The Perfect Pastrami: A Guide To Air Fryer Cooking

pastrami air fryer recipe

If you’re a fan of hot, juicy, and flavorful pastrami, then get ready to take it to the next level. In this article, we’ll explore the art of cooking pastrami in an air fryer. From the intricate food science to the culinary details, we’ll cover it all, ensuring you have all the information needed to create a mouthwatering pastrami experience.

Understanding the Food Science

Before diving into the recipe and cooking techniques, it’s essential to understand the food science behind pastrami. Pastrami traditionally refers to a highly seasoned and cured cut of beef, typically a brisket, that is smoked and then cooked until tender.

The air fryer is an excellent option for cooking pastrami. Its unique design circulates hot air around the food, creating a crispy exterior while maintaining a moist and tender interior. Additionally, the shortened cooking time ensures that the pastrami retains its natural flavors and juiciness.

Selecting the Best Pastrami

Choosing the right pastrami is crucial for a successful dish. Look for a brisket cut that has the right amount of marbling. The fat within the meat adds flavor and juiciness to the final result. Opt for cuts with a rich, reddish color, indicating the quality of the beef.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even consider making your own pastrami at home by following a curing and smoking process. This allows you to control the flavors and tailor the recipe to your preference.

Cleaning the Air Fryer


Before starting any cooking process, it’s essential to ensure that your air fryer is clean and free from any residue. Follow these steps for a sparkling clean air fryer:

  1. Unplug the air fryer and allow it to cool down completely.
  2. Remove the basket or tray.
  3. Wash the basket, tray, and any other removable parts with warm soapy water. Dry them thoroughly before reattaching.
  4. Wipe down the interior and exterior with a damp cloth.
  5. Refer to your air fryer’s manual for any additional cleaning instructions.

Maintaining a clean air fryer guarantees that there won’t be any unwanted flavors or smells interfering with your pastrami masterpiece.

Preparing Pastrami for Air Frying


Now that your air fryer is spotless, it’s time to prepare the pastrami for cooking. Follow these steps for optimal flavor and tenderness:

  1. Remove the pastrami from any packaging and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Allow the pastrami to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, ensuring even cooking.
  3. Season the pastrami generously with your preferred blend of spices. Traditional pastrami spices include black pepper, coriander, mustard seeds, and paprika.
  4. Gently rub the spices into the pastrami to ensure even coverage.
  5. For enhanced flavor, consider adding a light coating of mustard onto the pastrami before seasoning. This will create a complementary tangy taste.
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Tips for Cooking Pastrami in an Air Fryer

close up view of air fried pastrami

Cooking pastrami in an air fryer requires precision and attention to detail. Here are some tips to achieve the best results:

  1. Cooking Time and Temperature: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes before cooking the pastrami. Place the seasoned pastrami in the basket or on the tray and cook for approximately 25 minutes for a 1-pound (450g) piece, flipping halfway through the cooking process. Adjust the time as needed based on the size and thickness of your pastrami.
  2. Basting: To keep the pastrami moist and add extra flavor, consider basting it with a mixture of beef broth and spices. You can do this once or twice during the cooking process.
  3. Monitoring the Cooking Process: Keep a close eye on the pastrami while it’s cooking. The air fryer’s rapid cooking speed may cause it to brown quicker than expected. Ensure the internal temperature doesn’t exceed 165°F (74°C) to maintain tenderness.
  4. Resting and Slicing: Once the pastrami is cooked to perfection, remove it from the air fryer and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring maximum flavor and tenderness. Slice the pastrami against the grain to keep it from becoming chewy.

Variations and Toppings

close up view of air fried pastrami

While traditional pastrami is delightful on its own, you can experiment with various toppings to enhance the flavors even more. Consider these options:

  1. Mustard: Classic yellow or spicy Dijon mustard complements the rich flavors of pastrami.
  2. Pickles: Adding dill pickles on the side or as a topping adds a refreshing crunch.
  3. Cheese: Melt a slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese on top of the pastrami for an indulgent twist.
  4. Sauerkraut: For a tangy and slightly sour contrast, sautéed sauerkraut is an excellent choice.

Feel free to mix and match these variations to create your own pastrami masterpiece!

Checking for Doneness

It’s essential to check the pastrami for doneness to ensure it’s cooked to perfection. Here are a few ways to determine if it’s ready to be enjoyed:

  1. Internal Temperature: Using a meat thermometer, check that the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165°F (74°C). This ensures that the pastrami is fully cooked and safe to eat.
  2. Tenderness: A properly cooked pastrami should be tender and easily pull apart. If it’s tough or chewy, it might require additional cooking.
  3. Juices: When you slice the pastrami open, it should release juices that are clear rather than pink or red.
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A Delicious Pastrami Air Fryer Recipe

Now that we’ve covered the essential details, let’s dive into a comprehensive pastrami air fryer recipe:


  • 1 pound (450g) pastrami
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Optional: beef broth for basting


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes.
  2. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the black pepper, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds into a coarse mixture.
  3. Coat the pastrami evenly with the spice mixture, pressing it gently to ensure it sticks.
  4. Optional: Lightly brush the pastrami with mustard before seasoning to enhance the flavors.
  5. Place the seasoned pastrami in the air fryer basket or on the tray.
  6. Cook the pastrami for approximately 25 minutes, flipping it halfway through the cooking process.
  7. Optional: Baste the pastrami with beef broth and spices once or twice during the cooking process.
  8. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, ensuring it reaches a minimum of 165°F (74°C).
  9. Remove the pastrami from the air fryer and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  10. Slice the pastrami against the grain and serve it as desired.

Enjoy your homemade pastrami air fryer creation with your favorite side dishes or in a classic pastrami sandwich.


Cooking pastrami in an air fryer opens up a world of possibilities. By understanding the food science, selecting the best pastrami, and following precise cooking techniques, you can achieve the perfect pastrami every time. Remember to experiment with different toppings and variations to create a personalized pastrami experience. With this comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped to embark on your pastrami adventure. Get cooking and enjoy your delectable, air fryer-cooked pastrami!

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    FAQS On Pastrami Air Fryer Recipe

    Can I Make Pastrami In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can definitely make pastrami in an air fryer. It’s a great way to achieve that crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender and flavorful.

    What Cut Of Meat Should I Use For Pastrami In An Air Fryer?

    The best cut of meat to use for pastrami in an air fryer is a beef brisket. It has the perfect fat content and texture to create a delicious pastrami.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook Pastrami In An Air Fryer?

    Cooking time can vary depending on the size of your pastrami and the specific air fryer you’re using. Generally, it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to cook pastrami in an air fryer.

    Do I Need To Marinate The Pastrami Before Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, it’s best to marinate the pastrami before cooking it in the air fryer. This will help infuse the meat with flavor and tenderize it for a more delicious result.

    What Temperature Should I Set My Air Fryer To For Cooking Pastrami?

    Preheat your air fryer to 375°F before cooking pastrami. This will ensure that the pastrami cooks evenly and gets that nice crispy exterior.

    Can I Use A Rub Or Seasoning On The Pastrami Before Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

    Absolutely! Using a rub or seasoning on the pastrami before cooking it in the air fryer will add extra flavor and depth to the dish. You can use a traditional pastrami rub or get creative with your own blend of spices.

    Can I Reheat Leftover Pastrami In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can reheat leftover pastrami in the air fryer. Simply set the air fryer to 350°F and reheat the pastrami for about 5-7 minutes, or until it’s heated through. This will help crisp up the exterior and keep the inside moist and delicious.