7 Bacon Brands That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients
Bacon is not a health food, let's just come right out of the gate owning that. Even the "healthiest" bacons out there are going to be higher in fat and sodium than most other types of meats (and comparable plant-based products). That said, enjoyed in smaller quantities and without frequency, bacon is pretty great stuff. Whether enjoyed beside eggs and toast, used wrapped around chicken or sausages, or chopped into soup or over a baked potato, it adds a delightful and unique flavor to foods.
The problem is that many brands contain nitrates and nitrites as preservatives to keep the meat a savory pink or red and improve the flavor. These additives, according to Healthline, are potentially carcinogenic. When picking a healthier bacon, award-winning nutrition expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND advises avoiding "chemical nitrates or nitrites" and choosing bacon made with very few ingredients. We also covered how to seek out the better-for-you bacon in The Best & Worst Bacon Brands—Ranked! but here's a quick overview: lower sodium, thin cut, no sodium ascorbate, and lower in fat.
Here are seven bacon brands that have as few undesirable elements as possible and that focus instead on high-quality ingredients. Plus, don't miss 8 Hot Dogs That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients.
Applegate Naturals Uncured Sunday Bacon
This bacon is made without nitrates or nitrites added save for those found "naturally occurring in sea salt and celery powder," per the copy on the package itself. You can also count on the meat to be free of GMO ingredients, antibiotics, and hormones. And it's quite well-rated by customers.
Boar's Head Uncured Turkey Bacon
Again, no added nitrates or nitrites here, and indeed you'll find little else in the ingredients other than turkey meat and water, the bacon contains "2% or less of" sugar, salt, "Natural Flavorings," vinegar, sodium phosphates (that's just more salt, FYI), cherry powder, and cultured celery powder. And overall, this turkey bacon has about two-thirds less fat than traditional bacon.
Applegate Organics Hickory Smoked Bacon
Made with minimal ingredients and free from sugar, antibiotics, added nitrates, and hormones, this is a highly flavorful bacon thanks to that hickory smoking. It enjoys a stellar 4.7-star rating from customers on Amazon at the time of this writing.
Nature's Rancher Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon
This bacon has a few more ingredients than many on our list, but that's not a problem, because the extras include citrus extracts, pomegranate extract, and rosemary extract, and those all work together to create great-tasting bacon. The rest of the ingredients are all naturally occurring and the bacon is free of hormones and antibiotics.
North Country Smokehouse Organic Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon
Once you get past the mouthful of a name that is North Country Smokehouse Organic Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon you can feel pretty good about eating a few mouthfuls of this bacon. Impressively, it's made with just four ingredients, which are organic pork meat, water, sea salt, and cultured celery powder.
Smithfield All-Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon
Two pieces of this flavorful bacon will only net you 250 milligrams of sodium, or about 10% of your daily recommended allotment, so it's not bad in terms of sodium. Same 10% story with saturated fats, too. All told, this six-ingredient bacon is a decent choice for a decent price.
Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon
If you want to go way in the opposite direction for bacon, try this "benevolent" pick. This "bacon" is actually made primarily from wheat gluten, often called seitan. It's a plant-based completely vegan take on bacon that is low in sodium, quite low in fat, and has almost 60% fewer calories than traditional bacon per serving.