Brown Sugar-Glazed Bacon, Potatoes and Eggs: Easy gluten-free breakfasts for a crowd

By Charleen - January 20, 2020

Who doesn't love bacon, eggs and potatoes? While there are plenty of baked casseroles that combine these, nothing beats picking up crisp strips of bacon glazed in brown sugar and dipping breakfast potatoes into soft yolky eggs. Instead of spending long hours at the stove, you can prepare all three at the same time in a 400°F oven.

Sheet pan brown sugar-glazed thick cut bacon over seasoned fries
Brown sugar-glazed bacon, sunnyside egg and fries
Baked cheesy eggs coddled in salsa

Long winter weekends were meant to be spent with family. Each winter, we host a family ski weekend attended by 19-25 people. Although everyone loves bacon, I have always avoided putting it on the menu for such a large group because the strips would start disappearing before I could get done cooking, even when using a large two-burner griddle.

Instead, I have been serving half-sheet pans of Baked Challah French Toast with stone fruit jam. This simple, easy dish always impresses with its elegant appearance and delicious flavor. Each slice features crisp, browned edges and a rich custard body with warm apricot/peach notes brightened by zest and powdered sugar. This dish is a crowd pleaser, but not one I could serve to my gluten-sensitive friends.

Maybe about 10 years ago, I experimented with making brown sugar and maple-glazed bacon. The original recipe called for pressing brown sugar on both sides of the bacon, and flipping it a couple of times. However, I always felt that most of the sugar and syrup ended up on the pan. And moving pans in and out of the oven with a lot of molten bacon grease and burnt on sugar discouraged me from making the dish again. But my kids have always remembered it fondly...

Sheet pan brown sugar-glazed bacon and potatoes

This year, my son wanted to make maple-glazed bacon. I told him that I always thought the syrup ran right off the bacon along with the rendering fat, and suggested that he try sprinkling brown sugar on only the top side of the slices, and to not bother flipping the bacon. Instead of using a mostly solid broiler pan rack, I had some pans with wire racks. I figured these would allow enough hot air circulation to cook the bacon from both sides. I also suggested pouring half a bag of frozen tater tots that I wanted to get rid of underneath the rack so they could fry in the bacon grease. I love tater tots and hoped that they would help reduce the amount of hot grease that would need to be poured off.

This set up worked beautifully! After consulting several on-line recipes, we decided to use a 400°F oven for roasting the bacon. Although he started checking at 18 minutes, the thick cut bacon took about 25 minutes to crisp up. The tater tots also came out hot and crisp and lovely. I decided this method of making bacon and breakfast potatoes was a winner!  Indeed, we were too busy enjoying the bacon and tots to get a photo.
Fries fit nicely in my half-sheet USAPan, beneath the a CIA or Bellemain 12 x 17 inch cooling rack. The tater tots required using my Calphalan Unison double griddle (similar to this), which had more clearance beneath its rack.
Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar. My brown sugar was a little hard so I used a mortar and pestle to grind it up first.
For our New Year's guests, I tried it again, using some seasoned french fries we had in the freezer. As we had a small group, I made fried or over-easy eggs to accompany the bacon and fries.
Crispy brown-sugar glazed sheet pan bacon over seasoned fries
A wok-cooked sunny side egg finishes this classic breakfast.

Baked cheesy eggs with semi-runny yolks on salsa

With another large group coming up for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, I decided it would be great to be able to serve baked bacon and eggs. One option would be to use the large capacity of my wok to make a bunch of scrambled eggs with cheddar and scallions.
Or, I could make mini frittatas rich with peppers, sausage, mushroom and cheese.
But if I was going to use a muffin tin to make 12 servings at at time, what I really wanted to serve were bites of perfectly set egg whites enveloping golden, oozy to jammy soft centers.

Whether shakshuka or coddled, most baked egg recipes called for a lower oven temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F, which would defeat the purpose of seeking a hands-free method of getting a bunch of soft-cooked eggs to the table at the same time as mounds of bacon.

So I googled "baked eggs" and "400°F" and found a non-recipe from Food52 entitled "How to Make Any Baked Eggs."  I had some delicious restaurant salsa on hand, along with extra shredded sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, a stick of Troyer Blue Marble and shredded parmesan slivers.

I prepared two trays of bacon, without any added sugar this time as we had some thick-cut bacon cured by a friend and simply salted, smoked bacon would better complement the Tex-Mex eggs.
Both the Calphalon (left) and the USAPan (right) were used to make two pounds of bacon
After giving the bacon a head start, I greased a non-stick muffin tin, added a heaping tablespoon of salsa to the bottom of each well, and broke an egg into each one. I figured that having salsa, or cream, or veggies on the bottom would help moderate the temperatures inside the well so that the eggs would not burn or stick to the hot metal before they had a chance to set.
I put salsa on the bottom so the eggs would not cook too fast against the hot metal before they had a chance to coddle.
After seasoning with salt and pepper, I sprinkled most of them with mix of cheddar and jack cheese. The last three received slices of an Amish blue topped with shredded parmesan.

I placed the eggs in the 400°F oven along with the second tray of bacon, and allowed it to cook for 10 minutes before checking. They were still a bit more jiggly than I liked, so I put them back for 2 more minutes to achieve a little packet of egg that was surprisingly easy to remove from the muffin tin.
Top and middle left - sharp cheddar-jack egg bites on salsa. Right side - parmesan-blue egg bites with salsa and bacon.
After topping with hot salsa scooped from the bottom of each well, the egg bites were served with the bacon for a fabulous gluten-free and low carb breakfast. Cutting in revealed perfect little egg-cheese bites with crispy edges and soft golden yolk centers!

🐾 For a large breakfast spread, any combination of these bacon/potato sheet pans or coddled egg bites would be great to serve alongside the baked challah french toast, which also cooks at 400°F.  
🐾 Another gluten-free option is a delicious tater tot egg casserole from my sister-in-law. This dish tastes great either with or without crumbled sausage or cheddar cheese. In the photo above, half the casserole has cheese and the other half does not. To make this dish, bake 1/2 bag of tater tots in a casserole for 10 minutes at 400°F. Top with a tube of cooked, crumbled sausage, 8 beaten eggs, and several large spoonfuls of salsa. Bake for 15-18 min. Top with cheese and heat 2 minutes until melted. 


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