Crispy and delicious, air fryer bacon is the penultimate bacon experience. If you are tired of what the skillet, microwave, or oven does to your bacon, you are going to love using the air fryer for this task.
🍽️ Why This Works
Fast. It only takes 12-16 minutes for thick-cut bacon to crisp up beautifully. It’s even less for regular or thin bacon at 8-10 minutes. If this is your first time making bacon in your particular air fryer, you may need to check it a little early in case your machine runs hot.
Low-mess. Cooking bacon isn’t ever completely mess-free because. But you can reduce the mess significantly when you use your air fryer. Plus it’s safer since you won’t be moving a skillet full of hot grease.
Satisfying. If you have been disappointed with limp, tasteless bacon that never seems to get crisp, you need to try this method. Best bacon ever! Plus, it’s so gorgeous. The air fryer cooks the bacon so evenly it looks good enough for a magazine photo. It’s crinkled up so prettily!
📝 Ingredient Notes
Bacon – We use thick-cut bacon, but it’s the same process to cook more thinly sliced bacon in your air fryer. The instructions are on the printable recipe card below.
Water – This reduces the smoke from the bacon grease burning. Since we are cooking the bacon at such a low temperature, you may not have much trouble with smoke, but it’s a good practice just in case.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Air Fryer | Our favorites and what we use here are the Instant Vortex 7 in 1 and our Ninja basket. This recipe will work in almost any air fryer. The Vortex heats extra hot so check the bacon early with that one just in case.
Tongs | Please don’t try to pull out air fryer bacon with your bare hands. I like to use vinyl coated tongs so I don’t scratch my air fryer’s non-stick coating.
Optional | If you plan to make multiple batches, you will need paper towels and a potholder to handle the air fryer basket and clean the grease out between batches.
🔥 How to Cook Bacon in Air Fryer Instructions
Step One: Preheat the air fryer at 320ºF for five minutes. This will help the bacon cook more evenly.
Step Two: Pour ¼ cup of water into the bottom of the air fryer (under the riser in the basket) to minimize smoke.
Alternative – Place a layer of bread instead of water. Bread has the added benefit of soaking up the grease and lessening the mess.
Step Three: Place bacon in a single layer into the preheated air fryer basket. The slices can touch slightly at this point if you need to fit more in, but don’t add too much where it inhibits the air flow.
Step Four: Cook for 12-16 minutes for thick cut and 8-10 for standard cut. Check for doneness and add one or two minutes as needed. Do not add too much time as it cooks very quickly. Remember, the bacon will not be crispy until it cools.
Step Five: Let the bacon cool completely. I like to spread it out on a cooling rack or paper towels. It’s ready when it has crisped up. Enjoy your crispy bacon!
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Cook only what fits in a single layer. Since the bacon will shrink as it cooks, you can overlap the slices slightly. You don’t want to stack up the bacon on top of itself, and have it stick together or not cook evenly.
Cutting the bacon slices in half may make them fit better in your machine.
Flipping the bacon halfway through may help it shrink evenly and cook thoroughly on both sides.
Bacon is usually not crispy when you take it out of the air fryer – it will crisp up as it cools. Spread the bacon out on a cooling rack which has been placed on top of a layer of paper towels. This will allow the grease to drain and make clean-up super easy.
If you are making more than one batch, use paper towels to soak up the bacon grease and remove it from the air fryer between each batch so that it doesn’t build up.
If you overlap the bacon slightly to fit it all in, stop halfway through the cooktime to separate the bacon before it all sticks together. At this point it will have shrunk enough to fit.
If you make big batches, you might want to use an air fryer oven, or use convection bake on your main oven. Convection bake is basically air-frying. Add a cooling rack to a baking sheet and then spread the bacon out on it so that it is fully exposed to the air circulation.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Keep your leftover cooked bacon in a plastic freezer bag or air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Freeze cooked bacon in an airtight container if you won’t use it within a week. Thaw in the microwave to crisp it back up.
Reheat leftover bacon in an air fryer, microwave or skillet to enjoy it almost as good as fresh. Cooked, crushed bacon can also be added to salads without reheating.
Go ahead and make the whole package of bacon to use throughout your week. If you are taking meals to work, bacon reheats in the microwave fast and will make all your coworkers jealous.
Use your leftover bacon to make candied bacon in brown sugar for a special sandwich or burger condiment.
Additions and Substitutions
Turkey bacon is a great substitute for those who do not enjoy pork. You can also make a vegetarian tempeh bacon.
If you have bacon to use up but aren’t in the mood for plain ole bacon, try our bacon wrapped asparagus instead.
A little sprinkle of a salt-free dry rub can kick your bacon up a notch in flavor if it needs a lift.
What to Serve with Bacon
Crushed bacon is delicious on top of twice-baked potatoes, a deviled egg, or avocado toast.
❓ Recipe FAQ
8-10 minutes for standard cut bacon and 12-16 minutes for thick cut bacon. The time it takes to cook bacon will vary depending on your machine so add a couple minutes at a time until it reaches desired doneness.
320º F. If you cannot pick a temperature for your air fryer, get as close to 320ºF as you can. A lower temperature would be better than a higher temperature to reduce smoking grease. 374ºF is the smoke point of bacon grease so if you can keep it below that temperature you can avoid most smoke.
You will either need to add water to the bottom of your air fryer or add a layer of bread to the bottom of your air fryer. Both of these options should go under the air fryer basket. Neither will eliminate the smoke completely. I saw one suggestion to stop halfway through and remove the grease, but that seems like too much work to me and hasn’t been necessary.
Quick Air Fryer Recipes
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Air Fryer Bacon
- 8 slices Bacon thick sliced
- Preheat the air fryer at 320°F for 5 minutes.
- Pour ¼ cup of water under the basket rack to minimize smoke. (Alternative – place a layer of bread as it will absorb any of the bacon drippings).
- Place bacon in a single layer into the preheated air fryer basket.
- Cook for 12-16 minutes for thick cut and 8-10 for standard cut.