I love steak. Is there anything better than a good steak to improve your day? For those days I don’t have time and energy to clean up, air fryer steak is the perfect answer.

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 and all of that cleanup happening in a dishwasher. After a long work day, this seems way better to me than hand scrubbing a cast iron skillet or preheating your grill.

air fryer steak | www.iamafoodblog.com

How many steaks can you fit in an air fryer

This highly depends on your air fryer, but the optimal answer seems to be 2. In a pinch, with racks (more below on that) you can do 4, or even 6.

How to get a good sear

Some people claim that an air fryer can’t get a good crust on a steak. I say: look at the photo below. Air frying with its fan and high-ish temps replicate a competent grill. The trick seems to be 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 seriously good for a zero-effort weeknight steak.

Heck, it’s better than some (admittedly terrible) restaurants I’ve regretted ordering steak from.

air fryer steak sear | www.iamafoodblog.com

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 | www.iamafoodblog.com

Smoke

That said, these are butter basted steaks being cooked an inch from a 400ºF heating element. Things are going to get smoky. I put our air fryer right under our hood fan on high and it did the trick. If you want a good crust, there’s not really a way around the smoke. If you don’t have a great hood fan, you might want to take your air fryer outside.

The best cut for air fryer steak

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.

That said, I tried this with a more expensive striploin and a less-expensive 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.

sirloin and striploin | www.iamafoodblog.com

Preheating your air fryer

Preheating an air fryer seems to be 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 | www.iamafoodblog.com

To pre-slice or not

This is a preferential thing. Most classic American steakhouses give you a whole steak and a sharp knife and let you go to town, but fancier places around the world like to preslice your steaks into easier to handle 1/2″ strips against the grain for you. You still get a knife and get the slicing experience, but it’s easier to work with. It’s also a much prettier presentation.

What air fryer do you have?

If you’re wondering which air-fryer we have, it’s this one. It’s quiet and easy to clean and fairly wide, which is great for steaks.

steaks in air fryer basket | www.iamafoodblog.com

Steak sauces

All you need for a good steak is salt, pepper – and in this case – butter, but who ever complained about having a great steak sauce? 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 | www.iamafoodblog.com

air fryer steak | www.iamafoodblog.com

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
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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

Notes

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.

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Comments

  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!

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