Homemade Sugar-Free Bacon

by Erin

Homemade bacon is a thing and it couldn’t be easier, I promise. This sugar-free version is also Whole30 approved.

Homemade Sugar-Free Bacon 1

The biggest thing I have learned from doing Whole30? There is sugar in EVERYTHING. A few examples include chicken broth, almost every sauce you can think of, and bacon. While we were able to find some preservative-free and sugar-free bacon, at $8 for 1/2 pound it wasn’t exactly cheap. So when I found some uncured pork belly in the meat section for dirt cheap I jumped on it.

Homemade Sugar-Free Bacon 2

Unfortunately every recipe I found for making your own bacon used a solid piece of meat and mine was already sliced. But I just stacked the slices back up as if there were one solid mass again and continued as normal. And it totally worked! Now that I know it not only works, but it also stinking delicious, I’m going to make a larger batch next time and freeze it.

Homemade Sugar-Free Bacon 3

Two years ago: Grandma’s Meatballs & Pasta Sauce

Three years ago: Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

Five years ago: Berries & Cream Granola


Makes 1-1/2 pounds


1-1/2 lb. of pork belly, any skin removed

4 tsp salt, or to taste*

1 tsp black pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp fennel

1 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp liquid smoke


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, rosemary, thyme, and fennel. (Alternatively you can use a mortar and pestle to grind.) Stir in the garlic and liquid smoke.
  2. Rub the pork belly evenly on all sides with the spice blend and place in a large zip-top bag. Place the pork belly in refrigerator for 5-7 days, flipping every day.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  4. Thoroughly rinse off the pork belly to remove the spices. Pat dry. Place the pork belly in a 7×11-inch baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, flip over, and bake for another hour.
  5. Allow to cool before slicing. Wrap up in wax paper and store in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to eat, cook as normal!

*Salt should be 2% of the weight of the pork belly. Also, sodium nitrite can also be added to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum (the organism that creates botulism toxin).

Source: Adapted slightly from I Am A Honey Bee.

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WuzYoungOnceToo September 10, 2021 - 12:03 pm

– “So when I found some uncured bacon in the meat section for dirt cheap I jumped on it.”

This indicates that you don’t really know anything about this subject and should not be presuming to teach anyone anything about it, especially given the food safety issues involved. There is no such thing as “uncured bacon” as bacon is, by definition, cured pork belly. Also…

1) I don’t know what the parenthetical “back fat” following “pork belly” in your ingredients list is supposed to be a reference to, but if it’s “fatback” then this is an error, as pork belly and fatback are two different things.

2) Cure ingredients (in this case just the salt, as everything else is just flavoring) should always be measured in terms of weight as a percentage of the weight of the meat being cured. This is because different types of salt have different grain shapes and sizes, and so do not measure consistently when using volumetric measurements. For bacon, salt is typically used in an amount somewhere around 2% of the weight of the pork belly, so for your recipe that would be about 0.5 oz of salt, which can be adjusted up or down a small amount per taste. But the amount used needs to be close to this for food safety.

3) While some prefer not to use it, Cure #1 (sodium nitrite) should be mentioned as an option for protection against botulinum (the organism that creates the toxin responsible for botulism). It also gives bacon its characteristic pink tint and flavor. It should be used at 0.25% the meat’s weight.

Erin September 10, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Correct, it was in fact uncured pork belly, not bacon. As for the “back fat”, to be honest I adapted this recipe from another which said the same so I left it but will remove it now. I also added notes about the salt and sodium nitrate.

I actually am a microbiologist so I appreciate you pointing out these things.


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