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!
Why you’ll love air fryer roast beef
This recipe takes the traditional roast beef and gives it a flavorful twist using an air fryer. The air fryer locks in the flavors and ensures even cooking, resulting in a perfectly cooked roast beef every time.
Air frying is a quick roasting method, so it’s ready in about half the time it would 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, keeping it tender and juicy.
Scroll down for the recipe card for this air fryer beef roast recipe, or read on for all the details!
What do you need?
Air frying is a quick roasting method, so you need to be picky about the beef joint you use. Tougher cuts need a long roasting time to get really tender, so when air frying it is best to choose a more tender cut.
The following cuts of beef roast will work for this recipe:
- Rib eye roast, prime rib roast. rolled rib roast,
- Cube roll, scotch fillet roast
- Sirloin roast, striploin, top butt, rostbiff, picanha, sirloin cap, tri-tip roast
- Round roast, topside, eye of round, top round roast, London broil
Tougher cuts like bottom round, silverside, bolar, and chuck roast are generally best suited to slow roasting as they can be tough and need moisture and longer cooking times to get really tender.
>> See more: The Best Cuts of Beef for Roasting
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 the beef with salt to bring out the flavor of the meat. I prefer flaked salt or kosher salt. Use approximately half a teaspoon per pound/ 450g of beef.
I normally use light olive oil when cooking a roast in the air fryer, but you can use any cooking oil that you would usually use for a roast. Vegetable oil or avocado oil are good choices.
Choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point to reduce the chance of your air fryer smoking.
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.
How to roast beef in the air fryer
- Prepare and season beef roast. Pat the beef roast dry with paper towels before seasoning it. 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.
- Sear the beef. To achieve a delicious crust, the beef roast needs to be cooked at a high temperature for around 5 minutes to sear the outside. Preheat the air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F, and then place the beef roast in the air fryer basket and cook for the first 5 minutes at this high temperature.
- Air fry roast beef to cook it through. Lower the temperature of the air fryer to 180°C/ 360°F, and air fry beef roast for 30 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. See below for more details on cooking times and doneness.
- Rest the beef roast. When the beef has finished roasting, you will need to let it rest for at least 10 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.
How long to cook roast beef in the air fryer
The exact cooking times for a beef joint in the air fryer depend on a few factors, including the exact size and shape of the beef joint you are using, as well as how efficient your air fryer is.
However, my rule of thumb to calculate beef roast air fryer cooking times is: 15 minutes per pound (450g) of beef for rare, then add five minutes for each degree of doneness that you like. Use this as a starting point, and monitor the internal temperature of the beef when it is close to the end of the cooking time until it is cooked to your liking.
Estimated roast beef air fryer cooking times
|How well done?
|Time* (2lb roast)
|*Including 5 minute sear
These cook times 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 medium-done roast beef, it should be 63°C/ 145°F. Or, for medium-rare roast beef, with a little pink in the center, you are aiming for an internal temperature of about 57°C/ 135°F.
Remember that the temperature of the meat will continue to rise a few degrees while it rests.
It’s hard to beat a classic British Sunday roast beef dinner with crispy roasted potatoes, fresh vegetables like carrots and peas, and rich brown gravy ladled over the top. But roast beef is also delicious served open-faced on fresh bread with horseradish sauce. Sliced thinly while still warm, it makes incredible sandwiches.
Here are some tasty side dishes that go well with this recipe:
Also want to air fry a side dish?
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. For more details, check out my guide on how to cook a meal in the air fryer here.
Air Fryer Roast Beef
- 2 lb / 900 g beef roast
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 medium onion optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons rosemary and thyme fresh or dried
- 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 5 minutes at 200°C/ 400°F.
- When the time is up, change the temperature to 180°C/ 360°F. Set the beef to cook for an additional 30 minutes [Note 1]. 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.
- 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.
- Carve the roast beef thinly against the grain and serve with roasted or steamed vegetables, wholegrain mustard, and gravy.
- Flip the beef roast over half way through the cooking time if required by your air fryer. Check your manual if you are unsure if this is required for your air fryer.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.
FAQs & Tips
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.
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.
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.
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.