How To Cook a Steak In An Air Fryer

air fryer for cooking steak

I have covered many different steak cooking methods; however, this one is slightly different. I’ll show you how to cook a steak in an air fryer. It’s a straightforward process that requires very little time. You’ll need kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder for the seasoning. To cook medium-rare steak takes around 8-9 minutes at 400° Fahrenheit.

As a chef, I love grilling and pan-frying steaks. There’s nothing better than a smell of a steak cooking over direct heat. When cooking steak in an air fryer, you’ll instantly notice that there are no splatters, no smoke, and no smells. Cooking steak has never been so easy.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to cook steak in the air fryer. I’ll guide you through the process of buying a good-quality steak. You’ll also learn how to cook a steak to the desired doneness.

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How To Cook a Steak In An Air Fryer

cooking steak in an air fryer

Cooking steak in the air fryer takes very little time, and it’s not as messy as pan-frying. When pan-frying steak in a cast-iron skillet at home, you have to deal with smells, smoke, and splatters all over the stovetop. An air fryer uses hot air for cooking food. All you need to do is season the meat and place steaks in an air fryer basket. A few minutes later you’ll have a perfect steak.

I’m using a thick rib-eye steak for this recipe. However, feel free to use your preferred steak cut.

Equipment

Ingredients

  • Rib-eye steak;
  • Kosher salt;
  • Freshly ground black pepper;
  • Garlic powder;
  • Olive oil.

Directions

  1. Bring steak to room temperature. Take the steak out of the fridge an hour before cooking and season with garlic powder a generous amount of kosher salt and pepper. Salt will help to tenderize the meat while leaving steak at room temperature will allow for the steak to cook evenly;
  2. Preheat the air fryer. Turn the air fryer on to 400° Fahrenheit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
  3. Pat steak dry. Using a paper towel remove excess moisture from the steak’s exterior. If you leave the steak wet, it will boil. You can only achieve crispy steak’s exterior if the surface is dry, meaning no moisture (cooking oil doesn’t count);
  4. Place steak in an air fryer basket. If you’re cooking more than one steak at a time, make sure they sit in one row. If stacking steaks on top of each other – they’ll boil. Also, try to leave some space between steaks;
  5. Cook. Cook steak at 400° Fahrenheit until the desired doneness. Cooking time may depend on the thickness of your steak. I’m using an inch thick rib-eye steak. It’ll take around 8-9 minutes to cook to medium-rare;
  6. Check steak’s internal temperature. 5 minutes into cooking the steak, flip it and check its temperature with a meat thermometer. Flipping halfway is important since it allows for the steak to cook evenly. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the steak and check the doneness. Remember to take the steak out of the air fryer when the steak’s internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness;
  7. Rest. Leave the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak. Resting will allow steak juices to redistribute throughout the meat’s interior, making it more tender. If slicing into the meat right after it’s been cooked – the meat will release most of its flavorful juices onto the plate making the meat tough;

Note: Cooking time may differ depending on steaks thickness and air fryer. Check the steak every 4-5 minutes if you do not want to overcook it. I’ve been testing a few different air fryer brands and all delivered different results in terms of cook times.

Steak Tempertaure Chart

steak temperature chart
  • Rare steak: 125° F;
  • Medium rare steak: 135° F;
  • Medium steak: 145° F;
  • Medium-well steak: 150° F;
  • Well done, steak: 160° F.

It’s best to check meats internal temperature using a finger test method. However, most home cooks find it intimidating. It takes time to practice but trust me, it’s not difficult, and it’s a reliable way of checking steak’s doneness.

Here’s a video on how to check whether meat is cooked to your desired level:

Alternatively, use a meat thermometer to get an accurate steak’s temperature reading. Stick a probe into the thickest part of the steak. The thin part of the steak cooks faster; therefore, it’s best to check the doneness by sticking a probe into the thickest part.

Steak Buying Guide

Below you’ll find a few tips on how to buy the best quality steak:

  • Marbling. Steak should have a decent amount of marbling since marbling equals taste. However, too much marbling can make a steak taste buttery. Grain-fed beef comes with more marbling however, grass-fed has just a right amount making it the best option;
  • Color. The darker the meat is, the more complex the flavor profile it has. Grain-fed beef is lighter in color while grass-fed is much darker;
  • Smell. The steak should be odorless. If it has an ammonia odor, it’s better to stay away from meat like that;

A true steak lover will tell you that the best steak is from grass-fed beef. It has a more complex flavor profile. However, when compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed has slightly less marbling. Marbling translates to more flavor however, too much marbling can make the steak taste buttery.

Grain-fed beef is raised in feedlots and fed a diet that is not natural to them. Yes, it has more marbling, and it’s slightly more tender when compared to grass-fed; however, I find it too buttery.

While grain-fed beef is a popular choice among consumers, it means it’s more readily available. Grass-fed, on the other hand, is more difficult to find. Try to look for it at a local butcher shop or farmers market. Whole foods supermarkets are offering organic beef.

steak buying guide

There’s also dry-aged and wet-aged steak. Dry-aged is hung for about 5 weeks in dry storage. Throughout this 5 week period, steak’s flavors intensify. It’s also by far the most expensive steak, which is not that easy to find. If looking to experience what a dry-aged steak tastes like, go to a specialized meat chop to get it.

Wet-aged steak is vacuum-sealed and aged for 10 days. It makes the meat more juicy and tender. It’s more readily available and less expensive than dry-aged steak.

Cooking thick steak is more forgiving therefore when shopping for a good steak, make sure it’s at least an inch thick. Of course, it doesn’t mean a thin steak cut is bad. Thick steak is more versatile.

How To Store Leftover Steak

If you cooked too many steaks in the air fryer, do not worry; you can store them in an airtight container and keep it in a fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheat steak in a pan, air fryer, or in the oven. To reheat the steak takes only 3-4 minutes. If you leave it for too long in an air fryer – it’ll become chewy.

How To Serve Steak Cooked In An Air Fryer

If you want to have a delicious steak dinner, you don’t need much. Steak is delicious when served with basic ingredients like vegetables and garlic butter. Since I do not need to explain how to stir fry vegetables or cook some french fries in an air fryer. There’s a link below explaining how to make the most delicious garlic butter sauce.

FAQ

How long to cook steaks in an air fryer?

Depending on the steak’s thickness, it takes between 5-15 minutes to cook steak in an air fryer. Check the steak’s internal temperature every 4-5 minutes to avoid overcooking the steak.

Is it good to cook steak in an air fryer?

It’s OK to cook steak in an air fryer. However, the outside of the steak is not as crispy compared to when seared on a cast-iron skillet. You also can’t baste the steak with butter. Overall, air frying steak is an excellent alternative to frying or grilling since it takes less time and it’s less messy.

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