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What setting do you cook steak in an air fryer?

Air fryers have become an increasingly popular kitchen appliance for their ability to make foods crispy and delicious using little to no oil. One food that many people are curious about cooking in an air fryer is steak. Steaks can be cooked to perfection in an air fryer with the right timing and temperature settings.

Factors That Affect Air Fryer Steak Cooking

There are a few key factors that impact how steak will cook in an air fryer:

  • Steak thickness – Thicker steaks will take longer to cook than thinner steaks. A good rule of thumb is about 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness for medium doneness.
  • Steak cut – Different cuts of steak have different levels of fat and connective tissue. Fattier cuts like ribeye may cook quicker than leaner cuts like sirloin.
  • Doneness – Rare steak takes less time to cook than medium or well-done steak. Cook time must be adjusted based on desired doneness.
  • Preheating – Preheating the air fryer helps the steak cook faster and more evenly. 3-5 minutes of preheating is ideal.
  • Quantity – Cooking multiple steaks together increases overall cook time.

Keeping these factors in mind will help you determine the best time and temperature to air fry your steak.

Best Practices for Air Frying Steak

Here are some tips to ensure perfect air fryer steak every time:

  • Pat steaks dry before cooking. Excess moisture on the surface can prevent browning.
  • Rub steaks lightly with oil. This helps promote browning and prevents sticking.
  • Season steaks well with salt and pepper or other spices as desired.
  • Arrange steaks in a single layer, not overlapping, in the air fryer basket.
  • Preheat air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 390°F before cooking.
  • Flip steaks halfway through cooking for even browning and doneness.
  • Allow steaks to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Air Fryer Temperature Setting

The ideal air fryer temperature for cooking steak is between 370°F and 400°F. Setting the temperature in this range will ensure the exterior gets nicely browned and crispy.

Here are some air fryer temperature guidelines based on desired steak doneness:

  • Rare – Cook at 400°F
  • Medium Rare – Cook at 390°F
  • Medium – Cook at 380°F
  • Medium Well – Cook at 370°F
  • Well Done – Cook at 370°F

Keep in mind that steak will continue cooking a bit after being removed from the air fryer. So for rare or medium rare doneness, remove steak when it is 5°F below desired finished temperature.

Air Fryer Time Chart

The air fryer cooking times for steak depend on the thickness of the cut. Here is a general time chart based on steak thickness:

Steak Thickness Rare Medium Rare Medium Medium Well Well Done
1 inch 7-8 minutes 8-10 minutes 10-12 minutes 12-14 minutes 14-16 minutes
1.5 inches 10-12 minutes 12-15 minutes 15-18 minutes 18-22 minutes 22-26 minutes
2 inches 16-20 minutes 20-24 minutes 24-28 minutes 28-32 minutes 32-36 minutes

Always check steak internal temperatures with a meat thermometer for accuracy. Remove from the air fryer when steaks are 5-10°F below desired doneness temperature.

Tips for Cooking Steak in an Air Fryer

Follow these helpful tips for the best air fried steak results:

  • Trim excess fat from steaks to prevent smoking.
  • Pat steaks very dry before seasoning and cooking.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature.
  • Allow steak to rest before slicing for juicier meat.
  • Adjust cook times as needed based on thickness.
  • Spray air fryer basket with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Preheat air fryer for faster browning.
  • Flip steaks halfway during cooking.

Common Air Fryer Steak Mistakes

It’s easy to mess up air fryer steak if you aren’t careful. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Overcrowding – Only cook 1 or 2 steaks at a time max. Overcrowding lowers temperature.
  • Not preheating – Always preheat the air fryer before cooking steak.
  • Overcooking – Use a meat thermometer and don’t overcook.
  • Undercooking – Ensure enough cook time based on thickness.
  • Too much oil – Just use a light coating, too much causes smoking.
  • Forgetting to flip – Flip halfway through cook time for even cooking.
  • Poor moisture control – Pat steaks very dry before cooking.
  • Wrong cut – Stick to tender cuts like ribeye, strip, tenderloin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you flip steak in the air fryer?

Yes, it is important to flip steaks halfway during air frying for even cooking. This allows both sides to cook and brown properly. Flipping only takes a moment and gives the best results.

What is the best cut of steak for air fryer?

Tender, well-marbled steaks work best. Good options include ribeye, New York strip, filet mignon, tri-tip, and flank steak. Avoid tougher cuts like brisket or chuck steak.

Can you put frozen steak in an air fryer?

It is best to thaw steak completely before cooking in an air fryer, as frozen steak will take too long to cook through. Partially frozen steak runs the risk of uneven cooking.

Should you season steak before air frying?

Yes, seasoning steaks before air frying is highly recommended. Salt, pepper and other spices or herb rubs will flavor the meat beautifully. Just be sure steaks are dried properly after seasoning.

Is air fried steak healthy?

Air frying uses little to no added fat, so steak cooked this way can be a healthy option. Steak provides protein, nutrients like iron and B vitamins. Just watch your portion size and how it fits into your overall diet.


With the right settings and preparation, air fryers can cook steak just as good as grilling or pan frying. The key is using the optimal temperature (370°F-400°F) and cook times based on thickness and doneness level. Allow steak to rest before serving for maximum juiciness. Follow the guidelines here for steakhouse quality results from your air fryer!