Find out why you should try cooking a skirt steak in your air fryer. A great option for when it's too cold or rainy to do it on the grill. Learn how to cook it to medium rare or medium for a tender steak. This recipe is quick and easy to make.
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What is the most common thing you cook in your air fryer? French fries? Kale chips? Chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs?
What about steak? Have you ever cooked one in an air fryer? Is it even a good idea? I wasn't sure about that but my curiosity lead me to give it a try. I felt the perfect steak for the job would be the skirt steak!
⚙️ Why It Works
Since skirt steak is a rather thin steak it doesn't take long to cook. It's the perfect steak for the air fryer. The outer part of the steak gets browned without burning and the interior is cooked around medium rare to medium.
First you have to source your skirt steak. Not every store carries it. For me the easiest way to get a hold of it is to buy it from Porter Road, an online butcher out of Nashville, Tennessee.
They sell both inside and outside skirt steak (either will work this recipe). The outside skirt steak was huge as you can see in the picture above. For this recipe I cut the steak up into single serving sizes. My steaks were about half a pound each.
Before I cook the meat I like to season it and allow the steak is sit in those seasonings for 2-3 hours. You could call it a dry marinade if you like.
Here is what I used on my last steak:
I liberally season with kosher salt on both sides of the steak. I don't really measure it. For the pepper, cumin, and garlic powder, do about ½ tsp per side. Once the meat is seasoned put it in a bag and into the fridge for 2 to 3 hours, or you can just immediately cook it if you don't have the time. It will still be great.
If you like Chimichurri sauce this would be a great steak to put some on! Teriyaki sauce would be yummy as well.
Most of the time I don't get too worried about preheating my air fryer. But in this case I want it to be nice and hot before adding my steak. The goal is to cook this steak as fast as we can. It is also wise to bring your steak out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking so that's not ice cold when you start.
Set your air fryer to 400 degrees. Allow 5 minutes for it to preheat. Add the steak. Cook for 6 minutes or until the internal temperature of the steak is between 130-140 degrees. That's medium rare to medium. I did NOT find it necessary to flip the steak half way through.
How do you know for sure that the steak is done? Check with an instant read thermometer. Most of these thermometers are not really instant. They can take more than 10 seconds or more. This is why I like to use the ThermoPop from Thermoworks. It's affordable and it's fast, 2 to 3 seconds max. The probe on it is smaller which makes it easier to get an accurate reading in a thin steak like skirt steak. You want hit the center of the meat, nor the outer part or the air fryer basket.
🎧 If you are on the fence about buying a thermometer for cooking listen to our podcast episode - Why a Thermometer Will Save You Money.
🌶️ Use for Fajitas
Want to use this steak for fajitas? You certainly can do that. If you have a dual basket air fryer than you can cook both at the same time. I have the Ninja Foodi that has two baskets. The peppers need about 12 minutes or so at 400 degrees. So you can start them first and then do your steak in the other basket.
If you only have a single basket, you could cook the peppers first, and then the steak. Put the peppers on a plate when they are done and cover them with heavy duty foil to keep them warm.
Another option would be to sauté the peppers in a pan with some oil while you are doing your steak in the air fryer.
🙋 Can You Air Fry Other Steaks?
Yes for sure. Flank steak would be good. It might need a little more time as it's a little thicker than skirt steak, but not much. Any thin cut steak that you want to cook quickly would be a good option. Costco sells thin sliced New York Strip steaks. I haven't tried it with them yet, but I definitely would.
I have not tested air frying a thicker steak like a Ribeye. Thinner steaks is the way to go in the air fryer.
🧊 What If My Steak is Frozen?
While you could put a frozen steak directly in the air fryer and cook it, I don't think it's the best idea. Your steak could be cooked unevenly as the outer part will heat up faster than the center.
For a more evenly cooked steak, your best bet would be to defrost it first. I recommend doing that in a sink of cold water, never use hot water. Make sure the steak is sealed tight so no water can get it and weight it down for it stays submerged. This shouldn't take more than a hour.
Air Fryer Skirt Steak
- Season both sides of your steak with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Place into a bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Bring the steak out and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Add the steak to the air fryer basket. Cook for 6 minutes or until the internal temperatue of the steak is between 130-140 degrees (medium rare to medium)
- Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Make sure you cut the steak against the grain. It will be more tender that way.