Air Fryer Bacon turns out perfectly crispy, with easy clean up. Using an air fryer makes the process almost completely hands-off!
Did you know that 50% of the fat in bacon is monounsaturated fat? This includes oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil. Unlike some brands of margarine, it also has no trans fat, so the leftover bacon grease makes a popular choice for cooking, if you’d like to save the rendered bacon grease for later. (Tips on that below!)
Use this quick cooking method the next time you want an easy salad topping, or a flavorful addition to egg muffins.
Why You’ll Love It
- It cooks quickly. Depending on how thick the bacon is sliced, it will cook in just 8-10 minutes.
- It’s energy efficient. This is an easy way to cook bacon without supervising it over the stove, or heating up your entire oven to cook just a few pieces at a time.
- It doesn’t sit in grease. Unlike bacon that is cooked on a sheet pan in the oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop, the air fryer allows the bacon grease to drip into the pan below as it cooks, so the bacon strips will be less greasy when they are done.
- It’s hands-off. Since the air fryer allows air to circulate under the bacon as it cooks, you don’t need to worry about flipping the bacon. You can just press a button and walk away until it’s done!
- It’s flexible. This method will work with regular bacon or turkey bacon.
Note: There is one downside to cooking bacon in the air fryer. You can only cook 4 to 5 strips at once in a typical basket-style air fryer, so if you want to cook more than that, you’ll need to work in batches.
If you need to cook 2 or more batches of bacon, it might be faster & easier to cook them on a large sheet pan in your oven instead. (I usually bake bacon at 400ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time.)
How to Cook Air Fryer Bacon
1. Arrange in the basket.
For crispy bacon, be sure to arrange the bacon in a single layer, without overlapping the pieces. It’s okay if the bacon goes up the sides of the air fryer basket slightly, as it will shrink significantly as it cooks.
Note: Some air fryer models (like the Instant Pot Vortex and Breville Smart Oven) will force you to preheat the air fryer before the cooking cycle will start counting down. If you own an air fryer model that requires a preheating, be sure to preheat the oven fryer before adding the bacon to the basket.
If you are using an oven-style air fryer, be sure to place a rimmed baking sheet UNDER your air fryer tray, so it will catch the bacon drippings. You don’t want the grease to drop onto a heating element, or it could make a huge mess in the bottom of your oven.
2. Air Fry.
Cook the bacon at 350ºF for 10 minutes, if you’re using a thick-cut bacon. If you are using thinly sliced bacon, you may want to start with just 8 minutes, since it will cook faster.
After the timer goes off, check the bacon for crispiness. I sometimes have to add 2 more minutes of cook time, but this will vary based on your preferences. If you like your bacon more chewy, rather than crispy, then 10 minutes should be plenty, but I like to add the extra 2 minutes for super crispy bacon.
I think it’s always best to check after 10 minutes, however, just to make sure you don’t burn the bacon. The air fryer can cook things faster than you might expect, and each air fryer model will give you slightly different results.
Note: If you need to cook multiple batches of bacon, you can reheat the cooked bacon all together in the air fryer for 2 minutes at 350ºF, to make sure it’s all warm for serving.
In this case, you don’t need to worry about keeping the bacon in a single layer, since it will already be crispy.
Use tongs to remove the bacon from the air fryer, and place it on a paper towel (or regular towel) if you would like to help absorb any excess grease. The bacon will crisp up even more as it cools.
Serve right away for the best taste and texture.
How to Save the Bacon Fat
The grease from bacon is a popular cooking fat, with a similar texture to softened butter when it cools. The air fryer makes it easy to save bacon grease, because the basket at the bottom will catch all of the drippings!
To render the bacon fat, arrange a fine mesh sieve over a storage jar, and pour the warm bacon grease through it to catch any small bacon pieces that may have fallen through the air fryer basket.
Bacon fat is best stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, but be sure to smell it each time you use it to make sure it hasn’t gone rancid. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months or more.
Storage Tip: Leftover strips of bacon can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. To reheat the cold bacon, you can reheat it again in the air fryer at 350ºF for 5 to 8 minutes. (It will be warm in just 2 minutes, but with a much softer texture; it requires a longer cooking time to become crispy again.)
You can also freeze cooked bacon in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
How to Use Cooked Bacon
If you are wondering what to do with leftover bacon, try it in one of these recipes:
- Bacon & Gruyere Breakfast Casserole. This recipe has a sneaky serving of veggies in each bite, but it tastes unbelievably rich! Perfect for a holiday brunch.
- Cobb Salad. Cooked bacon makes an excellent topping on this classic salad, if you don’t need a vegetarian version. (Try mushroom bacon, when you want a more plant-based approach.)
- Vegan Alfredo. Adding bacon to this dish will no longer make it vegan-friendly, but it will make it taste like a carbonara pasta!
- Instant Pot Egg Bites. These remind me of the sous-vide egg bites from Starbucks!
Why is my air fryer smoking? The smoke point of bacon fat is 400ºF, so it’s important to cook bacon at a lower temperature in the air fryer. This is why I recommend sticking to 350ºF, and some machines will even recommend 320ºF as their “bacon” setting.
Smoking can also occur if your air fryer basket is not clean when you get started. Make sure to remove any crumbs and grease residue from the drip tray before using your air fryer.
What else can I cook in the air fryer? Check out all of my air fryer recipes, including Air Fryer Chicken Breasts and Air Fryer Baked Potatoes.
Air Fryer Bacon
- 4 to 5 bacon strips (thick-cut)
- If your air fryer requires a preheating cycle, be sure to run that at 350ºF before arranging the bacon in your air fryer basket. This way the bacon won't overcook later. Once the basket is ready, arrange the bacon in an single layer, without much overlapping. (Typically, only 4-5 strips will fit in an air fryer basket. You can fit more in a larger oven-style model.)
- Cook the bacon in the air fryer at 350ºF for 10 minutes, for thick-cut bacon. If your bacon is on the thinner side, start with just 8 minutes, since it will cook faster. You can flip the bacon halfway through the cooking cycle, but it's not necessary since air will circulate under the bacon, as well. Note: If you are using an oven-style air fryer, be sure to place a rimmed baking sheet under the air fryer basket to catch the bacon grease as it drips. This will make clean-up easier and prevent any smoking from your air fryer.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, check on the bacon. It may be ready to eat right away, or it might need 2 more minutes of cooking time to finish crisping up. When it looks crispy, use a fork or tongs to remove the bacon and let it cool on a towel to absorb any excess grease. It will crisp up more as it cools, then it's ready to serve.
- To render the bacon grease, arrange a fine mesh sieve over a glass storage jar. While the bacon grease is still warm (and in a liquid state) pour it from the rimmed pan or the bottom of your air fryer basket, through the sieve to catch any small bacon pieces as it goes into the jar. Store it sealed in the fridge for up to 3 months. It will thicken when chilled, similar to the texture of softened butter.
If you try this Air Fryer Bacon recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.