon with a good mix of fat and lean meat.

You can 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 cooks until crisp.

Sometimes you can find peppered thick-cut bacon from the butcher counter at Fresh Market. This bacon makes delicious candied bacon, too, but be sure to omit the pepper in the dredging mixture.

How do you reheat candied bacon?

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.

Instructions

This simple recipe requires minimal prep work and just four ingredients — thick-cut bacon, flour, brown sugar, and coarse ground black pepper. Maple syrup is an optional ingredient that you can baste on the bacon at the end of cooking, but it’s not entirely necessary. Here’s how:

  1. Preheat the oven and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack on top of the aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the dredging ingredients (flour, brown sugar, and black pepper) in a shallow dish long enough for the bacon slices.
  3. Lay slices of bacon, one at a time, into the dish and coat with the mixture on both sides. Shake off the excess and place the bacon on the wire rack.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, or until the desired crispness is achieved.
  5. If you like even more sweetness, baste the bacon with maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Sample Christmas Eve Brunch Menu

One of our favorite holiday traditions is gathering extended family for Christmas Eve Brunch. Often everyone pitches in by bringing their favorite breakfast dish. Let me tell you, on this day all diets go by the wayside and we savor some delectable treats!

Below I’m sharing a sample brunch menu that includes items you can make ahead of time, like Candied Bacon, to make hosting brunch a breeze! Mix and match to come up with a brunch menu that best suits you!

Up to a week ahead:

  • Ginger Spice Granola — Sweetened with maple syrup and molasses, Ginger Spice Granola gets a nice crunch from toasted coconut and almonds. Store tightly covered and this will stay fresh up to two weeks. Make breakfast parfaits the morning of brunch by layering over yogurt and drizzling with honey.
  • Fig and Walnut Biscotti with Dark Chocolate — A sophisticated cookie that’s not just for coffee drinkers, the flavor of Fig and Walnut Biscotti with Dark Chocolate is enhanced by using freshly grated orange zest in the cookie dough.

Up to 3 days ahead:

  • Cranberry Pistachio Scones — Drizzle Cranberry Pistachio Scones with a fresh orange glaze and garnish with sugar frosted cranberries for a festive Christmas brunch pastry.
  • White Chocolate Cranberry Scones — Lightly sweetened with dried cranberries and glazed with white chocolate, White Chocolate Cranberry Scones are a festive—and tasty—holiday treat.
  • Cranberry Orange Muffins — Easy from scratch jumbo muffins recipe with fresh cranberries, orange zest, and buttermilk! These copycat Panera Cranberry Orange Muffins are the best and can be made into mini or regular size as well.

One day ahead:

  • Candied Bacon — Get the reheating instructions in the recipe card.
  • Tropical Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing — Make this salad the day before let it chill overnight. Use fresh pineapple, mango and kiwi.
  • Bed & Breakfast Blueberry Strata — A fruit strata is a dish made up of layers of bread and in-season fruit over which a mixture of eggs and milk is poured. Make it the day before, refrigerate overnight, and bake the morning of the brunch.
  • Southwestern Frittata Breakfast Casserole — With a soft tamale-like texture, this frittata is loaded with pepper jack cheese and garnished with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes. Again, assemble this one and refrigerate overnight to bake the next morning.

The morning of the brunch:

  • Southern Love Biscuits — Southern Love Biscuits made with bread flour (and cut with a heart-shaped biscuit cutter) are deliciously light and flaky with a buttery crust. Serve the biscuits hot from the oven with an assortment of jams, jellies, or honey.
  • Classic Quiche Lorraine — This savory egg custard is baked in a pie crust with crisply fried bacon, scallions, and Swiss cheese. Make your own crust ahead of time or use a refrigerated pie crust to save on prep time.
slices of sugared pepper bacon in a clear glass mug

Candied Bacon Recipe

Whether you serve it at brunch or as an appetizer, this Candied Brown Sugar Pepper Bacon Recipe is always a popular choice. Feel free to 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.

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This recipe was originally posted on November 29, 2013, and was updated on December 4, 2019.

Yield: 8 servings

Candied Brown Sugar Pepper Bacon

slices of sugared pepper bacon in a clear glass mug

Thick-cut bacon is coated with brown sugar and coarse-ground black pepper and baked until it has a crispy sweet crust.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

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

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge bacon on both sides, shaking off the excess.
  3. Place the dredge bacon on the wire racks on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the desired crispness, turning half way between baking.
  5. If desired, brush the bacon with maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  6. 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.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 957mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 20g

Did you make this recipe?

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ABOUT SHEILA
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTubePinterestInstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

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Lori Nell

Wednesday 11th of December 2019

I thought it was impossible, but this may just improve on bacon. Will have to try it out. Thank your for sharing

Anne Jackson

Sunday 1st of December 2013

I thought I had died and gone to bacon heaven!!!! Unparalleled!

sheilathigpen

Sunday 1st of December 2013

Oh my, thanks so much!

Trish Walker

Saturday 30th of November 2013

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!

sheilathigpen

Saturday 30th of November 2013

So glad your family enjoyed the bacon!

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