Tasty, succulent pork belly bites are the ultimate meaty, crispy snack or appetizer—and the air fryer makes them quicker and crispier than ever!
Tasty tidbits of crispy, juicy, meaty pork make an amazing small bite or appetizer, casual enough for snacking and snazzy enough for a cocktail party. Making pork belly bites in the air fryer is super-easy because you can get both the slow-cooking needed to make the meat tender, and the high-heat cooking needed to crisp it up done in the same machine, just using different temperatures. It’s really quick too!
Read on to learn more about making Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites, or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Pork Belly?
Pork belly is the same part of the pig that’s used to make bacon—the belly! In fact, a whole piece of it looks like bacon that’s hasn’t been sliced yet.
But where bacon is from a pork belly that’s been cured and usually smoked, most other pork belly preparations use uncured or fresh pork. A butcher shop or Asian supermarket is the best place to find it, but it’s a good idea to call ahead in case they need to order it for you. Note that many grocery stores carry sliced fresh pork belly, and the recipe below explains how to use that easier-to-get belly in this recipe.
My preference for most pork belly recipes, including this one, is skin-on, because that skin makes for more crispiness. But if that’s hard to find, don’t worry. This recipe is about making pork belly easy and accessible, and chasing around town to find pork with the skin isn’t worth that slight added crunch.
Cooking Pork Belly
It’s typical to start low and slow with pork belly. That helps the meat cook through and get tender, the fat to become succulent, and some of the fat to render away. Then you raise the heat for the last few minutes of cooking to crisp things up. That’s the method for my super-crisp pork belly made in the oven.
When it comes to the air fryer, we are going to do those two steps right in there. The only real difference is that both steps are much quicker in the air fryer.
Why Cook Pork Belly In The Air Fryer?
As mentioned, the air fryer is going to make both the slow-cooking and the crisping happen much more quickly. The air fryer is really like a small oven, so it absolutely can do the low-and-slow part. And then, the convection effect in there really helps crisp things up quickly at high heat.
Cooking A Lot Of Pork Belly In The Air Fryer At Once
The only con of cooking pork belly in the air fryer is that you’re not able to cook as much of it at a time. However, I’ve come up with a technique that actually lets you do quite a bit. Basically, you’ll be cooking as much of it as you want to, up to 2 pounds, for the low-and-slow cooking time all at once in the air fryer. You’ll just need to drain off the fat every now and then so it doesn’t burn. This low and slow part is the longer cooking time, so it’s good that you can get it done for your whole batch at once.
Then, you’ll remove all your slow-cooked pork belly bites from the air fryer, and put back in about 12 bites, or as many as you can fit leaving an inch of space between them all. Those then cook for 6-8 minutes, until crisp. The rest of the pork belly can then go in in batches after that.
Serving Pork Belly
My recipe uses a few simple seasonings—salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika—so I like to enhance that simplicity with a dipping sauce, ideally one with some tang to contrast with the rich pork.
One of my favorite sauces is barbecue sauce (use my Best Ever Homemade BBQ Sauce, my Sweet, Spicy, Smoky BBQ Sauce, or your own favorite), but sometimes I switch it up and do spicy mustard, Asian sweet-and-sour sauce, sweet chili sauce, or even a little chutney.
The bottom line is that the air fryer makes pork belly bites simple and easy, so serve them with whatever similarly simple sauce you have on hand. Then enjoy! -ChristinePrint
Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites Recipe
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 37 minutes
- Total Time: 42 minutes
- Yield: 3–4 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Tasty, succulent pork belly bites are the ultimate meaty, crispy snack or appetizer—and the air fryer makes them quick and easy enough to enjoy whenever the mood strikes! This recipe calls for a 1 lb. piece of pork belly that you then cut up.
Listen to learn how to make this recipe, along with some great tips from Christine:
Listen to more Recipe of the Day episodes here.
If your grocery store only carries sliced fresh pork belly, see the note at the bottom about how to use that. It works really well!
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 lb. pork belly, cut into 1-in. pieces (see note)*
- In a medium bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the pork, stirring until the meat is evenly coated with the spices.
- Put the pork in the air fryer basket (if the pork is skin-on, try to arrange the pieces skin side down, but it’s okay if they fall over). Set the temperature to 280°F and cook for 30 minutes.
- Turn the pork pieces over and then increase the heat to 360F. Cook until nice and crispy, but not blackening, 6-8 minutes more.
- Transfer pork bites to a plate lined with paper towel to blot off any excess fat.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
*If your grocery store only carries sliced pork belly, you can use that and it works well. The slices should be about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Cut each strip into quarters. Season the pork as explained above. When arranging the pork in the air fryer basket, fold each of your quartered strips in half so that they stand a bit higher. This will approximate the size and shape of pork bites, and will have them cook at the same rate as detailed in the recipe above.
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