How to Cook Kielbasa in the Air Fryer – Melts in Your Mouth

If there’s one thing we love about smoked sausages in this house, it’s that caramelization around the outside edges. When you make air fryer kielbasa something truly magical happens. The crispy edges, juicy interior, and delicious flavor are truly hard to beat.

Speaking of caramelizing, did you know you can make caramelized onions in the air fryer too? They go great with some pierogies alongside your kielbasa!

how to make kielbasa in the air fryer dinners done quick

Can You Cook Kielbasa in the Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook kielbasa in the air fryer. In fact, your air fryer is one of the best ways to cook kielbasa.

You’ll not only warm the meat while retaining moisture, but the exterior will turn a pleasant brown and be seared. If you are using a variety with casing, this gives it that ‘snap’ when you bite into it!

The grease drains off during cooking as well, so I find it to be less messy than pan frying (and probably healthier too).

If you’re also interested in cooking more sausage, then be sure to check out my homemade air fryer sausage rolls topped with everything seasoning!

Air Fryer Kielbasa Temperature

The ideal temperature for air fryer kielbasa is around 380°F. This is the perfect spot to warm the interior and brown the exterior, but not burn your sausages.

However, the temperature can be lowered to 350°F and cooked longer, which is useful if you’re trying to cook potatoes, peppers, or onions with it for example.

Raise the temperature to 400°F if you’d like a more “charred” exterior. 

No matter which way you go, the air fryer will deliver delicious and perfectly cooked Polish kielbasa.

air fryer kielbasa perfectly browned and tender

How Long Do You Cook Kielbasa in an Air Fryer?

On average, you cook kielbasa for 8-10 minutes in an air fryer.

This is assuming you’re using the recommended temperature of 380°F. At 400°F, it should take around 7 minutes, whereas 350°F may take upwards of 15 minutes in total.

Another factor is the size of your Polska kielbasa pieces. Medallions, larger chunks, and the whole sausage will vary slightly on cooking times just by their mass. 

The longer you cook, the browner your sausages will be. Just remember that if your air fryer is smoking you’ll need to pause and tip out some grease before continuing. 

How to Cook Kielbasa in the Air Fryer: Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 380°F following manufacturer guidelines (or 375°F if your air fryer doesn’t have a setting for 380)
two kielbasa links on a cutting board
  1. Slice your kielbasa as thick as you like using a chef’s knife (or similar)
slice your kielbasa using a chef's knife
  1. Add sliced kielbasa to the preheated air fryer basket, allowing air space between pieces
add slices of kielbasa to preheated air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fryer setting for 8 minutes at 380°F stopping to shake kielbasa halfway through
  2. After 8 minutes, check and add time in additional 1-minute increments if a darker level of browning is desired
  3. Serve with your favorite sides
serve air fryer kielbasa with your favorite sides like pierogies or sauerkraut

I’m using approximately ½” thick slices, as we really love the caramelization on the outside. Smaller pieces give a higher ratio of browned bits to enjoy on your kielbasa. However, it’s very common to use larger (around 1”) chunks as well.

Since Polska kielbasa is pre-cooked, all you’re really doing is reheating it and adding a level of browning and crisping to the exterior. Largely, the air fryer heating process is all about your desired shade of exterior color.

For sides, I usually serve my air fryer kielbasa with pierogies, potatoes, sauerkraut, onions, or peppers – or any combination thereof!  It would also go great with these microwave brussel sprouts.

Can You Air Fry Kielbasa Whole?

You can air fry kielbasa whole if you prefer, and as long as your air fryer basket is large enough to hold the entire sausage.

You cook a whole Polska kielbasa at the same 375-380°F temperature in your air fryer. Typically, it takes about 9-10 minutes with a flip halfway through. 

When you cook Polish sausage whole, you’re just getting that nice caramelized exterior along the outside or the casing of the sausage. While the interior will be hot and juicy, it won’t brown since it’s sealed inside.  

Mostly, it’s just personal preference on what you enjoy most!

Is Air Fried Kielbasa Good?

Air fried kielbasa is good, if you enjoy caramelized edges and a nice snap on your sausage.

Cooking in the air fryer requires much less watching and tending than a pan-fried method, and gives fairly even cooking. So, from that perspective air fried kielbasa is amazing!

However, if you traditionally boil your kielbasa and don’t want any browning at all, then you may not like the air fryer method. It really just boils down to personal preference here.

how to make kielbasa in the air fryer dinners done quick

Best Air Fryer Kielbasa Polish Sausage

Kielbasa in the air fryer cooks up juicy, browned, and delicious. This method takes less than 10 minutes and is very easy.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 11 mins
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine American, Polish
Servings 7
Calories 180 kcal

Equipment

  • Chef's knife or similar
  • Cutting board

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Ring or package of kielbasa, refrigerator or thawed if frozen (about 14 ounces)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (or 375°F depending on your air fryer’s settings) following manufacturer guidelines
  • Slice your kielbasa as thick as you like using a chef’s knife (or similar) on a cutting board
    1 Ring or package of kielbasa, refrigerator or thawed if frozen
  • Add sliced kielbasa to the preheated air fryer basket, allowing air space between pieces
  • Cook on the air fryer setting for 8 minutes at 380°F stopping to shake kielbasa halfway through
  • After 8 minutes, check and add time in additional 1-minute increments if a darker level of browning is desired
  • Serve with your favorite sides

Notes

  • No oil needs to be applied, as kielbasa has plenty of natural fat 
  • I cut my kielbasa into about ½” medallions, because we prefer extra caramelization per square inch, but 1” pieces or a the whole ring is fine too
  • If you make a whole polish sausage ring at once, cooking time should be closer to 10 minutes
  • This recipe works with smoked, uncured, natural casing, and skinless kielbasa, so use your favorite!
  • Should your air fryer start smoking during cooking, pause cycle, tip out grease, and resume cooking
  • Recommended dipping sauces: ketchup, Dijon mustard, or barbecue sauce
  • Side recommendations for dinner: pierogis (pictured), sauerkraut (pictured), peppers, onions, potatoes, or any combination thereof!
  • Place toothpicks in each slice for an easy appetizer
  • Exact nutritional values will vary depending on specific brand used, sides and sauces included, and amount consumed, so please consider this a rough guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 56gCalories: 180kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 6gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 490mgSugar: 4gCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.25mg
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Katie Vine