The Perfectly Cooked Tenderloin Steaks In The Air Fryer

tenderloin steaks air fryer recipe

Steak lovers, rejoice! Today, we delve into the culinary world of tenderloin steaks in the air fryer. This comprehensive guide will take you on a journey through the science, preparation, cooking techniques, and mouthwatering recipes to create the most succulent and flavorful tenderloin steaks. So, fire up your air fryer and let’s get started on this culinary adventure!

Understanding the Food Science

When it comes to cooking tenderloin steaks, understanding the food science behind it plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect doneness and tenderness. Tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, is a lean cut of beef that sits beneath the backbone and lacks heavy marbling. Its tenderness makes it highly sought after, but it requires careful cooking to maximize its delightful attributes.

The key to cooking a mouthwatering tenderloin steak lies in two main factors: temperature and time. The internal temperature determines the level of doneness, while the time required ensures even cooking throughout the steak.

Selecting the Perfect Tenderloin Steaks

Choosing high-quality tenderloin steaks is an essential step towards a delicious result. Here are some tips to help you select the best cuts:

  1. Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed: Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, offering a slightly different flavor profile compared to grain-fed beef. Both options are suitable for air frying, but choose according to your personal preference.

  2. Color and Marbling: Look for steaks with a vibrant cherry-red color, and a generous amount of marbling throughout the meat. Marbling refers to the small streaks of fat within the muscle, which adds flavor and juiciness.

  3. Thickness: Ideally, choose steaks that are 1 to 1.5 inches thick. This thickness allows for even cooking and better retention of juices.

Preparing and Cleaning the Tenderloin Steaks

tenderloin steaks

Before cooking, it is essential to properly prepare and clean the tenderloin steaks. Follow these steps for a flawless cooking experience:

  1. Thawing: If your steaks are frozen, it is crucial to thaw them before cooking. Place them in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost function on your microwave for a quick thaw.

  2. Trimming: While tenderloin steaks often come ready-to-cook, take a moment to trim off any excess fat or silver skin. These can impede the tenderness and affect the cooking process.

  3. Patting Dry: Before seasoning, pat the steaks dry with paper towels. This ensures the seasonings adhere well to the meat and promotes a beautiful crust formation.

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Seasoning and Marinating

tenderloin steaks

Seasoning or marinating the tenderloin steaks enhances their flavors and adds a delightful kick to every bite. Here are some seasoning ideas to try:

  1. Classic Salt and Pepper: Simplicity can sometimes be the key to perfection. Generously season both sides of the steak with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  2. Herb and Garlic Rub: Mix together minced garlic, fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, salt, pepper, and a touch of olive oil to create a fragrant herb rub. Massage it onto the steaks for an enhanced flavor experience.

  3. Bold and Spicy Rub: If you crave a punch of heat, try a spicy rub with ingredients like cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Adjust the spice level according to your taste preferences.

For marinating, you can use your favorite marinade or even a simple blend of olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and a hint of brown sugar for sweetness. Allow the steaks to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours for a more intense flavor.

Tips for Cooking Tenderloin Steaks in the Air Fryer

close up view of air fried tenderloin steaks

Cooking tenderloin steaks to perfection in an air fryer can be a breeze with these tips:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: To ensure even cooking, preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes. This will help sear the steaks upon contact, creating a beautiful crust.

  2. Using Oil: Rub a thin layer of oil on both sides of the steaks before air frying. This not only helps with browning but also prevents sticking.

  3. Air Fryer Placement: Place the steaks in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring there is enough space between them for proper airflow. Avoid overcrowding, as it may result in uneven cooking.

  4. Cooking Time and Temperature: For medium-rare steaks, set the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and cook for 8-10 minutes. Adjust the time according to your desired doneness and the thickness of the steaks. Remember to flip them halfway through for even cooking.

  5. Resting Time: Once cooked, allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures maximum tenderness.

Checking for Doneness

close up view of air fried tenderloin steaks

While time and temperature play a vital role, testing for doneness using a meat thermometer provides the most accurate results. Here are the internal temperature ranges for various levels of doneness:

  1. Rare: 125-130°F (52-54°C)
  2. Medium Rare: 135-140°F (57-60°C)
  3. Medium: 145-150°F (63-66°C)
  4. Medium Well: 155-160°F (68-71°C)
  5. Well Done: 165°F (74°C) and above
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Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak, avoiding bone or excessive fat. Aim for the desired level of doneness and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Savory Variations to Delight Your Palate

While tenderloin steaks are incredible on their own, trying out different flavor variations can heighten your dining experience. Here are a few ideas to experiment with:

  1. Blue Cheese Crust: Crumble blue cheese over the steaks before air frying to create a deliciously tangy crust. Serve it with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes for an indulgent meal.

  2. Red Wine Reduction: After air frying, remove the steaks and deglaze the air fryer basket with red wine. Simmer the wine until it forms a rich, velvety reduction, then pour it over the steaks for an elegant touch.

  3. Peppercorn Crusted: Roll the seasoned steaks in crushed black peppercorns before air frying. The heat from the air fryer will release the aromatic oils, resulting in a fragrantly spiced steak.

A Delicious Tenderloin Steak Air Fryer Recipe

Now, let’s put all this knowledge into practice with a delectable tenderloin steak recipe for your air fryer!


  • 2 tenderloin steaks (1-1.5 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: additional seasonings or marinades of your choice


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes.
  2. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels.
  3. Rub both sides of the steaks with olive oil.
  4. Season the steaks with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and any additional seasonings or marinades you prefer.
  5. Place the steaks in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  6. Air fry the steaks at 400°F (200°C) for 8-10 minutes for medium-rare. Adjust the time based on your desired doneness and the thickness of the steaks.
  7. Flip the steaks halfway through the cooking time.
  8. Once cooked, remove the steaks from the air fryer and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

In Conclusion

Congratulations! You now possess all the knowledge you need to create incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful tenderloin steaks using your air fryer. Remember to select quality cuts, season or marinate to perfection, and follow the cooking techniques provided. Whether you prefer them thick and medium-rare or tender and well-done, your air-fried tenderloin steaks are guaranteed to impress. Enjoy the delightful taste of a restaurant-quality steak right in the comfort of your own home!

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FAQS On Tenderloin Steaks Air Fryer Recipe

What Is A Tenderloin Steak?

A tenderloin steak is a cut of meat taken from the loin of a beef animal that is known for its tenderness and delicate flavor.

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food instead of oil, making it a healthier alternative to deep frying.

Can I Cook Tenderloin Steaks In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook tenderloin steaks in an air fryer, and it’s a great way to get a delicious, juicy steak without all the added fats and oils.

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

Cooking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of your tenderloin steaks, but generally, it takes about 8-10 minutes at 400°F to get a medium-rare steak.

Do I Need To Preheat My Air Fryer Before Cooking Tenderloin Steaks?

Yes, it’s important to preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before cooking any food, including tenderloin steaks. This helps to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

What Seasonings Go Well With Tenderloin Steaks In An Air Fryer?

Seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs like rosemary or thyme are excellent choices for seasoning tenderloin steaks in an air fryer.

Can I Cook Other Cuts Of Steak In An Air Fryer Using The Same Recipe?

Yes, you can use this recipe to cook other cuts of steak, but keep in mind that thicker steaks may require more cooking time. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to get the desired doneness.