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Air Fryer Roast Beef

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Air fryer roast beef is simple to cook, but also tender and flavorsome. This recipe uses rosemary, thyme, salt, and a little olive oil, for perfect classic roast beef.

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Air fryer roast beef with potatoes and spinach on a white plate
Air Fryer Roast Beef

How to Roast Beef in an Air Fryer

You might think of roast beef as a fancy, complicated dish to cook, but it’s actually very simple! Especially air fryer roast beef.

Air frying is a quick roasting method, so it’s ready in about half the time it would normally take in a regular oven.

This stops the meat from drying out, and because the meat sits in a basket rather than in a pan of oil it absorbs less oil, but still retains the moisture making it tender and juicy.

This air fryer roast is one of my favorites to serve, especially for a Sunday roast or a holiday dinner. If you like this recipe you should also try my recipe to roast lamb in an air fryer, and also my recipe for pork roast in an air fryer (especially if is has crackling as the hot air gets it super crispy!).

Scroll down for the recipe card for this air fryer beef roast recipe, or read on for all the details!

Ingredients

What cut of beef to use

Because air frying is a quick roasting method, you are going to want to be picky about the cut you get. Tougher cuts need a long roasting time to get really tender, so when air frying it is best to choose a more tender cut.

I have had good results air frying the following cuts of beef roast:

  • Rolled rib roast
  • Prime rib roast
  • Sirloin roast
  • Eye of round roast
  • Tri tip roast

Beef tenderloin is also great to air fry. The cooking times need to be halved due to the shape of this cut. For more details see my recipe: Air fryer beef tenderloin.

Rump roast and chuck roast are generally best suited to slow roasting as they can be tough and need the longer cooking times to get really tender. These cuts are also perfect for making air fryer beef jerky or this slow cooker beef pot roast.

They can still be air fried, but will need to be sliced thinly against the grain for best results.

Medium rare air fryer roast rib eye.
Air Fryer Roast Prime Rib.

Seasoning

The recipe below calls for rosemary and thyme, but you can go ahead and switch in any other herbs you like (try oregano, sage, parsley).

Fresh or dried herbs will work. If you are using fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off and chop them up quite finely before using.

It is also important to season with salt to bring out the flavor of the beef. I prefer flaked salt or kosher salt. Use approximately a half teaspoon per pound of beef.

Oil

I normally use light olive oil when cooking a roast in my air fryer, but you can use any cooking oil that you would usually use for a roast. Choose one with a high smoke point to prevent your air fryer from smoking during cooking.

Directions

Prepare and season beef roast

Dry the beef well before seasoning it. The meat will only start browning after all the moisture has evaporated from the outer surface.

This is why it is really important to get the beef as dry as possible before starting cooking, so that this process can begin as soon as possible. It really helps that tasty crust to develop.

To season the roast, mix all the herbs and salt together with the oil on a plate and roll the beef in it. I find this helps to get it evenly covered with the seasoning.

Beef roast with rosemary, thyme salt and olive oil on a wooden board
Air fryer beef roast and seasoning – classic rosemary, thyme, salt.

How Hot to Air Fry Roast Beef?

The aim when roasting meat is to get a tasty crust to develop on the outside while the inside is just cooked through. You could sear the outside of the beef in a skillet prior to air frying, but that adds extra time (and a pan to clean).

Instead, I start the cooking process at a higher temperature in the air fryer, to help the crust start to develop, and then lower the temperature for the beef to cook through.

Tip:
It is important to preheat the air fryer so that the cooking process starts immediately once you have put the beef roast in the air fryer.

You will need to preheat the air fryer to 390°F (200°C), and then cook for the first 5 minutes at this high temperature. Then lower the temperature to 360°F (180°C) to finish cooking.

How Long to Air Fry Beef Roast

As for how long to roast it, I follow the general rule for beef roast cooking times of 15 minutes per lb of beef for rare, then add five minutes for each degree of doneness that you like:

How well done?RuleTime* (2lb roast)Internal Temp.
Rare15 min per lb / 450g30 minutes125°F/ 52°C
Medium rare15 min per lb / 450g + 5 min35 minutes135°F/ 57°C
Medium15 min per lb / 450g + 10 min40 minutes145°F/ 63°C
Medium well-done15 min per lb / 450g + 15 min45 minutes150°F/ 66°C
Well done15 min per lb / 450g + 20 min50 minutes160°F/ 71°C
*Including 5 minute sear
Estimated roast beef air fryer cooking times

Note: if you are cooking a tenderloin or other long or flat shaped cut, expect to halve the cooking time–around 20 minutes total for medium-rare for a 2lb roast.

The cook times in the recipe below are usually exactly right for my Philips Airfryer. If you have another powerful brand of air fryer like the Nuwave or a Ninja Foodi then expect cook times to be similar.

However, the best way to tell whether your beef roast is cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For roast beef, it should be 145°F / 63°C for medium.

Meat thermometer tip:
Measure the temperature in the center of the thickest part of your beef roast for an accurate temperature reading.

The best meat thermometer I have found to use with an air fryer is the Meater*. It is a truly wireless meat thermometer, that talks to an app on your phone. It is basically like a skewer that you stick in the meat to measure the temperature and then the app calculates the cooking time based on how well you want it done.

It is just perfect to use with an air fryer as you can check on progress without even opening the air fryer. However, an instant-read meat thermometer is also a great option (and more budget-friendly).

rib eye roast in air fryer basket with Meater meat thermometer.
Prime rib beef roast in air fryer with Meater* meat thermometer.

I like a medium-rare roast, with a little pink in the center. For a medium-rare beef roast, you are aiming for an internal temperature of about 135°F.

Remember that the temperature of the meat will continue to rise a little while it rests, so remove it from the air fryer when it is around 4-5 degrees below the target temperature.

(Note: if you have a Meater thermometer* it will alert you to remove it in time so it reaches the right temperature while resting.)

Serving roast beef

When the beef has finished roasting, you will need to let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes. Just transfer it to a cutting board and cover it loosely with tinfoil. This allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat and keeps it succulent.

When you are ready to carve, make sure you use a very sharp chef’s knife or carving knife and cut thin slices against the grain.

I love to serve a classic roast with air fryer roasted vegetables or fresh microwave steamed vegetables. For a quick and easy gravy, try this recipe for making a rich brown gravy from stock cubes.

If you also want to cook side dishes in the air fryer, you can pre-cook them for part of the cooking time before the beef, then put them back in the air fryer to finish cooking for 10 minutes while the beef is resting.

Try cooking these amazing crispy air fryer roast potatoes to go with this roast beef recipe – air fryer for 10-15 minutes before the beef, remove to a dish and cover with foil while the beef is cooking, then air fry for a final 10 minutes while the beef is resting.

Scroll down for the recipe card for this air fryer beef roast recipe!

FAQs & Tips

What is the difference between roast and air fry?

Roasting is a way of cooking meat at high temperature. You can use an air fryer to roast meat and vegetables, or anything you might roast in an oven.
Some air fryers have different settings for air fry and roast. With some brands there is no difference between the settings other than the starting temperature (which you can adjust), but with some air fryers the ‘roast’ setting operates the fan at a lower level which will require different cooking times. If in doubt, use the air fry setting for this recipe.

How long does it take to roast beef in an air fryer?

My rule of thumb for cooking beef is 15 minutes per lb, and then an additional 5 minutes for how well you want it done. Use the table above to estimate cooking times.

How do I cook roast beef without it drying out?

Roast beef needs to be cooked at a high temperature to get a tasty crust on the outside. To prevent it from getting dry on the outside before the center is cooked, I reduce the temperature to cook the beef through after the initial 5 minutes. This allows the outside to sear, so the moisture is retained while it cooks.
It is also important to rest beef well after cooking to allow the moisture to reabsorb into the meat before you cut it.

Can you roast in an air fryer?

Roasting food means cooking at a high temperature, usually with oil. To roast in an air fryer I would recommend cooking at least 360°F (180°C). You can roast without oil, but I find you get tastier results if you use at least a spray of oil.

Air Fryer Roast Beef Recipe

Air fryer roast beef with potatoes and spinach on a white plate
Yield: 6 Servings

Air Fryer Roast Beef

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Inactive Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

How to cook classic roast beef in an air fryer. 

Ingredients

  • 2lb/ 900g beef roast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary and thyme, (fresh or dried)

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 390°F (200°C).
  2. Mix sea salt, rosemary and oil on a plate.
  3. Pat the beef roast dry with paper towels. Place beef roast on plate and turn so that the oil-herb mix coats the outside of the beef. 
    Seasoned beef roast on a white plate
  4. If using, peel onion and cut it in half, place onion halves in the air fryer basket.
  5. Place beef roast in the air fryer basket. 
    Beef roast in air fryer basket
  6. Set to air fry beef for 5 minutes.
  7. When the time is up, change the temperature to 360°F (180°C). Flip the beef roast over half way through the cooking time if required by your air fryer [Note 1].
  8. Set the beef to cook for an additional 30 minutes. This should give you medium-rare beef. Though is best to monitor the temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked to your liking. Check it early, and cook for additional 5 minute intervals if you prefer it more well done.
  9. Remove roast beef from air fryer, cover with kitchen foil and leave to rest for at least ten minutes before serving. This allows the meat to finish cooking and the juices to reabsorb into the meat.
  10. Carve the roast beef thinly against the grain and serve with roasted or steamed vegetables, wholegrain mustard, and gravy.

Notes

  1. Some sir fryers require food to be turned over during cooking, some don't (my Philips Viva airfryer doesn't need food to be turned). Check your manual if you are unsure.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 33g

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About Eliza

Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food. Whether you are short on time, skills or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes for dinner, lunch, side dishes, and more. Our recipes use everyday ingredients, for quick delicious meals your family will love! Read more…

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Nick Calder

Sunday 10th of October 2021

Hi Eliza

Thanks for the recipe. I tried it out to your instructions (I had a 2.5lb eye roast, so went for 10 minutes at 200c and then a further 45 mins at 180c. The internal temperature was registering around 70c, so I kind of thought I had a disaster. In the end, the roast was medium to medium to medium-well done. I was aiming for medium rare following your instructions

Not a criticism, just an observation based on how it work out for me

Anne

Monday 29th of March 2021

I checked mine around ten minutes early and it was already medium rare. Maybe reduce cooking time if you have a Ninja max xl.

Marg S

Sunday 2nd of September 2018

Hiiii! I make this roast beef for my family at least once a month. They think they are getting a real treat, but the truth is its the easiest dinner I make!

Steph

Thursday 24th of May 2018

great recipe. I always go back to this one when I am looking for a great air fryer roast.

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