As a prolific eater of wedge salads, macaroni and cheese, and other things that taste better with a bit of bacon, I tend to keep a bag of real but store-bought bacon bits on hand. They’re serviceable—after all, they are bacon—but they come out of the bag gummy and lackluster, without any of the texture we associate with freshly fried bacon. But with an air fryer, you can crisp ‘em up and serve ‘em up, and no one will know they came out of a plastic bag.
You’ve probably noticed your air fryer does great things for greasy foods—the intense heat gets the fat moving and grooving, while the aggressive air circulation whisks away moisture and ensures every inch encounters some of that heat. This is why it’s such a great appliance for reheating a piece of fried chicken or cooking pre-fried and frozen convenience foods.
Bacon is fairly fatty, even the pre-cooked, store-bought bits. Tossing those bits in the air fryer wakes up the fats and re-crisps the meat, giving your bacon bits a crisper texture and better flavor. (Cold fats don’t coat your palate as well as warm ones).
How to crisp up bacon bits in an air fryer
Set your air fryer to 400℉, remove the basket tray, and place a handful of bacon bits directly in the basket. Let the air fryer warm the bits for a minute or two, until you can smell bacon. Take a peek and give the meaty morsels a taste. If they’re nice and crispy, take them out and sprinkle them on something. If they’re still a little gummy, give them another minute, until they reach the texture you desire. Serve immediately on a wedge salad, or over pasta, or on anything else that calls for the flavor and texture of crispy, salty pork.