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+ servings
candied bacon slices in a mason jar

Black Pepper Candied Bacon

Thick cut candied bacon seasoned with brown sugar and fresh cracked pepper is a sweet and spicy treat. Add more heat with cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes or amp up the sweetness with maple syrup.
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer, appetizer, bacon, spicy, sweet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 14 servings
Calories 211 kcal


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉

  2. 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.)

  3. Sprinkle brown sugar over the bacon and season liberally with fresh, ground pepper. Add cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.

  4. 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.

  5. Remove bacon from the oven. As it cools, the candy coating will harden.

  6. Transfer bacon to a plate, clean piece of parchment paper or a wire rack that has been coated with cooking spray.

Recipe Notes

Air Fryer Instructions

  1. Cut bacon slices in half so they will more easily fit in the air fryer basket.
  2. For sweeter candied bacon, dip each bacon piece into maple syrup, before placing on aluminum foil or parchment paper in the air fryer basket.
  3. Coat each bacon slice generously with brown sugar sprinkles, black pepper and other spices, as desired.
  4. Air fry for 10 minutes at 350℉. 
  5. 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.


Storage & Reheating Instructions

Store leftover candied bacon in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.

Reheat on a plate in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
Nutrition Facts
Black Pepper Candied Bacon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 0.04g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 220mg10%
Potassium 108mg3%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 0.03g0%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 48IU1%
Vitamin C 0.03mg0%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.