An easy, indulgent, and even keto-friendly side dish for any dinner. What I love about the air fryer method is that it's insanely quick and incredibly simple. But you can also easily cook bacon-wrapped asparagus in the oven. Both methods are explained below.
Fresh chives, scallions, parsley, thyme, or even thin peels or shreds of Parmesan are lovely garnishes if you're hosting a dinner party. For a simple, bright, and fresh finish, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice and a small drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- High-heat spray oil
- 1 bunch of asparagus (14-18 individual spears)
- 1 strip of bacon for every three or four asparagus spears (a pound or standard package is usually plenty)
- Avocado oil or olive oil (or both)
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- Ground black pepper, optional
Before you begin gather your ingredients, clean and dry the asparagus, and collect your tools. Preheat your air fryer to 375° F or the oven to 400° F. Get everything in place.
- Grease the air fryer basket with high-heat spray oil. Or for the oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and grease it. If you own a cooling rack, set it inside the sheet pan.
- Cut the woody stems off the bottom of all the asparagus. For thicker stalks, trim away an inch or two from the base. To do this without taking off more than necessary, snap one spear by holding it below the tip and at the bottom, then bending it gently until it snaps. Place it next to the rest, and trim them all to the same length as the snapped spear.
- Divide the spears into groups of three to five, depending on thickness.
- Take a piece of bacon and lay it flat on your cutting board on a diagonal. Place one group of asparagus an inch from one end of the bacon. Wrap the end of the bacon strip around the top, and roll to bundle it all up. Shift the asparagus slightly with every roll to spread the bacon strip across as much of the stems as possible. This will give you as many bites as possible with crispy bacon!
- Using a pastry brush or drizzling with a small spoon, lightly oil the exposed sections of the asparagus spears. Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and ground pepper, if you like.
- Place the bundle in the fryer basket or on the sheet pan with the exposed end of the bacon down.
- Repeat with the remaining groups of asparagus. Leave at least an inch of space between each bundle in the basket or on the pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
- Cook the bundles until the asparagus stems are fork-tender, and the bacon is a rich brown color and crispy. Begin checking for doneness after ten minutes. Thicker asparagus may take 15 minutes in the air fryer to become tender. In an oven, cook the bundles for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve warm, garnished with fresh herbs, lemon juice, or a small amount of olive oil.
On temperature... If you are cooking particularly thick asparagus, you may find cooking longer at ten or fifteen degrees lower is better. A slightly lower temperature will allow the stems of the asparagus to cook through without burning the tips or the bacon. This is true whether cooking in an air fryer or the oven.
On reheating... Store any leftovers (yeah, right) in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can certainly reheat the asparagus bundles in the air fryer or the oven. I like a temperature of 350° F, regardless of which you choose. Five minutes is usually enough to get the bundles nice and hot.
Bacon-wrapped asparagus are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and safe for paleo, low-carb, and ketogenic diets. Always check the label on your bacon to be sure of the ingredients. Some curing blends will contain a wheat-based sugar, dextrose. This is mostly a cause of concern for celiac patients on a strict gluten-free diet.
You can certainly use turkey bacon. Or a plant-based "bacon" for a vegan or vegetarian dish. But the cooking temperature and time may require a bit of experimentation. For a plant-based dish, cooking at a lower temperature is a safer bet. Plant-based products by nature don't always tolerate high heat as well as meat.
The Nutrition Information below is based on five bacon-wrapped bundles with three asparagus and one bacon strip each, a couple of tablespoons of avocado oil, and half of a teaspoon of salt.
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