Is there anything better than a good steak to improve your day? There are so many great ways to cook steak, and now there’s one more. For those days when you don’t have time and energy, air fryer steak is the perfect answer.

Or even when you do have energy, you’ll be surprised how good an air fryer steak can be.

Steak in an air fryer?

Why make steak in an air fryer when you have cast iron, reverse seared, or flame grilled steak? While all of those are excellent ways to make steak, an air fryer can have your steaks from raw to less raw (aka, perfectly cooked) in under 10 minutes, with almost zero cleanup. After a long work day, this seems way better to me than hand scrubbing a cast iron skillet with kosher salt or preheating your grill, oiling your grill, scrubbing your grill, etc.

air fryer steak |

How to get a good sear

Air frying with its fan and high-ish temps can replicate the same kind of sear you get on a grill or cast iron pan. The trick is getting the steak as close to the heating element as possible. For these photos, I used air fryer racks to lift the steaks right up to the heating element, and the resulting crust is pretty darn decent.

air fryer steak sear |

Air fryer racks

Air fryers are great, but air fryers with racks are a game changer. Racks allow you to lift the steaks up closer to the heating elements, cook more steaks at once, and prevent any weird grill patterns from the air fryer’s basket. You can use any racks that stack, and fit inside your air fryer. This is the one I’m using, but be sure to measure your air fryer and make sure the rack fits inside before buying.

Ideally you want to get your steak as close as possible to the heating element while leaving an inch of airspace to be sure nothing spontaneously combusts. Don’t walk away for the 7 minutes the steaks are cooking just in case.

air fryer steak |


There will be lots of smoke. Butter basted steaks cooked an inch from a 400ºF heating element are going to get smoky. I put our air fryer right under our hood fan on high and it did the trick. There’s not really a way around the smoke if you want a good crust. It might even be worth it to take your air fryer outside.

The best cut for air fryer steak

Honestly, this isn’t a high dollar steak kind of recipe. There are better ways to cook expensive steaks. This is more of a weeknight pick-up-on-the-way-home grocery store steak kind of recipe.

I tried this with a striploin and a sirloin, for science. Both were about 1.25” thick or so and both came out perfect. The fat cap on the striploin rendered out enough not to be chewy and unappetizing, which is always a risk when making striploin medium rare. The sirloin was still tender and juicy and not at all tough or tasteless, which is always a risk with sirloin.

There’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe going around right now that suggests a 2″ steak that’s going to cost a lot more. I’m not sure about that one. Personally, I’ll stick to supermarket steaks for my air fryer steaks.

sirloin and striploin |

Preheating your air fryer

Preheating an air fryer can seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s really helpful for a fast cooking recipe like steak by reducing the time it takes to get your air fryer up to temp. I threw some oil coated garlic cloves into the basket while preheating (and cooking the steak) and they came out roasted and gooey.

Air Fryer Steak temps

For a quick and easy reference, steaks are roughly done at:

Rare: 125ºF
Medium-rare: 135ºF
Medium: 145ºF
Medium-well: 155ºF
Well done: ?‍♂️

air fryer steak |

Dry Rubs & Marinades

A steak is pretty good all by itself, but if you are so inclined, here’s that Gordon Ramsay recipe I mentioned earlier. I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to be popular. I also like cajun butter steak and steak diane, when we’re talking about flavored steaks.

steaks in air fryer basket |

Steak sauces

Check out this post for our best steak sauces such as classic peppercorn, mustard cream, garlic mushroom, coconut curry, or Japanese chimichurri.

And of course you need potatoes!

air fryer steak |

air fryer steak |

Perfect Butter Basted Air Fryer Steak

Juicy, deeply crusted, perfectly cooked steak in under 10 minutes for those days you don't have time or energy.
Serves 2
4.78 from 18 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 8~10oz steaks of choice, striploin or ribeye preferred
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter or high heat oil
  • 4 cloves garlic unpeeled, optional

Special Equipment

  • air fryer


  • Season the steaks and allow to rest on the countertop for about 30 mins.
    seasoning air fryer steak |
  • Preheat your air fryer at 400ºF for 3 minutes. If using garlic, place them at the bottom of the basket before preheating.
    preheating air fryer with garlic |
  • Microwave the butter for 20 seconds, then another 20 seconds, or until melted.
    melted butter |
  • Brush the steak down with butter, then place in the basket as close to the top as possible.
    steaks in air fryer basket |
  • Cook at 400ºF for 7 minutes without flipping for medium rare. See notes for other times.
    air fryer steak |
  • Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
    air fryer steak |


Approximate times
Rare: 5 min
Med Rare: 7 min
Med: 9 min
Med well: 11 min

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Perfect Butter Basted Air Fryer Steak
Amount Per Serving (8 oz)
Calories 562 Calories from Fat 206
% Daily Value*
Fat 22.9g35%
Saturated Fat 11.2g70%
Cholesterol 235mg78%
Sodium 185mg8%
Potassium 785mg22%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 82.4g165%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Read More


  1. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    yep, I regularly use cast iron, it doesn’t take long either, but clean up can be a pain, air frying might be an interesting way to go, or try, thank you!

  2. Mili says:

    5 stars
    I want to try this recipe next time my children come over.

  3. Josh says:

    5 stars
    *sniff* I have been unable to get the timing/temp right for years, my gf likes med-well and I like med-rare, followed this and we both got what we wanted perfectly!!! The air fryer does take away from the seasoning a little bit, but if your smart you can adjust pre-cook.
    Kosher salt
    Black cracked pepper
    Celery salt(dash)
    Mccormicks montreal steak
    Mccormicks smokehouse maple

  4. Erin says:

    5 stars
    Prefect timing. I was reluctant to air fry a steak. I never thought I’d say this but it was too darn cold outside to grill. I like my steak med-rare and the 7min cook time and 5 min to sit was perfect.

  5. Sher says:

    5 stars
    First time making steak in the air fryer…it was delicious! I added a little garlic powder to my butter. This thing sure didn’t taste like the $5 sirloin I put in the basket! The steak was juicy and the times were spot-on! I’ll add that I didn’t have a raised platform.

  6. Jill says:

    5 stars
    A great to prepare steak!

  7. Clarisa says:

    5 stars
    Can you avoid or replace the initial melted butter? Can you get the same “juicy” stake without the extra cholesterol added?

    1. Stephanie says:

      you can absolutely skip the butter :)

  8. Helene Last says:

    I noticed that you grilled with another piece of meat underneath that rack. How was it and what was it?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi helene, it’s an air fryer rack that lets you cook multiple layers of food in your air fryer. i like using it because it brings up the steak from the base of the air fryer and lets the hot air surround the steak. hope that helps!

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