How to Cook Meat in the Air Fryer
- by Omaha Steaks
- Last updated Feb 17, 2023
New to the air fryer? Already committed to your beloved countertop appliance and excited to learn more ways to use it? While most people already know you can use the air fryer for crispy, golden French fries and other deep-fried favorites, you can also cook delicious steak, chicken breast, pork chops, burgers, salmon, shrimp, bacon, and hot dogs in under 20 minutes. It’s a convenient, hands-free approach to preparing family dinners or a quick, high-protein meal for one.
Let’s answer some common questions about air fryers and cooking raw meat in this popular appliance.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
First of all, air fryers are not deep fryers. Instead, they are miniature convection ovens that can cook almost anything you typically cook in the oven. They work by circulating hot air rapidly with an internal fan simulating deep frying, but without the oil. The final result is like deep frying with crackly-skin chicken wings and crispy fries but without the oil.
Can You Put Raw Meat in the Air Fryer?
It is safe to cook raw meat in the air fryer if it is fully defrosted, seasoned, and monitored. Some fully cooked foods, including chicken tenders or fries, can be placed frozen in the air fryer. However, with raw meat, it’s recommended to thoroughly defrost to allow more even cooking and a tasty final product.
Is it Safe to Cook Meat in the Air Fryer?
Cooking meat in the air fryer is perfectly safe when following proper food handling procedures. We created an easy-to-use air-fryer cooking chart with estimated cooking times for your favorite Omaha Steaks proteins. Because air fryer brands can vary, it’s best to monitor the internal temperature with a high-quality meat thermometer to determine doneness. Steak should be cooked to your desired doneness (we recommend 125°F-130°F for medium-rare), pork and seafood to 145°F, and chicken requires a slightly higher internal temperature of 165°F.
Do You Need to Flip Meat in the Air Fryer?
For most proteins, you will need to flip halfway through air frying to ensure thorough and even cooking. The exception is Faroe Island Salmon Fillets or any other fish fillet. They are more delicate and can fall apart if flipped during the air frying process.
How Do You Keep Meat from Sticking in the Air Fryer?
Avoid the dreaded situation of meat sticking to the air fryer by lightly brushing 1 teaspoon of oil to each serving. This will also help the seasoning adhere to the meat.
How to Cook Meat in the Air Fryer
Follow our basic instructions and cooking chart with recommended air fryer temperature and cooking times to cook a perfect steak, chicken breast, pork chops, bacon, salmon, shrimp, and more in your air fryer.
1. Thaw Protein
Omaha Steaks arrive flash-frozen and individually packaged (perfect for portion control). Before cooking, ensure your meat is completely defrosted. Thaw protein in the refrigerator overnight or use the quick thaw method (thaw in a bowl of cold water in packaging or a sealed plastic bag for 30 minutes or until the product is defrosted).
2. Preheat Air Fryer
Preheat your air fryer to 375°F or 400°F following the chart above.
3. Lightly Oil and Season
Remove meat from the packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly oil with 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon of seasoning per serving. For flavorful and simple seasoning, try Omaha Steaks Seasoning with a delightful blend of garlic, onions, and savory spices.
4. Place on Air Fryer Rack Leaving 1” Between Portions
Place your raw meat on the air fryer rack or in the basket leaving 1 inch between portions. This ensures there is enough airflow to cook the meat properly.
5. Cook According to Chart
Use our air fryer cooking chart and comprehensive guides for estimated air fryer times. Most proteins, except salmon fillets, will need to be flipped halfway through cooking.
Air Fryer Cooking Guides:
- Steak (Filet Mignon, Top Sirloin, Ribeye, and Boneless New York Strip)
- Chicken Breast
- Pork Chops
6. Remove from Air Fryer and Rest
Once your meat has reached desired internal temperature, remove it from the air fryer and rest 2-3 minutes before serving. Enjoy with your favorite side dish and a decadent dessert for a quick and flavorful family meal.
Common Air Frying Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Meat
Not using enough oil in the air fryer
If you want crispy golden-brown meat, add just 1 teaspoon of oil per serving to the outside of the meat (not to the air fryer). It’s not much, but it can be the difference between a crispy, delicious dinner or a dry, burnt dinner.
Not checking the temperature on the air fryer
Every air fryer is different, and some appliances can run at a different temperature than advertised. Verify the internal temperature of your appliance with an oven thermometer and adjust accordingly.
Not using a meat thermometer
For best results and to ensure food safety, always double-check the internal temperature of your meat with an instant-read thermometer before serving.
Crowding the air fryer
Don’t overcrowd the air fryer! Leave one inch between portions of meat to ensure proper air circulation for your food to cook thoroughly and evenly. You may need to air fry in several batches to ensure there is enough space for each portion of meat.
Now, you can air fry your favorite proteins with confidence. Want more air fryer recipes? Check out these 5 easy air fryer recipes, including boneless buffalo chicken wings, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, coconut shrimp, and meatballs. Or, make your favorite Omaha Steaks products, including Chicken Fried Chicken, Pub-Style Cod, Potatoes au Gratin, and more, using our air fryer instructions.
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