Air Fryers 101: Beef Up Your Knowledge
We’ve all heard about them … air fryers are the latest and greatest in fast and easy meal prep. Cooking anything from Brussel sprouts to chicken nuggets to tenderloin steaks is fast, easy, and delicious with an air fryer. Here we provide a deep dive into Beefitarian’s best air fryers, which cuts of beef we recommend cooking in an air fryer, and how to do it. We’ll share some yummy side dish ideas, too!
Choosing the Best Air Fryer to Purchase
Time and time again, we see the Instant Vortex Plus and Ninja Air Fryer Max LX featured as great performing, all-around best air fryers. With over five-quart capacities and easy-to-use features, these air fryer titans will help whip up your favorite beef recipes (and encourage you to try others!)
The Gourmia Digital Air Fryer is an optimal choice for a more budget-friendly option. With similar features to the Instant and Ninja air fryers, the Gourmia allows flexibility in budget without sacrificing cooking capabilities or quality.
Worried another kitchen appliance will take up too much space? We recommend the Elite Gourmet Personal Electric Hot Air Fryer, available in a 1.1 quart or 2.2 quart option. This versatile, easy-to-store air fryer will have you enjoying delicious, beefy meals in minutes and won’t take up too much of that precious counter space.
Best Cuts of Beef for Air Frying
Our rule of thumb: The more tender the cut, the better it will cook in an air fryer. Without the hot oil found in deep fryers, food is cooked in hot, circulated air, which can lead to drier meat. The more marbling in a cut of beef, the more flavor and juiciness it will maintain during the cooking process.
With a rich and juicy taste, the ribeye is a great choice for feasting on a big ol’ steak and smothering in your favorite barbecue sauce or other seasonings.
A cut of tenderloin will always impress both you and your guests! Although tenderloin is a leaner option, it’s tenderness and succulent flavor make it a perfect option for an air fryer.
We’ve included ground beef because the recipes for air fryers are unlimited! Make tacos, meatballs, burgers, stuffed peppers, and more, and look like a beefy expert. To prepare ground beef in the air fryer, break it up and spread in an even layer in the air fryer basket. Depending on the wattage of your air fryer, cook time will vary. Ground beef generally takes around 5-7 minutes to cook. When your beef is fully browned (160 degrees F*), lift the basket and drain grease in the bottom drawer of the air fryer.
Tips for Air Frying Beef
- Typically, there’s no need to preheat an air fryer unless a recipe specifically calls for this step. Be sure to check your device’s manual for specific tips and tricks for your model!
- With any cooking method for beef, it’s important to always season your beef on both sides with salt and pepper, unless other spices are being used instead.
- Pro tip – make a mouthwatering marinade for your beef prior to cooking in an air fryer! Place your beef in a resealable plastic bag, pour in marinade of your choice, and refrigerate between one to 24 hours, for long-lasting flavors.
- Depending on the cut of beef, the thickness of your steak, and the wattage of your air fryer, cooking time will vary. On average, it typically takes between 7-14 minutes to cook a steak. But don’t forget to use a meat thermometer to make sure your beef is done to your liking!* (Check out our blog to learn more about using a meat thermometer.) We suggest flipping your beef halfway through so it cooks evenly on both sides.
Recommended Side Dishes for Air Fryers
Not only are air fryers ideal for the main course, they can also be used to prepare crispy, delicious side dishes. Make it a full-fledged air fryer meal with one (or two, you really can’t go wrong) of our recommendations for perfect side dish pairings.
Green Beans with Bacon
Crispy, flavorful green beans paired with savory bacon will make anyone’s mouth water (ours is currently …) A great companion for this side dish? A ribeye, of course!
Sweet Potato Tots
Seasoned sweet potato tots with a bold crunch are the perfect bite-size sidekick to any beef dish, more specifically a juicy burger!
Garlic Parmesan Mushrooms
Fragrant garlic, savory parmesan, and melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms create the best topping to complete your succulent tenderloin.
A classic side dish for all to enjoy, rosemary potatoes are a go-to pairing for any beef lover’s favorite steak (we won’t judge if you use some ketchup.)
For more great ideas, check out our delicious beef recipes, fun beef facts, and tips for buying beef, all on the Beefitarian website.
*According to foodsafety.gov, the minimum safe temperature is 145°F for fresh beef and 160°F for ground beef.