Why You Shouldn't Make Thick Cuts Of Steak In Your Air Fryer

Your air fryer is a pretty versatile tool. Sure, it's perfect for tossing in some fries for when you want a quick mid-evening snack or reheating some leftovers from the fridge without them getting soggy, but this portable convection oven is capable of much more than reheating some frozen foods. While the idea of making an entire dinner using only your air fryer may sound like your standard infomercial exaggeration, you can prepare a few main courses or side dishes pretty easily with some creativity and your air fryer.

Perhaps the main focus of your dinner is meat — chicken, beef, pork, and so on. Food Network, for example, has a recipe for preparing an entire roast chicken using your air fryer instead of the longer, standard method of using your regular oven. Erin Maher of The Pioneer Woman has a short but useful recipe for cooking "fried" breaded pork chops that take just over 12 minutes to prepare. Needless to say, there are a lot of meats you can toss in your air fryer, from pork belly to meatballs to turkey breasts. Sky's the fatty and marbled limit, as they say.

But not every meat works well in the air fryer. Just as you wouldn't toss a chicken in the microwave the same way you'd microwave a hot dog and expect it to be good, you probably wouldn't toss your favorite steak in the air fryer and expect it to be the same as searing it on the grill. 

Steaks tend to dry out in the air fryer

Although the air fryer is a useful appliance, it's not exactly a machine that can do everything. Certain foods are best left prepared the usual way, or else run the risk of being ruined through a cooking method that doesn't suit them. 

Elizabeth Laseter of Yahoo! Life experimented with an air fryer steak, describing it as the "saddest-looking steak I've ever cooked." Laseter noted it had a dark, charred-like crust on the outside rather than a golden-brown, seared exterior, although she did note that the steak was a "perfect" medium-rare and surprisingly juicy for being in the air fryer. This wasn't enough, however, to convince her to ever try air frying steak again.

Reader's Digest, while not referring to just steak, warns that red meats such as burgers don't fare well in your air fryer. Although it's good for giving you a well-done piece of meat, great care must be given to ensure that your meat comes out the way you want it — and even then, it may not be as brown or as done as you like. 

Of course, steak can be prepared in your air fryer, although it requires a bit more focus and involvement than just tossing it in like you would chicken nuggets or pork chops. Although these tips may sound basic, they may mean the difference between a surprisingly good steak with very little effort or a waste of a perfectly good cut of meat.