How To Cook Bacon in an Air Fryer the Right Way
One of the best smells in the entire world might just be the aroma of someone cooking up bacon in the morning. The smell alone can bring up memories and the nostalgic feeling of a slow Sunday morning spent eating an enormous breakfast, reading your favorite book, and sipping on a cozy cup of coffee. If you've been craving some bacon and thinking of cooking up some for yourself soon, you can choose from multiple methods based on what is easier for you. The most common ways of cooking bacon are either on a stove top or in the oven, but what some people may not realize is that you can successfully cook delicious bacon in the air fryer as well.
If you haven't taken the plunge yet and bought yourself an air fryer yet, we highly recommend it. The buzz around this kitchen appliance may seem over the top at first, but once you use one, you'll know exactly why people are raving. While there are a few things you can't cook in an air fryer, one of the benefits of owning one is that you can prepare so many of your favorite foods in a matter of minutes (bacon included)—while also saving yourself the added calories of cooking oils or butter.
So, if you're craving a few crispy pieces of bacon and want to save yourself some time and energy, you may benefit from this simple, foolproof way to cook bacon in an air fryer. If you're looking for other creative ways to take advantage of this kitchen gadget, check out 21 Easy Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners.
Choosing your bacon
So, you want to treat yourself to a savory, satisfying bacon breakfast, but which type of bacon is best? Well, there is no right or wrong choice for bacon when cooking in the air fryer— it all comes down to your personal preferences. Many of your standard brands of bacon are going to be higher in sodium, saturated fat, and additives like sodium nitrate and sodium phosphate—both of which have been found to have potential health risks when consumed in larger quantities. Thankfully, many brands are now coming out with options that are lower in sodium and free of these additives.
You also may decide to use something like turkey bacon instead of pig bacon if you're trying to lower your levels of saturated and total fat. Whichever you choose, just make sure to read the label ahead of time.
Can you use any kind of air fryer?
Yes, you can use whichever air fryer you already have. They come in all shapes and sizes, with the two most common types being the basket air fryers, where you have a tray you can pull out (like the one pictured above), or the oven air fryers that look more like a toaster oven. The sizing of air fryers usually ranges from four liters to around 25 liters. Thankfully, you can cook bacon in any size or style of air fryer.
Air frying your bacon
Once you have your bacon and air fryer ready to go, it's time to start the process!
1. Preheat your air fryer & cut the bacon in half
Before doing anything else, go ahead and preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees. This is the perfect temperature for cooking bacon, especially because anything much hotter can burn the fat and grease from the bacon, which will lead to a lot of smoke.
My air fryer is the smallest size (the 4-liter), so full strips of bacon don't fit. You can technically fold or wrap them to fit the strips in, but it's harder to make sure the bacon is fully cooked-through this way. If you're working with a smaller air fryer, cutting the bacon in half before cooking is a helpful step.
2. Add the bacon & decide on your desired consistency
Once the bacon is cut in half and your air fryer is preheated, you're ready to cook. How long you cook the bacon really depends on your particular air fryer, how thick the bacon is, and how chewy or crispy you prefer your strips. To show the difference, I did two batches at different lengths of time. The bacon I used was cut fairly thin, so if you're working with thicker-cut bacon, you may need to add a minute or two to these times.
3. For chewier bacon, keep it in the air fryer for 5–6 minutes
If you're someone who likes their bacon on the softer, chewier side and likes to avoid an overdone crisp, you'll want to check on your bacon after about five minutes. I checked mine at this point and saw that it needed a bit more time, so I just added on about a minute. At six minutes, this bacon had the perfect texture for the chewy bacon lovers.
4. For crispier bacon, go for 8–9 minutes
Now, for those who love a crispy, crunchy piece of bacon, adding a few extra minutes is key. Just be sure to keep a close eye on your bacon, because it can burn quickly. For my air fryer, I find that right between eight and nine minutes delivers the perfect crisp.
A few final things to note
When cooking bacon in the air fryer, you'll want to take note of how much you need to make. Personally, I think air fryer bacon is great for one or two people, but much more than that is going to take a long time due to the fact that you'll have to cook in multiple batches. At this point, my personal preference would be to just use the oven. However, if you do choose to cook multiple batches of bacon in the air fryer, make sure you're emptying out the grease from the basket between every single use. This is crucial, because if the bacon fat overheats it can burn and create a lot of smoke.
You may also notice some popping or hissing sounds coming from your air fryer when cooking bacon that you may not normally get with other foods. This is totally normal and doesn't mean anything bad is happening, just keep an eye on it when you can. Once it's done, you can enjoy your perfectly-cooked bacon strips alongside some eggs and toast—and hopefully a delicious cup of coffee, too.