What are Rashers?

Mary McMahon

Rashers are cut strips of bacon which can be prepared and served in a variety of ways. They are commonly included in breakfast in some regions of the world, where eggs and bacon prove to be perennial breakfast favorites, and they may also be known as slices, strips, or collops, depending on regional preference. Many markets carry packaged rashers, and they are also available from butchers who handle pork.

Rashers may be served with eggs and toast.
Rashers may be served with eggs and toast.

Bacon itself is meat taken from the belly, sides, or back of a pig. After the bacon is trimmed, it can be smoked or cured in brine to preserve it and infuse it with flavor. Historically, bacon was heavily spiced and salted to ensure that it would keep; modern bacon tends to be more mildly treated, as the emphasis is on flavor, rather than shelf life. Depending on the part of the pig that bacon is taken from, it may be streaky with fat or thick and meaty.

Broiled scallops wrapped in rashers.
Broiled scallops wrapped in rashers.

Before being used, a chunk of bacon is typically cut into rashers, although it can also be chunked or cubed for various recipes. Once bacon has been cut into rashers, most people like to pan-fry it, using the fat from the bacon as a frying medium and cooking the bacon until it is crispy. Some people prefer more soft, chewy bacon, although they run the risk of consuming raw pork, which can expose them to trichinosis, a parasitic disease transmitted through undercooked pork.

Bacon is taken from the belly, sides, or back of a pig.
Bacon is taken from the belly, sides, or back of a pig.

Strips of bacon can be eaten plain, wedged into bacon sandwiches, cooked until very crispy and then crumbled, or used to wrap things for roasting, ranging from squash to fish. Bacon has a characteristic slightly salty, slightly smoky flavor from the curing process, and the flavor may be further enhanced with specific spices which can generate sweet, spicy, or especially smoky rashers.

The serving size of rashers varies, depending on the size of the original cut of bacon and the level of fatty streaking in the rashers. Often, three to four rashers are sufficient, especially when paired with eggs, toast, and other breakfast items. In other instances, people may prefer more rashers, especially in the case of bacon which has been sliced very thin.

In some countries, rashers are cut extremely thick; Danish bacon, for example, is typically very thick. In other regions, people prefer thinner rashers, which tend to cook more quickly to a crisp texture. Thin rashers are especially common in the United States.

Strips of bacon, also called rashers.
Strips of bacon, also called rashers.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@yumdelish - You made me nostalgic for real bacon! These days I mostly use turkey rashers instead, because they are much healthier. This works pretty well in a BLT or when cooking, but you are so right that there is no subsitute for the real deal when you are having a bacon sandwich.


Last weekend I went to a barbecue where the host made something called bacon explosion. It was an amazing combo of sausage meat and Canadian bacon, and even though someone said the entire thing has over 5000 calories it was worth breaking my diet for,


I once read that the smell of a bacon rasher or two frying is the single most likely cause of people quitting vegetarianism! It may be an urban myth, but I can totally understand how it could be true.

If an alien came to earth and asked me 'what is bacon?' I'd honestly say it's the best kind of meat that you could ever eat. Then I'd explain that it's best in a sandwich made from white bread, no extra sauces are needed. Just a thin layer of butter to melt into the fat.

Post your comments
Forgot password?