air fryer

Yes, You Can Cook a Juicy Steak in Your Air Fryer — Here's How

All you need is a good rub, six minutes and an air fryer, and you, too, can get a perfect crust on your steak

TODAY Illustration / Getty Images / Terri Peters

I've always been a fan of air fryers, but after recently upgrading the air fryer in our kitchen to a dual-sided Ninja model that cooks at two different temperatures and looks gorgeous sitting on my kitchen counter, my husband and I have found ourselves air-frying meals now more than ever.

We roast potatoes and sausage for dinner, we make copycat Chick-fil-A sandwiches using Aldi's famed "red bag chicken," and most recently, Andrew, my husband, a big fan of grilling and smoking meats, asked, "Do you think I could cook a steak in the air fryer?

I believe there's nothing an air fryer can't do, so I told him to check out TikTok, where I learn almost anything I want to know about cooking these days.

Sure enough, we found plenty of videos describing how to cook steak in the air fryer, with results that looked delicious enough for us to attempt it ourselves.

Terri Peters
Immediately before air-frying, TODAY writer Terri Peters likes to add a salt-based rub to both sides of our steaks.

We've cooked steak in our new favorite appliance several times now, from marbled rib-eyes that drip with juices after cooking, to steak bites that take on a flash-fried crispness when we tossed them into the air fryer for dinner.

Every attempt has been flavorful and tender, but our favorite cut to air-fry so far has been a New York strip steak.


Perfect steak every time #FoodOnTikTok #learnwithme #learnontiktok

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I asked my husband to share all the lessons he's learned as he's navigated making steaks in our air fryer, and his biggest tip was to think differently than you would if grilling or pan-searing your meat.

"Normally, you'd put salt and pepper on a steak for a bit before cooking it, to draw some of the moisture to the surface," he said, "but that moisture turns to steam in an air fryer and the steak won't get that brown, crispy caramelization on the outside that way."

Terri Peters
Cook steaks at 400 F for about six minutes in an air fryer — longer if you want doneness beyond medium rare.

Instead, when he's air frying our steak, Andrew pats the steaks dry with a paper towel and coats them with a salt-based rub (our favorite is a McCormick blend I bought on Amazon that includes pink salt, pepper and garlic.)

My at-home chef also recommends letting the steaks come to room temperature for about an hour before cooking.

It's important to preheat the air fryer, as well, allowing it to run with nothing inside of it for about five minutes, set to the max heat. Then, it's time to cook.

First, spritz some olive oil or cooking spray on each side of the steak to help the outside crisp.

For a medium-rare steak (our preference), cook on 400 F for about six minutes. (My husband suggests adding one additional minute for each level of doneness you prefer.)

When the air fryer's done working its magic, tent the steaks in aluminum foil and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes on the counter.

Terri Peters
Who needs a grill? With steak this delicious, TODAY writer Terri Peters plans to cook steak in the air fryer all summer.

Then, as always, slice the meat against the grain, and get ready to enjoy a flavor-packed, melt-in-your-mouth steak with a crispy crust on the outside and the perfect amount of pinkness on the inside.

As with anything we've cooked in our new air fryer, everyone in my family has been thrilled with the result. As summer approaches in Florida, where I live, we've already proclaimed this the summer of the air fryer, where we'll cook with it as often as we can rather than heating up our kitchen using the stovetop and oven.

I can see it now: a summer full of tender air-fried steak paired with crispy air-fried corn "ribs." It can't come soon enough.


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