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Sirloin Steak in Air Fryer (Reverse Sear Method)

There are two ways to cook sirloin steak in an air fryer. One method is the traditional high-temperature grilling, while the other is the reverse sear method, which we’ll be exploring in this recipe.

Though it takes a bit longer, the reverse sear method is easier to follow, and it consistently yields a tastier result. In other words, it’s a recipe that you cannot go wrong with.

Sirloin steak ready to eat

Reverse Sear Method

To better understand this recipe, let’s dive into the concept of reverse searing first. This modern technique involves initially “cooking” the meat at a lower temperature, followed by a quick searing at high heat. It’s a method that ensures the meat is always perfectly cooked to your taste on the inside, yet with a perfect crust on th outsie.

This approach is similar to the popular sous vide method, where the meat undergoes initial heat treatment and is then seared.

Sirloin steak in smoking hot pan

Cooking a Perfect Sirloin Steak in an Air Fryer

When using an air fryer, there’s a risk of drying out or overcooking the meat. With the reverse sear method we first cook the meat at 250-260 degrees F (120-130 C) in the air fryer, and then we finish off by searing it in a pan.

The key tool here is a meat thermometer, which you need to insert into the sirloin before cooking. This ensures precise cooking, allowing you to know when the interior reaches the desired temperature.

Sirloin steak in air fryer with meat thermometer

Opt for wireless meat thermometer or one with a long wire for easy monitoring the doneness during cooking.

I also prefer adding 1-2 tablespoons of water to the air fryer basket to create some steam. This keeps the meat juicy during the whole cooking process.

Cooking time largely depends on your desired doneness and the thickness of the meat. I used fairly thin slices, about 4/5 inch or 2 centimeters, and the air fryer was preheated to 390 degrees F (200 C) before adding the meat. This way I only needed 9 minutes to reach medium rare temperature.

Sirloin steak cooked in air fryer

Sirloin Steak Internal Temperatures

Set the meat thermometer to the following temperatures based on your desired doneness:

  • Rare: 127 F (53 C).
  • Medium rare: 135 F (57 C).
  • Medium: 145 F (63 C).
  • Medium well: 153 F (67 C).
  • Well done: 162 F (72 C).

Searing The Sirloin Steak

Once the sirloin steak is ready in the air fryer, heat up a pan and then add a bit of oil or fat. Brown both sides and edges of the sirloin for about half a minute. Since the meat is already cooked to the desired level, focus on achieving the desired color rather than additional cooking.

Sirloin steak cooling down

Ensure the pan is smoking hot before adding the fat, and heat the fat for 10-20 seconds before starting to brown the meat. While it may get smoky, this is crucial for a good steak. Consider using a cast iron or carbon steel pan instead of a non-stick one.

For a gourmet touch, add fresh herbs like rosemary and/or thyme, garlic, and butter while roasting. You can also baste the meat with the melted butter.

Cooking More Than One Slices of Sirloin Steak

While the recipe focuses on cooking a single slice, you can easily cook multiple steaks at once.

First, you can place more slices of meat into the basket of your air fryer. Since we are just cooking the meat and not searing at this step, you can even overcrowd your air fryer.

Second, after air frying, you don’t need to immediately sear the meat. So you can prepare your sirloin steaks in the air fryer even in more batches, and then sear them right before serving.

The most important aspect is not to overcrowd the pan when searing the meat, as it may cool down. In an ideal scene, sear the meat slices one by one. But this won’t really be a problem, as you only need a minute or a minute and a half of searing for each slice of steak.

Sirloin steak after searing

Traditional Vs Air Fryer Sirloin Steak

Comparing the air fryer method with traditional pan-cooking, both result in delicious sirloin steak.

The pan-fried version may be slightly juicier, but the air fryer method offers the advantage of precise temperature control and faster serving, especially for larger quantities.

Sirloin steak made in air fryer
Sirloin steak made in air fryer

Sirloin Steak in Air Fryer

Delicious sirloin steak in an air fryer using the reverse sear method
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 9 minutes
Searing 1 minute
Total Time 11 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Servings 1 steak


  • air fryer
  • pan
  • meat thermometer
  • kitchen tongues for handling the meat in the pan


  • 1 sirloin steak
  • salt
  • black pepper preferably freshly ground


  • Season the sirloin with salt and preferably freshly ground black pepper on both sides and along the edges.
    Sirloin steak seasoning
  • Place the meat in the air fryer basket, insert the meat thermometer in the middle, and add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the basket.
    Sirloin steak in air fryer with meat thermometer
  • Cook the sirloin steak at 265 degrees F (130 C) until reaching the desired internal temperature.
    Rare: 127 F (53 C); Medium rare: 135 F (57 C); Medium: 145 F (63 C); Medium well: 153 F (67 C); Well done: 162 F (72 C).
    Sirloin steak cooked in air fryer
  • When the meat is ready, heat up a pan on high heat, add a tablespoon of fat, and heat for 10-30 seconds. Brown both sides and edges of the meat for about half a minute using kitchen tongs.
    Sirloin steak in smoking hot pan
  • Let the sirloin steak rest for about 5 minutes before serving whole or sliced.
    Sirloin steak cooling down
Keyword air fryer steak, delicious, reverse sear
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