Cooking beef in an air fryer takes a little attention to detail to get it right, especially with pricier cuts. However, dishes using ground beef are pretty easy in an air fryer and the excess fat runs down into the bucket. These include things like meatloaf, burgers, and meatballs. Try our classic diner recipe for Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.
Steaks and roasts don’t always get the hard sear on the exterior that you can achieve by grilling or cooking in a screaming hot cast iron skillet. Here are some tips for cooking beef well in your air fryer.
Should You Marinate?
If you are cooking a nice steak like fillet mignon, ribeye, or New York strip, it isn’t a good idea to marinate the meat. These cuts will tend to steam in an air fryer if infused with any kind of liquid. A better strategy is to coat with a little extra virgin olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Our recipe for Juicy Ribeye Steaks calls for simple seasoning and are finished with compound butter or a nice steak sauce.
However, you certainly can marinate or even brine beef that will be used in stews, soups, and chili. This would include chuck roast or brisket. As well, you can marinate beef strips overnight to make jerky using the dehydrate setting on your air fryer.
Bring the Beef to Room Temperature
It makes good sense to bring your beef to room temperature prior to cooking it in an air fryer. The air fryer cooks so quickly that you want to make sure the interior of the beef isn’t cold when it goes into the basket or on the crisper plate. Just remove the beef from the refrigerator about 20 to 40 minutes before cooking in the air fryer.
Use High Heat & Check the Internal Temperature
To try to get a good sear on the exterior of your steaks or burgers, preheat the air fryer with the basket or crisper plate inside the bucket so that the surface is hot when the meat hits it. Use the highest heat you can. If your air fryer can get up to 400°F, that is what you would use for steaks and burgers. Have a digital thermometer handy and check the internal temperature. You are looking for 125°F for medium-rare and 150°F for medium-well.
Tougher cuts of beef and meatloaf can be cooked at lower temperatures. We use approximately 370°F and shoot for an internal temperature of approximately 160°F.
Rest the Beef
It is always recommended that you rest cooked beef for a few minutes before slicing into it. This allows for the natural juices to get reabsorbed into the muscle. You can loosely tent the cooked beef with foil to keep it warm while it relaxes.
Below you’ll find links to our tasty air fryer beef recipes. If there’s some recipe you would like to see on our site, please leave a comment below.