This SHEET PAN CHICKEN AND BACON DINNER will be one of your favorite weeknight meals. Simple to make with your favorite veggies, herbs, and spices. Bacon is the finishing touch of wow flavor! Pick your vegetables from a wide variety of choices, grab the spices you have on hand, and add a depth of flavor by swapping out your regular oils and swapping bacon in! Today's post is all about how to make chicken and bacon sheet pan suppers that are so easy they are sure to become a new family favorite!
Bacon makes everything better, am I right? I remember years ago remarking to my sister, "mom's eggs are the best eggs ever". She responded with, "her secret is frying them in the bacon grease!". How had I forgotten this? Bacon is one of those magic foods that is almost like a spice itself. The flavor it (and it's juices) imparts is magnificent. Do bacon and chicken go together? Like peanut butter and jelly my friends!
One night when I was faced with a pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts in the fridge, the veggie bowl over flowing and close to being over ripe, and hubs asking what was for dinner I had the epiphany for this meal. Don't get me wrong- I love chicken and vegetables, like my go to recipe for chicken and peppers. Instead of using regular olive oil, I decided to use bacon as my key to imparting fat and flavor, and was thrilled with the results of this sheet pan supper!
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Chicken and Bacon Sheet Pan Dinner
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The trick to this meal is pre-baking the bacon for just a bit. Just enough to get the greases flowing! Literally. Once you have drippings in the pan, you'll use this to coat your vegetables and your boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
Have you ever cooked bacon in the oven before? It's actually pretty straightforward and my favorite way to prepare it. I find it to be less messy than frying it in a skillet and you won't be bombarded with hot bits of oil, or the need to babysit it on the range. One of the best parts of a sheet pan dinner is that you can place it in the oven and walk away! Plus that one pan part!
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Things you need for a Bacon and Chicken Tray Bake
You'll need some basic ingredients for this recipe:
- BACON this is our #1 flavor ingredient, an added protein and a source of fat (this is key for all those Keto fans out there since chicken breast is not a high fat protein. I like a center cut bacon that is a bit thicker. You can do a smoked flavor like applewood, or even a peppered bacon.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts -OR- chicken thighs -OR- a mix of both. In fact, a whole chicken in pieces would totally work although the cooking temperature might be varied. I like to buy thinner cut chicken so I get an even cook. If your breasts haven't been filleted, you'll want to slice them to be an even thickness. Remember, chicken is considered cooked at 165° F
- Vegetables are another key ingredient and the secondary star of the show. Pick the ones you want that you know your family loves. Since my kiddos are so picky, my tray is filled with red skinned potatoes, a head of garlic, sweet potatoes, and cherry tomatoes. Green beans, asparagus, peppers, onions, and other vegetables work well too! Vegetables cook faster the smaller they are, so plan accordingly.
- Herbs & Spices are the trick to adding seasoning on top of the bacon flavor. I use what I have on hand. There are many herb mixtures that are perfect for baked chicken. My stand by favorites are McCormick Grillmates Montreal Chicken, Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb, or simply make your own by shaking on some garlic powder, onion powder. I used some chopped oregano and rosemary I had growing on my windowsill herb garden. Rosemary chicken is a very traditional chicken dinner recipe.
- SHEET PANS are one of those things I don't think you can have too many of. Mine are well loved and used as you can tell from the photos. Sorry about the aged pan friends, but you can tell this guy has been making pan dinners for us since 2007. I have them in all sizes, from quarter size to these half size (13 x 18) and they are all work horses.
As you can see, baking bacon and chicken in the oven requires very little. Besides a tray for cooking the bacon, a good chef's knife for chopping the vegetables, and a cutting board, there is little left to clean up with afterwards!
How to make chicken and bacon and tips for cooking bacon in the oven
Do you know why I love baking bacon in the oven so much? Besides the fact that you won't have grease splattering on your cook top, it comes out so much more crispy! I'm a total crispy fan- the crispier the better! When bacon is prepared on the stove top, it sort of sits in its own grease, and it will tend to not crisp up unless you burn it.
Cooking bacon in the oven solves this problem. By elevating the bacon on a baking rack that sits in the baking tray, the residual oils from the bacon drip down into the pan. It allows for a little bit of the bacon grease to still sit on top of the bacon, but it's not swimming in its juices. The oils in that the pan catches though-- that is the tastiness that makes our chicken and bacon sheet pan dinner so delicious!
Typically when baking a sheet pan meal, the oils are used to prevent chicken from sticking to a pan. You'll want to make sure your bacon drippings evenly coat the pan to ensure the chicken and potatoes and other veggies don't get stuck.
For this recipe, you'll only pre-bake the bacon a bit to get those juices flowing. Then you'll set the bacon aside and save it until the end of the cooking time. Instead of using oils, you'll dip your chicken pieces and vegetables in the bacon drippings collected in the sheet pan. Once your chicken is close to done, you'll top with the partially cooked bacon to allow it to finish cooking and for more drippings to saturate your chicken pieces!
Here you can see the chicken that is almost done, and vegetables that have begun roasting. The partially baked bacon is placed on top of almost done chicken to finish cooking in the oven.
So how long does chicken and bacon take to cook? The approximate cook time for this pan dinner is 40 minutes from start to finish. This includes pre-cooking the bacon for 10 minutes, cooking the chicken on one side for 15 minutes, turning it and cooking it for 10 minutes more. Next, you'll add the bacon back in. The bacon continues to cook on top of your chicken for about 5 minutes more until you are left with this:
If you like this deliciously easy Bacon & Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner recipe as much as I do, please give it a five star recipe rating below and help me by pinning on Pinterest or by sharing with your friends on Facebook!
Other Sheet Pan Recipes, One Pan Dinners, or Chicken Recipes from Major Hoff Takes A Wife and Friends You'll LOVE!
INSIDER TIP!!!! -----> Want to make this easy sheet pan chicken dinner EVEN easier??? Lay down a layer of aluminum foil to cover your sheet pan, so there is less mess to clean up afterwards. You'll want to do this before placing the tray on top for the bacon. If your foil doesn't cover completely, fold two pieces together to keep juices from flowing underneath. Once everyone has eaten, simply roll up the foil and toss in the trash. No more scraping the sheet pan to get baked on bits off! It's an easy way to keep pans looking new!
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Sheet Pan Chicken and Bacon Dinner
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs if you prefer about 1-2 pounds
- 3 cups vegetables, chopped or diced pick your favorites!
- 1 TBSP seasoning see post for my favorites!
- 2 tsp fresh herbs like rosemary if available
- 8 slices bacon
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Place strips of bacon onto a baking rack that fits inside a sheet pan.
- Cook bacon for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place bacon on a plate. Cover bacon with foil and set aside for later. Remove the baking rack from the sheet pan.
- Coat chicken and vegetables with bacon drippings from the sheet pan. Make sure the sheet pan is covered with drippings to ensure chicken doesn't stick to pan. Shake the seasoning on top of the chicken and the vegetables. Top with other fresh herbs if you have some on hand.
- Bake chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn over chicken and return to the oven to bake more. Cook for an additional 10 mins.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and add strips of bacon to the top of the chicken. Bake for 5 minutes more, or until chicken reaches 165 degrees and the bacon is hot and crispy again.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!