So what are the best steak cuts for air-fryer? During my experimentation with cooking both lean and fat steak cuts, I concluded that these 5 cuts are on top of my list – rib-eye steak, t-bone steak, porterhouse steak, new york strip steak, and chuck eye steak.
As you can see, all 5 steak cuts contain a lot of marbling. There’s a good reason I choose to cook fatty cuts instead lean ones in an air-fryer. Cooking lean steak in an air-fryer is not recommended as it will dry out the steak quite quickly. Sure, you can give it a try, but who likes a tough piece of meat. The air fryer works best with steak with a good amount of fat. So if you plan to cook sirloin steak, it’s better to do it on a cast-iron skillet or grill.
As a chef, I like to experiment with different steak cooking methods, and I have to say an air-fryer is one of the most unusual yet very convenient ways of cooking steak.
In this article, you’ll find a list of the five best steak cuts for an air-fryer. I’ve also included a steak buying guide and cooking tips, so your steak comes out juicy and tender every time.
Best Steak Cuts For Air Fryer
In the list below, you’ll find 5 steak cuts that are considered premium. So I highly advise reading tips for cooking steak in an air fryer below. You do not want to waste your money on an overcooked premium steak.
Learn more about different steak cuts:
- Best steak cuts for pan-frying;
- A most tender cut of steak;
- Best steak cuts for grilling;
- Best steak cuts for sous vide;
- Best cheap steak cuts;
- Best lean steak cuts;
- Best marbled steak cuts;
- Best steak cuts for the oven;
- Best cuts of steak.
Rib-eye steak is a cut of beef that comes from the rib area. It’s very juicy and incredibly tender, and because it has a lot of marbling, it’s packed with a fantastic flavor. It’s a more expensive steak than some other cuts like hanger or skirt steak. When it comes to cooking rib-eye in an air-fryer, it’s a straightforward process. Ensure not to overcook the steak because it’ll dry out the meat. The best level of doneness is medium-rare or medium.
T-bone steak is a cut of beef that contains a T-shaped bone. It consists of two cuts – tenderloin and strip steak. The tenderloin is the most expensive part of the t-bone steak because of the tenderness and melt-in-your-mouth texture. This cut is perfect for an air fryer. It has a good amount of fat which means it won’t dry out quickly. Of course, it’s best to keep an eye on it when it cooks. After all, you do not want to overcook this premium cut. The best level of doneness is medium-rare or medium.
Porterhouse steak is a cut of beef that comes from the rear end of the short loin. It’s similar to t-bone steak because it has two types of meat – tenderloin and strip steak. The only difference is that porterhouse steak has a larger tenderloin; therefore, it comes at a heftier price. This cut is perfect for an air fryer because it has a good amount of fat. But please do not leave it unattended because it can overcook quickly. The best level of doneness, as with most steaks, is medium-rare or medium.
New York Strip Steak
New York strip steak is a cut from the short loin. It’s a leaner steak than t-bone or porterhouse, but it’s still packed with flavor. The amount of fat it has makes it an excellent cut for cooking in an air-fryer. Price-wise it’s in the middle – not as expensive as t-bone steak but not as cheap as hanger steak. When it comes to doneness, I recommend going with medium-rare or medium.
Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steak is a cut of beef that comes from the chuck primal, which is located under the shoulder blade. It’s also known as a “poor man’s ribeye.” Although it’s not as tender as some other steaks on this list, it still has a fantastic beefy flavor. It’s also an excellent choice for an air fryer. The amount of fat it has prevents the steak from drying out quickly. It’s one of the cheaper steaks you can buy, making it a great choice if you’re on a budget. I recommend cooking chuck eye steak to medium-rare or medium doneness.
Steak Buying Guide
Below you’ll find a bullet list of essential things to look out for when buying a steak for cooking in an air fryer:
- Marbling. The more marbling a steak has, the more flavorful it’ll be. However, too much marbling can make the steak too buttery;
- Smell. A good steak should smell fresh – not like ammonia or other fishy smells. If it smells off, then don’t buy it;
- Color. A good steak should be red with some white streaks of marbling running throughout the steak. If it’s brown, the meat is starting to go bad. Ask your butcher how long the steak was exposed to oxygen because it makes the meat go brown;
- Texture. The steak should have a firm but springy texture. If it’s too soft, then it means the meat is starting to spoil;
- Price. The steak price is not always an indicator of quality, but you generally get what you pay for. A more expensive steak will likely be better quality than a cheaper one;
- Thickness. For cooking steak in an air fryer, the best steak thickness is between one to one and a half inches;
- Bone-in vs. boneless. It doesn’t matter whether the steak is bone-in or boneless. However, the bone-in steak has more flavor;
- USDA grading. The USDA grades steak on a scale of Prime, Choice, and Select. Prime is the highest quality, followed by Choice and then Select. However, do not be scared. Choice and Select are still good quality.
Let’s talk about grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef. Grass-fed (or organic) beef comes from cows that were only fed grass and other plants. It makes the meat more nutritious. At the same time, grass-fed beef has a slightly different flavor profile compared to grain-fed beef. I like that it’s leaner and has a more beefy flavor. As a steak lover, I would select grass-fed over grain-fed most of the time.
On the other hand, grain-fed beef is beef that comes from cows that were fed grain (usually corn) in addition to grass. It has more marbling which makes it more tender and juicy. However, some people say it has a “buttery” flavor. I think it all comes down to personal preference.
To distinguish grass-fed from grain-fed beef is easy. Grass-fed is dark red with yellowish marbling (because of the pigments in the plants), while grain-fed is slightly pinkish with white marbling.
Tips For Cooking Steak in an Air-Fryer
Below I’ve included a few tips on how to cook a steak in an air fryer:
- Bring steak to room temperature. Take the steak out of the fridge and leave it out at least 30 minutes before cooking and season it with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- Preheat the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer for 10 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit;
- Pat dry steak. Take a paper towel and gently remove excess moisture from the exterior of the steak;
- Rub with oil. Rub the steak with light olive oil or any other oil for searing steak;
- Cook. Put the steak in the air-fryer basket and cook to the desired doneness. Check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer;
- Rotate and flip. Rotate the steak and flip it only once during cooking;
- Rest. Take the steak out of the air fryer and let it rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it. Resting will allow steak to get more tender by redistributing juices throughout the meat’s interior.
Note: take the steak out of the air-fryer when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness.
Can top sirloin steak be cooked in an air-fryer?
Yes, top sirloin can be cooked in an air fryer. However, since it’s a leaner steak, I would recommend cooking it for a shorter amount of time to avoid it from drying out.
Can you cook frozen steaks in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook frozen steaks in an air fryer. However, I would recommend thawing the steak first so that it cooks evenly. Frozen steaks will also take longer to cook.
Can you cook more than one steak in an air fryer?
You can cook multiple steaks in the air fryer, but I would recommend cooking only one or two at a time so that they have enough space and heat circulating around them. Cooking multiple steaks at once may result in uneven cooking.
Do you need to flip steak in an air-fryer?
You need to flip the steak in an air-fryer to prevent it from sticking to the basket and ensure even cooking.