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.