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Air Fryer Roast Beef

Everyone loves this tender juicy air fryer roast beef with a beautifully caramelised herby crust. Not only is it totally delicious, but it is super simple to prepare so you can relax and enjoy your Sunday. Check out my tips for getting a perfect crust while keeping the inside perfectly pink.

Air fryer roast beef sliced on a wooden board.

The roast beef that started my air fryer obsession

This recipe is very close to my heart. Roast beef is one of the first things I cooked in my first ever air fryer, and it came out so delicious that I don’t think I’ve cooked it in my oven since!

It’s incredibly easy to prepare (which is why it’s my favourite way to roast beef) – simply season the beef with a few herbs, and then pop it in the air fryer.

It can be hard to get that perfect balance between the dark caramelized outer crust and juicy pink inside when roasting beef in the air fryer. But I’ve tested and refined this recipe many many times over the years since I started making it, and have a great technique for keeping it medium-rare with the perfect sear.

Air fried beef joint in air fryer basket.

The best cut of beef for air frying

There is no single beef joint that you have to use to make this recipe, some good options include topside (top-round roast), rump roast, sirloin roast, or a boneless ribeye (scotch fillet).

Because the cooking time is relatively short it is better to use the most tender beef joint that your budget with stretch to. I usually use topside or top rump for a family dinner, or sirloin or ribeye for a special occasion.

Note: Tougher cuts (e.g. bottom round, silverside, bolar, or chuck roast) are generally best suited to slow roasting as they longer cooking times to get really tender. Try this air fryer pot roast recipe, which is cooked lower and slower, slow cooker beef pot roast or Instant Pot chuck roast for these cuts.

>> See more: The Best Cuts of Beef for Roasting

What else do you need?

Herbs

I like to use rosemary and thyme for this recipe, but you can substitute any other herbs or seasoning 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.

Salt

It is also important to season the beef with salt to bring out the flavor of the meat. I prefer fine ground sea salt, or kosher salt. Use approximately half a teaspoon per 500g/ pound of beef.

Oil

I normally use light olive oil when cooking a roast in the air fryer, but you can use any cooking oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil or avocado oil are good choices.

Onion (optional)

Another great way to add flavor to this dish is to add an onion to the air fryer basket with the beef. Cut it in half or into quarters.

Some more air fryer roast recipes you might like:

Tips for perfect roast beef

Perfect roast beef has a dark caramelised crust on the outside and is perfectly pink and tender on the inside.

To achieve a seared crust the beef needs to be cooked hot, but to keep the centre pink, the beef needs to be cooked slowly at a low temperature.

Blasting it at a high temperature until the centre is medium rare, will give you a dark crust, but the pink centre will be small and it will be surrounded by a wide band of overcooked grey meat.

To achieve that perfect crust while minimising the grey and maximising the pink:

  1. Get the roast our of the fridge ahead of time to all it to reach room temperature before cooking (around 1 hour).
  2. Sear with a short blast in the air fryer on HOT, before lowering the temperature and allow it to cook through to your desired donenss.
  3. Monitor the internal temperature and pull it out a couple of degrees early, because the temperature will continue to rise while it is resting.
  4. Rest before serving for at least 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to reabsorb.

Ready? Let’s cook this roast beef in the air fryer!

The best thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy. Simply rub the meat with herbs and oil, sear it in the air fryer, lower the temperature, and continue roasting until it’s medium-rare. The detailed instructions for making this recipe are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of the steps with photos:

1
Preheat.

Preheat the air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F. Preheating is important for this recipe because we initially use the air fryer to sear the beef, so we need it to be as hot as possible before the beef goes in.

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat mode, just set it to air fry for 3-4 minutes.

2
Prepare.

First pat the beef roast dry with paper towels. Then mix the herbs, salt and oil together on a plate, and roll the beef in it until evenly covered.

Beef joint being seasoned with herbs and oil.
3
Sear the beef.

To achieve a delicious crust, the beef roast initially needs to be cooked at a high temperature to sear the outside and allow the browning to begin. Place the beef roast in the air fryer basket and cook for the first 10 minutes at 200°C/ 400°F.

Uncooked roast beef in air fryer basket.
4
Cook it through.

Lower the temperature of the air fryer to 150°C/ 300°F, and air fry beef roast for another 30-40 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. See below for more details on cooking times and doneness.

Air fried roast beef in air fryer basket.
5
Rest and carve.

Rest the beef roast. When the beef has finished roasting, let it rest for at least 15 minutes – 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, use a very sharp chef’s knife or carving knife and cut thin slices against the grain.

How long to cook roast beef in the air fryer?

That depends on two things: the size of your beef, and your desired doneness. My rule of thumb for estimating cooking times is:

  • 15 minutes per 500g/ 1.1lb for rare
  • 20 minutes per 500g/ 1.1lb for medium
  • 25 minutes per 500g/ 1.1lb for well-done

I use this as a starting point, but the exact cooking times depend on the size and shape of the beef joint you are using, and will also vary with different air fryers.

Pro tip: use a meat thermometer. It takes the guesswork out of cooking meat, and I promise it will come in handy for more than just this recipe!

For a medium-rare roast, aim for an internal temperature of about 52°C/ 125°F, for medium aim for 55°C/ 130°F. Check towards the end of the cooking time, and remember the temperature of the meat will continue to rise while it rests (so pull it out a few degrees early).

Roast beef air fryer calculator

Use this calculator to estimate roast beef air fryer cooking times for different sized-roasts.

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

Tip

Remember that the temperature of the meat will continue to rise a few degrees while it rests.

Serving ideas

  • Serve slices of roast beef with crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and steamed vegetables.
  • Serve slices of roast beef with a mound of creamy mashed potatoes, a ladleful of mushroom gravy, and a side of green beans or Brussels sprouts.
  • Leftovers? Pile thinly sliced roast beef on a crusty roll with a dollop of horseradish sauce, a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, and some peppery rocket/arugula leaves.
  • Top a bed of mixed greens with slices of roast beef, crumbled blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion. Drizzle with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

Here are some easy side dishes to serve with this recipe:

Note: 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.

Air fryer roast beef sliced on a wooden board.

Air Fryer Roast Beef

4.5 from 631 votes
This air fryer roast beef is simple to prepare, quick to cook, and results in tender and juicy beef with a beautifully caramelized crust. A quick rub of herbs and oil is all it needs. Rest, slice, and serve this showstopping beef – so easy yet so impressive!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Serves6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb beef roast
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary and thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1 medium onion (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F.
  • Mix salt, rosemary and oil on a plate.
  • 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. 
  • If using, peel onion and cut it in half, place onion halves in the air fryer basket.
  • Place beef roast in the air fryer basket, and set to air fry for 10 minutes at 200°C/ 400°F.
  • When the time is up, change the temperature to 150°C/ 300°F. Set the beef to cook for an additional 25-35 minutes [Note 1]. This should give you medium-rare beef. Monitor the temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked to your liking [Note 2]. Check it early, and cook for additional 5-minute intervals if you prefer it more well done.
  • Remove roast beef from air fryer, cover with kitchen foil and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. This allows the meat to finish cooking and the juices to reabsorb into the meat.
  • Carve the roast beef thinly against the grain to serve.

Notes

Note 1: to estimate cooking times:

  • Rare: 15 mins per 500g/ 13 mins per lb
  • Medium: 20 mins 500g/ 18 mins per lb
  • Well-done: 25 mins per 500g/ 23 mins per lb
See the main article for cooking times calculator.

Note 2: Internal temperatures:

  • Rare: 49°C/ 120°F
  • Medium-rare: 52°C/ 125°F
  • Medium: 55°C/ 130°F
  • Medium-well: 57°C/ 135°F

Nutrition

Calories: 212kcal  Carbohydrates: 2g  Protein: 33g  Fat: 7g  Saturated Fat: 2g  Cholesterol: 83mg  Sodium: 282mg  Fiber: 1g  Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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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 calculator 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 before the center is cooked, I reduce the temperature to cook the beef through slowly after the initial 10 minute sear. 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 180°C/ 360°F. You can roast without oil, but I find you get tastier results if you use at least a spray of oil.

Nonie

Sunday 11th of February 2024

this is the only way to roast beef. OMG So good.

inept cook

Friday 11th of March 2022

Absolutly wonderful!!!!! First thing I cooked in the Ninja Foodie Airfryer/Grill! With a friend helping me (since I'm not a cook) ... we stabbed the meat and added pieces of garlic cloves.

We both loved all of your awesome insights and cooking tips!!!

Annette

Saturday 22nd of January 2022

LOVE LOVE THIS!! Mine came out awesome last week! A definite keeper and will make again next week ❤ Thank you for sharing this!

Adam Baird Brown Rennie

Friday 24th of December 2021

Great advice and very helpful, especially when your oven decides to die the day before Christmas

Roby

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Great site for beginners who have bought an airfryer

Comments are closed.

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