You haven't had the best crackling until you try this Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly. The crackling will surprise you if you've only ever cooked it in the oven. We've always loved our Crispy Crackling Pork Belly (Oven Roast with vegetables) and it will always remain on rotate because it's not only delicious its familiar and dependable.
This air fryer pork belly however, is a game changer in terms of convenience, time and yes you guessed it, CRACKLING!
Please note: This recipe has not been changed in any way. I've since added a few additional images of yet another fantastic pork belly Sunday roast! Enjoy 😉 You can find the full recipe in the recipe card below.
This is the best pork belly roast with the most juicy tender meat!
Whether you make one small roast or 2 for a larger crowd the results are always the same - DELICIOUS!
On our weekend away, I was completely in love with the food, and that says a lot for me because I'm extremely hard to please with food, no matter where we go. Awkward and what may appear difficult yes, but when you make most of your own food from Homemade Ciabatta Bread to custard, sauces, pasta, dessert and more, you become very clear about the level of food preparation.
Why is it important to make food from scratch?
Making food from scratch gives you control over the ingredients. You eat fresh food and create meals that your family loves and enjoys. It's therapy, social, creative, cost effective and educational.
Point is, after a few days of real good food, I decided to give the pork belly a try and I was totally smitten!
The crust was perfect, meat so tender and juicy that I had to find a way of meeting the chef and I did. She gave us some of the best food that we had tasted in most places, such an honor to meet her. After a long chat I was inspired enough to go home and make new recipes. When the food carries the hotel, you need to meet the chef😍
There are no hard and fast rules to making pork belly that's why it's such an easy recipe!
You can choose to dry the skin, place it in an instant pot for your reasons (more on using the IP before cooking in this (pork belly bites recipe)
You can also do none of those things and simply buy and cook your pork belly.
Please see my frequently asked questions below on why I suggest drying it (if you can) minimum 30 minutes or overnight. For the rest, enjoy making it!
Ingredients For Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly
Pork belly is a very forgiving type of meat whether you are making it in the oven or the air fryer. It's an easy to cook recipe with minimum hands on time, the appliance does the best part for you, which is getting the skin all crackling! However, there are a few things you need to do to help make that happen.
Pork Belly: As this is not an oven bake pork belly, make sure that your Pork belly fits into your air fryer. Either the basket or racks depending on which air fryer you are using.
Buying Pork Belly: Choose a slab with a good ratio of meat to fat and not just fat. These pork bellies weigh roughly 1.2kg each. One of these may not be enough to feed a family of 4 to 6 people unless you are serving it with a side like rice or potato wedges that's filling and a salad.
Salt: Salt on pork is like fennel on pork, the perfect marriage because they are both key ingredients. Salt for flavor, balance and crunchy crackling.
White Vinegar: Vinegar definitely helps to dry out the skin and make it extra crunchy. (Chef's tip!).
Fennel: As mentioned above, Fennel is a wonderful pairing for pork belly. If you prefer whole fennel, I would suggest toasting it before using for optimum flavor and aroma.
Spice: Involtini: Is a meaty, smoky blend of herbs and spices from Smell and Taste. Involtini was specifically created to enhance the flavors of all meat dishes without adding any heat.
Olive Oil: Crispiness and flavor. You can use a light olive oil or another oil with a high smoke point but this recipe starts the pork belly on a very low temperature so I am using this extra virgin olive oil. There was no smoking at all in my air fryer.
How To Make This Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly
If you haven't made pork belly in the air fryer before, I'm here to say you're going to love it!
Pork Belly Prep: Place the pork belly skin side down on a board. When you buy the belly it's sometimes already cut into squares on the flesh. If not you can make small squares into the flesh not too deep. This is to help the spices better flavor the belly but you can also add the spices without making slits.
Spice & Seasoning: Gently spread the spices all over the flesh. If there are cuts in the flesh or you've made them too deep, it's best not to rub the spices over as that can cause the meat to tear. Gentle dabs and spread it over.
Olive Oil: Add roughly a tablespoon of olive oil to help blend the spices into porkbelly flesh.
Why Use Foil For Pork Belly
Prep The Foil: Cut a large sheet of foil to create an oven tray for the pork belly. The foil will act as an oven tray that will hold the pork belly and all the drippings as it cooks.
COOK'S TIP! My suggestion would be to use heavy duty foil or double the foil. The pork belly will leave quite a bit of "pan juices" behind and you want to keep it all! For a delicious gravy later or you can simply pour the juices over the sliced belly before serving.
Double the foil, create a square or rectangular box to fit your pork belly and simply fold the sides. Sometimes folding the sides can be tricky, but don't over-think it, you just want to prevent the juices from spilling over.
Air Fry: The magic of this recipe is completely different to high heat first to get the crackling. Actually its the complete opposite! We start on a very low air fryer temperature for 30 minutes before cranking it up to 200°C/400°F. Its genius!
More Air Fryer Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get crispy pork belly fat?
Remove the pork belly from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. If you want to be guaranteed of a popping crispy skin, leave it unwrapped in the fridge on a rack overnight. That's my suggestion but you can cook it 30 minutes after removing it from the fridge.
Cooks Tip! Whether you are drying it out for 30 minutes or an hour, remove any packaging that it may have. Pork belly needs to be uncovered to air dry.
Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly
How long is it safe to keep raw pork belly?
As long as your pork belly is wrapped (This is when you should leave the packing on) or in a sealed container in the fridge, its good for 3 to 5 days. The temperature in the fridge should be roughly below 4°C (40°F) to keep your food safe and that's another reason why you should not overload the fridge. Another post for another day!
Freezing raw pork belly?
Up to 6 months properly wrapped.
Why is it better to dry pork belly in the fridge overnight?
To reduce the moisture that you cannot get out by drying it with tissue paper. When the skin is exposed to 'air-dry' you are guaranteed a crackling skin. The higher shelves in the fridge are colder than the lower ones, so if you can, put it higher up.
What spices go with pork?
Sea salt and fennel. A combination of smoky, nutty, warm and earthy like this Involtini spice used here is also very suitable. Use your favorite spice rub combination.
Can I put foil in an air fryer?
Yes you can safely use foil in the air fryer and the same for baking paper (parchment paper)
Is it safe to put raw pork in the air fryer?
If you have an instant read kitchen thermometer use it. Meat like pork, beef and lamb are safe to eat at 62/63°C / 145°F whereas fish is safe to eat at 74°C / 165°F. So whether you cook it in an instant pot and want to eat it before you air fry it cook it through! If you want to boil it first and then air fry it or however you decide you want to cook it, make sure its safe to eat.
Does the air fryer dry the meat out?
The air fryer is very convenient but it does not create oil so you need to use anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil to prevent your food drying out. Whether you are making a simple recipe like Air Fryer Salmon you still need to add some oil even in the form of cooking spray is still better than nothing at all.
Salad: Pork belly has a high fat content so you may prefer to serve it with a light salad like this Tomato Cumber Salad or a Cucumber and Onion Salad. In saying that however, pork belly is great with Pesto Pasta Salad too!
Storing Left Over Pork Belly
Store any leftover pork belly in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and use within 3 days for it to be still safe to eat.
Reheating Air Fryer Pork Belly
You can reheat pork belly in air fryer for roughly 3 to 4 minutes depending on quantity.
More Pork Recipes
- Pork Roast With Crackling & Gravy
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs With A Homemade Balsamic Sauce
- Pork Belly, Crispy Crackling
Easy Air Fryer Pork Belly
- 1 Air fryer
- Aluminium foil
- Pork Belly Prep: Remove the pork belly from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. Dry the skin really well with kitchen paper towel.
- Spices: Add the spice and salt into a small bowl.
- Prep the flesh side of the belly: Place the belly skin side down on a board. Score the flesh making cuts that meet at the ends into squares. The cuts should be deep enough for the spices to go in but not too deep, so don't cut through to the skin layer.
- Season: Add the spice and spice and seasoning to the flesh and be gentle not to tear the meat, so pat rather than rub.
- Make a foil tray/box: Use a large enough sheet of foil to make a foil box for the pork belly. It's more like an oven tray so make sure that you double the base on which the belly will sit and fold up the sides. The foil will collect the fat and juices from the belly when cooking in the air fryer.
- Place the pork belly flesh side down, skin side up. Fold the four sides of the foil up so that the fat doesn't spill over.
- Dry the skin: Dry the top side (skin) of the belly one more time with paper towel. Brush the skin with vinegar this will help with the crisping of the skin.
- 1st Air Fry: Place in the air fryer on 100°C /212° F for 30 minutes for the skin to crisp up. Check it at 20 minutes and then add 5 minutes and 5 minutes more depending on how brown and crisp you want it.
- 2nd Air Fry: Remove the belly from the air fryer, add the olive oil and salt onto the skin. Don't turn it! Back in the air fryer for 45 minutes on 200°C / 392° F. Again, peep in on 30 minutes it will probably need another 5 to 10 minutes for the perfect crackling.
- Let the belly rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into it.
Fennel and pork are a match made in heaven in Italian cuisine. You can use just the fennel powder but I toast the seeds and use them when seasoning the skin making sure they are securely inserted into the cuts we made in the flesh. They add a nutty taste and texture. Involtini Spice: To elevate our pork belly, we use the Involtini spice from Smell and Taste. It has all the meaty smoky elements without any nasties. Prep Ahead:
You can make this pork belly recipe the same day however, I always prefer to start the process early. This is how I do it.
- Buy pork belly
- Remove packaging
- Dry with a kitchen tissue paper
- Place a rack on an oven tray to prevent a mess in the fridge
- Place the belly over the rack and leave it in the fridge overnight.