Get the crispiest fried pork belly in the air fryer with this simple 30 minute recipe you will want to make again and again!
Making restaurant worthy crispy pork belly at home is possible even if you’re not roasting or even pan frying. These are great methods, but they often take a lot of planning ahead of time and a lot longer to cook as well.
While I love this hot and fast pork belly method I make on my grill as well, nothing is quite as fast as cooking pork belly slices right in your air fryer. Not to mention it really gets that pork skin extra crispy and crunchy (which is what everyone wants am I right?).
This recipe is perfect for serving up as an elegant appetizer, dipping into my keto fondue recipe or even this beer cheese recipe. It’s great as well for being added to chili’s, soups, and your favorite stir fry’s too!
There are many ways to cook pork belly, but I particularly love the the air fryer method because it naturally lends itself to creating really crispy pork as an end result.
While the convection heat from the air fryer helps to getting this pork recipe cooked to perfection, there are several tips and techniques for buying, prepping, and cooking the belly so the crackling properly forms.
I encourage you to read through all the detailed cooking and preparation steps for getting the perfect air fryer pork belly bites below or jump to the recipe at the bottom of the page and dive in!
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Paper towels
- Butter Knife
Use the outlined information of commonly asked cooking questions below as a guide to help you make the best pork belly recipe!
How to buy the right cut of pork belly?
Finding pork belly is a lot more common in a regular grocery store and definitely something you should be able to find at your local butcher.
Lately, I have found long, two inch thick slices from Whole Foods or even large slabs of pork belly from places like Costco. I prefer to purchase pork belly with the fat cap on only but no skin.
If you find that your pork belly strips have skin on them, you should be able to ask your butcher to remove it for ease if desired. However you will want to get a piece (or pieces) that will fit the size of your air fryer basket.
How to prep your pork belly for air frying:
Prepping your pork belly is the key to getting that crispy fat cap on the top, while keeping the belly meat moist and melt in your mouth worthy.
I was inspired to try salting the top of the fat cap after doing some research and modeling this recipe after traditional Chinese roasted pork belly.
After some trial and error, I found these steps to work best for getting the crispiest pieces of pork belly:
- Start by patting your pork belly dry with paper towels. Removing moisture is important!
- Trim any extra thick areas of pork fat so that the pieces will cook evenly. Remove any silver skin as well.
- Choose a dry rub seasoning (I love this Cajun BBQ dry rub) or just use salt and pepper around the base, sides, and bottom of the pork belly slices.
- I prefer to lightly score the fat cap with a sharp knife, but don’t cut down past the fat cap.
- Coat the fat cap with a heavy layer of sea salt (separate from the rub around the rest of the pork belly). The salt is part of the crisping process and will get removed before serving.
How long does pork belly take to cook in the air fryer?
This pork belly recipe works best when you cook it in two separate steps and should take you 30 minutes from start to finish.
Begin by placing your prepped and seasoned and salted pieces of pork into your air fryer basket.
Once it’s in the basket, begin to cook your pork at 350 degrees F. to begin to cook the pork belly and allow the fat to reduce. This takes 20 minutes.
Once the pork belly fat begins to reduce and the salted fat cap gets crispy, remove it from the air fryer. With a butter knife, scrape the salt off the top and discard.
Place the pork belly back into your air fryer basket and turn the temperature up to 425 degrees F. Allow the higher heat to finish crisping the skin of your pork for another 8-10 minutes.
Your pork belly is fully cooked once the pork belly hits 145 degrees F. internally.
Why is my pork belly not getting crispy?
If you’re not using enough of a solid layer of salt onto your pork skin, it may not get as crispy as you’d like. It’s also important to not crowd the air fryer.
Depending on the size of the air fryer, you may want to cut your pork belly into smaller pieces and work in a few batches. Crowding in your air fryer may not allow as much air to circulate and prevent it from getting super crispy.
Tips for slicing and serving:
- Allow your pork belly pieces to rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
- Slice into smaller, servable pieces for eating.
- Serve with some delicious smoky KC style BBQ sauce and place the pork belly bites onto toothpicks for dipping.
- Additionally, these pork belly bites are great in my cauliflower fried rice or even topped over these incredible smoked sweet potatoes.
Air Fryer Pork Belly
- 1 lb. Pork Belly
- 2 tbsp. BBQ Dry Rub
- Begin by prepping your pork belly slices for the air fryer. I strongly suggest reading through the post above as well for tips on understanding the process for getting crispy skin (crackling).
- Take your cut of pork belly (this can be a whole piece or slices of pork). Trim any silver skin and lightly crosshatch the fat cap. Do not slice through the fat cap completely.
- Apply the BBQ rub to the bottom and all sides of the pork belly. Leave the fat cap uncovered.
- Add a thick layer of salt to the top of the fat cap and set the pork aside.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place your pork belly into the basket and fry for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pork belly and with a butter knife, scrape off and remove the salted top of the pork belly.
- Place your pork back into the air fryer and turn the heat up to 425 degrees F. Cook for another 5-10 minutes to crisp up the top.
- Remove and let your pork belly rest about 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into pieces and serve as an appetizer with BBQ sauce or toss into other recipes as desired!