You can absolutely cook bacon in your air fryer, and it turns out crispy or soft or however you like it. It’s really mess-free and quick too!
When to Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
It’s a great idea to cook bacon in the air fryer when you only need a few slices. My air fryer basket fits 5 center-cut slices with a bit of space around each slice. That’s what you want.
I typically only use my air fryer for bacon if I want between 2-5 slices. Any more than that and it gets too crowded and doesn’t crisp up as well. I suspect that too much bacon is also what leads to the smoking problem discussed below.
If you want to cook more slices of bacon, I recommend doing it in the oven. That’s my favorite way to make a big pan of nice crisp bacon with very little fuss.
Why You Should Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
As mentioned, it’s great to cook it in there when you only need a few slices. Then it’s fantastic.
The reasons air fryer bacon is amazing:
It’s hands-free! You put the bacon in there and walk away. I set the timer for 5 minutes and then check it. If I was instead doing the bacon on the stove, I’d need to stay there with it the whole time, flipping bacon while getting spattered with grease. No fun.
It isn’t messy! The bacon goes in the basket and cooks there. The fat from the bacon drips down into the lower container, keeping it away from the bacon. This means that the bacon cooks evenly and isn’t swimming in fat, and the fat is drained away for you with no effort. Once the bacon is cooked, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel. Pour the fat out of the bottom of the air fryer and dispose of it as usual.
It’s perfect every time! Once you know the timing for your air fryer and for the type of bacon you buy and your desired texture, it is the same every time. Just put the slices in there, set the timer for the length of time you like, and it just does it, perfectly every time.
How Long to Cook Bacon in the Air Fryer
I cook 5 slices of center cut, medium-thickness bacon in the air fryer at 400°F for 8 minutes. I check it after 5 minutes and flip the slices over then. That yields bacon that is crisp in spots but still soft in some places, which is what I like best.
If your bacon is the full length slices, not center cut, you might need to smoosh them a bit to fit them in. That smooshing will make it take a little bit longer. You can alternatively cut the slices in half.
If your bacon is thinner, it will cook more quickly. I suggest that the first few times you cook bacon in the air fryer, just open it up every 3 minutes and have a look. That way you can stop it when it gets to the texture you like. Make note of how long it took and then you’ll know for next time.
If Your Bacon Smokes Up The Air Fryer
So, this is a problem that I have not had in my air fryer but I have read about it a lot online. It seems that for some people, cooking bacon in their air fryer makes it get all smoky. I’m not sure what causes this exactly since it doesn’t happen to me. I suspect that it’s because people are trying to cook too much bacon at once, or perhaps the bacon is a lot fattier than what I typically use.
If you are having this problem, my first suggestion would be to evaluate how many slices you’re trying to cook. Trying to cook more than 5 could be the problem. If the basket is crowded, you’re going to have a lot of fat coming out of that bacon and hitting the bottom. That’s where the smoke comes from.
The next suggestion that I’ve read online is to put some water in the bottom of your air fryer. That is, in the container that holds the perforated basket. Basically, you’re putting water in the area that the fat drips to. That way, the fat hits water instead of a hot metal surface. Note though that I have tried this just to see what effect it has on the bacon and it did make my bacon steam more than get crispy. If you are having this smoking problem and want to try water as a solution, I’d put just a tablespoon first and see if that helps.
My final suggestion is to put salt in the bottom of the air fryer. This is similar to the water in that it stops the fat from hitting the hot metal. I haven’t tried this but I’m going to because I suspect that it will work AND that the result will be some bacon-fat-flavored salt, which I want to sprinkle over some scrambled eggs so freaking badly right now!
I hope you try cooking bacon in your air fryer. If you do and if you have any trouble with smoking, I’d love to hear about your experiences below so that we can together figure out how to solve this problem.
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
DO YOU NEED MORE TIME?
I’m with you! Time is something that too easily slips away. Listen to my podcast, Time Management Insider, to learn how to streamline your household tasks so that you have more time for the things you really want to do!