Air fryer pork belly is an easy way to cook crisped, crackly, and incredibly juicy pork in no time. Seasoned with a simple salt rub, it’s the perfect snack, appetizer, and protein-packed main dish.
See my guide on how to use an air fryer
Your air fryer is the best tool to use when you want a foolproof pork belly! Just like air fryer chicken wings and pork chops, this air fryer pork belly recipe yields a beautifully seared crust and melt-in-your-mouth meat.
Most pork belly recipes will have you grill or slow roast the pork to give the layer of fat enough time to render and tenderize the meat. This simple, 3-ingredient alternative yields the same succulent slab of pork belly using nothing more than salt and cooking spray. No heavy oils or long cooking times needed!
Pork belly vs. bacon
Pork belly is an uncured and unsmoked slab of meat taken from the underside of the pig’s belly. All of these qualities mean that the cut is exceptionally moist and naturally flavorful. On the other hand, bacon is cut from the same area but undergoes a curing and smoking process. It’s also much thinner than pork belly.
Why this recipe works
Just like my air fryer steak and air fryer chicken breast recipes, this air fryer pork belly recipe is easy to make and gives you restaurant-worthy results every time.
- It’s healthy-ish and mess-free. Air frying achieves the same mouthwatering meat and crisped crackly skin as deep frying but with a fraction of the oil and significantly less mess.
- Mostly hands-off. The air fryer does most of the work in this recipe and there’s almost no babysitting needed, unlike pan-searing and deep-frying.
- Goes well with anything. Pork belly is an impressive and meaty main dish you can serve with your favorite dipping sauces and sides.
This list of ingredients is short and sweet because pork belly is naturally flavorful. Here’s what you need:
- Pork belly. The quality of your pork belly matters. Look for slabs that are evenly marbled with fat and are bright pink with no signs of discoloration.
- Salt. For seasoning.
- Olive oil spray. Or any non-stick cooking spray to grease the air fryer basket and prevent sticking.
How to cook pork belly in an air fryer
The best part of this pork belly recipe is that the air fryer does most of the work! Read through these step-by-step instructions to see how it’s done:
Step 1 – Season the pork belly
Pat the pork belly dry with a paper towel, then rub it with salt.
Step 2 – Air fry
Place the pork belly in the greased air fryer basket. Air fry at 200ºC/400ºF until the skin crackles, then lower the temperature to 160ºC/320ºF and continue cooking until the pork is cooked through.
Step 3 – Rest, slice, and serve
Transfer the cooked pork belly to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. When the time is up, slice it and serve!
What to serve with pork belly
There are endless ways to serve pork belly! Any of these ideas would be delicious:
- Dipping sauces. Serve the slices with dipping sauces, like barbecue sauce, tempura sauce, honey mustard, and ranch dressing.
- Breakfast sides. Serve it like bacon with eggs, hash browns, pancakes, etc.
- Rice/noodles. Pile the pork belly slices on top of rice or noodles drizzled with a flavorful Asian-inspired sauce, such as stir fry or teriyaki sauce.
- Pickled vegetables. The acidity from pickled veggies, like cucumbers and kimchi, complements the fatty pork perfectly.
- Creamy soup. Dice the crispy pork belly and use it as a topping for soups, like potato soup and cream of asparagus soup.
- Tacos. Bites of taco-seasoned pork belly in tacos would be downright delicious.
Tips for success
- Always pat it dry. Use paper towels to pat the pork belly dry before cooking. This helps the salt stick to the surface and gives you crispier results.
- Use a knife to score the top layer of skin in a criss-cross pattern. This helps the fat render out while the skin gets nice and crispy.
- For crispy skin, you must preheat the air fryer.
- The safe internal temperature for pork belly is 63ºC/145°F. To check this, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest end of the slab.
- Let it rest before slicing. This allows the delicious juices to soak back into the meat.
Salt is all you really need to infuse more flavor into the pork, but you can experiment with different spices and flavoring agents to suit your taste buds. Here are some ideas:
- Glazed. My 3-ingredient ham glaze, hot honey sauce, katsu sauce, and pork tenderloin marinade would be great as a glaze. Just be sure to baste the meat during the last 2 to 3 minutes of the cooking time to preserve the crackly skin.
- Candied. Brush maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar syrup over the meat during the last few minutes of cooking.
- Hot and spicy. Rub the pork with red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and chili powder before cooking.
- Garlic. Rub the pork with salt mixed with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
To store: Once cooled, refrigerate the pork belly in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: If you want to freeze leftover pork belly, let it cool, wrap it in foil or plastic, and then freeze it in a sealed bag for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat: Return the leftover pork belly to a preheated 200°C/400°F air fryer for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Air fryer. To cook the pork.
- Instant read thermometer. To ensure that the pork is cooked through (145°F).
- Tongs. To lift the pork belly up and out of the air fryer safely.
Frequently asked questions
You should be able to find it at the deli or butcher counter in most major grocery stores. It’s also readily available at Asian grocery stores, butcher shops, and online.
The cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of your pork and your air fryer model. I used a 2-pound pork belly in this recipe, which took about 40 minutes to cook.
Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For the best texture, it’s best to thaw frozen pork belly fully before cooking.
Feel free to cook bite-sized pieces of pork belly instead of an uncut slab. To do this, place the meat in the freezer for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to slice. Cut the slab into 1-inch bite-sized pieces and air fry them at 200ºC/400ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, tossing the basket a few times as they cook.
More air fryer pork recipes
Air Fryer Pork Belly
- 1 lb pork belly
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F. Spray cooking oil inside the basket.
- Pat dry the pork, then rub salt all over it.
- Place the pork belly in the air fryer basket and air fry for 20-25 minutes, or until the skin crackles.
- Reduce the air fryer temperature to 160C and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
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