Air Fryer Bacon, or as it’s more appropriately known: “how to get everyone stampeding into the kitchen.”
Tantalizingly crisp, dangerously easy to make, and smelling of the heavens, bacon in the air fryer is hands-down the best bacon I’ve ever cooked.
I’ve long been a believer in baking vs. frying bacon (here’s how to make baked bacon in the oven).
Baked bacon turns out perfectly uniform, and it saves me the grease splatters of stovetop frying (which are both messy and dangerous). It cooks completely hands-free.
Making bacon in the air fryer applies the same principle as cooking bacon in the oven but on a super-duper, hyped-up level.
Since an air fryer is essentially a high-powered countertop convection oven, it makes sense that the two methods work similarly.
What makes air fryer bacon the best is how quickly and effectively the air fryer cooks it.
Air fryer bacon also has classic wavy edges (more so than oven baked bacon), making it more reminiscent of traditional pan-fried bacon.
When you are looking to cook faster, healthier versions of traditionally deep-fried foods, the air fryer is the appliance for the job.
How to Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
Bacon is safe to cook in the air fryer, but you need to make sure that you use the proper temperature and that your air fryer is clean before you begin.
The best bacon air fryer temperature is 350 degrees F. This will crisp the bacon without causing it to smoke or burn.
Why is my Air Fryer Bacon Smoking?
If you’ve had an issue with air fryer bacon smoke in the past, either your air fryer temperature was too high, or there is extra grease left in your air fryer that is getting caught in the heating element while the fan circulates air.
- The smoke point of bacon fat is 400 degrees F, so in theory temperatures lower than 400 degrees F should be fine.
- HOWEVER, the air fryer has an additional quirk that must be considered. At temperatures higher than 360 degrees F, grease can splatter onto the heating element, which will cause smoke.
- If your air fryer starts smoking, likely there is some old grease or residue in the air fryer that is burning.
Personally, I have never had an issue with air fryer bacon smoke as long as I empty any excess grease out of the air fryer basket in between batches.
If you do have problems with bacon smoke, I read you can place a piece of bread in the air fryer basket to absorb extra grease.
If your air fryer does start to smoke, do not continue cooking. Remove the food and finish cooking it on the stovetop or in your regular oven.
I tested this recipe as Ninja air fryer bacon (this is the Ninja model I own) and the bacon was finished in 5 minutes (for thinner slices) to 9 minutes (for larger slices).
Every model cooks a little differently, so check your bacon periodically to make sure it cooks to your liking.
For perfect air fryer bacon, cut the bacon slices in half crosswise before adding them to the air fryer. This helps them cook more evenly and fit in the air fryer basket more comfortably.
- Bacon. Since it is the only true ingredient here, using good-quality bacon is very important. It will have the best taste and texture, resulting in the best possible bacon experience (yes, please!).
- Black Pepper. For a twist, try adding a sprinkle lof black pepper to your air fryer bacon.
- Cut the bacon slices in half then lay them in air fryer basket in a single layer. Add black pepper (if using).
- Air fry bacon for 5 to 9 minutes at 350 degrees F, depending upon the thickness of your bacon.
- Place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat steps with remaining batches. DIG IN!
How to Use Air Fryer Bacon
Once you have your crispy bacon, you can use it anyway you like!
What pieces you don’t devour immediately are perfect for:
- Salads. Enjoy your bacon on this Broccoli Cauliflower Salad or BLT Chopped Salad.
- Sandwiches. Use leftover bacon to make this scrumptious BLT Grilled Cheese or Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Bacon.
- Pasta. Take your pasta dishes (like this Cauliflower Pasta) up a notch with some crumbled bacon.
- Pizza. You won’t regret topping your pizza with crispy bacon pieces (especially if it’s this delicious Carbonara Pizza).
- Eggs. Air fryer bacon and eggs are a match made in heaven! Add some to your Egg Muffins for an easy grab-and-go breakfast.
- Veggies. Bacon helps veggies shine (and become appealing to veggie-skeptics). It’s delicious in this Spaghetti Squash Carbonara or sprinkled on top of some Crock Pot Baked Potatoes.
- Soups. Take a note from Crockpot Potato Soup and Asparagus Soup, and top a bowl of your favorite soup with crumbled bacon.
- To Store. Refrigerate bacon strips in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Recrisp leftovers in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze bacon strips in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag. Reheat from frozen as desired.
If you’re freezing a large quantity of bacon, freeze the strips in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then, transfer the frozen strips to a freezer-safe ziptop bag or storage container.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. Prepare delicious bacon (or Air Fryer Pork Chops) anytime a craving strikes!
- Baking Sheet. Perfect if you plan to keep your bacon warm in the oven.
- Tongs. Ideal for transferring the slices to the air fryer.
Ready to immediately improve your day? Upgrade it the air fryer bacon way!
Air Fryer Bacon
- 4 strips of bacon cut in half crosswise
- Black pepper optional
- Make sure to wipe out your air fryer to avoid smoking. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F. If you’d like to keep the bacon warm between batches, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- Slide out your air fryer basket. With tongs, arrange the halved bacon slices in a single layer. Make sure they do not overlap (a little bit of touching at the edges is OK). If desired, sprinkle with black pepper. Depending upon the size of your basket and the number of strips you’d like to cook at once, you may need to cook the bacon in batches.
- Cook the bacon for 5 minutes (for thinner bacon) or up to 9 minutes (for thicker bacon), until it reaches your desired crispness. The bacon will curl as it crisps. Check the bacon’s progress frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and lightly blot. If desired, transfer the bacon to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
- For further batches: Repeat with remaining bacon (no need to wipe out the air fryer in between unless it begins to smoke, in which case carefully pour out the grease and wipe it with a paper towel). Enjoy!
- If the bacon begins to smoke, this is likely old grease that was left in your air fryer (as long as your air fryer is set to less than 360 degrees F, it should not smoke). Once your air fryer is cool, wipe it out with a damp cloth to prevent further smoking. I have also read you can place a slice of bread in the air fryer basket when making bacon to absorb excess grease and prevent smoke.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate bacon strips in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Recrisp bacon in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze bacon strips in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag. Reheat from frozen as desired.
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