Perfectly Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly

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One of the easiest ways to cook pork belly is in the air fryer, thanks to the circulating air that makes crispy skin pork belly, without the need to slow cook for hours. Give this Perfectly Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly a try and see what I mean.

Crispy pork belly

We often cook pork ribs and pork tenderloin in the air fryer – these are perfect examples of what the air fryer can do really well. But you don’t want to ignore the humble pork belly. It can be a pain to make in the oven because it takes so long to render the fat, but in the air fryer it takes much less time and the skin actually gets super crispy.

We’ve made everything from pork belly strips to smaller pork belly bites in the air fryer, but a full slab of pork belly is where it’s at for a tasty and satisfying meal.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Amazing flavor: When combined with the succulent meat, this spice blend works its magic, infusing every bite with an explosion of flavor that’s nothing short of amazing.
  • Easy way of cooking: The air fryer cooks this pork belly to perfection and in a fraction of the time it would take through traditional cooking methods.
  • Delicious crispy result: The perfectly cooked crispy skin is a sight to behold, with its beautiful golden-brown color and a satisfying crunch that complements the tender meat underneath.

Marigold R says: 5 stars I tried this recipe last night and it was a hit with my family! The pork belly turned out incredibly crispy and flavorful.

Malcolm says: 5 stars OMG…!!! I followed this recipe to cook a piece of Pork Belly.
The piece of pork came our Beautiful, excellent crackling skin (better than I’ve ever managed to get from cooking in the gas oven!). The meat was lovely & tender & of course the flavour of the rub, exactly to our liking. I will no longer cook a peice of Pork Belly in the oven now, from now on it will always be cooked in our Air Fryer. I’m so glad I found your recipe

Raw pork belly in the air fryer basket

Ingredients for Air Fryer Pork Belly

Pork Belly makes a great main dish, for which you’ll need a slab of pork belly. Be sure you keep in mind the size of your air fryer when picking out a piece. It needs to fit comfortably inside. A 5″x5″ piece fits great in my air fryer basket and is enough for 2-4 servings.

  • Pork belly slab – Try to find a uniformly sized piece that’s at least 2 inches thick with a good ratio of fat.
  • Salt – Salt adds tons of flavor and helps dry out the skin so it will crisp up.
  • Seasonings for the spice rub – Paprika, cumin, brown sugar, ground black pepper, and garlic salt.
  • White vinegar – We use white vinegar though you could use what you have on hand. Brushing vinegar on the skin helps to dry it out to insure it becomes crispy and crunchy.
  • Olive oil – The olive oil helps the salt stay on the skin.

Equipment Information

What is Pork Belly?

Raw pork belly slices

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of cooking with pork belly and you’re wondering what it is. That’s an easy one.

Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat that comes from the underside of the pig. It’s the bit that remains after the loin and spareribs have been removed. The two most important bits about cooking pork belly is rendering the fat properly and getting the skin crispy. You can do both in the air fryer.

Pork belly can be used in a variety of dishes and there are many ways you can cook it (my favorite is crispy pork belly). The possibilities are endless! It is commonly used to make crispy pork belly, pork belly strips, or pork belly bites.

Where to Find Pork Belly

These days almost every grocery butcher carries pork belly. If you don’t see it in the meat section, ask at the counter. It’s usually sold with the skin-on and has a generous layer of fat on top and throughout the meat that melts as it cooks.

Pork Belly comes in all kinds of cuts. You can get it as a full slab, which is typically around 6-8 inches long and 5-6″ wide. This is best if you’re planning to serve it as a main dish. It’s quite impressive. You can also get it in strips or in chunks (to use for pork belly bites). Specialty butchers online, like FarmFoods carries pork belly that you can buy without a subscription.

Crispy pork belly

How to Make Pork Belly in the Air Fryer

Step 1: Cut and Season the Pork Belly

Lay the pork belly skin side down on a cutting board. Cut about 1/2” deep into the meat in both directions, making 2”x2” squares (do not cut through to the skin). Mix together the spices in a bowl. Sprinkle the spices on the meat, making sure to get spice in the grooves of the meat.

Raw pork belly

Step 2: Prep for Air Frying

Cut an 18” piece of foil or parchment paper. Fold it in half. Fold up all four corners to make a box. Place the pork belly, meat side down, in the box. Brush the top of the pork belly with white vinegar. 

basting pork belly in the air fryer

Step 3: Cook the Pork Belly

Place the foil or parchment paper box in the air fryer basket. Cook at 200° F (93°C)for 30 minutes. This should dry out the skin enough that it will crisp up during cooking.

Sprinkle the skin with salt and brush with olive oil to help crisp the skin. Cook at 375° F (191°C) for 50 minutes. You might need to monitor the pork as it cooks, because some air fryers cook hotter than others. Check on it a few times during cooking to make sure you avoid burning the skin.

Crispy pork belly in the air fryer basket

When done remove from air fryer and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Turn the pork belly upside down on the cutting board and cut slices along the lines you already cut.

Crispy pork belly

Tips for Super Crispy Skin

The key to great pork belly is crispy skin that can easily be eaten. If it’s not crispy, it’ll be chewy and stick to your teeth. Yuck. You also need it to get crispy but not to burn. Here are a few tips for getting the perfect crispy skin.

  • Don’t marinate the meat in a wet marinade. If the skin gets wet and soaks up liquid, it won’t get crispy.
  • Excess moisture will make the skin soggy. Pat it dry with a paper towel and allow it to sit on the counter uncovered for at least 1 hour before cooking.
  • Pierce the skin all over. Use a skewer or knife to make a dozen little holes. 
  • Be sure to only pierce the skin, not the meat, which will allow the juices to escape from the meat and make the skin soggy.
  • Keep an eye on it as it cooks, to avoid burning.

What Side Dishes to Serve?

There are some really easy side dishes you can serve with your main dish cooked in the Air Fryer. In some cases, you can even cook them together in the air fryer to make it even faster.

Some of our favorite side dishes to serve include air fryer cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and corn on the cob. Other quick options are to make a side garden salad or some macaroni and cheese.

Storing & Reheating Tips

Once the pork belly has cooled completely, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. As leftovers, place the pork belly in an airtight container, then store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat by placing it in the air fryer at 340°F for about 5-8 minutes. To reheat from frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight first. Then reheat them in the air fryer at 340°F for about 5-8 minutes. 

Questions About the Recipe

How long does pork belly take in the air fryer?

In this recipe, after brushing the pork belly with white vinegar, it cooks at 200° F (93°C) for 30 minutes. This should dry out the skin enough that it will crisp up during cooking. Then the skin is sprinkled with salt and brush with olive oil and cooks at 375° F (191°C) for an additional 50 minutes. So, all together the pork belly is in the air fryer for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Is it possible to overcook pork belly?

Yes, there is a point where you can overcook pork belly and it will be dry and tough. You need to watch the internal temperature of the pork and take it out when it reaches 200°F. The cooking process is long for pork belly because of the amount of fat in the layers. This fat needs to break down and render so it’s not thick and rubbery when you eat it. But if you cook it too much, the fat layer will completely rendered down into nothing.

Is it better to cook pork belly fast or slow?

It is best to slow cook pork belly. This allows the fat to render down into the meat. The result is moist and tender meat with a crispy exterior. Typically cooking in the air fryer is a fast method, but as long as you don’t burn the exterior while cooking it, you can cook it at a faster rate in the air fryer.

Before You Go

Since you enjoyed this recipe you may enjoy these related recipes!

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Crispy pork belly

Perfectly Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly

One of the easiest ways to cook pork belly is in the air fryer, thanks to the circulating air that makes crispy skin pork belly, without the need to slow cook for hours.
4.9 from 132 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 611 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 pound (680 g) pork belly make sure it fits inside your air fryer basket
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Lay the pork belly skin side down on a cutting board. Cut about 1/2” deep into the meat in both directions, making 2”x2” squares (do not cut through to the skin).
  • Mix together the spices in a bowl. Sprinkle the spices on the meat, making sure to get spice in the grooves of the meat.
  • Cut an 18” piece of foil. Fold it in half. Fold up all four corners to make a box. Place the pork belly, meat side down, in the box. Brush the top of the pork belly with white vinegar.
  • Place the foil box in the air fryer basket. Cook at 200° F (93°C) for 30 minutes. This should dry out the skin enough that it will crisp up during cooking.
  • Sprinkle the skin with salt and brush with olive oil to help crisp the skin. Cook at 375° F (191°C) for 50 minutes. Check on the pork a few times near the end of cooking to make sure the skin isn't burning. If it's getting too dark, place a piece of tin foil over the top to protect the skin from burning.
  • When done remove from air fryer and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Turn the pork belly upside down on the cutting board and cut slices along the lines you already cut.

Notes

  • Don’t marinate the meat in a wet marinade. If the skin gets wet and soaks up liquid, it won’t get crispy.
  • Excess moisture will make the skin soggy. Pat it dry with a paper towel and allow it to sit on the counter uncovered for at least 1 hour before cooking.
  • Pierce the skin all over. Use a skewer or knife to make a dozen little holes. 
  • Be sure to only pierce the skin, not the meat, which will allow the juices to escape from the meat and make the skin soggy.
  • Keep an eye on it as it cooks, to avoid burning.

All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.

Nutrition

Calories: 611kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 11gFat: 62gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 521mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

19 thoughts on “Perfectly Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Sheila, 50 minutes is correct. The cooking process is long for pork belly because of the amount of fat in the layers. This fat needs to break down and render so it’s not thick and rubbery when you eat it.

  1. Anonymous says:

    5 stars
    this was fantastic. I chopped it up (along the lines already sliced as per the instructions!) and tossed it in a salad with 1000 islands dressing, bread’n’butter pickles, Momufoku chile paste and standard salad ingredients. Next time i will dry off the pork completely before the rub and poking little holes in the fat layer. Also, we didn’t have cumin, but i did add chili powder and hot curry powder

    This will be on the 4 week rotation, be shorter if was healthier

  2. Marigold R says:

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe last night and it was a hit with my family! The pork belly turned out incredibly crispy and flavorful.

  3. ANDREA says:

    Regardless that I didnt dry the meat properly or poke the holes this turned out delicious and I will make again. Mine wasn’t as crispy as I wanted it to be but my air fryer does seem to run hot so I might try a lower temp and longer at 200.

  4. miranda says:

    3 stars
    easy recipe and great flavor but I had just as much skin on mine as yours does in the pic, and it completely burnt through. the pork itself was cooked through though. it was uncharacteristic of me not to check but I was multitasking and trusted the time since it was reiterated in the comments but it was way too long.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Sorry to hear that yours burned. It might be that your air fryer cooks hotter at 380 than others. Some air fryers with higher wattage are more powerful and can cause the skin to burn. I’ll adjust the recipe instructions to warn of this.

  5. Malcolm says:

    5 stars
    OMG…!!!

    I followed this recipe to cook a piece of Pork Belly (ours was rolled, so I unrolled it, mainly to remove the string, wasn’t sure if it was right to keep it rolled & strung!).
    We had a packet of Shwartz Brazillian BBQ rub (it has a citrus flavour to it) so used that.
    The piece of pork came our Beautiful, excellent crackling skin (better than I’ve ever managed to get from cooking in the gas oven!). The meat was lovely & tender & of course the flavour of the rub, exactly to our liking

    I will no longer cook a peice of Pork Belly in the oven now, from now on it will always be cooked in our Air Fryer.

    I’m so glad I found your recipe

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Malcolm, we are so glad you found us! We do love pork belly and have cooked it a lot. We are happy that your pork belly came out so well. Cheers!

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