You Can Totally Air Fry a Frozen Steak

You Can Totally Air Fry a Frozen Steak

People love to argue about steak. It’s fun because there are so many variables to disagree over: the cut (ribeye or New York?), the prep method (marinade or salt?), the cooking method (reverse sear? Sous vide? Simple pan basting?)…the possibilities for invective are endless.

Take the steak you see above—a steak that was frozen and then plunked into an air fryer for 11 minutes. Looking at the photo, you can see there are a few things to critique if you are so inclined. There’s a bit of a grey band visible and the browning is uneven; for some those issues alone would be enough to reject the cooking method entirely.

But the steak has its good points. It is, for one, a very cheap cut, so I’m not inclined to feel precious about it. I bought a 12-pack of sirloins for 25 bucks because I’m training for a powerlifting meet and I need a lot of protein (one must eat meat to build meat). I froze them because I cannot eat 12 steaks in one week. And while I could have pan-fried one of them, I was still riding the high from successfully air frying frozen shrimp and wanted to see if I could do the same for frozen steak.

And as it turns out the air fryer can make a decent steak. Grey band notwithstanding, it was incredibly juicy, with a good amount of pink in the centre, an intensely meaty flavour, well-rendered fat, and lovely little browned spots. It also took all of 11 (hands-off) minutes to cook, which is not an unimportant factor to someone just home from a training session and absolutely famished. (I’m also not sure most people could taste a grey band if they were blindfolded. Perhaps that is a question worth exploring in the future.)

Would I air fry a well-marbled, bone-in, super thick rib eye? No. But the method is well-suited to a frozen weeknight sirloin. (Again, I cannot stress how juicy this thing was.)

Air Fried Frozen Steak

A lot of air fryer steak recipes have you set the temp around 185°C, but I jacked it up to 200°C to maximise browning. (After cooking a few steaks at a few different temps, I found dropping the temp didn’t really help to minimise the grey band, and at 185°C I even had a steak come out grey and cold in the centre.)


  • 1 frozen sirloin steak, about 230 g and 1-1/2 inches thick
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

Set your air fryer to 200°C. Drizzle a little bit of oil on your steak and rub it around to lightly coat. Salt liberally. Place the steak in the air fryer basket and cook for 11 minutes, flipping halfway through. Your steak may cook a little faster or slower depending on its size and thickness, so adjust as needed, and use an instant-read thermometer to find the sweet spot. (Remember: 50°C is medium-rare.)

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