Your Air Fryer Is The Unexpected Key To Tender Steak

What is the best way to cook a steak? Some chefs prefer pan-searing, while others (Guy Fieri among them) swear that the perfect steak needs a reverse sear. Mashed recipe developer Susan Olayinka, however, is brave enough to experiment with cooking a steak in her air fryer. As she opines, "I find the air fryer and meat is a good match."

While Olayinka does not marinate her air fryer steak, she does cover it with oil and a blend of steak seasonings including salt, garlic, onion, and paprika. She then cooks it on perforated parchment paper — apart from lending a little alliteration, the perforation, she says, allows for better airflow. After 15 minutes in an air fryer set to 350 F, she finds that the steak, while the exterior is pretty crispy, is still nice and tender underneath. As she prefers her steak medium-well, though, she advises knocking a few minutes off this cooking time if you prefer more pink in your meat.

What kind of steaks are best for air fryer cooking?

Olayinka tells us that she has cooked an 8-ounce rump steak in her air fryer, cutting it into two pieces ahead of time. (She also adds the detail that the steak had been aged for 21 days, if that means anything to you.) She speculates, however, that other cuts of steak, even the super-pricey filet mignon, might also do well in the air fryer. Be aware, though, that depending on the type and size of the steak, as well as your personal preferences, you may need to tweak not only the cooking time but also the amount of seasoning you use.

One other thing you will need to watch out for is the thickness of the steak. Olayinka's was ½-inch thick, and she says it came out just fine, but the Kansas Beef Council recommends air frying steaks that are at least an inch thick. As air-fried steak also won't undergo the Maillard reaction that results in a nicely browned crust, this organization suggests that more well-marbled steaks such as ribeyes would be the best candidates for this cooking method.