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Air Fryer Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

A magical sweet and salty snack that will be snapped up in seconds.

Bacon in Air Fryer
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

One of my favorite air fryer creations is maple candied bacon. These strips make an indulgent sweet-salty snack or work terrifically as an interesting addition to salads and some sandwiches. And they are so easy to make quickly!

Putting foods I used to cook with a large amount of oil through the air fryer instead is fast becoming one of my favorite kitchen adventures. The air fryer cuts oil use down drastically and more often than not enhances the natural flavor of the food, especially when layering contrasting tastes and textures together. Sure, there are a few trade-offs (you can miss out on some texture and crunch from traditional frying) but on the whole, air frying is an exceptional taste and health experiment.

Candy Bacon Ingredients 2
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

To make air fryer candied bacon you only need two, or three, ingredients. Bacon rashers, maple syrup, and chilli flakes. If you are not a chilli fan, you can leave them out, but I find a touch of warmth from the flakes helps create a better, deeper contrast between the sticky sweetness of maple syrup, and the naturally salty bacon.

Cut Bacon 2
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

You can use any style and flavor of bacon you like, just note that if it’s the thick stuff it will take longer. My preference is for thinner rashers, with the rind and fat included. If you have a bacon accessory for the air fryer that keeps rashers long and intact, then go for it, but I keep things simple by cutting the bacon into short slices that I can arrange neatly onto the bottom of the air fryer tray.

Paint Bacon
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

The best piece of advice that I can give you to make the bacon strips taste their absolute best, is to paint your bacon twice. Halfway through air frying the meat, you’ll likely want to flip it over anyway, so why not take it out and give it another quick paint and throw on a few more flakes of chilli? The extra minutes’ work will do wonders for the final result.

Re-Paint Half way
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

It’s a simple and delicious method of air fryer cooking, and apart from a bit of post fryer cleaning up (it gets a bit sticky!) is easy to make effectively and efficiently.

Plated Maple Candied Bacon Vert 2
Image: Jono Elderton for 12 Tomatoes

Serves 4-6

5m prep time

12m cook time

Ingredients
  • 1/2 - 1 lb bacon rashers, including rind
  • 2 oz maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dried chilli flakes
Preparation
  1. Cut the bacon into short strips, to be able to load more into air fryer without sticking.
  2. Paint bacon with the maple syrup thoroughly on both sides, then sprinkle liberally with chilli flakes.
  3. Place into bottom of the air fryer tray (Note: you may need to cook bacon in batches) and cook at 300°F for 5 minutes.
  4. Take the bacon out of the air fryer and paint again on both sides with maple syrup. Add more flakes if required.
  5. Cook at 300°F for a further 5-7 minutes (or until crunchy) then serve.

Recipe adapted from The Clever Carrot

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