Welcome back fellow Air Fryer aficionados, Air Fryer Bro back with another air fryer tips and tricks article! I am going through my list of common questions I have heard over the years, from the air fryer communities I have had the pleasure of being in! This one relates to cooking bacon in an air fryer. Is it possible? Is it dangerous? Well, let’s go on this air fryer bacon journey together….
Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly safe to cook bacon in the air fryer. As bacon is a fatty food, you just need to take precautions for the extra fat that will be expelled into your air fryer. It is also recommended to take measures to try to keep your bacon flat when it is cooking inside your air fryer. When people take these two things into consideration, they often say this is the best (and healthiest) way to cook bacon in their household!
In the rest of this article, we will be digging further into the details of cooking bacon in an air fryer, and the different things you need to consider.
I am no expert; I am just a guy with many years of experience of having an air fryer at home. If you are an expert, we would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!
What are the problems with air frying bacon?
Essentially, there are two main problems when air frying bacon. If you can overcome these two problems, you will enjoy your air frying experience a lot more!
1. Excess Fat
Bacon is a very fatty food to cook in an air fryer. I am sure a lot of you have cooked bacon in a regular grill before. The fat that usually gathers underneath your grilling rack will make you realise how fatty bacon really is! It’s great that the fat is coming out of the bacon, rather than going into your body’s system. But think about the fact that all that extra fat will be lying in the bottom of your air fryer.
When you cook anything with an air fryer, you are encouraged to use something with perforations or holes in it. This lets the hot air circulate around your food well, helping you get a nice crispy coating! These holes will also let the bacon fat drip down and gather at the bottom of your air fryer.
As we discussed in our article on why air fryers smoke excessively, this buildup of fat can be a problem. When the air fryer gets hot, the oil will start to burn. This will lead to white smoke pouring out of your air fryer and filling up your kitchen. No one wants a smoky kitchen, especially if you have smoke detectors. And your better half won’t be best pleased when your whole house smells like bacon grease too!
2. Curled Up Bacon
The first few times I tried to cook bacon in my air fryer, I found out about another bacon specific issue! After opening up my air fryer, I would be greeted by curled up slices of bacon.
Not only does this not look nice, it also leads to uneven cooking.
If you want to achieve the air fried bacon “holy grail” this is another problem you need to overcome. Fair enough, it is not quite as critical as the first problem, but it is there all the same!
How to deal with those problems?
First things first, what can we do about all that fat oozing out of our air fried bacon?
I talk about how to deal with excess fat in an air fryer more thoroughly in our article dedicated to the subject. Here, I will just give you one example of what I do when I cook bacon in an air fryer.
Usually, I will put a slice of bread at the very bottom of the air fryer’s cooking compartment. This will mean that the extra fat will drip down onto this bread and soak in. When using this method, I never have problems with my air fryer smoking whilst cooking bacon. Please don’t try to eat this greased up bread when the cooking is over, it ain’t exactly gourmet toast! ha ha ! Although, I am sure there is some crazy guy out there who swears by it!!
Regarding the curly bacon problem, there are two options. You can either cut your bacon up into more manageable chunks, which will take the curly issue out of the picture. Or, if you don’t like eating small squares of bacon, you can find a way to keep your bacon flat and straight.
For me, the best way is to place something over the top of your bacon before you starting to cook, that will make sure it stays in place.
What I like to use is another wire rack that I can lay over the bacon and stop it curling up. For me, this simple method works like a charm! But be creative, anything that holds your bacon in place whilst maintaining air flow around your food should work. As long as the material is not something flammable! Go check out my recommended products page, I link to an accessory pack there that will include everything you will need!
What’s the best type of bacon to use?
This is a subjective issue, as we all like different types of bacon.
To be honest with you, I have only ever cooked regular English style back bacon in my air fryer (which is a thinner bacon). This because I am originally from the UK, and this is the bacon I typically eat.
However, when looking into other people’s favourites, it seems that thick cut bacon is what a lot of people like to try. I assume this is because it won’t curl up as much when being air fried.
I would encourage you to experiment with different types of bacon, to see which you like the best. At some point, I will also get around to trying this too!! I might even blog about it!
Whats the best method to cook bacon in an air fryer?
I won’t go into cooking times and such like, as that is all dependent on how crispy you like your bacon, as well as the thickness of your bacon. For most typical bacon, 400 degrees Fahrenheit for around five minutes should be a good starting point. If you want crispy bacon, add another minute to the cook time.
Make sure to have a single layer of bacon slices inside your air fryer basket too, as this will help the hot air circulate around it and give you more even cooking. Also try not to use a solid baking sheet or solid parchment paper. Again, to aid air flow and even cooking go for perforated parchment paper and baking sheets with holes 🙂
Be aware that you should cook your bacon in two bursts. Cut your timings in half, and in the middle make sure to flip your bacon. Also take a quick look to see if any excess oil (otherwise known as bacon grease!) is floating around in the bottom of your air fryer compartment. If there is any, please tip it out before continuing. Need I talk about white smoke again? ha ha!
If you have any leftover bacon, I would recommend cooking it a few minutes longer until it turns to fully crispy bacon. This can then be smashed up to use as bacon bits. Yum!
Any other considerations?
When you put your bacon in the air fryer, you are cooking bacon in a much healthier way than the traditional method (shallow frying in an oily pan). Air fryer bacon doesn’t require any additional oil, which is good for the calorie intake, as bacon is already pretty fatty.
And if you are particularly worried about calories, simply make crispy bacon to render out as much of the fat as possible (rather than putting it in your body). If that still isn’t enough, dry off any excess oil with a paper towel after air frying too!
The only other consideration I can think of is related to cleaning your air fryer. With all the excess oil and fat that your air fryer will be subject to, you need to make sure you clean your air fryer afterwards well. If you let any buildup of oil happen within your air fryer, you are increasing your likelihood of nasty white smoke coming out of your cooker. Even pay attention to the heating element at the top of your air fryer, as oil can even start to build up there too.
To aid with cleanup, you can put some silver foil at the bottom of your air fryer’s cooking compartment. Bacon grease splatter can be a pain to clean up! Just make sure to press the foil into the cooking compartment a decent amount, otherwise it may move around during cooking and affect the hot air circulation within your air fryer (something that is essential for your air fryer to work well).
That’s Your Lot!
I am sure a lot of you will be relieved and even excited to learn that perfectly crispy bacon can be cooked in an air fryer. It isn’t one of the top air fryer related Google searches for nothing! A lot of meat eaters love eating bacon, and air frying bacon will probably become your method of choice pretty quickly! It is so easy to do, you will wonder how you managed before! I know I will be having more bacon breakfasts myself in the future!
I also want to try out turkey bacon in my air fryer to see how that works out…..as well as seeing if you can cook bacon from frozen! It’s all on the list, I just need to find the time 🙂
If any of you air fryer experts out there have your own tips or tricks to offer, please leave a comment in the comments section below. I always love hearing about other people’s ideas and methods in the air fryer community!
Now go forth and eat bacon!! Air Fryer Bro out!!
(Air Fryer Bro goes to cook bacon!! ha ha )