Are you a fan of beef stew but hesitant to try making it in an air fryer?
You’re not alone. Many people believe that air fryers are only good for cooking crispy and crunchy foods. However, with a few tweaks to traditional beef stew recipes, you can enjoy a delicious and tender beef stew cooked in an air fryer.
In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities of cooking beef stew in an air fryer and share some tips and tricks to make it a success.
So, let’s dive in and discover how to make the perfect beef stew in an air fryer!
Can You Cook Beef Stew In An Air Fryer?
The short answer is yes, you can cook beef stew in an air fryer. However, it requires some modifications to the traditional recipe.
The main challenge with cooking beef stew in an air fryer is the tough and chewy texture of the stew meat. Stew meat is usually a cheap cut of beef that benefits from a long braise cook time over low heat. This allows the collagen and connective tissue in the meat to break down and tenderize.
Air fryers, on the other hand, cook fast with dry heat, which can result in tough and unpleasantly chewy meat. Therefore, it’s not recommended to use traditional stew meat in an air fryer.
However, there are ways to work around this challenge and still enjoy a delicious beef stew cooked in an air fryer. One option is to use quick-cooking cuts of beef, such as steak bites, instead of traditional stew meat.
Another option is to pre-cook the beef before adding it to the stew. You can brown the beef in a pan on the stove or in the air fryer itself before adding it to the stew. This will help to seal in the juices and prevent the meat from becoming too tough.
Why Use An Air Fryer For Beef Stew?
You may be wondering why you would even consider using an air fryer to cook beef stew. Well, there are a few reasons why this could be a great option for you.
Firstly, air fryers are known for their ability to cook food quickly and efficiently. This means that you can have a delicious beef stew ready in a fraction of the time it would take to cook it on the stove or in a slow cooker.
Additionally, air fryers use hot air to cook food, which means that there is no need for added oil or fat. This can be a healthier option for those who are watching their calorie intake or trying to eat a more balanced diet.
Another benefit of using an air fryer for beef stew is that it can help to create a crispy and flavorful crust on the beef. By pre-cooking the beef in the air fryer before adding it to the stew, you can achieve a delicious seared texture that adds depth and complexity to the dish.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Beef For Air Fryer Beef Stew
When it comes to choosing the right cut of beef for air fryer beef stew, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to select a cut of beef that is tender and has a higher degree of marbling. This will help ensure that the meat stays juicy and flavorful during the cooking process.
Some of the best cuts of beef for air fryer beef stew include top sirloin, KC strip, ribeye, tenderloin, and tri-tip. These cuts are all tender and have a good amount of fat and marbling, which makes them perfect for cooking in an air fryer.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, chuck roast is also a great choice for air fryer beef stew. While it may not be as tender as some of the other cuts, it has a lot of connective tissue and fat, which makes it perfect for slow cooking or pressure cooking.
When selecting your beef, it’s also important to consider the texture and toughness of the meat. Some cuts of beef can be irregular in shape and texture, which can make them more difficult to cook evenly in an air fryer. For this reason, it’s best to choose cuts that are uniform in shape and texture.
Preparing Your Ingredients For Air Fryer Beef Stew
Before you start cooking your air fryer beef stew, it’s important to prepare your ingredients properly. Here are some tips to ensure that your stew turns out delicious and tender:
1. Choose the right cut of beef: As mentioned earlier, it’s best to use quick-cooking cuts of beef, such as steak or beef tips, for air fryer beef stew. These cuts will cook quickly and remain tender.
2. Cut your vegetables into uniform pieces: To ensure that your vegetables cook evenly, it’s important to cut them into uniform pieces. Aim for bite-sized pieces that are roughly the same size.
3. Season your beef and vegetables: Before cooking, season your beef and vegetables with your preferred seasonings. A popular seasoning blend for beef stew includes thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
4. Preheat your air fryer: Just like with any cooking method, it’s important to preheat your air fryer before adding your ingredients. This will ensure that your stew cooks evenly and thoroughly.
5. Brown your beef: If you choose to pre-cook your beef before adding it to the stew, make sure to brown it first. This will help to seal in the juices and add flavor to the stew.
By following these tips, you can prepare your ingredients properly and ensure that your air fryer beef stew turns out delicious and tender.
Cooking Air Fryer Beef Stew: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re ready to give air fryer beef stew a try, here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:
1. Choose your beef: As mentioned earlier, it’s best to avoid traditional stew meat and opt for quick-cooking cuts of beef, such as steak bites. You can also pre-cook the beef before adding it to the stew.
2. Season the meat: Season the beef with salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning.
3. Preheat the air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 390° or 400°.
4. Cook the beef: Place the seasoned beef in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the beef over and cook for an additional 4 minutes for medium steak. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes for medium well and a couple of minutes less for medium rare.
5. Prepare the vegetables: While the beef is cooking, prepare your vegetables. You can use carrots, onions, potatoes, and any other vegetables you like in your stew.
6. Mix everything together: In a mixing bowl or slow cooker, mix together the cooked beef, vegetables, broth, and seasonings.
7. Cook in the air fryer: Set your air fryer to Saute or Pressure Cook setting and add all of the ingredients to the air fryer basket. Cook for about 35 minutes on high pressure or until everything is tender.
8. Thicken the stew (optional): If you prefer a thicker stew, mix cornstarch and water until smooth and mix it into the stew. Let it cook for about 5 minutes in a preheated oven or air fryer until it thickens.
9. Serve and enjoy: Plate your delicious air fryer beef stew and enjoy with your favorite sides!
With these simple steps, you can enjoy a delicious and tender beef stew cooked in an air fryer. Experiment with different cuts of beef and vegetables to find your perfect recipe!
Tips For Perfecting Your Air Fryer Beef Stew
1. Choose the right cut of beef: As mentioned earlier, using quick-cooking cuts of beef, such as steak bites, is a better option than traditional stew meat. This will ensure that the meat cooks evenly and doesn’t become too tough.
2. Pre-cook the beef: To ensure that the beef doesn’t become too tough, it’s recommended to pre-cook it before adding it to the stew. You can brown the beef in a pan or in the air fryer itself before adding it to the stew.
3. Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that the beef is cooked to your preference, use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature. For medium-rare steak bites, the internal temperature should be around 135°F (57°C), while for medium-well steak bites, it should be around 150°F (65°C).
4. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer: Make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket with too much meat or vegetables. This can prevent proper air circulation and result in uneven cooking.
5. Use thickening agents: To thicken the stew, you can use xanthan gum instead of flour. Xanthan gum thickens at any temperature and is perfect for air fryer stew.
6. Let it rest: After cooking the beef and vegetables, let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the meat more tender and flavorful.
By following these tips, you can easily make a delicious beef stew in your air fryer. Experiment with different cuts of beef and vegetables to find your perfect combination.
Serving And Enjoying Your Air Fryer Beef Stew
Once you’ve cooked your air fryer beef stew, it’s time to serve and enjoy it! This dish is a complete meal in itself, with beef, potatoes, and vegetables. However, you can also pair it with some Air Fryer Biscuits or a side of Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes for a more filling meal.
To serve the stew, remove it from the air fryer and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and ensure that the stew is not too hot to eat.
You can also garnish the stew with some fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, for added flavor and presentation. If you skipped the optional buttered biscuits, your air fryer beef stew will have 509 calories per serving.
It’s important to note that if your air fryer does not have a pressure cook function, you may need to adjust the cooking time and temperature to ensure that the beef is cooked through and tender.