The Best & Worst Store-Bought Bacon—Ranked!
Additional reporting by Rachel Linder.
There’s nothing like a hot plate of bacon and eggs in the morning, is there? It’s a meal full of protein, which is a great way to jumpstart the morning. But if you’re not careful enough, those delicious slices of bacon could be hiding a very dark sodium secret. Just a few slices of popular store-bought bacon, and you could be hitting your daily intake of sodium in one sitting. And that’s just in the first meal of your day!
That’s why we made a list of the best and worst store-bought bacon, so you know exactly what to buy—and which to leave in the freezer section. All of these store-bought bacon brands are popular and usually found in major grocery stores such as Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target, Walmart, and Stop & Shop.
How we judged the store-bought bacon
In order to properly judge the best and worst store-bought bacon, we first looked at the sodium amount in 2 pan-fried bacon slices. The Food & Drug Administration says that the proper daily intake for any human over the age of 4 should be under 2,300 milligrams a day. Knowing this, we rated each bacon based on the amount of sodium held in those two slices.
However, some of these packs have the same amount of sodium for two slices. So to properly rank those, we looked at the calories for each. If 2 slices of bacon had the same sodium as another brand, but less calories, than it was rated better than its competitor.
Sodium adds up quickly, and the Center for Disease Control agrees, which is why keeping a close eye on sodium intake is important for your health. So if you’re deciding on a bacon brand, keep the sodium count in mind for each of these—and evaluate how that will make an impact on your overall sodium intake for the day.
And with that, here are the best and worst store-bought bacons.
First, the worst store-bought bacon
Applegate Natural Uncured Sunday Bacon
Applegate Natural may be known for its quality meat products, but it, unfortunately, was ranked one of the worst in terms of sodium. Although two slices are lower in calories (70 per serving), it’s still pretty high in sodium at 310 milligrams.
While not as much as others, Smithfield Naturally Hickory Smoked bacon is still ranked in the worst for store-bought bacon. Two slices of Smithfield has 310 milligrams of sodium, which is the same amount as Applegate Natural, but because the calories per serving were 10 more than Applegate, it was bumped to the fourth worst.
Oscar Mayer Bacon
Oscar Mayer is a familiar household brand, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best in terms of sodium content. Two slices of Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked bacon has 350 milligrams of sodium.
Boar’s Head Naturally Smoked Bacon
Boar’s Head may have delicious sandwich meats at the deli counter, but their bacon sure does pack on the sodium! Two slices racks in 380 milligrams of the salty stuff, and this option is also ranked the worst in terms of calories per serving.
Hormel Natural Hardwood Smoke Original Bacon
Sitting in dead last for the worst store-bought bacon race is Hormel. Hormel is known for its cans of chili, which also packs in the sodium in every serving. So if you snag a pack of Hormel bacon at the store, be mindful of the sodium content of each slice.
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And now, the best store-bought bacon
365 Everyday Value Organic Uncured Center Cut Smokehouse Bacon
While 365 Uncured Center-Cut Smokehouse Bacon may have no nitrates or nitrates added, it still has a higher sodium content than other brands. However, at 270 milligrams of sodium per serving, it’s still one of the better store-bought bacon options.
Market Pantry Hardwood Smoked Classic Cut Bacon
Yes, it’s true! Target’s in-store brand, Market Pantry, has one of the better bacon options you can buy. Their Hardwood Smoked Classic Cut bacon has 270 milligrams of sodium per two slices and only 90 calories per serving.
Farmland Naturally Hickory Smoked Classic Cut Bacon
No added hormones, no artificial flavors, colors, or MSG, Farmland already sounds like a great option for bacon! And now we know it’s great in terms of sodium content as well. With only 260 milligrams of sodium per serving, this brand is a great option for your morning breakfast routine.
Simple Truth Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon
Coming in second place for best-of-the-best is Simple Truth Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon. With 250 milligrams of sodium and only 70 calories per serving, two slices of bacon won’t throw you off for your daily sodium intake.
Trader Joes Uncured Dry Rubbed Sliced Bacon
Trader Joe’s is great for the prices, and apparently great for bacon as well. It sits at the lowest amount of calories and sodium compared to the rest of these store-bought brands, with 60 calories and 220 milligrams of sodium per serving. So if you’re looking for a lower sodium bacon option, it’s worth the trip to your nearest Trader Joe’s!