How to cook steak in an air fryer

How to cook steak in an air fryer
(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Learn how to cook steak in an air fryer and impress your family or friends with tender, juicy cuts of meat. You don’t need the fuss of a grill or skillet to make excellent steaks with that nice brown colorization. In fact, cooking steaks this way provides that maillard reaction (aka the browning) in a way that using, say, a George Foreman, never did.

So, grab one of the best air fryers if you don’t already have one and learn how multifaceted these devices can be with our incredibly simple how-to on making steaks. Air fryers are for more than just chicken nuggets and fries. You can do a lot more in them. And, if you don’t believe me, just take a look at our article on nine surprising foods to cook in an air fryer.

Keep in mind that the steps below are to cook a one-inch steak to medium. If you have a thicker cut of meat or want a different level of doneness, you’ll want to adjust accordingly by adding or subtracting a few minutes to the cooking time.

Steps for how to cook steak in an air fryer

  1. Prep steak
  2. Season the steak
  3. Preheat air fryer
  4. Place steak in air fryer
  5. Set the time and start cooking
  6. Flip the steak
  7. Let steak rest

Tools and requirements

  • Air fryer
  • Steak
  • Seasoning
  • Oil
  • Paper towels
  • Meat thermometer

Step by step for how to cook steak in an air fryer

1. Prep the steak

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

Before you throw the steak in the air fryer, you need to make sure it’s ready. To start, it should be at room temperature. That might mean letting it sit out for a few hours if it’s been in the refrigerator. You should also pat it dry before seasoning.

2. Season the steak

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

 Choose your seasoning and oil of choice. I used a premade steak blend that you can get at any supermarket, but you can keep it to just salt and pepper if you like. Cover liberally (but not too much) with seasoning. Once both sides have been seasoned, add a light coat of oil, also on both sides. 

3. Preheat air fryer

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

Preheat your air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 205 degrees Celsius. 

4. Place steak in air fryer

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

When your air fryer is ready, place the steak on the crisper plate in your basket (or tray if you’re using an oven-style), making sure that it’s flat. And, if you’re doing more than one steak at a time, make sure that you’re not crowding any pieces. 

5. Set the time and start cooking

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

The cooking time will vary based on how thick your cut is, but to do medium with a one-inch cut of steak, set the air fryer to cook for 12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 205 degrees Celsius. Shorten cooking time by a few minutes if you want medium-rare, and add a few more if you want medium to well-done. 

6. Flip the steak

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

At the halfway mark, open the air fryer and flip the steaks. 

7. Let steak rest

(Image: © Future / James Holland)

Once the air fryer is done, remove the steaks and place them on a plate, cutting board, or tray to rest for five minutes. Steak will continue cooking inside while it’s resting.

After the five minutes have passed, check it with a meat thermometer. Your steak’s internal temperature should be between 130 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit (54 to 57 degrees Celsius) if you want medium-rare. A rare steak should measure between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit (48 to 51 degrees Celsius) while a medium is 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 63 degrees Celsius).

FAQs

Do you need to flip steak in an air fryer?

Your steak will be fully cooked even if you don’t flip it as air fryers work to evenly circulate hot air throughout. However, the heating element is typically located above the food in a basket-style air fryer, so the side facing it will get cooked a little more. So, for the most even results, we do recommend flipping your steak, though just once. 

Is it worth air frying steak?

While there’s something to be said about the experience of grilling a steak, there’s little guesswork with air frying a steak as the temperature is precisely controlled, whereas you might not know the exact temperature of your grill’s flames. It’s also a good way to avoid the impulse to keep flipping. 

Lastly, cleanup is very easy as you only need to clean out the basket when done. If you have an oven-style air fryer, make sure to use an aluminum liner for any drippings. 

Final thoughts

There are a lot of different ways to cook steak. And, if you have the skill, you may prefer the ability to closely monitor your steaks when using a grill or skillet. However, many of us (aka me) want great results without mastering the learning curve that comes with properly cooking steak.

So, using an air fryer removes the guesswork. Just know some basics like how thick your steak is and what level of doneness you want, and go from there. Different cuts should be treated slightly differently as well. 

If you’re using a two-inch thick steak, then add a couple minutes per side. However, if you’re cooking a filet mignon, you’ll actually want to shorten your cooking time a couple minutes per side.

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James Holland
Freelancer

James Holland loves audio gear! So much so that he covers all the ins and outs, good and bad for Tech Radar and T3. Where does that so-called expertise come from? Not only is he a lifelong music-lover but he also works in the music industry and is a musician. When not testing headphones or listening to music, he loves to travel, rage at the latest PC games, and eat off-the-beaten-path but not too off-the-beaten-path food.