Tantalizingly crisp, dangerously easy to make, and smelling of the heavens, Air Fryer Bacon is hands-down the best bacon I’ve ever cooked. Use the air fryer to make crispy, evenly-cooked bacon, with less mess!
Why You’ll Love This Crispy Bacon Recipe
- It Cooks Hands-Free (No Grease Splatters!). Like Baked Bacon in the Oven (and unlike cooking bacon in a skillet on the stovetop), air fryer bacon cooks completely hands-free. Plus, each bacon slice turns out perfectly uniform, and it saves me the grease splatters of stove-top frying (which are both messy and dangerous).
- It Cooks Quickly. When you are looking to cook faster, healthier versions of traditionally deep-fried foods (like Air Fryer French Fries and Air Fryer Potato Chips), the air fryer is the appliance for the job. Bacon cooks more quickly in the air fryer than in the oven, which is a major bonus when you have a table full of hungry people.
- It’s Mouthwateringly Crispy! Soggy bacon is not allowed in our house, so when I find a new way to cook bacon, I have to make sure it will turn out crisp every single time. Like my Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, this air fryer bacon will always be crispy and delicious!
Should You Cook Bacon in an 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.
- Discard Excess Bacon Grease in the Drip Tray Between Batches. This will prevent smoking.
- Different Types of Bacon Cook Differently. Typically air fryer bacon cooks in 5 to 9 minutes, depending upon if it is thick-cut bacon or thin-cut.
- Air Fryers Vary. Each air fryer model is a little different; this recipe has been tested in a Ninja air fryer and Philips air fryer. Check early to make sure your bacon doesn’t burn.
Why is my Air Fryer Bacon Smoking?
If you’ve had an issue with air fryer bacon smoke in the past, either your bacon 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, bacon does splatter in an air fryer. The 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. This is why you should never cook bacon in your air fryer without cleaning it first.
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.
How to Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
- 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!). You can use thick-cut or thin-cut bacon for this recipe.
- Black Pepper. For a twist, try adding a sprinkle of black pepper to your bacon.
- Cut the Bacon Slices. Lay them in the air fryer basket in a single layer (if you do multiple layers, it won’t be as crisp).
- Air Fry. Air fry the bacon at 350 degrees F for 5 to 9 minutes.
- Remove and Repeat. Repeat steps with remaining batches. DIG IN!
How to Use Air Fryer Bacon
- 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 Wrap.
- Pasta. Take your pasta dishes (like this Cauliflower Pasta) up a notch with some crispiness from 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 container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. You can reheat bacon in an air fryer. 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.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Bacon
- Pancakes. Bacon pairs perfectly with Banana Oatmeal Pancakes or an Oven Pancake.
- Eggs. For a hearty breakfast or brunch, serve bacon with a Potato Frittata, Broccoli Quiche, or French Omelette.
- Crepes. Both Savory Crepes and Strawberry Crepes would be delightful with some crispy bacon.
- Something Sweet. Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls, Stuffed French Toast, and Coffee Cake Muffins are all scrumptious options.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. Prepare this delicious air fryer bacon recipe (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.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How You Cut Matters. For perfect 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.
- Buy the Best Bacon. If possible, purchase your bacon slices directly from the grocery store’s butcher counter. It’s often the same price as what comes prepackaged, but it’s better quality.
- Stop the Smoking. I have never had an issue with air fryer bacon smoke as long as I empty any excess grease in between batches, BUT if you do have problems with smoke when you air fry bacon, I read you can place a piece of bread in the air fryer basket to absorb extra bacon drippings.
Air Fryer Bacon
- 4 strips bacon thick or thin, cut in half crosswise
- Black pepper optional
- Wipe out your air fryer to avoid bacon smoking. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. If you’d like to keep the bacon warm between batches, preheat your oven to 250°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 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°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°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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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can put raw bacon in an air fryer. When you follow this recipe, the bacon will be cooked to a safe temperature.
While I haven’t tried making air fryer turkey bacon, I think it would work fine. I’d recommend checking it early and frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn, as the cook time for turkey bacon will be shorter.
Yes, you can swap (or add to) the black pepper in this recipe for another seasoning of your choice. Try cayenne pepper for spicy bacon, brown sugar or maple syrup for sweet bacon, or your favorite spice rub.
Bacon comes from the pork belly cut (at least most of the time) and is cured and sometimes smoked. The pork belly cut itself isn’t smoked or cured; it’s softer. Put another way, all bacon is pork belly, but not all pork belly is bacon.
I do not use foil or parchment paper when making air fryer bacon. I find that it’s easy to just clean the drip tray after making the bacon, so I don’t need to use foil.