Get ready to treat your taste buds to something seriously amazing – Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites! This pork belly is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and each bite is packed with salty, smoky, and caramelly flavors.
If you’ve never cooked with pork belly before, this is the perfect intro recipe. It comes out great every time with minimal fuss – only 10 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes in the air fryer. Plus, aside from the pork belly, it uses all ingredients that you’re probably familiar with and already have in your pantry!
What is Pork Belly?
You may not know it, but you’ve probably eaten pork belly many times before. It’s the cut of meat that is used for bacon. Pork belly is exactly what it sounds like, meat that comes from the belly of a pig. It has lots of marbling, which makes it super indulgent and tender.
Why I love this recipe?
I mentioned bacon, right? Just making sure because I absolutely LOVE bacon, and I’m not alone. And pork belly, being the same cut of meat as bacon, gives us a palette with which to play and make some incredible recipes!
You could almost call this recipe pork candy. I mean, the combination of sweet, savory, and salty is just unmatched. Our simple rub compliments the natural flavors of the pork and brings them to new heights.
Ingredients and Equipment
The main ingredient you’ll need for this recipe is, of course, pork belly. Skin-on and skin-off pork belly both work well. I like to start with whole pork belly and cut it into the exact sized pieces I want. But, pork belly often comes sliced so I look for the thicker slices and then cut those into chunks.
The rest of the ingredients are all things you probably already have in your pantry. Brown sugar, smoked paprika, and garlic powder give the pork a sweet, smoky, and complex flavor. Salt, black pepper, and olive oil tie everything together.
The only special kitchen gadget you’ll need to make this recipe is your air fryer. Other than that, all you need is a mixing bowl, a good sharp knife to cut the pork belly, and a cutting board.
Air Fryer Pork Belly Bites are really easy to prepare. They are ready to go in the air fryer after just 10 minutes of prep.
Start by cutting your pork belly into 2 x 2-inch pieces. This may seem too large to be “bite-sized,” but the pork will shrink down a lot when you cook it, just like bacon does. When in doubt, go larger than you think you need to.
Next, you’re going to mix all of your seasonings together. Dump the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix it all together with a spoon or spatula. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand.
Throw the pork belly in the bowl with the seasonings and toss it around until all of the pieces are coated. And that’s it, they’re ready for the air fryer!
Skin or no skin?
When you buy pork belly, it usually comes with the skin still on it. There’s a bit of a debate about whether to keep the skin on or to cut it off. It’s pretty split, with plenty of folks on both sides of the argument. Some people suggest cutting the skin off, saying it’s better to also trim away some of the fat that’s right under the skin for a leaner piece of meat. On the other hand, there are those who believe you should absolutely leave the skin on if you want the full flavor experience.
For this recipe, we’ve decided to leave the skin on. We believe that doing so really amps up the flavor and keeps it moist. But if you’d like it a little leaner, go ahead and cut off the skin and some of the underlying fat. You’ll still get terrific pork belly bites!
Preheat your air fryer to 400℉, then place your pork belly in the basket. It’s okay if the pieces touch each other, just try to place them in an even layer. Air fry for 15 minutes. At the halfway mark, give the pork a turn to help ensure even crisping.
After 15 minutes, the pork should be browned on the outside with a bit of charring on the edges. If you like your pork belly extra smokey and charred, you can add another minute or two to your liking.
One reason why I love these pork belly bites is because they are so versatile! They can be served by themselves as an appetizer or used as a building block for a great meal.
If you are serving pork belly bites as an appetizer, you can try dipping them in teriyaki or sweet chili sauce. However, I would argue that they are flavorful enough to eat entirely by themselves.
If you want to turn your pork belly bites into a well-rounded meal, try serving them over rice or noodles with some steamed veggies.
Storage and reheating
Pork belly bites are best if you eat them right after you make them. They will lose some of their tenderness after you refrigerate and reheat them. If you do have leftover pork belly, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. When you want to reheat it, stick it back in the air fryer at 350℉ for 5 minutes.
You might also like…
If you like recipes like this, we have some other outstanding air fryer pork recipes. Give these a try!
Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Chops: Our most popular recipe, and for good reason. You’ve never had pork chops this easy and this good. Absolutely mouthwatering!
Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin: Another hugely popular recipe, we use our simple rub mixture to get the most tender, juicy pork tenderloin you’ve ever had. And it’s cooked with ease in your air fryer.Print