If you're looking for a delicious and nutritious meal to cook in your air fryer, flank steak is an excellent choice. While traditionally cooked over a grill or stovetop, cooking flank steak in the air fryer is an easy and quick alternative that guarantees perfectly cooked medium rare steak every time. In this beginner's guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about cooking flank steak in the air fryer, from choosing the perfect cut to achieving a perfect sear.
A beginner's guide to cooking flank steak in the air fryer
Before we dive into the specifics of cooking flank steak in the air fryer, let's go over some basic information about air frying. Air frying is a healthier alternative to traditional frying because it uses hot air to "fry" food, rather than oil. This means that you can enjoy your favorite fried foods without the added calories and fat. Additionally, air frying is quick and easy, making it perfect for busy weeknight meals.
Now, when it comes to cooking flank steak in the air fryer, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it's important to let the steak come to room temperature before cooking. This will ensure that it cooks evenly. Second, be sure to season the steak generously with salt and pepper before placing it in the air fryer. Finally, cook the steak for about 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, for a medium-rare to medium doneness. Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Why air frying is a healthier alternative to traditional cooking methods
One of the biggest advantages of air frying is that it uses minimal oil, which means that your food is lower in calories and fat than traditionally fried foods. Additionally, air frying is a great way to cook your food quickly and evenly, which can help to retain more nutrients in your food. This is especially important when cooking flank steak, which is a lean cut of meat that can dry out if overcooked.
Another benefit of air frying is that it produces less smoke and odor than traditional frying methods. This makes it a great option for those who live in apartments or have small kitchens. Air frying also eliminates the need for messy oil disposal, making it a more convenient and eco-friendly cooking method. Overall, air frying is a healthier and more convenient way to enjoy your favorite fried foods without sacrificing taste or texture.
How to choose the perfect cut of flank steak for your air fryer
When choosing flank steak for your air fryer, it is important to look for a cut that is evenly thick and has a good amount of marbling. This will help to ensure that your steak cooks evenly and stays juicy. Look for a cut of flank steak that is bright red and has minimal browning or discoloration. Avoid any cuts that look slimy or have a strong odor, as this can indicate spoilage.
Another important factor to consider when choosing flank steak for your air fryer is the grade of the meat. Look for a cut that is labeled as USDA Choice or USDA Prime, as these grades indicate that the meat has a higher level of marbling and tenderness. While these cuts may be slightly more expensive, they will result in a more flavorful and tender steak.
Seasoning tips for the most delicious air fryer flank steak
One of the best things about cooking flank steak in the air fryer is that it is incredibly versatile and can be seasoned in a variety of ways. Some classic seasonings for flank steak include garlic, rosemary, thyme, and paprika. To ensure that your seasoning sticks to your steak, it's a good idea to let your steak come to room temperature before seasoning it. Rub your seasonings onto your steak, making sure to coat it evenly on both sides.
Another great way to add flavor to your air fryer flank steak is by marinating it. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own by combining olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and your favorite herbs and spices. Let your steak marinate in the mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking it in the air fryer.
When cooking your flank steak in the air fryer, it's important to keep an eye on the internal temperature to ensure that it's cooked to your desired level of doneness. For medium-rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F, while medium steak should be cooked to 145°F. Let your steak rest for a few minutes before slicing it against the grain and serving it with your favorite sides.
The best temperature and cooking time for medium rare flank steak in the air fryer
The key to cooking a perfectly juicy and tender flank steak is to cook it to medium rare. For a 1-inch thick steak, we recommend cooking it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-12 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness. If you prefer your steak medium, cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes. It is important to let your steak rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute.
How to achieve a perfect sear on your air fried flank steak
While the air fryer does a great job of cooking your steak evenly and quickly, it can be difficult to achieve a perfect sear. To achieve a beautiful crust on your steak, it's a good idea to sear it in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes on each side before cooking it in the air fryer. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen torch to quickly sear the exterior of your steak after it has been cooked in the air fryer.
Another way to achieve a perfect sear on your air fried flank steak is to marinate it in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and herbs for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will not only add flavor to your steak but also help it to sear better. Additionally, make sure to pat your steak dry with a paper towel before searing it to remove any excess moisture, which can prevent a good sear.
It's also important to let your steak rest for a few minutes after cooking before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak. Cover your steak with foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serving suggestions and accompaniments for your air fryer flank steak
Flank steak is a versatile and flavorful cut of meat that pairs well with a variety of sides and sauces. Some classic pairings include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a mushroom sauce. For a lighter option, consider serving your steak on a bed of mixed greens with a tangy vinaigrette. A glass of red wine is the perfect accompaniment to this delicious meal.
If you're looking for a more exotic flavor, try serving your air fryer flank steak with a side of spicy kimchi or a refreshing cucumber salad. The tangy and spicy flavors of these sides will complement the rich and savory taste of the steak.
For a complete meal, consider adding a starch to your plate. Some great options include garlic bread, sweet potato fries, or a quinoa salad. These sides will add texture and flavor to your meal, making it a satisfying and filling dinner.
Tips for cleaning and maintaining your air fryer after cooking steak
After cooking your steak in the air fryer, it's important to clean it thoroughly to ensure that it continues to function properly. Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe parts that can be easily removed and cleaned. Additionally, be sure to wipe down your air fryer with a damp cloth after each use to prevent any buildup of grease or residue.
Another important tip for maintaining your air fryer is to regularly check and clean the air intake vents. These vents can become clogged with food particles and debris, which can affect the performance of your air fryer. To clean the vents, use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to gently remove any buildup. It's also a good idea to periodically deep clean your air fryer by soaking the removable parts in warm, soapy water and wiping down the interior with a damp cloth. By following these tips, you can ensure that your air fryer stays in top condition and continues to produce delicious, healthy meals.
Frequently asked questions about cooking flank steak in the air fryer
Q: Can I cook frozen flank steak in the air fryer?
A: Yes, you can cook frozen flank steak in the air fryer, but it will take longer to cook than thawed steak.
Q: How do I know if my flank steak is cooked to medium rare?
A: Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of your steak. For medium rare, the internal temperature should be 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q: Do I need to oil the air fryer before cooking steak?
A:No, because flank steak itself has fat content, you don't need to oil it.
Cooking flank steak in the air fryer is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy this versatile cut of meat. With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to cook perfectly juicy and tender medium rare steak every time. Experiment with different seasonings and accompaniments to create your own unique spin on this classic dish.
One important thing to keep in mind when cooking flank steak in the air fryer is to let it rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak. Simply cover the steak with foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.