Air Fryer Tri Tip Steak

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This Air Fryer Tri Tip Steak is well seasoned and cooked to perfection in the air fryer, which leaves it with a deliciously cooked exterior and tender juicy interior.

Sliced tri tip steak

For those living in the United States – particularly the west coast – you likely have access to the Tri Tip steak, which is a cut of steak that originated in Santa Maria, California. It’s the bottom tip of the sirloin, thus the name, and is cut into a triangular shape.

While this cut of meat isn’t sold everywhere around the world, it is quite popular in the United States and can be found at most Costcos or from your favorite butcher. It’s a desirable cut because the sirloin tip is very tender and sometimes well marbled.

Cooking a tri tip in the air fryer might seem weird at first, but once you try it, you’ll see that it’s actually a great way of cooking steak. With a nice thick rub on the outside, it will become a little crunchy with the circulating air, while the inside just cooks perfectly, until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. Give it a try. You’ll love the ease of it.

» You might also like Air Fryer Tilapia.

Ingredients You Need

  • Tri Tip – a tri tip steak is usually between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds, though you can find ones that are smaller or larger. At Costco, they tend to sell them in strips rather than in a full roast. It can be cooked in the air fryer in any form, but be aware that the strips will cook faster than the roast.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – Mixing the oil with the rub is an easy way to spread it onto the steak and then it won’t fall off as the air blows on it, like some powdered rubs will do.
  • Meat rub – I use a homemade rub that includes garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. You can also use a store-bought rub. You might even find a Santa Maria rub you like.

Equipment Information

Helpful Tips

  • Sometimes a tri tip will come pre-marinated with a seasoning rub. If you buy a tri tip like this, you can skip the adding of your own rub. Just keep in mind when purchasing one like this that the rub isn’t always great. I prefer to put on my own.
  • Tri tip can come in smaller pieces rather than as a roast. If you have smaller pieces, they will cook MUCH faster than the roast. Start cooking them for just 6 minutes and check the internal temperature.
  • The seasoning is very important to the flavor of the meat. Be sure to use enough salt to bring out the best flavor. You can use any seasoning you like, but to keep it Santa Maria style use just garlic powder, salt and pepper. Keep it simple.
  • Be sure to cut the slices against the grain to make sure the meat is as tender as possible. You can serve it alone or with a chimichurri sauce.
Slicing tri tip

Air Fryer Tri Tip Steak

This Air Fryer Tri Tip Steak is well seasoned and cooked to perfection in the air fryer, which leaves it with a deliciously cooked exterior and tender juicy interior.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
19 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 390 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pound (1 kg) tri tip
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) paprika smoked or Spanish
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) pepper

Instructions
 

  • Take the tri tip out of the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before cooking.
  • Mix together all the seasonings with the olive oil in a bowl. Coat the tri tip with the rub.
  • Spray the basket of your air fryer and place the tri tip inside. Cook at 380°F for 14 minutes, flipping it over half way through. Then check the internal temperature.
  • Take the meat out of the air fryer when it reaches a few degrees shy of what you prefer and let it rest.
  • Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing and slice against the grain for tenderness.

Notes

  • Check the internal temperature of the meat for the desired doneness. 130° for rare, 140° for medium rare, 145-150° for medium, and 160° for well done.
  • I always take the meat out of the air fryer when it reaches a few degrees shy of what I prefer and then let it rest. The carry over cooking as it rests will bring it p to the final temperature.
  • Be sure to let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing so the juices can be come redistributed. 
  • Slice against the grain in this slices.

All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.

Nutrition

Calories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 47gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 411mgPotassium: 741mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 39IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 4mg
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Internal Temperatures

Check the internal temperature. It should be:

  • 130° for rare
  • 140° for medium rare
  • 145-150° for medium
  • 160° for well done
Tri tip steak in the Air Fryer Basket

What Side Dishes to Serve?

You can serve some really easy side dishes with your main dish cooked in the Air Fryer. Sometimes, you can cook them together in the air fryer to make it even faster.

Some of our favorite side dishes to serve include:

Here are 30 more air fryer side dishes to try

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