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Why Does Bacon Smell So Good?

Rachel Tepper Paley
May 28, 2014

You’d know the savory smell of bacon anywhere—rich, smoky, unctuous, and undeniably addictive. But why is bacon’s aroma so tantalizing? The American Chemical Society recently teamed up with the blog Compound Interest in a new video that breaks down the answer in scientific terms.

There are about 150 organic compounds in bacon that contribute to its heady scent, the narrator explains. When you throw bacon into a pan, the “sugars react with the amino acids in the bacon. It’s called the Maillard reaction, and it’s basically what causes anything you cook…to turn brown.”

When melting fat comes into the mix, bacon’s signature bouquet releases into the air (and you, naturally, point your nose in that direction).

Get at the nitty-gritty in the video above, then treat yourself to all of the bacon.