I've cooked a whole lot of bacon in my life and the absolute BEST bacon comes out of the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper with the Smart Lid or the Ninja Speedi!
Why? Because of steam and crisp! Now, that doesn't mean you can't make incredible bacon in the Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill or the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper with 2 lids, because you absolutely can.
In this article, I will go over how to make different kinds of bacon, the times, the temperatures, and which settings work best in the Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill or the various models of Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper, as well as the Ninja Speedi.
Ingredients & Substitutions
There is only one ingredient in this recipe: bacon! I used thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, but you can use any kind of slab bacon that you love, you just may need to change the settings and cook time depending on the thickness and how you like it cooked.
If you wanted to use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon, I would set the temperature lower (around 350℉) and the time to 10 minutes. I have not tried turkey bacon using steam/crisp, so please let me know if you try it!
This recipe is not designed for Canadian Bacon, but I bet using steam & crisp would be a great way to cook that as well. Just lower the time and increase the temperature since there isn't fat to render. My suggestion would be steam & crisp on 400℉/200℃ and the time set to 5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes of the countdown.
Uncured or Cured bacon is going to cook the same, so no changes there.
The difference between thick-cut bacon and regular bacon is the thickness of the slices. Thick-cut bacon is meatier and, if you haven't tried it, definitely give it a try! I used to think that there was no way thick-cut bacon could be as crispy as thin bacon, but yes, it can!
Before I get into the specifics of making crispy bacon in the Ninja Foodi with SmartLid, let's quickly go over the type of bacon you are using and the different cooking times for the way you like your bacon cooked.
The first question is, are you using thick-cut bacon or regular thin bacon? Either works great, but this recipe specifically uses thick-cut bacon, so if you want to use thin bacon strips, decrease your time to 10 minutes and check on the bacon after 7 minutes, not counting the preheat time.
Now, more importantly, how do you like your bacon cooked?
You will see that I put a range of 10-12 minutes for the cooking time and that is because you may not like your bacon as crispy as I like mine.
If you are using thick-cut bacon, start looking at the bacon after 9 minutes of the countdown. At 9 minutes, it is cooked all the way through, but is still flexible and not quite as crispy as when you go the full 12 minutes.
For thinner bacon, start checking on it after the 7-minute countdown.
Steam & Crisped Bacon in the Ninja Foodi with Smart Lid or the Ninja Speedi
Using steam/crisp may seem like an odd choice for making crispy bacon and I thought so too!
Then, I was using the Ninja Speedi to make a quick pasta carbonara and decided to put the bacon right on the rack with the pasta and use the speedi meals function, which is similar to steam/crisp.
I literally had no idea that my life would be changed forever, but that is what happened! The bacon was magical! It was meaty and crispy and crumbled perfectly for my carbonara. There wasn't any uncooked or unrendered fat and it was literally perfect from end to end. I was amazed and decided I would try it on its own in both the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper with SmartLid and in the Ninja Speedi.
Guess what? It worked perfectly and no changes were needed in either appliance.
Appliance Set Up
Ninja Foodi 6.5 qt or 8qt with SmartLid
Put ½ cup of water in the inner pot. Place the rack in the low position inside the inner pot.
Put ½ cup water in the inner pot. Place the crisping tray in the low position.
Steam & Crisping the Bacon
The settings are the same for both the Ninja with SmartLid and the Ninja Speedi.
Lay the bacon strips in a single layer on the rack or crisping plate. I can fit 4-5 in the Speedi and 5-6 in the Ninja Foodi. It's okay if the bacon is touching and even overlapping slightly, but you don't want it overlapping too much or it won't cook evenly.
Close the lid and select the steam/crisp setting. On the Foodi with the slider, slide it to the middle position. On the Speedi, flip the switch to the up position.
Set the temperature for 375℉/190℃ and the time for 12 minutes for thick-cut bacon. For thinner bacon, set the time for 10 minutes.
After about 5 minutes of preheating, you will hear the upper fan and heating element turn on and you will start to see a lot of steam coming out from the lid. This is normal.
Do not open the lid to check on the bacon until the countdown has gone at least 7 minutes or you will let all the steam out of the pot. Once 7 minutes has passed, feel free to check on the bacon and I encourage you to open the lid frequently the first time you make bacon this way.
The picture below shows the bacon after 9 minutes.
Only you know exactly how you like your bacon cooked, so check frequently and, if the time runs out and you want to go longer, simply switch to straight air fry on 375℉/190℃ and cook the bacon as long as it needs to be perfect for you. Remember each time you open the lid, you let heat out and that delays cooking, so once you have your perfectly cooked bacon, jot down the total time it took (not including preheat), and then deduct 2 minutes to get your perfect timing for the next time you use steam/crisp to make bacon. AND... there will be a next time once you taste it!
Remove the bacon with tongs and lay on papertowels so that the grease gets absorbed and helps to make even crisper bacon.
Once cooled for just a few minutes, your bacon is ready to eat or to be used in all your favorite bacon dishes!
Storing the Bacon Fat
If you want to save and cook with the bacon fat, you absolutely can! In fact, the water in the fat is going to help remove any particles of bacon that may be present and you are going to be left with just the bacon fat.
Simply pour the fat and water into a heatproof ramekin and refrigerate it. The solids and water will stay on the bottom and the bacon fat will rise to the top. Once it's cold, take off the bacon grease and put it in a airtight container in the fridge for freezer until you are ready to use it.
Air Fryer Bacon in the Ninja Foodi 2-Lid model or the Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill
While using steam crisp is my favorite way to make bacon, air frying it is #2 on the list and the Ninja Foodi appliances do a great job! So, if you don't have the SmartLid model or the Ninja Speedi, no worries!
Ninja Foodi 2-Lid Model Bacon Instructions
You can use the rack in the low position or the crisping tray. Lay the pieces of bacon in a single layer. Close the lid and select the aircrisp (airfry) function. Set the temperature to 360℉/180℃ and the time for 18 minutes.
Start checking on the bacon after about 7 minutes and cook until it is as done as you like it.
Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill Bacon Instructions
Before I stumbled across the steam/crisp method for making bacon, we always used the XL grill to make bacon and it turns out amazing.
Lay the strips of bacon in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Close the lid and select the air fry (air crisp) function. Set the temperature to 360℉/180℃ and the time for 15 minutes.
Bypass the preheat setting by pressing preheat on the XL models. If you can't figure out how to bypass the preheat setting, then don't worry about it, when the grill says "add food," open and close the lid and the timer will start. You will want to start checking on the bacon after 5 minutes if it went through the preheat stage.
Start checking on the bacon after about 8 minutes and cook until it is as done as you like it.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can pour the liquid grease into a disposable container and let it solidify and in most places, you can simply put it in the regular trash.
You can also put a piece of bread in the bottom of the air fryer and let it absorb the grease and then throw the bread away.
I strain my bacon grease and use it in cooking. It can be frozen in an airtight container for several months.
Cured bacon is what is most popular in the US and the nitrates used for curing that gives the pinkish color that is so often associated with bacon.
Uncured bacon doesn't use nitrates and instead uses more natural ingredients for curing like beets, celery, and other things.
Uncured bacon is going to be the color of raw pork.
Yes, you can. However, the pieces of bacon will not be flat. What you want to do is pile the bacon into the air fryer basket or on the crisping plate and set the steam/crisp temp to 375℉/190℃ and the time for 20 minutes. You will need the extra time because it is important to open the lid after 7 minutes of the countdown and toss around the bacon every 2-3 minutes until it is done the way you like it.
If you don't have the steam/crisp function, you can do the same thing on air fry. Set the temp to 360℉/180℃ and the time for 25 minutes. Start tossing the bacon around after 8-10 minutes and toss ever 2-3 minutes until it is done the way you like it.
Recipes that use Bacon!
If you are a bacon lover like my husband is, you are going to love these recipes!
Ninja Foodi Steam and Crisped Bacon Recipe
- ½ cup water
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- Place the rack in the low position and add ½ cup of water to the inner pot.
- Place the bacon strips in a single layer on the rack. Close the lid and move the slider to the middle position. Select steam/crisp. Set the temperature to 375℉/190℃ and the time to 12 minutes.
- Don't open the lid until the countdown has gone for 7 minutes or you will let out all the steam. After 7 minutes (the display will show 4 minutes left) you can open the lid and check on the bacon.
- The bacon is fully cooked at this time and you can continue air frying until it reaches your desired texture. I like really crispy bacon and that takes the full 12 minutes, or a few minutes longer if I open the lid.
- Place the cooked bacon on paper towels until ready to eat or use in your favorite recipes.
How much grease gets on the heating element and surrounding inside of the cover. I dont want to spend hours having to clean the machine after making bacon. Thanks!
I didn't see any grease and I think that is because of the steam used before the crisping part. The bacon also sits lower in the pot which helps prevent that. I've made bacon with air crisp and steam/crisp and never had issues with grease.
I don’t know what made you try this method for bacon but it’s amazing! My new go-to for crispy bacon!
I was making a carbonara in the Speedi and thought, let me throw the bacon on top and it turned out amazing... so I tested it in the Foodi using steam & crisp and it's literally the best bacon ever! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!