Cooking skirt steak in the air fryer is a quick and simple way to prepare juicy steak when grilling isn’t an option.

In as little as six minutes with just a handful of seasonings, this tender cut of steak is ready to be enjoyed in any way you choose!

Air fryer skirt steak sliced on a cutting board with lime wedges and cilantro.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Skirt steak has long been my favorite cut of beef so it’s kind of funny that I’ve only used it once in all the recipes on this site in these balsamic steak stuffed portobellos from quite some time ago.

I guess it’s always just seemed like such a “no-brainer” of a recipe to prepare a simple steak like this but when I realized how incredibly easy the air fryer makes the whole process I thought it was worth sharing.

It’s been single digit temperatures here in NY for the last couple of weeks and both my deck and grill are covered in a good bit of snow with a nice layer of ice on top.

Grilling isn’t happening any time soon. Skirt steak is one of a few cheap cuts of meat that’s great on the grill though so once the weather warms back up, I’ll be out there!

Until then, I decided to pull the air fryer out to see what this thing can do with my favorite cut of beef and lo and behold, it didn’t disappoint. Which really isn’t much of a surprise any more as I love everything that comes out of this appliance including air fryer filet mignon!

Raw skirt steak on a cutting board with spices and olive oil in bowls to the side.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS AIR FRYER SKIRT STEAK

A little bit ago, I made carne asada nachos. I used flank steak for that recipe but carne asada can be made with either flank or skirt steak, almost interchangeably.

That’s what gave me the seasoning inspiration for this air fryer skirt steak.

It’s essentially a lazy man’s approach to carne asada. Meaning, we’re doing the same general spices (as a dry rub) just minus the marinade time.

To make this air fryer carne asada recipe, you’ll need:

  • skirt steak
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instead of incorporating fresh lime juice with the seasoning mix, the air fried skirt steak is served with fresh lime wedges. It gives the same general flavor of carne asada without the need to prep ahead.

Seasoning mix rubbed onto skirt steak on a cutting board.

HOW TO MAKE SKIRT STEAK IN THE AIR FRYER

I typically think pre-heating the air fryer is an unnecessary step but when making something like steak, Cornish hens or chicken leg quarters) where you want a nice high heat to start, it’s worth the extra time. Especially for air fryer ribeye, it’d be a shame to spend the money on nice thick steaks and not get a good sear on them!

Preheat the air fryer at 400°F for five minutes. While it’s heating up, brush the skirt steak (which should be at room temperature) with the olive oil.

Combine the steak seasonings in a small bowl and rub over both sides of the steak coating the entire surface.

Cut the steak in half so it fits into the air fryer more easily.

Place both halves of the skirt steak into the preheated air fryer either in the basket in a single layer or on trays if you have an air fryer oven.

Helpful Accessories
Air Fryer Essentials: Must-Have Accessories for Perfect Results

From oil sprays to muffin cups and from pizza pans to racks, we've got them all, and they make fantastic Christmas presents, too!

HOW LONG TO COOK SKIRT STEAK IN THE AIR FRYER

Air fry the skirt steak for about 6 minutes rotating the trays or flipping the steak in the air fryer basket half way through.

Cook time will depend on your preference for cooked beef and how thick the skirt steak is. Expect a 1-3 minute variation for these factors.

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to assess doneness for steak.

For medium-rare, remove the steak from the air fryer when the internal temperature has reached 130-135°F in the middle.

Once cooked to your desired temperature, remove from the air fryer and transfer steak to a cutting board.

Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing to serve. Always do this with meat before slicing, especially a tender cut like skirt steak or these air fryer lamb chops.

Serve with fresh lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

Seasoned skirt steak on trays in an air fryer oven.

FLANK STEAK VS. SKIRT STEAK

These two cuts are used pretty interchangeably but there are some specific differences to be aware of.

Skirt steak is a thinner cut with a higher fat content. It’s also more flavorful because of this and a popular cut of most steak lovers. I often think of it as a cheaper and fattier filet mignon.

Skirt steaks are cut from the diaphragm of the cow whereas flank steak is cut from underneath the loin area.

When sliced, flank steak pieces are wider and usually thinner than skirt steak which are long and skinny.

From a cooking time standpoint, skirt steak cooks quicker than flank steak and absorbs marinades better than the more tightly woven grain structure of flank steak.

This article goes over all the similarities and differences of the two cuts in much greater detail.

A lot of air fryer steak recipes will use either cut but make sure to pay attention to the different cooking times if you substitute this recipe with a flank steak.

Air fried skirt steak on a cutting board before being sliced.

DO I NEED TO PAN SEAR SKIRT STEAK BEFORE AIR FRYING?

Pan searing the steak before cooking in the air fryer isn’t necessary.

However, if you want to mimic the crispy edged outside of the steak you’d get from grilling, you may choose to add this step to the recipe.

If you choose to pan-sear the skirt steak, you’ll want to reduce the cooking time in the air fryer by 1-2 minutes.

Again, it’s best to go by what the meat thermometer says rather than a specific time but cooking time will be reduced since you’re essentially partially cooking it in a pan first.

To pan sear, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat with a bit of oil or ghee. Once hot, sear both sides of the seasoned skirt steak until charred and browned. Transfer to the air fryer and cook as directed.

I generally try to avoid unnecessary extra steps when using kitchen appliances like the air fryer or slow cooker and find that with the air fryer, preheating the appliance can work just as well as pan-searing.

HOW TO SLICE SKIRT STEAK

Just like flank steak and tri tip, skirt steak should be cut against the grain with a sharp knife. This is important in keeping the tender nature of this cut of meat intact.

If sliced against the grain of the meat, skirt steak can become excessively “chewy”. It won’t necessarily become “tough” as some cuts of meat are when sliced inappropriately, you’ll just find your mouth muscles having to do double duty!

Note – these pictures actually show the steak cut with the grain (that’s what happens when you ask your husband to slice it while you clean up the kitchen). This is exactly what you shouldn’t do. Ha.

Sliced medium-rare skirt steak on a cutting board.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH AIR FRIED SKIRT STEAK

To go with the carne asada vibe, you can serve this with some cilantro-lime rice or a similar themed side dish.

I actually did a mix up of two cuisines when serving the steak and sliced it on top of some curry cauliflower rice. You’d think it’d be weird, but it wasn’t at all! Lots of flavors going on and totally delicious.

For a more traditional steak and potatoes kind of night, try some garlic mashed yuca as a creamy decadent side side dish.

It’d also be great with some easy side salads like this simple summer corn and tomato salad, creamy cucumber salad with pickled red onions or my favorite, jicama salad for its refreshing crunchy vibe.

Millet tabbouleh is another great “salad” option or use the sliced steak for a taco night.

Fajitas are another way to enjoy this easy air fryer steak recipe and in my opinion, a lot easier to prep than tacos!

STORING AND REHEATING LEFTOVERS

Leftover steak should be completely cooled and then stored in an air-tight container. The steak will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

It’s best reheated in a hot cast iron skillet by quickly searing the slices. I prefer this method to the microwave which tends to overcook the steak in the process of heating it up.

It’s totally ok, however, to eat leftover skirt steak cold! I often do this is in salads for lunch instead. I’d rather eat a cold medium-rare piece of steak than one that’s hot but well-done!

Carne asada seasoned skirt steak slices served over curry cauliflower rice on a white plate.

If you’re looking for the perfect steak but find yourself in the dead of winter when the grill isn’t an option (or maybe you just ran out of propane – I’ve totally done that a time or two!) the air fryer is really the easiest way to cook this cut of beef.

It’s tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful with just a few simple spices – an easy main course everyone will love!

Have ribeye on hand? Try this equally easy and deliciously tender air fryer ribeye steak recipe.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
4.63 from 90 votes

Air Fryer Skirt Steak

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 11 minutes
Air fryer skirt steak.
Perfectly tender and juicy skirt steak is cooked in the air fryer in just 6 minutes. A great alternative to grilling!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound skirt steak, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes.
  • Brush both sides of the skirt steak with the olive oil.
  • Combine spices in a small bowl and rub onto the steak covering both sides equally.
  • Cut the skirt steak in half lengthwise to fit in the air fryer and place both halves either in the basket or on the trays of the air fryer depending on the type you have.
  • Air fry for 6 minutes, rotating trays or flipping steak half way through cooking time or until internal temperature of the skirt steak reaches 130-135°F for medium-rare.
  • Remove the steak from the air fryer and let rest on a cutting board covered with aluminum foil for 5-7 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 304kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 28gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 370mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
TRIED THIS RECIPE?COMMENT + RATE BELOW!
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. This was my first venture into cooking steak in the air fryer. I had no idea it could be so good. Wow! This was extremely delicious, so easy, and everyone is already requesting it again. Thank you!

  2. This is PERFECT for those busy nights when there’s just not time to cook. loved the chili powder on it too, a tasty twist!

  3. 5 stars
    I had never cooked skirt steak in the air fryer, but I definitely will again. It came out perfectly cooked and was so simple. Delicious!

  4. So good!!
    We loved this. We served it with your creamy cucumber salad and some boiled potatoes.
    It was such an easy summer dinner.
    Thank you for the tip on preheating the air fryer. I have never done that before and I think it made a difference.
    I also didn’t know about how to cut a steak properly. (I have a hubby who would do exactly the same thing as yours!)
    Great recipe ☺️

  5. 5 stars
    I wasn’t sure about the cumin, but that was dumb. This was amazing! A perfect blend of flavors and I finally didn’t overdo my steak. Thanks!

    1. Maybe your steak was thicker cut than mine. I address the cooking time in detail in the post in the section “how long to cook skirt steak in the air fryer”. It talks about using a meat thermometer since the thickness of the steak and the air fryer itself can vary so much from person to person.