Cube steak is a classic beef dish that is easily fixed for a weekday dinner that really satisfies. There are so many ways to cook cube steak, but perhaps among them is using an air fryer. You can produce a delicious fried cube steak that’s similar to Chicken Fried Steak without the need for deep frying. This pre-tenderized piece of beef is flavorful and has a great texture when cooked to perfection in an appliance like the air fryer. There’s no need to fire up the grill for this recipe, unlike what you might prefer to do for a T-bone steak.
Prepping the Air Fryer
The air fryer basket needs to be clean and free from any food residues that might cause the cube steak to stick. Since the meat is dredged with flour, you’ll want plenty of oil applied to the basket as well to prevent sticking. Any oil spray you prefer will work just fine for this recipe if it’s compatible with your air fryer. You’ll need to cook one cube steak at a time, even if you have a larger air fryer. If you’re cooking a few of them, line the floured steaks up on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper so they don’t stick or lose their coating before they get cooked. Right before you’re ready to cook, preheat the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
Prepping the Cube Steak
Seasoning the breading on the cube steak adds all the salt and spice you need for a flavorful dish. If you want to do something like dry brine the meat the night before, sprinkle on about ½ teaspoon Kosher salt per steak, and reduce the salt in the flour by half. Let the cube steaks sit out and warm up to room temperature before dredging and cooking them. This should only take about 20 to 30 minutes due to the thinner and tenderized cut. Pat down the surface as well so it’s relatively dry. The egg and flour layers have a better chance of staying intact and developing a good crispy crust when the meat isn’t too wet to start with.
How To Tenderize Cube Steak
Cube steak is unique in that it’s already mechanically or manually tenderized. That’s exactly what gives it such a distinctive look similar to the texture of ground beef. Since it’s a single cut of meat, it can still develop somewhat of a tougher texture when cooked in certain ways. Using a meat tenderizing mallet on the cube steak further softens it, but it also thins the meat and may make it cook a little faster. You can also apply meat tenderizer on the surface as soon as it’s out of the refrigerator, letting it melt into the surface as the meat warms to room temperature. Simply continue to dredge the cube steak in egg and seasoned flour as usual and enjoy a slightly softer steak after air frying.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Air Fryer Cube Steak
- Don’t overcook the cube steaks or you’ll only end up with a coating that falls off or toughened meat. Aim for an internal temperature of 145 to 155 degrees and a golden color on the outside.
- Spray some extra oil spray on top of each steak as it goes into the air fryer. This ensures good browning and helps prevent sticking when you flip the meat over in the basket halfway through cooking.
- Set up a dredging station with a bowl of mixed eggs, seasoned flour, and a tray for setting out the coated steaks before cooking them. Use just one hand for each step in dredging so you don’t end up with coated fingers that are hard to clean.
- Thaw frozen cube steak thoroughly before cooking this recipe. Lingering ice crystals in the center of the steak will make it hard to get an even interior temperature without overcooking the exterior. If you want to freeze the cube steak, cook it first and then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing it for up to six months.
What to Serve with Air Fried Cube Steak
Since this is a fried dish, you’ll want dishes that cut through the richness of the meat and its crispy coating. Try steamed green beans topped with herbed butter, spinach and strawberry salad with a vinaigrette dressing, or crispy cornbread with a swirl of honey on top. French fries can pair well with air-fried cube steak since it isn’t as greasy as the deep-fried version. Mashed potatoes are a great accompaniment if you’re serving gravy, especially the country sawmill gravy traditionally served with Chicken Fried Steak.
Sauces and Toppings
Speaking of gravy, consider a wide variety of sauces and toppings to add a flavor explosion to your cube steak. A sawmill gravy with a white color and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper is the usual topping. Yet brown beef gravy or a mushroom-based gravy can work just as well. Fried mushrooms, onions, and peppers add a deeper dimension of flavor to your dinner while expanding the nutritional profile as well. Cheese can make a perfect flourish when added right after the cube steak comes out of the air fryer so it has a chance to melt on the surface.
Cube Steak in the Air Fryer Recipe
Using your air fryer makes quick work out of your quest to cook cube steak. It’s a great alternative to slower cooking methods like using a crock pot.
- 2 to 4 cube steaks
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (half if the meat was brined or marinated)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs (3 if cooking 4 or more steaks)
- 2 tablespoons of water or milk
1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. While the appliance is preheating, mix the flour and seasonings in one bowl or plate. Mix the eggs and water in another bowl, making sure the yolks are distributed.
3. Dip each cube steak in the egg wash first, then in the flour, patting well on both sides.
4. Spray the basket of the air fryer with oil spray, then place a cube steak in the basket and spray the top of it with a little more oil.
5. Cook each cube steak individually for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Flip halfway through the cooking process. The steaks are done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
Leave the cooked cube steaks uncovered while cooking the rest so they don’t get a soggy crust from the steam as they rest.
Delicious cube steaks take less work than you think when you have an air fryer handy. Try other high-quality cuts of beef from Chicago Steak Company in your kitchen as well, such as the Flat Iron steak with a flavorful rub.
Cube Steak in the Air Fryer
- 2-4 cube steaks
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (half if the meat was brined or marinated)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs (3 if cooking 4 or more steaks)
- 2 tbsp water or milk
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- While the appliance is preheating, mix the flour and seasonings in one bowl or plate. Mix the eggs and water in another bowl, making sure the yolks are distributed
- Dip each cube steak in the egg wash first, then in the flour, patting well on both sides
- Spray the basket of the air fryer with oil spray, then place a cube steak in the basket and spray the top of it with a little more oil
- Cook each cube steak individually for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Flip halfway through the cooking process. The steaks are done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F