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Food & Recipes

These Air Fryer Steak Bites Are Full of Fancy Flavor, Yet So Easy to Make in 20 Minutes

Plus, learn the best cut of steak to use and a guide to doneness.

We all deserve a fancy meal once in a while, and nothing says “treat yourself” more than a steak dinner. A sizzling plate of juicy, flavorful beef can make any occasion one to remember. But sometimes you might not have the time or energy to fire up the grill or deal with the mess of pan-frying. Not to mention it can be a little intimidating to cook a steak. So, when we heard about air fryer steak bites, we had to learn more. This viral recipe delivers restaurant-quality results at home, minus the waiting or cleanup. And the air fryer does all the work for you, making it a low-effort, fast and healthy weeknight indulgence. Here’s how to make air fryer steak bites.

Why you should make air fryer steak bites

As their name suggests, air fryer steak bites are cubed pieces of marinated or seasoned steak cooked in the air fryer. They grew in popularity within the online foodie community, particularly on social media platforms, as an easy alternative to traditional steak cooking methods. And don’t worry: they have the same tenderness and rich flavor but with minimal effort! Check out this TikTok video for a glimpse at the trend.


Garlic Butter Steak Bites in the #airfryer #learnontiktok #learnhow (full typed out recipe is on my blog + link is in bio 👆🏻)#tiktokpartner

♬ A-O-K – Tai Verdes

Why do we love this recipe? Well, a few reasons. First, air fryers get the job done fast. This means you can enjoy your steak bites in less time than it would take to heat up your grill. And unlike pan-frying, which can leave splatters and greasy residue, air fryers offer a much cleaner cooking experience. Additionally, they use minimal oil to cook, resulting in a lower-fat method. Trust us: the steak bites will crisp up beautifully without the need for any basting. In fact, these machines know how to create a golden brown exterior while locking in those juices. And of course, this recipe has “easy” written all over it, making it a beginner-friendly steak night dinner that will impress any guest.

The best steak cut to use for air fryer steak bites

steak cut into cubes on wooden cutting board

Different cuts of steak can impact the texture and taste of your steak bites. While you can choose your favorite, some work better in the air fryer than others. Chef, professional speaker and author Jumoke Jackson says to “invest in the best you can find, preferably from trusted sources like Whole Foods. Quality meat, simply seasoned and properly cooked, speaks volumes on the plate.” Gabriel Llaurado, co-founder of Meat N’ Bone, also adds that “you want something with good marbling to give you the juiciest results.”

1. Top sirloin

This cut offers a good balance between leanness and marbling, resulting in a slightly more luxurious eating experience. The marbling also adds a touch of richness without being overly fatty.

2. Tri tip

This flavorful cut is perfect for larger air fryers due to its size. While tri-tip has a decent amount of marbling, some parts can be leaner. To combat dryness, slice it against the grain into thin strips to maximize tenderness.

3. Flank steak

“My go-to is always flank,” says Chef Jackson. “You want a cut that responds well to high heat, like flank, which allows for that perfect Maillard reaction — the light, appetizing crusting on the surface of the steak.” This cut comes readily available without the hefty price tag. However, due to its lower fat content, it can dry out more quickly if overcooked. Reduce the cook time and cut thin slices to optimize tenderness. Marinating can also add extra moisture.

Tips for cooking air fryer steak bites

You may be wondering if cooking steak in the air fryer requires different rules. And for the most part, no. However, we put together a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Preheat your air fryer

Preheating your air fryer ensures even cooking and a nice sear on the outside of your steak bites. We recommend 400°F for even cooking and a nicely seared exterior. You should hear the steak sizzle when it hits the basket.

2. Prep your steak

“Make sure the cut is at least 1-inch thick,” says Llaurado. “This will ensure you maintain a juicy and succulent steak. Then, “season your steak well on all sides and allow it to sit and come to room temperature prior to cooking.” Finally, “dab excess moisture off your steak prior to putting in the air fryer.”

3. Shake the basket

To ensure all sides of the steak bites brown evenly, give the air fryer basket a gentle shake halfway through. However, you can alternatively flip them over by hand with a pair of tongs.

Checking doneness

Depending on your preferred doneness, you’ll want to check your steak bites with a thermometer until they reach the right internal temperature. For a medium-rare steak, it should feel slightly firm, have a mostly red center with pink edges and read 130-140°F. Medium will feel firmer and more spongelike, with a light pink center at 140-150°F. And well-done should feel very firm with a mostly brown center at or above 160°F.

Generally, 4-6 minutes will give you medium-rare to medium steak bites. But remember, you can’t undo overcooked meat, so start with a shorter cooking time and check periodically.

Easy air fryer steak bites recipe

Dinner in under 30 minutes? Yes, please! This recipe from Kinda Healthy Recipes uses top sirloin filet coated in a decadent garlic butter sauce for extra flavor. Each serving also has 200 calories and 25 grams of protein! Now you just need a side of potatoes and asparagus.

Garlic Butter Steak Bites

air fryer steak bites in white bowl with herbs
Tatiana Volgutova/Getty


For the steak bites

  • 16 oz. top sirloin filet, cut into 1-inch bite size pieces
  • ½ Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder

For the garlic butter

  • 1½ Tbs. butter
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. parsley flakes


  • Active Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Toss the steak pieces with the olive oil. Then, mix the brown sugar and spices together and coat the steak in the seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Next, preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F. Once heated, add the steak to the basket and air fry for 4-6 minutes, or until your desired doneness.
  3. While the steak cooks, melt the butter and mix in the garlic powder, red pepper and parsley. Toss the finished steak in the garlic butter in a bowl before serving.

Storing and reheating air fryer steak bites

You can store leftover air fryer steak bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, preheat the air fryer to 350°F and cook them until warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat steak in the oven.

Customize your air fryer steak bites

Like any steak, you can customize your steak bites with any combination of seasonings or marinades you want. After all, you can do a lot more delicious things with steak than just butter. So, get creative and take your steak dinner to new heights with these fun ideas.

1. Teriyaki marinade

Go the Asian route by coating your steak bites in teriyaki sauce, a Japanese condiment with a sweet flavor and sticky texture. You can also make your own with this easy video tutorial.

2. Fajita seasoning

Spice things up with a bit of Mexican flair. Mix chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Coat your steak bites liberally, so it gets into all the crevices. The paprika will add a vibrant color, while the chili powder and cayenne pepper bring a welcome kick of heat.

3. Herb & lemon

Embrace the freshness of the Mediterranean with a simple and elegant marinade. Simply combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper in a bowl. Let your steak bites marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight for deeper flavor. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice after cooking also adds a delightful zesty touch.

4. Parmesan crust

Elevate your presentation by dredging your steak bites in a mixture of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. Spread the mixture out on a plate, then whisk an egg in another plate. Dip each steak bite into the egg wash then dredge so it adheres fully. You’ll get a satisfying crunch and golden exterior.

For more delicious steak recipes, check out these stories below:

These Steak Fajitas Are a Toss-Together Dinner Delight — Easy Sheet Pan Recipe

Cheesesteak Egg Rolls Are the Perfect Party Food — Chef’s Easy Secret Guarantees They Cook Up Melty Inside, Crispy Outside

Chef Reveals the Secrets to Making the Best Steak + Fries (Steak Frites) At Home

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