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How long do I cook a hot link in an air fryer?

Cooking hot links in an air fryer is a quick and easy way to make these sausages crispy on the outside while keeping them juicy on the inside. With an air fryer, hot links can be cooked to perfection in just 10-15 minutes. The key is knowing the right time and temperature to use based on the thickness and variety of hot link.

What is a Hot Link?

A hot link is a type of sausage that originates from Louisiana. It gets its name from the spicy, heavily seasoned meat filling that makes it taste hot and spicy. Hot links are also known as Louisiana hot sausage or smoked sausage. They have a coarsely ground filling and are sold fresh, pre-cooked, fully cooked, or smoked. The casings used are often beef or pork.

Common varieties of hot links include:

  • Andouille – Coarsely ground pork and smoked over pecan wood.
  • Boudin – Made with pork, rice, onions, and Cajun spices.
  • Chaurice – Contains ground beef, pork, garlic, and chili peppers.
  • Hot Italian – Pork-based with fennel seed and red pepper flakes.

The spicy, bold flavor of hot links makes them perfect for soups, jambalaya, red beans and rice, pasta dishes, pizzas, sandwiches, and much more. Their versatility and kick of heat makes them a staple in Cajun and Creole cooking.

Benefits of Cooking Hot Links in an Air Fryer

Here are some of the benefits of using an air fryer to cook hot links:

  • Quick cooking times – Hot links cook fast in an air fryer, reducing cooking time to just 10-15 minutes compared to grilling or baking which takes 30+ minutes.
  • Even cooking – The circulating hot air in an air fryer cooks the sausages evenly on all sides.
  • Creates a crispy exterior – The hot air crisps up and browns the casings nicely.
  • Retains moisture – The quick cook time ensures the interior stays juicy.
  • Easy cleanup – Air fryers have minimal splatter compared to frying on the stovetop.
  • Healthier than frying – Uses less oil than pan frying or deep frying hot links.

Air frying is one of the quickest and easiest cooking methods for making delicious hot links with a snap and sizzle in the casing but lots of juicy flavor within.

Choosing a Hot Link Variety

The variety of hot link you are cooking will impact the necessary cook time. Here are some things to consider:

  • Fresh sausages – Require the longest cook time to fully cook through. May release more fat and juices.
  • Pre-cooked – Only need to be heated through which takes less time. Won’t release as much fat.
  • Smoked sausages – Already cooked so just need warming in the air fryer for best texture.
  • Thickness – Thicker hot link varieties will need more time than skinny links.

For the juiciest results, fresh hot link sausages are recommended. Pre-cooked or smoked hot links can dry out more easily with extended cooking so they require less air fryer time. Thicker sausages over 1 inch diameter may need up to 2-3 more minutes than thin breakfast-size links.

Air Fryer Cooking Times for Hot Links

The air fryer cooking time can vary slightly based on the factors mentioned, but here are general guidelines for how long to cook hot links:

Hot Link Variety Cooking Time
Fresh hot links, 1-inch thick 13-15 minutes
Fresh breakfast links, 0.5-inch thick 10-12 minutes
Pre-cooked hot links 8-10 minutes
Smoked pre-cooked hot links 5-7 minutes

For fresh sausages, an internal temperature of 160°F should be reached. Pre-cooked or smoked links just need to be heated through.

These air fryer times are based on cooking at 400°F which is the optimal temperature for getting hot links crispy on the outside while heating the interior. Adjust times up or down slightly if using a different air fryer temperature.

Tips for Cooking Hot Links in an Air Fryer

Follow these tips for the best results when cooking hot links in an air fryer:

  • Use a single layer – Overcrowding will prevent even cooking.
  • Brush with oil – A light brush of oil helps promote browning.
  • Flip halfway – Flip hot links over midway during cooking.
  • Add spices – Toss cooked links in cajun seasoning, paprika or chili powder.
  • Use a meat thermometer – Check internal temp of fresh links reaches 160°F.
  • Let rest 1-2 minutes – Allows juices to reabsorb after cooking.
  • Clean air fryer – Empty grease/oil from drawer after cooking.

By oiling the sausages lightly and flipping them during the air fry time, you can achieve perfect crisping and coloring on all sides.

Air Fryer Hot Link Recipes

Here are some delicious recipe ideas for putting your air fried hot links to use:

Cajun Hot Links


  • 1 lb fresh hot link sausages
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp oil


  1. In a small bowl, combine seasonings to make cajun seasoning blend.
  2. Brush hot links all over with a thin layer of oil.
  3. Roll sausages in cajun seasoning until evenly coated.
  4. Arrange sausages in a single layer in air fryer basket.
  5. Cook at 400°F for 13-15 minutes, flipping halfway.
  6. Remove and let rest 1-2 minutes before serving.

Air Fryer Hot Link Egg Rolls


  • 1 lb hot link sausages, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper
  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • Oil for brushing


  1. In a bowl, combine chopped hot links, cabbage, carrot, green onion, jalapeños, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place 2-3 Tbsp filling diagonally on each egg roll wrapper.
  3. Brush edges with water then roll up tightly.
  4. Brush egg rolls all over lightly with oil.
  5. Arrange in a single layer in air fryer basket.
  6. Cook at 390°F for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway.

Loaded Hot Link Baked Potatoes


  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • Oil for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cooked hot link sausages, sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • Chopped fresh chives for topping


  1. Poke potatoes all over with a fork. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Cook potatoes in air fryer at 400°F for 38-42 minutes, flipping halfway.
  3. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Fluff insides with a fork and season with salt.
  4. Top with cheese, hot links, onion, sour cream, bacon, and chives.

Storing Leftover Air Fried Hot Links

Air fried hot links will keep in the refrigerator 3-4 days stored in a covered container. Reheat leftovers in a skillet, oven, or microwave until heated through.

For longer freezer storage, place cooled cooked sausages in a freezer bag or airtight container with the air squeezed out. Frozen hot links will keep 2-3 months. Thaw before reheating.


Air frying is one of the quickest and tastiest cooking methods for hot links. The circulating hot air crisps up the casings while keeping the interior moist and flavorful. Cook times range from just 5 minutes for pre-cooked smoked links to 15 minutes for fresh thick hot link sausages. Toss the hot links in cajun spices, add to egg rolls, or top baked potatoes for amazing flavor combinations. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 2-3 months.