This Air Fryer Roast Beef recipe is seasoned to perfection with a homemade steak dry rub and served tender and juicy. This is a mouthwatering dish that unlocks a world of flavor in every bite. Serve this for holidays, Christmas, or use the meat to make French Dip Sandwiches with au jus sauce.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.
What is Roast Beef
Roast beef is a dish made from a cut of beef that is roasted in an oven or on a grill. It’s a popular and classic preparation that involves cooking a large piece of beef until it’s tender, flavorful, and often served as a main course.
Roast beef can be served in various ways, such as as a centerpiece for a hearty meal, as a filling for sandwiches, or as an ingredient in other dishes. It’s a versatile dish that can be customized with different seasonings and accompaniments to suit a wide range of tastes.
What Type of Meat to Use
When selecting a cut of beef, consider the balance between tenderness, flavor, and your budget. Different cuts may require slightly different cooking methods and techniques to achieve the desired level of tenderness and taste. I use eye round roast.
- Eye Round Roast: It comes from the hindquarter of the animal, specifically from the round primal cut.
- Top Round Roast: This is sometimes called “round roast,” is a lean cut of beef taken from the hind leg of the cow. It’s commonly used for roast beef because it’s relatively affordable and can yield flavorful results when properly cooked and sliced thinly against the grain.
- Sirloin Roast: The sirloin is located towards the rear of the cow and is known for its balance of tenderness and flavor. While it may not be as tender as cuts from the rib section, a well-cooked sirloin roast can still result in delicious roast beef.
- Tenderloin Roast: The tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef, and it’s commonly used to make filet mignon steaks. While it’s not as commonly used for roast beef due to its premium price, a whole tenderloin can be roasted to create a luxurious and tender roast.
I like to use my Homemade Steak Dry Rub Seasoning for this dish. It’s a combination of the following:
How to Shop for the Meat
It’s important to consider factors such as quality, appearance, and freshness. Costco is my favorite place to shop for specialty cuts like these. Here are some tips:
- Inspect Appearance: Look for cuts that are deep red in color. The meat should appear moist and free from any discoloration, such as brown or gray patches.
- Check for Marbling: While eye of round is a lean cut, a little marbling (thin streaks of fat within the meat) will add flavor and tenderness.
- Thickness and Size: Choose a cut that suits your cooking preferences and needs. On average, you can estimate about 4 to 6 ounces of cooked meat per person. Consider how many people you’ll be serving and calculate the total weight accordingly.
- Ask the Butcher: Don’t hesitate to ask the butcher for assistance. They can help you select the right cut, provide cooking recommendations, and even trim the meat if needed.
What Size Air Fryer to Use
You will need to use an air fryer large enough to fit your roast/you will need to buy a roast that will fit your air fryer. I used a 3 1/2 pound roast using this 6.8 quart air fryer from Amazon.
The good thing about roasts is they are easy to trim. If your roast doesn’t fit because it’s too tall, you can cut it down to fit and still cook the portion you trim as well.
How to Make Air Fryer Roast Beef
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Remove the roast from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Pat the roast dry and drizzle all sides of the roast with olive oil. Sprinkle spices throughout and rub the spices into the meat.
- Place the air fryer in the air fryer.
- Air fry.
Do You Have to Marinate
Marinating the roast beef can be beneficial, but it’s not always necessary. These are lean and relatively tough cuts of beef. Marinating can help add flavor and potentially assist in tenderizing the meat.
If you plan to marinate it, one method is to simply salt the roast the night before cooking. Sprinkle salt all over the roast and place it in the fridge for the salt to penetrate the meat overnight.
Another method is to drizzle the roast with soy sauce (enough to fully coat the meat) and allow it to penetrate in the fridge overnight. Soy sauce is a tenderizer.
Room Temperature Meat
When cooking meat, you need to allow the meat to come to room temperature before you cook it. Don’t take cold meat straight from the fridge and cook it. Allow 2-3 hours for the meat to come to room temperature. The time will vary based on the size roast you have.
- Even Cooking: Cooking a cold piece of meat straight from the refrigerator will result in uneven cooking. The exterior might overcook while the center remains undercooked.
- Tenderness: When meat comes to room temperature, the muscle fibers relax slightly, making the meat more tender when cooked.
- Improved Flavor: Allowing the meat to warm up a bit will enhance the development of flavors during cooking. The even browning of crust and the creation of complex flavors occur more effectively when the meat is at room temperature.
The air fryer does this first you. Cook the roast beef at 400 degrees for 15 minutes during the first steps of the cooking process. This will provide a nice sear.
Cooking Time Chart
The cook time can vary based on factors such as the size of the roast, the cooking temperature, and whether you prefer your meat rare, medium-rare, or well-done. Here’s a general cooking time chart to give you an idea of the approximate cooking times at different temperatures.
Keep in mind that these are estimated times and should be used as a guide. It’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to ensure your eye of round is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
- Rare: 15-17 minutes per pound
- Medium-Rare: 18-20 minutes per pound
- Medium: 20-22 minutes per pound
- Well-Done: 22-25 minutes per pound
Always use a meat thermometer to test when the roast beef is done. Take the beef out of the oven a few degrees before it reaches the desired internal temperature due to carryover cooking. When you remove the roast from the oven, its internal temperature will continue to rise by a few degrees due to the residual heat within the meat.
|Remove From The Air Fryer Temp
|Bright red center, lukewarm.
|Bright red center, pink edges, warm.
|Pink and warm throughout.
|Slightly pink center and warm throughout.
|Little to no pink.
Allow the Meat to Rest
After removing the roast from the air fryer, you should allow it to rest for about 20 minutes to an hour before carving. During this resting period, the internal temperature will continue to rise, and the juices within the meat will redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful roast.
How to Carve
You will need a sharp knife and a cutting board.
- Place the roast beef on the cutting board with the fatty side facing up. This allows you to easily see the grain of the meat.
- Locate the Grain: Identify the direction of the muscle fibers (grain) in the roast. The goal is to carve against the grain, which will help ensure tenderness in each slice.
- Start with the Ends: Begin carving by slicing a thin piece off one end of the roast. This helps expose the interior and provides a flat surface for stability.
- Carving Slices: Use your carving knife to slice pieces of roast beef against the grain. Hold the knife at a slight angle to create wider slices. Carve consistently thin slices to maintain tenderness and make the meat easier to eat.
- Texture: Overcooked roast beef will have a dry and stringy texture. When you cut into the meat, it might be difficult to slice cleanly, and the fibers might separate easily.
- Dryness: One of the most common signs of overcooking is dryness. If the roast lacks moisture and juiciness, it’s a clear indicator that it has been cooked for too long.
- Toughness: Overcooked meat is rubbery and tough to chew.
- Lack of Pinkness: While this depends on the desired level of doneness, if you were aiming for medium-rare or medium roast beef and the interior is uniformly brown without any pinkness, it might be overcooked.
- Loss of Flavor: Overcooked meat will lose some of its flavor due to the moisture loss that occurs during extended cooking times.
- High Internal Temperature: If you were using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature and it’s significantly higher than your target temperature, your roast is likely overcooked.
How to Make Gravy/Au Jus Sauce
Keep those drippings from your pan! I add fresh herbs to the pan while the roast beef cooks because it will make for an amazing homemade gravy.
How to Store Leftovers
Sliced pieces are often easier to reheat and use in sandwiches or other dishes. Wrap the leftover meat tightly in plastic wrap, or aluminum foil, or use an airtight container. Ensure that it’s well-sealed to prevent exposure to air, which can cause the meat to dry out and absorb odors from the fridge. Leftover roast beef is best consumed within 3-4 days.
Use your leftover beef to make our French Dip Sandwich with Au Jus recipe.
You can freeze the dish tightly covered and sealed up for to several months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
More Air Fryer Main Dish Recipes
Pair With These Recipes
Air Fryer Green Beans
Slow Cooker Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
Slow Cooker Crockpot Candied Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker Crockpot Collard Greens
Slow Cooker Crockpot Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Air Fryer Roast Beef
- Remove the roast from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. This can take 2-3 hours depending on the size of the roast you have.
- Pat the roast dry and drizzle all sides of the roast with olive oil. Sprinkle the spices throughout and rub the spices into the meat. Ensure the entire roast is seasoned and add additional spices if necessary.
- If you have a roast with a fat cap (the thick layer of fat on the outside of the meat), see the notes below for an alternate way to cook the roast beef that will result in super juicy beef.Place the seasoned roast in the air fryer basket. I use a 7 quart air fryer. It fits a 3 1/2 pound roast. Use the size roast that will fit your air fryer or trim it to fit.
- Air fry at 400 degrees for 15 minutes to sear the meat and create a crust on the outside of the meat.
- Flip the roast and adjust the heat on the air fryer to 325 degrees. Continue to cook the roast beef until it reaches your desired level of doneness. I cook mine until it reaches about 125 degrees, which is around an additional 30 minutes of cook time. Cook time will vary based on the size of your roast. Do not use time as a reference guide, you need to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.If your roast starts to brown quickly, place a piece of foil over the roast to tint and keep the roast from over-browning.
- Use a meat thermometer and remove the roast from the air fryer when it reaches the following:Rare: 113-120 degreesMedium Rare: 123-127 degreesMedium: 128-135 degreesMedium Well: 138-145 degreesWell Done: 148-155 degrees
- When you remove the roast from the air fryer, its internal temperature will continue to rise by a few degrees due to the residual heat within the meat.
- Allow the roast beef rest for at least 20 minutes prior to slicing. During this time, the internal temperature will continue to rise, and the juices within the meat will redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful roast. If you slice too soon you will likely end up with dry meat.