If you think bacon tastes good straight out of the frying pan, wait until you try this candied bacon recipe. This sweet and spicy treat, also sometimes called Millionaire Bacon, Billionaire Bacon or Million Dollar Bacon, can be made in the oven or an air fryer. We’ll show you both methods and also give you various ideas for spicing up the recipe.
They say the simple things in life are the best, and after tasting this sweet and spicy bacon, I can’t argue.
A little brown sugar and pepper are all you need to transform breakfast bacon into an out-of-this world sandwich topper, crunchy-sweet salad crumbles, a party finger food and an anytime snack.
Combine this candied bacon with a vine-ripened tomato, artisan bread and homemade garlic-basil aoili to make a gourmet BLT, the perfect summertime sandwich. I also love using candied bacon to make this strawberry bacon flatbread.
It’s also fabulous for breakfast or brunch or crumbled on top of a salad.
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- Are Million Dollar Bacon and Billionaire Bacon the Same?
- ❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 🥓 Candied Bacon Ingredients
- 🔪 How to Make Candied Bacon
- How to Make Candied Bacon in the Air Fryer
- 📖 Variations
- 🍽 Equipment
- Storage & Serving Tips
- 💭 Top tip
- More Tasty Bacon Recipes
- 🎥 Recipe Card & Video
- Black Pepper Candied Bacon
Are Million Dollar Bacon and Billionaire Bacon the Same?
The recipes for Million Dollar Bacon, Millionaire’s Bacon and Billionaire Bacon are pretty similar, with a few variations in the ingredients used and the cooking time and temperature. The names are often used interchangeably on recipe sites.
Million Dollar, Millionaire Bacon and Billionaire Bacon are all essentially spiced candied bacon recipes. Thick-cut bacon is coated in a mixture of brown sugar (and sometimes maple syrup), then sprinkled with black pepper and sometimes pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
The bacon is cooked in the oven, so the sugar can caramelizes. As the bacon cools, it develops a hard candy coating.
Billionaire Bacon originated at Mortimer’s Restaurant in New York City, where chefs sprinkled brown sugar on bacon slices and cooked in a 425 ℉ oven. Snoop Dogg included a recipe for Billionaire’s Bacon in his cookbook, “From Crook to Cook,” adding cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes to the ingredient list.
So-called Millionaire’s Bacon was popularized by the San Francisco restaurant, Sweet Maple. There, chefs coat half-inch thick slices of pork belly with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper and ground ginger and slow cook it for hours. The bacon sells for as much to $7 a slice.
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a millionaire, a five-star chef or a rap legend to make candied bacon at home.
You only need three ingredients to make candied bacon. The recipe can be prepped in about 5 minutes. It cooks in about 20 to 30 minutes — or 10 minutes if you use an air fryer.
This recipe can easily be adapted to get that perfect-for-your spicy and sweet flavor. I usually make it with just brown sugar and cracked pepper, but you can add cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to turn up the heat.
Want to see a brief overview of the process before diving into the recipe? Watch my web story on how to make Billionaire Bacon.
🥓 Candied Bacon Ingredients
- Bacon – I prefer to use thick-cut bacon for this recipe, but you can also use thinner slices.
- Brown sugar – You can use either dark brown or light brown sugar for this recipe, depending on your flavor preference.
- Black pepper – Freshly ground coarse pepper is my recommendation.
- Maple syrup – This ingredient is optional and can be added to the bacon before cooking or drizzled on top after baking.
- Cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes – Optional, use only if you want even spicier candied bacon.
See recipe card for quantities.
🔪 How to Make Candied Bacon
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat.
Arrange bacon slices on top of the parchment.
Sprinkle the bacon with brown sugar, coating well.
Season liberally with fresh ground pepper.
Alternatively, you can combine the brown sugar and pepper in a bowl and toss the bacon in it, coating on both sides. Then, transfer the sugar-coated slices to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar-pepper mixture.
Bake at 350℉ degrees for 20-30 minutes. Watch the bacon carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn, as the sugar will caramelize as it cooks. In my experience, the bacon will cook more quickly on foil than it does on parchment paper, so adjust cooking times accordingly.
When the bacon looks almost done, flip it and bake on the other side for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. The finished bacon should be chewy-crisp but not charred.
Allow the bacon to cool on the parchment paper. As it cools, the sugar will harden, forming a candy coating on the bacon.
Transfer bacon to a plate, a clean piece of parchment paper or a wire cooling rack that has been coated with cooking spray.
Hint: Don’t throw away the browned sugary bits that are left behind on the baking sheet. They’re delicious sprinkled on top of a wedge salad topped with crumbled candied bacon.
How to Make Candied Bacon in the Air Fryer
Cut bacon slices in half so they will more easily fit in the air fryer basket.
For sweeter candied bacon, dip each bacon piece into maple syrup, before placing on aluminum foil or parchment paper in the air fryer basket.
Coat each bacon slice generously with brown sugar sprinkles and black pepper.
Arrange bacon in a single layer in the air fryer basket. (Depending on the size of your air fryer and how much bacon you’re making, you may have to cook it in batches.)
Air fry for 10 minutes at 350℉.
Allow 10 minutes rest time and bacon will develop a hardened candy coating.
Be sure to grab my printable air fryer cooking times chart, which includes tips for making all kinds of foods in your air fryer.
This recipe is really easy to customize and adapt to your personal taste preferences. Try one of these variations:
- Pig Candy – Omit the pepper and spices to make brown-sugar bacon, also called “pig candy.”
- Spicy – Season bacon with ½ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (or more) and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a fiery kick. You can also use chili powder or paprika.
- Maple Flavored – Dip bacon slices in maple syrup before coating with brown sugar and spices. Or you can drizzle the cooked candied bacon with warm maple syrup before serving.
- Boozy Bacon – Brush bacon slices with your favorite bourbon before coating with sugar and cracked pepper.
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipnment for this recipe. If you’re cooking candied bacon in the oven, you’ll need a large baking sheet (or two), plus parchment paper or aluminum foil.
You could also use a nonstick silicone baking mat to line the baking pan and a wire rack to cool the bacon. Kitchen tongs are handy for flipping the bacon and transferring it to a serving plate or cooking rack. But you can also use a dinner fork.
These parchment paper air fryer basket liners make for easier cleanup if you’re cooking the bacon in the air fryer.
Storage & Serving Tips
Store leftover candied bacon in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.
Reheat candied bacon on a plate in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.
💭 Top tip
Make sure to check on the bacon as it’s cooking. Cooking times may vary depending on your oven temperature and the thickness of your bacon. Make sure the sugar does not burn as the bacon is cooking.
More Tasty Bacon Recipes
If you liked this recipe, you may also enjoy these bacony treats.
- Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza
- Gourmet BLT Sandwich
- Strawberry Bacon Flatbread
- Grandma’s Baked Beans with Bacon
- Caramel Chocolate Bacon Snack
- Easy Bacon Truffle Oil Mac & Cheese
Pin This! Candied Bacon Recipe
🎥 Recipe Card & Video
Black Pepper Candied Bacon
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Kitchen tongs
- Air fryer (optional)
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- cracked black pepper
- ½ cup maple syrup optional
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat oven to 350℉
- Place bacon slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (For sweeter candied bacon, dip each slice in maple syrup before adding to the pan.)
- Sprinkle brown sugar over the bacon and season liberally with fresh, ground pepper. Add cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until sugar is caramelized and bacon is done. Watch the bacon as it cooks to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn. When the bacon looks almost done, flip it and bake on the other side for the last 5 minutes of cooking time, until the bacon is chewy-crisp but not charred.
- Remove bacon from the oven. As it cools, the candy coating will harden.
- Transfer bacon to a plate, clean piece of parchment paper or a wire rack that has been coated with cooking spray.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Cut bacon slices in half so they will more easily fit in the air fryer basket.
- For sweeter candied bacon, dip each bacon piece into maple syrup, before placing on aluminum foil or parchment paper in the air fryer basket.
- Coat each bacon slice generously with brown sugar sprinkles, black pepper and other spices, as desired.
- Air fry for 10 minutes at 350℉.
- Allow 10 minutes rest time and bacon will develop a hardened candy crunch.
- Omit the pepper and spices to make brown-sugar bacon.
- Season bacon with ½ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (or more) and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a fiery kick. You can also use chili powder or paprika.
- Dip bacon slices in maple syrup before coating with brown sugar and spices. Or you can drizzle the cooked candied bacon with warm maple syrup before serving.
- Brush bacon slices with your favorite bourbon before coating with sugar and cracked pepper.