What Are the Different Types of Bacon Flavoring?

Cynde Gregory

The flavor of freshly cooked bacon is nearly irresistible, and that’s why it finds its way into casseroles, sandwiches, soups, and even bread. The calories and saturated fat that are part and parcel of real bacon can give a health-conscious cook great pause. Every bacon lover’s kitchen should be stocked with products that will lend bacon flavoring to favorite dishes without all the fat.

Two strips of fried bacon.
Two strips of fried bacon.

One option is liquid bacon flavoring. Water-soluble concoctions that are easy to add to a dish are available. For soups, quiche, and other main dishes, a spoon or two stirred into other moist ingredients will add both fragrance and flavor. Liquid bacon essence can also be spritzed directly onto salads to add a smoky note.

Bacon flavoring can perk up a traditional peanut butter sandwich.
Bacon flavoring can perk up a traditional peanut butter sandwich.

Some dishes respond better to dry flavorings than wet ones. Dry bacon essence can be purchased as a powder or flake meant to be stirred into a dish during preparation. It can also be added like a condiment by individual diners at the table.

Another dry flavoring is bacon salt. This is especially useful for cooks who have a vegetarian in the family as it contains no meat products. While it imparts both the fragrance and flavor of bacon, it is both fat and calorie free.

Bacon flavoring can also be added to precooked or cooked foods as a paste. Pastes are especially useful in dry rubs and marinades. They impart hints of bacon that bring out other flavors in a dish and mingle well with herbs, vinegars, and other preroasting accoutrements.

In addition to the more traditional hickory and maple bacon flavorings, some companies are offering liquid, dry, and salt bacon-flavored products with a mesquite or apple wood finish. It’s a good idea to try bacon flavorings from a few different sources; some offer a sweeter taste, and others are more savory. Home cooks can experiment with these flavors by adding them to everything from barbeque sauce to popcorn.

The ways in which bacon flavoring can be used are limited only by the imagination. Mixing a few drops of smoky liquid bacon flavor into mayonnaise can transform a tomato sandwich into a gourmet lunch. Stirring dried or paste bacon flavor into pancake batter can result in a healthy breakfast that tastes decadently delicious. Bacon flavoring can dress up cream cheese, add zing to salsa, or make a simple peanut butter sandwich far more satisfying.

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