You can, but there are better ways to cook bacon than in an air fryer. 

By Melanie Fincher
November 17, 2020
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The air fryer is beloved by home cooks for its ability to give you that crisp, fried-food taste without all the added oil. But how does the air fryer fare with foods that don't require oil to cook due to their high-fat content, like say, bacon? Spoiler alert: It doesn't fare super well.

Don't get me wrong, I love the air fryer as much as the next person, but here I'll argue that there are simply better methods for cooking bacon. Still want to know how to cook bacon in the air fryer? You'll find our best tips for avoiding disaster when cooking bacon in the air fryer. 

How Does an Air Fryer Work? 

You might be surprised to learn that air fryers don't actually fry food. Instead they work by circulating hot air around food, much like a convection oven. The result? Food is gloriously crisped on the outside and cooked through on the inside without the added oil. 

Can You Cook Bacon in an Air Fryer?

So technically, you can cook bacon in an air fryer. But I'd argue it's not the best way to cook bacon for a few reasons. First of all, if you're cooking more than a few pieces at a time, you're going to have to cook the bacon in several batches. The air fryer basket was not made to accommodate a pound or even a half pound of bacon all at once. 

But what's more problematic about cooking bacon in the air fryer is the fact that it's highly likely you'll end up with a burnt, smoky mess. Here's why: Bacon doesn't require any excess oil or butter to cook because it's so full of fat. So when hot air is circulated around the bacon, your air fryer will fill up with rendered bacon fat, which will then burn and maybe even release white smoke from your machine. 

Some folks suggest adding water to the air fryer drawer to help reduce any smoking, but adding water to hot oil is a safety hazard, as it can expand and cause hot oil to spray in all directions. The other "solution" is to remove the hot bacon grease after each batch. But this certainly isn't a convenient solution, and isn't the air fryer supposed to be about convenience? Plus, it's a great way to get a bad burn. 

All this being said, I understand the appeal of cooking bacon in an air fryer, since you would expect to have far less of a mess than you would with the traditional stovetop method. But if you're looking to avoid a greasy mess, I'd suggest going with the oven method, especially for large batches

If you do still want to cook bacon in your air fryer, you'll want to avoid cooking it for too long at high temperatures. Keep reading to learn how. 

How to Cook Bacon in an Air Fryer

We took this recipe for Air Fryer Bacon from recipe creator Tammy Ritterskamp, and heeded the advice of some Allrecipes reviewers to come up with the right method for cooking bacon in the air fryer. We recommend cooking no more than two pieces at a time. Here's how: 

Instructions:

1. Preheat an air fryer to 350 degrees F. 

2. Cut two bacon pieces in half. Space out pieces in the air fryer basket, making sure none overlap.

3. Cook for 5 minutes. Open the air fryer basket and check for any burning oil that may need to be dumped. 

4. Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess grease. 

More Ways to Cook Bacon

Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but the air fryer just isn't the best method for cooking bacon. I'd highly recommend cooking it in the oven, but even the microwave and the old-fashioned skillet method is going to render better (and safer) results than the air fryer. 

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