Can you cook a beef roast in the air fryer? Yes! This air fryer roast beef recipe is tender, juicy, flavorful, and cooked to the perfect medium-rare. Learn how to pick the most delicious and buttery cut of beef you’ve ever had for roast dinner. We’ll cook it on the air fryer spit, for a main course ideal for a holiday or special Sunday dinner.
When you use high-quality ingredients, it’s often best to keep things simple. It makes it easier to enjoy the rich flavors of the food and truly allow them to shine.
When Chicago Steak Company sent me a USDA Prime Beef Tenderloin Roast along with their steak seasoning, I knew I had what I needed to create a beautiful entrée.
All this air fryer rotisserie roast beef needed was a little oil and seasoning. It would be a shame to cover such a beautiful cut of meat with sauces or gravies.
Putting roast beef in the air fryer may sound strange at first. Beef tenderloin is such a high-quality cut of meat. And air frying? Well...
Air frying tends to be seen as a little low brow. Though many home cooks love air frying, it’s not quite so popular in fancy restaurants.
Whatever your preconceived notions, take this post as a sign to air fry roast beef. I think you are going to be amazed at the magic you can create with a roast beef, air fryer, and a little time.
- 🥩 What type of beef for roast beef?
- 🐄 Beef Grades
- 📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Roast Beef
- ⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ Safe Temperature
- 🥪 Leftovers
- 🧂 Seasoning
- 🥗 Side Dishes
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Beef Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🥩 What type of beef for roast beef?
Only certain cuts of beef are best for oven roasting and air frying. Others are better for slow cooking. Knowing which cuts of beef are best for air fryer roast beef is essential for success with this recipe.
In short, you want tender cuts, not tough cuts for this recipe. Here are cuts of beef that would work well for air fryer roast beef (source):
- Chateaubriand Tenderloin Roast: This is the beef tenderloin roast I’m using in this recipe. It is the most tender beef roast, lean, and succulent. IMHVO it is worth the expense and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
- Ribeye Roast: A classic choice for roast beef. This one is not as lean as the tenderloin, with lots of marbling throughout.
- Shoulder Petite Tender: Is smaller than the Chateaubriand (and generally more affordable). You can air fry it in a short amount of time since it is small.
- Tri-tip Roast: Tri tip is not as tender as the cuts mentioned above, but can still work as an air fryer roast. It's delicious and full of flavor.
- Sirloin Tip Roast and Top Sirloin Petite Roast (top loin): These lean cuts are budget-friendly and work for roasting and air frying.
- Rolled Rib Roast: Also known as boneless prime rib, this tender cut is a fine choice for air frying.
Here are cuts that are NOT ideal for air fryer roast beef. Save these roasts for the slow cooker.
- Rump Roast
- Bottom Round Roast
- Top Round Roast
- Eye of Round Roast (This could be roasted or slow cooked, but I really prefer it after slow cooking.)
- Chuck Roast (Chuck roast is a classic choice for pot roast. I would save it for that purpose.)
- Brisket (Use it for corned beef and pastrami!)
🐄 Beef Grades
Another thing to consider if you’re after the best roast beef ever are the USDA beef grades. There are two ways beef is graded:
- Quality: Flavor, juiciness, tenderness
- Yield: Amount of meat on the carcass
Here are the grades of beef:
- Prime Beef: This is the top grade of beef and what I used in this recipe. Prime cuts of beef have lots of marbling and are the best choice for air fryer roast beef. (FYI, it also tends to be the most expensive.)
- Choice Beef: Choice is another high-quality option, though it has less marbling than prime cuts. Choice cuts of beef would also work for this recipe if you don’t want to spend the money on prime.
- Select Beef: Select is a grade below choice beef, and has less marbling. I would not use it for this air fried roast beef recipe. Select beef is best marinated before cooking to give it more juiciness and flavor.
- Standard Beef and Commercial Beef: These are typically sold ungraded, as they are lower grades of beef. (I guess there is no need to brag on the label if you’re near the bottom of the pile. Hahaha) I would not use these for air fryer beef roast.
- Utility Beef, Cutter Beef, Canner Beef: These are typically used for ground beef and hidden in highly processed foods. You probably can’t find beef roasts with these quality grades. If you could, you would definitely not want to use them for this roast beef air fryer recipe.
📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
One serving of this air fryer roast beef provides 589 calories, 0 grams net carbs, and 39.2 grams protein. (Nutrition information per Cronometer, using the cooked yield from 8 ounces of raw prime beef tenderloin roast.)
Why make roast beef in an air fryer? Here is why I think this is the best roast beef recipe:
- Cold roast beef sandwiches: Want a roast beef sandwich made with homemade roast beef in the middle of summer? Air fry the roast beef and you won’t have to heat up the house with the oven. Air frying is my new favorite way to roast meats all year long.
- Simple: Only 3 ingredients will get you an entrée that could work as the center of a holiday meal. If you’re entertaining, this easy recipe will allow you to focus on the guests, not the food.
- Allergy and special diet-friendly: This air fried roast beef is low carb, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. It’s not appropriate for vegetarians (of course), but nearly everyone else can enjoy this main dish.
- Nutrient-rich: Tenderloin is a healthy and lean cut of beef that is packed with high-quality protein. In addition, you are getting a plethora of other essential nutrients such as riboflavin, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It’s good for you!
- One of the best things I have EVER eaten: I am not kidding when I say this is one of best foods I’ve ever enjoyed. (It’s a huge compliment considering I’m in my 40s... I’ve kinda eaten a lot of stuff by now. Haha) I’d like to think it’s all my cooking skill, but the type of roast and grade of beef makes a HUGE difference here. Springing for high-quality ingredients definitely puts this dish in a class by itself.
What do you need to make roast beef in an air fryer oven? Here's the list:
- A beef roast appropriate for air frying
- Olive oil
- Steak seasoning
As discussed above, I used a USDA Prime beef tenderloin roast for this recipe. If your beef roast is a different type or a different size, you will need to adjust the cooking times.
Cooking with olive oil is fine (regardless of its relatively low smoke point) because smoke point does not represent an oil’s oxidative stability. Olive oil’s fatty acids are relatively heat stable (resistant to oxidation).
That said, you’re welcome to use avocado oil here instead if you would prefer. I’d stay away from oils such as coconut oil that have a very pronounced flavor.
The Chateaubriand beef tenderloin roast and the steak seasoning I used are both from Chicago Steak Company.
Every steak seasoning blend has its own distinct flavor profile. The ingredients for Chicago Steak’s seasoning are:
- Dehydrated garlic
- Black pepper
- Natural flavors
It would be hard to replicate this blend at home, since the “spices” and “natural flavors” are rather cryptic ingredients.
To air fry roast beef, you’ll need an air fryer oven with a spit, kitchen twine, and a meat thermometer. All three are critical to the recipe.
I use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven, which is a relatively low-cost air fryer with a spit. Whatever brand of air fryer you have (Ninja Foodi, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Cosori, Power Air Fryer, etc.) must have a rotisserie spit. It is possible to make roast beef in an air fryer without a spit, but it may not cook as evenly.
Every air fryer cooks a bit differently, and the brand of air fryer you use can impact the cooking times. The first time you make this recipe, it is important to keep a close eye on the roast to ensure you do not overcook it.
A meat thermometer will help you determine when it’s reached the perfect level of doneness. It’s not optional here!
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Roast Beef
Let’s learn how to air fry roast beef! Remember that I am using a 2-lb beef tenderloin roast. If you substitute another cut of meat, your results will not be the same.
First, you must let the thawed roast rest at room temperature for about an hour. This will help it brown more quickly.
Now it is time to prepare and season the beef! Tenderloin is a long, flat roast, kind of in the shape of a rectangle. We’re going to start by wrapping it in a compact way around the spit, so it cooks more evenly.
Secure the hooks of the spit to the center of the long sides of the roast. (Watch the recipe video at the bottom of the recipe card- this can be hard to visualize!)
Next, the meat should be folded over the spit so the short ends of the rectangle touch. Tie the roast around the spit in three places.
Rub the tied roast on all sides with the olive oil. I just used clean hands, but using a pastry brush is better if you don’t want to get messy. Sprinkle the roast on all sides liberally with the steak seasoning.
I don’t bother to measure the seasoning; I just keep shaking until I get an adequate cover. (It really doesn’t have a major impact on the nutrition of the roast, other than adding sodium.)
Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. After attaching the rotisserie spit to your air fryer, you are ready to cook a roast beef!
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to air fry roast beef? Our beef will cook for 15 minutes in an air fryer preheated to 390 degrees Fahrenheit, then 15 more minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
After this, we’ll remove the spit, cover it in foil, and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes at room temperature. This resting period helps ensure the roast will achieve maximum juiciness. (It also gives you time to work on the sides!)
Of course, the cooking times I’m giving you above regarding how to cook a roast beef are just a general guide. You should use a meat thermometer to guide when you’ve reached the right level of doneness.
The time and cooking temperatures I’ve given above got me a roast that was a perfect medium-rare. (Note: outer edges of roast are always a bit darker with air frying due to the searing step.) Here’s a quick guide to beef doneness levels, so you can adjust the cooking times to meet your preferences:
|Doneness||Color in Center||Temp (Fahrenheit)|
|Rare||Warm, red center||120-125F|
|Medium Rare||Red with some pink||130-135F|
|Medium Well||A little pink||150F|
|Well Done (AKA Over Done lol)||No pink||160F (just say no)|
I’ve noticed that many online tips for how long to air fry a beef roast by pound tend to overestimate cooking times. If you want to know how long to cook a 3.5-lb roast beef, for instance, I would not blindly follow a table. Instead, start with the directions I’m giving you, but cook at 325F longer, checking the internal temp of the roast every 5-10 minutes.
After air frying and resting, you can remove the twine from the roast and unroll it. Cut it against the grain (widthwise) into thin slices. Enjoy!
🌡️ Safe Temperature
There’s one more thing for you to consider regarding roasts and doneness. The USDA recommends that all cuts of beef are cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and given a 3-minute rest time.
Using our chart above, this temperature would give us a roast that is between medium and medium-well done. (A roast’s internal temperature increases during rest time, so the temp will be higher than 145F when rested.)
IMVHO, cooking a roast to that temperature is overcooking it. However, I want you to be fully informed about the food safety guidelines so you can make an educated decision. If you are at a higher risk of severe effects from food poisoning, it’s probably smart to stick to the guidelines.
Believe it or not, one of my family members actually prefers beef well-done, with no pink at all. Guidelines aside, no way was I going to turn this beautiful tenderloin into tough, overcooked shoe leather. I expected some unhappiness that evening when I served up this fully pink roast.
Happily, my worries were completely unrealized. Everyone at the table agreed this was the best beef roast I’ve ever made. EVER.
After the meal, we discussed what we were thankful for that day. One of my family members said the delicious beef.
This is the same family member who would only previously eat well done meat. My air fryer roast beef definitely worked its magic on everyone at the table.
Truly, this roast beef is beyond amazing. I’m grateful to have this platform to be able to share such a special meal with others. (Albeit virtually, but at least you can recreate it and enjoy how wonderful it is at home.)
You can keep roast beef leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It also freezes well.
Leftovers can be used in salads, fajitas, or you can make a superb air fryer roast beef sandwich. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, I promise you’ll be looking forward to lunch!
Air fryer roast beef needs little in the way of adornment. I actually recommend that you do NOT put gravy or a sauce on your roast. There’s no need to marinate it either.
As discussed, I used steak seasoning on this beef roast. If you wanted to make a herb crusted roast beef instead, here are some seasonings to consider:
- Fresh minced garlic
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
It’s your herb crust, so go heavy on the flavors you enjoy, and skip the others. Just remember, save the gravies and chimichurri for your potatoes and steaks. Keep them off this beef tenderloin!
🥗 Side Dishes
What goes good with air fryer roast beef? I like to serve roast beef as part of a roast dinner, with carrots and broccolini, plus mashed potatoes and gravy. YUM!
Here are a few more ideas for air fryer roast beef and vegetables (or other roast beef side dishes):
- Air Fryer Squash with Brown Butter and Sage
- Air Fryer Loaded Radishes
- Yorkshire Pudding
- Your favorite steamed and roasted vegetables
- Air Fryer Potatoes
- Kale Apple Slaw
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Beef tenderloin is a lean beef choice. (Cuts of beef with “loin” or “round” in the name tend to be lower fat options.)
That said, this entree is so delicious that I think it would be practically impossible to eat a small amount. We each easily devoured about ¼ of the roast in a sitting. When you add all the sides that typically accompany a roast, you’re getting a moderate- to high-calorie meal.
If you have a weight loss goal, you can make your meal lower in calories by modifying your side dish choices. Instead of buttery mashed potatoes, biscuits, and Yorkshire puddings, pile on the non-starchy veggies.
Items like green leafy veggies, broccoli, and green beans will add a lot of volume to your meal for few calories. (Unless, of course, you pile on the added fats and oils. Items like butter and olive oil add 100-120 calories per tablespoon.)
If you add enough veggies to your plate, you may be satisfied with a smaller portion of the beef. That said, this entrée is amongst the top 5-10 things I’ve eaten in my life. TBH, I wouldn’t want to cut back and definitely think it’s worth the splurge.
I prefer to evaluate foods based on what may be a realistic portion versus what is recommended. Though ⅛ of the roast may be closer to Dietary Guidelines recommendations for a portion of meat, I don’t consider it realistic for many. (“Many” includes myself and my family, BTW.)
I’d rather have people take a larger portion of satiating protein, perhaps crowding some of the energy-dense starches off the plate. Doing so may make it less likely you’ll engage in mindless snacking, improving the overall quality of your diet.
You can cook a frozen roast in the air fryer. However, you will not be able to wrap the frozen meat around the spit. Instead, you’ll have to cook the roast in an air fryer basket or tray, flipping as needed for more even cooking. A meat thermometer will help you determine when the roast has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
While you are air frying roast beef, you could make gravy on the stovetop. That said, this beef recipe is so perfect, flavorful, and tender, it would be a shame to cover it with gravy. Plus, there will not be much beef drippings for gravy on the bottom of the air fryer. If you want gravy, I’d make mushroom gravy on the stovetop, and use it on the potatoes only.
Dried out beef is the worst! Prevent this tragedy by using the right cut for air frying (such as beef tenderloin). Also, use a meat thermometer to help ensure that you don’t overcook it! Start the roast on a high temperature to quickly sear the outside, then lower the temp and let it finish cooking.
Roasting is a dry-heat cooking method where foods are cooked inside an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (or hotter). In general, “roasting” is used to refer to cooking meats and veggies, and involves browning the food. Air frying is a form of convection cooking that can be used for roasting, baking, toasting, and other types of cooking.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Beef Recipes
Looking for other air fryer recipes using beef? Here you go!
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Roast Beef
- Important! Please read the article above before beginning this recipe! It contains information critical to recipe success.
- Allow the thawed roast rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- Attach the hooks of the air fryer rotisserie spit to the center of the long sides of the roast. (Watch the recipe video below!)
- Fold the meat over the spit so the short ends of the roast touch. Tie the roast around the spit in three places with the kitchen twine.
- Rub the tied roast on all sides with the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with steak seasoning.
- Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (199°C) for 5 minutes.
- Attach the rotisserie spit with the meat to your air fryer.
- Air fry for 15 minutes at 390°F (199°C), then 15 more minutes at 325°F (163°C).
- Check the internal temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached the desired level of doneness. I've cooked mine to 130°F/54°C (medium rare). Air fry longer at 325°F (163°C) if your roast is not done.
- After air frying, remove the spit, cover the roast in foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- After air frying and resting, you can cut the twine from the roast and unroll it. Cut the roast against the grain (widthwise) into thin slices. Enjoy this special entree!