The Ultimate Guide To Tri Tip Air Fryer Recipe

tri tip air fryer recipe

Welcome to the ultimate guide to preparing a mouthwatering tri tip steak in an air fryer! In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the fascinating world of food science, explore culinary details, provide tips and variations, and share an incredibly delicious tri tip air fryer recipe. By the end, you will have all the knowledge and inspiration you need to create a perfect tri tip steak every time.

Understanding the Science behind Tri Tip

Tri tip, also known as "bottom sirloin" or "newport steak," is a flavorful, triangular cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin subprimal. This robust and tender cut is known for its rich marbling, which adds an incredible depth of flavor to the meat.

When cooked properly, the marbling in tri tip melts and bastes the steak, resulting in juicy and succulent bites. And this is where the air fryer comes in! Using this innovative cooking appliance, you can achieve a perfectly cooked tri tip with a beautifully crisp exterior, while retaining all the moisture inside.

Selecting the Perfect Tri Tip

To ensure success in your tri tip air fryer journey, it is crucial to select the right cut of meat. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Look for Quality:

Always opt for high-quality, well-marbled tri tip steaks. The marbling indicates tenderness and flavor.

2. Size Matters:

Choose a tri tip steak weighing around 2-3 pounds. This size ensures even cooking and optimal results.

3. Freshness and Color:

Inspect the meat carefully. Look for a vibrant red color with a good coating of fat. Avoid overly brown or dry-looking tri tips.

Cleaning and Preparing your Air Fryer

tri tip

Before diving into the culinary adventure, it’s essential to have a clean and well-maintained air fryer. Follow these tips for effective cleaning and preparation:

1. Read the Manual:

Familiarize yourself with your air fryer’s manual to understand its specific cleaning requirements.

2. Detach and Wash:

Remove any detachable components, such as the frying basket and tray, and wash them using warm soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

3. Wipe the Exterior:

Gently wipe the exterior of the air fryer with a damp cloth to remove any accumulated dust or stains.

4. Avoid Harsh Cleaners:

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that may damage the fryer’s non-stick coating. Stick to mild cleaning solutions.

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Preparing the Tri Tip Steak

tri tip

Now that your air fryer is clean and ready, let’s move on to preparing the tri tip steak. Follow these steps for a perfect outcome:

1. Seasoning Selection:

Prepare a tantalizing rub or marinade using your preferred seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and a hint of chili powder. This will add depth and enhance the flavors of the meat.

2. Application:

Coat the tri tip steak generously with the seasoning mix, ensuring an even distribution of flavors. Massage the seasonings into the meat for maximum penetration.

3. Resting Time:

Allow the seasoned steak to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This rest period allows the flavors to meld and enables the meat to achieve optimal tenderness.

Tips for Cooking Tri Tip in an Air Fryer

close up view of air fried tri tip

Cooking tri tip in an air fryer requires precise timing and temperature control. Follow these tips to achieve a perfectly cooked steak:

1. Preheat the Air Fryer:

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for approximately 3-5 minutes. This step ensures even and efficient cooking.

2. Placement:

Place the seasoned tri tip steak in the air fryer’s basket, ensuring it doesn’t overlap or touch the sides. Proper spacing allows for optimum air circulation and ensures an evenly cooked steak.

3. Cooking Time:

For medium-rare tri tip, cook the steak for around 15-17 minutes. Adjust the cooking time based on the desired doneness and the thickness of your cut. Use a meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature.

4. Flipping:

Flip the tri tip steak halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning and cooking on both sides. This practice yields a beautifully caramelized crust.

5. Resting Period:

Once the tri tip is cooked to perfection, remove it from the air fryer and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Resting helps the juices redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Variations and Creative Ideas

close up view of air fried tri tip

While a classic tri tip recipe is delightful on its own, exploring variations can be fun and rewarding. Here are a few ideas to inspire your culinary creativity:

1. Asian-Inspired:

Marinate the tri tip steak in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a touch of honey for an Asian twist. Serve the sliced meat with a side of stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice.

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2. Smoky and Spicy:

Add a smoky kick to the tri tip by incorporating chipotle powder or smoked paprika into the seasoning mix. Pair it with roasted potatoes and a spicy cilantro aioli.

3. Mediterranean Delights:

Infuse the steak with Mediterranean flavors using a blend of oregano, lemon zest, and minced garlic in the seasoning. Serve alongside a refreshing Greek salad and tzatziki sauce.

Checking Tri Tip Doneness

To ensure your tri tip steak is cooked to perfection, check its internal temperature. Use the following guidelines as a reference:

  • Medium Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C)
  • Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C)
  • Medium-Well: 150-155°F (66-68°C)

Remember to insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak for an accurate reading.

The Perfect Tri Tip Air Fryer Recipe

Finally, here’s a step-by-step recipe to guide you in your tri tip air fryer cooking adventure:


  • 1 tri tip steak (2-3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for 3-5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, and salt.
  3. Generously coat the tri tip steak with the seasoning mix, ensuring even coverage.
  4. Allow the seasoned steak to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Place the tri tip steak in the air fryer basket, avoiding overlap or touching the sides.
  6. Cook the tri tip for 15-17 minutes for medium-rare doneness, flipping halfway through.
  7. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Adjust cooking time if necessary.
  8. Remove the tri tip from the fryer and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Slice the steak against the grain and serve it with your favorite sides.


Congratulations! You have now embarked on a journey through the tantalizing realm of tri tip air fryer cooking. Armed with this comprehensive guide, you can confidently select, prepare, and cook a tri tip steak that will impress even the most discerning of palates. Enjoy this flavorful and succulent cut of meat, and remember to unleash your culinary creativity through variations and tweaks to suit your taste preferences. Happy cooking!

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  • FAQS On Tri Tip Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is A Tri Tip?

    Tri tip is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin region of the cow. It is a triangular-shaped muscle that is known for its rich flavor and tenderness.

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    Can You Cook A Tri Tip In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can cook a tri tip in an air fryer. Air fryers are versatile appliances that can cook various types of meats, including tri tip.

    How Long Do You Cook A Tri Tip In An Air Fryer?

    The cooking time for a tri tip in an air fryer will depend on the size and thickness of the meat. As a general guideline, a 1.5 to 2-pound tri tip can be cooked in an air fryer at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. It is recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure the tri tip reaches an internal temperature of 135-140°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium.

    Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking Tri Tip?

    Preheating the air fryer is recommended to ensure even cooking and to help sear the tri tip. It is advised to preheat the air fryer for about 5 minutes before placing the tri tip inside.

    Should I Season The Tri Tip Before Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, seasoning the tri tip before cooking will enhance the flavor. You can use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other spices or marinades according to your preference.

    Do I Need To Flip The Tri Tip While It’s Cooking In The Air Fryer?

    Flipping the tri tip halfway through the cooking process is recommended to ensure even browning and to prevent any areas from becoming overcooked.

    How Should I Rest The Tri Tip After Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

    After removing the tri tip from the air fryer, it is important to let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat. Tent the tri tip with foil during the resting period to keep it warm.