Make quick and crispy air fryer bacon. Using an air fryer means you can cook bacon easily with less mess and consistently tasty results.
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Bacon is one of my absolute favorite things to make in my air fryer! Air fryer bacon is crispy, delicious and easy to make.
An air fryer cooks by circulating hot air around the food. This allows it cook with less oil. But this advantage is kind of irrelevant for cooking bacon, because bacon doesn’t need any added oil, it has plenty of grease.
Dealing with Bacon Grease
When you cook bacon it will generate a lot of bacon grease. In an air fryer this grease will drip down out of the air fryer basket into bottom of the air fryer.
Because the air fryer circulates hot air and because there is so much bacon grease sometimes the grease gets picked up and blown into the air fryer’s heating element, which causes smoking.
There are two main methods of dealing with the bacon grease and preventing the smoking – the water method and the bread method.
The Water Method
In the water method you add a small layer of water to the bottom of the air fryer. The grease floats on top of the water which prevents it from blowing around. I haven’t actually tried the water method, but it makes sense and seems like it would be effective.
The Bread Method
I use the bread method and I find it works amazingly well. In this method you put a couple slices of bread in the bottom of the air fryer. The bacon grease soaks into the bread so it can’t circulate.
This method has the advantage of making clean up quick and easy, since most of the bacon grease ends up in the bread. With this method you don’t want to completely fill bottom of the air fryer with bread, because the air still needs to circulate.
In my air fryer two pieces of bread do an excellent job of soaking up the grease and preventing smoking. I find this is a great way to use the heels of our bread loaves.
How to Make Air Fryer Bacon
1. Cut the Bacon in Half
I have always cut my bacon in half even when I make it in a frying pan. It is just easier to cook and turn when it is smaller. When it is cut in half it fits better in the air fryer basket too.
2. Put the Bread in Bottom
Add a couple slices of bread to the bottom of the air fryer to soak up the grease. Don’t worry if adding the basket smooshes the bread a bit.
3. Put the Bacon in the Basket
Put the bacon in the air fryer basket. It is ok if the slices of bacon overlap a little bit, because they will shrink as they cook. You do want the bacon all in one layer though, don’t stack it.
4. Air Fry the Bacon
Set the air fryer at 400 F for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes pull the basket out and use tongs to flip the bacon over. Then put it back in. Check the crispness of the bacon after the 10 minutes are up and add a minute or two if it is not done to your satisfaction.
5. Drain the Bacon
Remove the bacon with tongs and let it drain on paper towels. Take the bread out of the bottom of the air fryer and discard it.
Ideas for Using Bacon
I use bacon in my cooking frequently. A little bit of bacon adds a lot of flavor to a recipe and it is a great way to add taste quickly.
I realized when I went to make a list of my favorite recipes that use bacon that they are mostly potato based recipes! I guess I especially like the combination of bacon and potatoes. Here are some of my favorite recipes that call for cooked bacon.
- Air Fryer Loaded Tater Tots
- Air Fryer Twice Baked Potatoes
- Cheddar Bacon Grilled Red Potatoes
- BBQ Loaded Salt Potatoes
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
Advantages of Making Bacon in an Air Fryer
Here are the advantages of making bacon in the air fryer.
- It cooks evenly. There are no more burnt edges
- It is repeatable. Once you know how long you like to cook it for your desired crispness in your air fryer it is always the same.
- It is less messy. Using the bread to soak up the grease makes clean up easy.
- It is fast and requires minimal attention.
The only real disadvantage to using an air fryer is you can’t cook as much bacon at once as you might be able to in a large skillet or the oven.
But I find bacon difficult to resist so some enforced portion control isn’t really a disadvantage for me! Less leftover bacon means less of a chance for me to overindulge.
- 1/4 pound bacon
- 2 slices bread
- Cut the bacon in half if desired to make it easier to arrange and flip.
- Put the two slices of bread in the bottom of the air fryer underneath the air fryer basket to soak up the bacon grease.
- Put the bacon in the air fryer basket. It is ok if the bacon overlaps a little bit, but don't stack it.
- Set the air fryer on 400 F for 10 minutes.
- After 5 minutes pull the basket out and flip the bacon over.
- Check for crispness after 10 minutes and add time if you want crispier bacon.
- Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels and throw out the grease soaked bread.
If you don't have bread you can try adding water to the bottom of the air fryer. I recommend not trying to cook bacon in the air fryer without either water or bread in the bottom of the air fryer or it might result in significant smoking.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 553mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 11g
Nutrition facts are estimates.