Making flank steak in the air fryer is an easy and simple way to produce a tender and juicy steak. Using just 3 ingredients, this air fryer flank steak recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes! Cook time is decreased because of the high circulating heat of the air fryer, creating a perfect steak that is tender and never dry.
Why Cooking Flank Steak in the Air Fryer Just Works
- Flavorful, juicy and easy to prepare, this flank steak is one of my favorite air fryer recipes I come back to time and time again.
- Simple preparation, easy clean up and high in protein, with each serving at about 30 grams of protein.
- Air frying results in moist and tender beef. The hot air that circulates in the air fryer is akin to a convection oven. It will cook the beef quickly, so it doesn’t have a chance to dry out or toughen up, making it a great way to get a tasty, easy dinner served up!
What is flank steak?
Flank steak is a lean but flavorful and affordable cut of beef that is very versatile. Often used for steak fajitas, tacos, steak sandwiches or of course just eating alone, flank steak is best served medium rare, as it can get tough if overcooked. Often grilled, let me show you how easy it is to air fry this delicious and affordable cut of beef.
While very similar, flank steak is not to be confused with skirt steak. While they are both affordable and flavorful cuts of beef, they come from different parts of the cow. Skirt steak is a thin cut located in the diaphragm area of the cow, while the flank steak is located directly under the cow’s loin.
They also have a different grain structure, making skirt steak more ideal for liquid marinades, which can’t easily penetrate the flank steak.
Ingredients for air fryer flank steak
- Flank steak, about a 2 pound cut is great.
- Dry rub seasoning of choice, or even just salt and black pepper. Feel free to use a homemade steak seasoning mix, or use a store bought spice blend. Trader Joe’s makes a ton of flavorful spice and herb blends, so that’s what I’m using today.
- 2 tablespoon of cooking oil to sear the steak before air frying.
Easy steps to make this yummy steak
This is a really simple recipe that could not be easier and you will love the results. Begin by preheating the air fryer to 400 degrees f.
Generously season the flank steak with your favorite dry rub or marinade. Make sure to also generously sprinkle salt all over, if the dry rub does not contain any. While some say flank steak must tenderize with a marinade for a couple of hours, I find it unnecessary if cooked correctly.
For best results, I recommend giving the steak a quick pan sear. Heat a large cast iron skillet on high medium-high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil or your preferred cooking oil. Sear the seasoned flank steak on each side for about 3-4 minutes. This will give the steak even better flavor and add a nice sear that you otherwise may not get in your air fryer.
Place the steak in your air fryer basket and cook for about 15 minutes, making sure to flip halfway through the cooking time. Using a instant read thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should be about 130 degrees f for medium rare steak. You can cook it to a higher temperature, but I don’t recommend it.
Keep in mind that cooking times may vary with different air fryers. This recipe was tested in an air fryer oven, which can sometimes take a bit longer to cook than a traditional basket air fryer. If you’ve never air fried steak before, begin checking the internal temp of your air fry steak at about 10-12 minutes into cooking time.
When flank steak has reach desired temperature, remove from the air-fryer basket and place on a cutting board. Tent with a large piece of aluminum foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
Cutting and serving flank steak
With a sharp knife, cut steak into thin strips. Make sure to cut against the grain of the meat, preferably at a 45 degree angle. Slicing with the grain will result in an unpleasantly chewy steak. Here’s a great explainer on how to tell the direction of the grain in a steak, as well as why it’s so important.
Serve this delicious air fryer steak alongside a couple of your favorite side dishes for a simple weeknight dinner. Try them with spicy sweet potatoes, Instant Pot orzo, or these amazing air fryer Brussel Sprouts and bacon.
Thin cut flank steak tastes delicious in tacos or as a high protein salad topping. Dice it up and use in burritos or bowls filled with rice and beans. It’s a delicious recipe that is so versatile and tastes delicious right out of the air fryer, or served cold the next day on a nice hearty salad.
Additional expert cooking tips
- Flank steak is a wedge shaped cut of meat that is sometimes thicker on one end than the other. If the difference is more than ¼″ in thickness, slice apart the thicker and thinner sides and air fry them separately. You could also pound down the side that is thicker with a meat mallet, until they are closer in thickness.
- High heat is best for cooking flank steak: the hotter and quicker it cooks, the less tough it will be. That is why cooking it hot and fast in the air fryer is now the only way I cook flank steak. It comes out perfect every time!
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a great way to see if flank steak is done is to watch the sides of the meat as it cooks. The color will begin to change and creep up the side of the steak as it cooks. It should be about ¼ inch up each side for a medium rare steak.
- Wrap up leftover steak in a piece of tin foil or an airtight container, and refrigerate for 3-5 days. It tastes great the days after air frying, so it’s a great option for meal prep lunches!
This is one of my family’s favorite steak recipes because it’s quick, easy and so flavorful. The kids try to eat it right off the cutting board! Please let me know if you give it a try and leave a comment and rating if you enjoyed it!
Air Fryer Flank Steak
- 1 Air Fryer
- 2 lb Flank steak
- Favorite seasoning blend of choice
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Generously season the flank steak with your favorite dry rub or marinade. Make sure to also generously sprinkle salt all over, if the dry rub does not contain any.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet on high medium-high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Sear the seasoned flank steak on each side for about 3-4 minutes.
- Place the steak in your air fryer basket and cook for about 15 minutes, making sure to flip halfway through the cooking time. Using a instant read thermometer, the internal temperature of the meat should be about 130 degrees f for medium rare steak.
- Remove from the air-fryer basket and place on a cutting board. Tent with a large piece of aluminum foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- With a sharp knife, cut steak into thin strips, making sure to cut against the grain of the meat, at a 45 degree angle.