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Million Dollar Bacon

This Million Dollar Bacon recipe (which is also called Millionaire Bacon) is one of our family’s favorite brunch recipes – and it’s my most popular recipe ever!

Ok, guys. Things are about to get weird around here. Your resident vegetarian is about to break down this Million Dollar Bacon recipe for you.

This is real life and in real life I share my house with meat-loving boys who graciously accommodate my veggie-eating ways so long as they get the occasional big dose of meat. 

This candied bacon recipe checks all the boxes for them – and I love when they’re excited to help out in the kitchen!

Crispy candied bacon with red pepper flakes on a baking rack

What is Million Dollar Bacon?

Bob and I saw this so-called Million Dollar Bacon (which I’ve also seen called Millionaire Bacon) featured on one of those shows we watch from time to time. Was it Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? Probably.

Occasionally called First Watch bacon, Million Dollar bacon is a sweet and slightly spicy candied bacon made famous by First Watch restaurant.

At any rate, that was long ago and it inspired us to recreate it for Sunday morning brunch one weekend based on whatever rough description they gave of the First Watch Million Dollar bacon recipe in the show.

It’s made with thick cut bacon, brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. In my version I also add red pepper flakes.

Million Dollar Bacon made with red pepper flakes and maple syrup on a baking rack.

Why Is It Called Millionaire Bacon?

I don’t think there’s a real clear answer as to where the name Millionaire Bacon comes from, since you certainly don’t have to be a millionaire to make or love the recipe.

I’m guessing it’s because it tastes like a million dollars?! (At least this is what I’m told by the gentlemen in my life since they ask for it all the time.)

In short, Million Dollar Bacon is bacon that is sweet with a little heat and it’s a forever fan favorite around here.

If you love candied bacon, you’ll love this recipe! Coated in brown sugar and maple syrup, it’s more than sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Since we prefer cooking bacon in the oven anyway, this is super simple to make and everyone goes crazy for it every time we make it.

Thick cut bacon and assorted spices in prep bowls used to make Million Dollar Bacon

How to Make Million Dollar Bacon

To make this epic candied bacon recipe that our family loves so much, you will need the following:

Ingredients 

  • Bacon – Thick cut bacon works best when making Million Dollar Bacon – the thinner cuts have a tendency to burn
  • Brown sugar – Brown sugar is the star of this recipe, resulting a sweet, almost candied bacon
  • Maple syrup – Real, pure maple syrup adds extra sweetness and a beautiful depth of flavor
  • Cayenne pepper – A hit of cayenne pepper adds a nice heat that balances nicely with the brown sugar
  • Black pepper – I prefer to use fresh cracked black pepper because I like the bigger chunks of pepper
  • Red pepper flakes – A big pinch of red pepper flakes rounds out the seasoning

Tools

  • Parchment paper – Parchment paper helps with clean-up once your bacon is finished
  • Baking sheet – I’ve already mentioned it, but Millionaire Bacon is baked so you’ll need a large baking sheet
  • Cooling rack – Once the bacon comes out of the oven, I like to move it to a cooling rack while it cools to let some of the extra sugar run off so it’s easier to eat

Candied bacon featuring pepper flakes and maple syrup on a baking rack

Million Dollar Bacon Recipe

One of the things that’s great about this recipe is how easy it is, so you don’t have to be a whiz in the kitchen and it’s also kid-friendly if you have kiddos who like to cook with you.

We prefer to prep our bacon, pop it into the oven and then continue making the rest of brunch while it bakes. It smells so good!

Spices, brown sugar and maple syrup in a glass mixing bowl - ingredients for Million Dollar Bacon

Step 1. Preheat your oven and then add brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flake and maple syrup to a mixing bowl.

Glass mixing bowl holding Million Dollar Bacon ingredients with wooden spoon

Step 2. Combine the sugar, syrup and spices until well combined. The mixture will be moist, but slightly lumpy.

Thick cut bacon on a baking sheet with parchment paper

Step 3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lay out bacon strips in a single layer.

You may need more than one baking sheet depending on the size of your baking sheet as you definitely don’t want the bacon to overlap.

Hand spreading sugar and spice mixture over bacon on a baking sheet to make Million Dollar Bacon

Step 4. Spread sugar, syrup and spice mixture out over the bacon, using your hand to pat it out as evenly as possible.

There’s no need to spread it on both sides – as the sugar cooks the candy coating will run underneath the bacon so it ends up evenly coated.

Million Dollar Bacon on a baking rack

Step 5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until as crispy as you like, then transfer to a baking rack to cool slightly before serving.

And there you have it! Served up alongside homemade Belgian waffles and poached eggs this Million Dollar Bacon recipe is a hit over and over and over again. 

Along with being a mainstay in our family brunch menu rotation, this recipe has become a Pinterest sensation, making this my most popular recipe ever!

Tips for Making Million Dollar Bacon

  • Use thick cut bacon when making Million Dollar bacon. Thinner cuts of bacon have a tendency to burn easily, especially when coated in sugar and syrup.
  • Check your bacon frequently while baking. Generally it will need to bake for 20 to 30 minutes, but the sugar can burn quite easily and ruin the bacon so keep an eye on it.
  • Allow the bacon to cool for a few minutes before serving as the hot sugar could easily burn fingers or mouths.

Candied Million Dollar bacon on a baking rack

What to Serve with Million Dollar Bacon

We primarily make this Millionaire Bacon recipe for brunch, but it’s also perfect for topping burgers.

Here are a few ways to serve it:

Candied bacon featuring pepper flakes and maple syrup on a baking rack

Million Dollar Bacon

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This Million Dollar Bacon (or Millionaire Bacon recipe) is a brunch hero made with thick cut bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup and various peppers and spices!

Ingredients

  • 1lb thick cut bacon
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350° then add brown sugar, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, red pepper flake and black pepper in a mixing bowl.

    Spices, brown sugar and maple syrup in a glass mixing bowl - ingredients for Million Dollar Bacon
  2. Mix the sugar and spices until well combined. The mixture will be moist but slightly lumpy.

    Glass mixing bowl holding Million Dollar Bacon ingredients with wooden spoon
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lay bacon out in a single layer.

    Thick cut bacon on a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. You your hand to sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture over the bacon and pat it down, spreading it as evenly as possible. You don’t really have to worry about coating the reverse side because as the bacon cooks, the sugary coating will run under it and coat the other side of the bacon, too.

    Hand spreading sugar and spice mixture over bacon on a baking sheet to make Million Dollar Bacon
  5. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until it reaches your desired crispiness, watching to be sure the sugar doesn't burn.

    Million Dollar Bacon made with red pepper flakes and maple syrup on a baking rack.
  6. Carefully remove bacon to a baking rack to cool slightly before serving - be careful as the hot sugar can burn!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 958mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 19g

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katerina @ diethood.com

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

WOW! This was absolutely amazing! Definitely a keeper!!

Cyd Converse

Thursday 30th of September 2021

Thanks so much, Katerina!

A Amos

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Another suggested use, on top of deviled eggs. OMG!!!!!

Cyd Converse

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Such an amazing idea! Thank you!!!

Alison

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I like to ship goodies to my grandson in theVirgin Islands. How long would this keep in a zip lock bag with insulation for shipping?

Cyd Converse

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Hi Alison! I'm not entirely sure about that, but I'd think at least a few days. I hope this helps!

Reagster

Saturday 7th of March 2020

I first dredged the bacon in flour for the lightest dusting possible, then placed it on a wire rack on the baking sheet. I cut back on the cayenne and added just the slightest hint of ginger and a bit of garlic powder. After that I followed the procedure closely as written. I then cooked it as long as I could without it burning. The results were a more evenly shaped and less shriveled plank of bacon. It was spectacular.

Kendra

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

I made this and it was DELISH! But... i used 1/2tsp red pepper flakes and it was STILL too spicy so i reduces the cayenne to 1/2 tsp so we shall see the

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