Cooking tenderloin steak in an air fryer is a fantastic way to achieve a perfectly cooked, juicy steak without the mess and hassle of traditional cooking methods. Here, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to cook the perfect tenderloin steak in an air fryer, from selecting the right cut to seasoning to cooking time and temperature. So, let's get started!
Why air frying is a great way to cook tenderloin steak
One of the best things about air frying a tenderloin steak is that it allows you to perfectly cook the steak while maintaining its juiciness and tenderness. The air fryer circulates hot air around the steak, cooking it evenly and quickly. Additionally, air frying is a healthier cooking option, as it requires little to no oil, resulting in a much lower fat content than other cooking methods.
Another advantage of air frying tenderloin steak is that it is a hassle-free cooking method. Unlike traditional cooking methods, air frying requires minimal preparation and clean-up. You don't have to worry about preheating the oven or cleaning up a greasy stovetop. Simply season the steak, place it in the air fryer, and let it cook.
Lastly, air frying is a versatile cooking method that allows you to experiment with different flavors and seasonings. You can add your favorite herbs and spices to the steak before cooking, or even marinate it beforehand. The air fryer will evenly distribute the flavors throughout the steak, resulting in a delicious and flavorful meal.
Choosing the right cut of tenderloin steak for air frying
When selecting a tenderloin steak for air frying, it's essential to choose a quality cut of meat. Look for cuts that are well-marbled, with a good amount of fat running through them, as this will help to ensure a juicy and tender steak. Additionally, make sure the steak is thick enough to hold up to the air frying process – a steak that's too thin will cook too quickly and may dry out.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a tenderloin steak for air frying is the grade of the meat. USDA Prime grade beef is the highest quality and will provide the most tender and flavorful steak. However, it can be more expensive than lower grades such as Choice or Select. If you're on a budget, look for Choice grade cuts that still have good marbling and thickness. Avoid Select grade cuts as they tend to be less tender and flavorful.
Preparing your tenderloin steak for air frying
Before air frying your tenderloin steak, it's essential to properly prepare it. Start by taking the steak out of the refrigerator and allowing it to come to room temperature for around 30 minutes. This will help to ensure even cooking. Next, pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, as this can interfere with the air frying process. Finally, season the steak generously with salt and pepper, or your preferred seasoning blend.
It's also important to consider the thickness of your tenderloin steak when air frying. Thicker cuts may require a longer cooking time, while thinner cuts may cook more quickly. To ensure that your steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For a medium-rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C), while a medium steak should reach 145°F (63°C). Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Seasoning options for tenderloin steak in an air fryer
When it comes to seasoning your tenderloin steak for air frying, there are endless possibilities. Some popular options include a simple salt and pepper rub, a garlic and herb blend, or a spicy dry rub. Experiment with different seasoning combinations to find your perfect match!
If you're looking for a more complex flavor profile, consider marinating your tenderloin steak before air frying. A marinade can add depth and richness to your steak, and can be made with ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar.
Another option is to top your tenderloin steak with a compound butter after air frying. Compound butter is simply butter that has been mixed with herbs, spices, or other flavorings. Try a blue cheese and chive butter, or a garlic and rosemary butter for a delicious finishing touch.
Tips for achieving the perfect sear on your air-fried tenderloin steak
To achieve that perfect, crispy sear on your air-fried tenderloin steak, start by preheating your air fryer to around 400°F. Once the fryer is hot, carefully place your steak in the basket, making sure there is enough space between the steak and the sides of the basket for air to circulate. Cook the steak for around 4-6 minutes, then flip it over with tongs and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes on the other side. For an even crispier sear, consider quickly browning the steak in a hot skillet after air frying.
Another tip for achieving the perfect sear on your air-fried tenderloin steak is to make sure the steak is completely dry before placing it in the air fryer. Use paper towels to pat the steak dry and remove any excess moisture. This will help the steak to sear evenly and prevent it from steaming in the air fryer. Additionally, seasoning the steak with salt and pepper before air frying can enhance the flavor and create a delicious crust on the outside of the steak.
How long to cook a tenderloin steak in an air fryer
The cook time for tenderloin steak in an air fryer can vary depending on a few factors, such as the thickness of the steak and your preferred level of doneness. As a general guideline, aim for around 8-12 minutes of total cook time for a medium-rare to medium steak. To ensure that your steak is cooked to your liking, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature – a medium-rare steak should read around 135°F, while a medium steak should be around 145°F.
It's important to note that the type of air fryer you have may also affect the cooking time. Some air fryers may cook faster or slower than others, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on your steak and adjust the cooking time as needed. Additionally, it's recommended to let the steak rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute and ensure a tender and flavorful result.
Techniques for testing the doneness of your air-fried tenderloin steak
Aside from using a meat thermometer, there are a few other techniques you can use to test the doneness of your air-fried tenderloin steak. One popular method is the touch test – press on the center of the steak with your finger and compare the level of resistance to the firmness of different parts of your hand. A rare steak will feel softer, while a well-done steak will feel much firmer. Another option is to cut into the center of the steak – a medium-rare steak should be bright pink and slightly firm to the touch, while a medium steak should be pink with some visible juice.
It is important to note that the cooking time and temperature can also affect the doneness of your air-fried tenderloin steak. If you prefer a rare steak, cook it for a shorter amount of time at a lower temperature. For a well-done steak, cook it for a longer amount of time at a higher temperature. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect cooking time and temperature for your desired level of doneness, but with practice, you'll be able to cook the perfect air-fried tenderloin steak every time.
Resting and serving your air-fried tenderloin steak
Once your air-fried tenderloin steak is cooked to your liking, it's essential to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, resulting in a more flavorful and tender end result. To serve, slice against the grain and pair with your favorite sides and sauces!
Another important tip to keep in mind when cooking air-fried tenderloin steak is to make sure that the steak is at room temperature before cooking. This will ensure that the steak cooks evenly and results in a more tender and juicy end product. To achieve this, take the steak out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Additionally, if you want to add some extra flavor to your air-fried tenderloin steak, you can marinate it beforehand. A simple marinade of olive oil, garlic, and herbs can add a delicious flavor to the steak. Just be sure to pat the steak dry before air-frying to ensure a crispy exterior.
Pairing sides and sauces with your air-fried tenderloin steak
When it comes to pairing sides and sauces with your air-fried tenderloin steak, the possibilities are endless. Consider serving the steak with classic sides like roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a simple salad. For a more elevated meal, try pairing the steak with a rich red wine reduction sauce, a tangy chimichurri, or a creamy horseradish sauce.
And there you have it – everything you need to know to cook a delicious and perfectly tender tenderloin steak in an air fryer. Experiment with different seasoning blends, cooking times, and sauce pairings to find your perfect match!