Make crispy, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly in the air fryer in next to no time! Crazy delicious yet super simple, this air fryer pork belly recipe is the quick and easy way to perfectly succulent, tender pork belly with the crispy crackling of your dreams.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s delicious! Air frying pork belly is ideal because the hot air gets the skin extra crispy, while the high heat cooks the meat to tender, succulent perfection.
- It’s simple. There is no need to boil it or pressure cook it first, no need to dry it out overnight, no poking holes with a stick, and no deep frying.
- It’s fast. The air fryer cooks pork belly in a fraction of the time of traditional methods, so you can enjoy this tasty treat any night of the week with little prep and wait time.
This really is the quick and easy crispy pork belly recipe you have been looking for!
Scroll down for the printable card for this pork belly air fryer recipe, or read on for all the details!
What do you need?
Choose the best quality pork belly you can afford. Get one that is a light pink color, has a white layer of fat, and a firm pork rind on top.
Oil is needed to get the pork belly as crispy as possible. The recipe below calls for light olive oil, but you could substitute another cooking oil with a high smoke point (avoid extra virgin olive oil for cooking in an air fryer).
When air frying, choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point to reduce the chance of your air fryer smoking.
Salt is important for making the skin really crispy. It helps to draw moisture out of the skin to crisp it up, and reacts with the fat to create the perfectly bubbled texture to the crackling.
Optional other seasonings
You can add other seasonings to the pork for extra flavor if you like. I often just add some black pepper, but you can add any pork seasoning you like.
Try a simple spice mix of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, and salt. Or add some Chinese five-spice for an Asian-inspired crispy pork belly.
How to cook pork belly in the air fryer
This recipe is very simple to prepare, there are just a few steps to getting it just right:
- Score the pork belly rind. Pat the pork belly dry, then carefully score the skin with a knife in a criss-cross pattern, with lines approximately ½ inch/ 1cm apart. Ensure you just score the skin, without cutting through to the meat.
- Salt the rind. Rub salt into the pork belly skin, and set aside for 10-20 minutes. You will notice that moisture appears on the surface of the rind. Blot this off with a paper towel to get the pork skin as dry as possible.
- Oil and season pork belly. Drizzle oil over the pork belly and rub the oil into the scores in the skin, and all over the meat. Flip the pork belly over and season the underside with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want to add.
- Wrap the pork belly. Place the pork belly on a large piece of kitchen foil skin side up, and wrap the sides up to form an open container that fits the pork belly snuggly, leaving the skin exposed. Fold the corners tightly to seal them to keep the juices close to the pork while it cooks.
Alternatively, you can cook the pork belly in a small pan, but choose one that fits the pork belly closely so that the pork cooks in the fat rather than losing it all to the pan. A small loaf tin is ideal.
- Air fry pork belly. Preheat the air fryer 320°F/160°C, then place the wrapped pork belly in the air fryer. Air fry pork belly at 320°F/160°C for 30 minutes.
- Crisp the pork belly. Finally, then turn the temperature up to 390°F/ 195°C, and air fry the pork belly for an additional 10 minutes or until the crackling is crispy. See section below for more details on cook times.
How long to cook pork belly in the air fryer?
The exact time required will depend on a few factors including exactly how large and thick your piece of pork belly is, and how efficient your air fryer is.
When cooking pork belly the best way to get it really tender and succulent is slow roasting at a low temperature until the meat is succulent, followed by a short blast at a high temperature to get the skin really crispy.
Pork is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/ 74°C. However, for fall-apart-tender meat we are aiming for a much higher internal temperature of around 195-200°F/ 90-95°C.
The best way to be sure that you have achieved this is to use a meat thermometer. I’d recommend either an instant-read meat thermometer, or a wireless leave-in meat thermometer like the Meater*.
Use an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the meat for an accurate temperature reading.
The cook times in the recipe below are usually exactly right for my Philips XXL Airfryer*. If you have another powerful brand of air fryer like the Nuwave or a Ninja Air Fryer, expect cook times to be similar.
- Serve slices of roasted pork belly with dipping sauces on the side. Try hoisin sauce, sriracha mayo, plum sauce, bbq sauce, or sweet soy sauce for dipping.
- Pile slices into slider buns with quick pickles and shredded vegetables for tasty pork belly sliders.
- Serve roasted pork belly slices with soy sauce, greens, and rice for an Asian-inspired meal.
- Make roasted pork belly tacos with slaw, sliced onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.
To slice the roasted pork belly without shattering the crispy skin, turn it upside down on a chopping board and cut through with a sharp knife.
Storing and reheating
Store any leftover pork belly in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use within 3 days.
You can reheat the pork belly in the air fryer:
- Place the pork belly in the air fryer basket and air fry for 3-4 minutes until warmed through.
Crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly
- 1½ lb pork belly
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt divided
- 1 teaspoon other seasonings optional
- Score rind of the pork belly with a sharp knife. Only cut through into the fat, not into the meat.
- Rub 1 teaspoon of salt into skin, ensuring it goes into the scores. Set aside for ten minutes, then blot any moisture from pork belly surface with paper towels.
- Drizzle pork belly with oil and rub in. Flip pork belly skin side down and season with remaining salt (plus any other seasonings you want).
- Place pork belly skin side up on a large piece of kitchen foil, and wrap sides of the foil up to enclose the meat, leaving the skin uncovered. Fold corners tightly together so it does not leak during cooking.
- Preheat air fryer to 320°F/ 160°C. Place pork belly in air fryer basket, and air fry at 320°F/ 160°C for 30 minutes.
- Turn the temperature up to 390°F/ 195°C, and air fry pork belly for an additional 5-10 minutes until crackling is crispy and bubbled [Note 1].
- Slice pork belly to serve [Note 2].
- Air frying times are an estimate only. The target internal temperature of the pork is 195°F / 90°C. Pork needs to be at least 145°F/ 65°C for safe consumption. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- For clean slices, place cooked pork belly skin side down in a chopping board, before slicing through with a sharp knife.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.