Venison (deer), cooked in the air fryer is an easy and healthy way to cook the wild game steaks and is ready to eat in only 7 minutes!
Delicious cuts of venison are dredged in melted butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and cooked in a 400° air fryer for a quick and easy way to enjoy it without breading. (If you prefer fried deer meat with breading, you’ll LOVE this fried deer meat recipe!)
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The butter helps keep the venison juicy during the cooking process and also adds a level of flavor that’s delicious!
- It’s only 4 ingredients! The venison, butter, salt, and pepper, so you probably already have everything on hand that you need!
- Depending on how “well-done” you prefer your venison, this can be ready to eat in as little as 5 minutes for medium-rare or up to 7 minutes for a medium steak (which is how we preferred ours).
Can you cook deer in an air fryer?
Yes! “How long” you cook it can depend on how “done” you prefer it but no matter how long, it’s still a fast and easy way to cook the venison.
What is the best way to cook venison?
This could be answered in many different ways but here are our thoughts:
- Air frying deer can be healthier, faster, and an easy way to cook the wild game. This is good for cut-up fryer meat, that will easily fit in to the basket.
- Cooking venison steaks on the grill with a marinade – there’s no secret that grilling deer meat can give it a flavor of that “char” that we all love so much when it comes to items cooked over an open flame. Plus, using a marinade can help get the “gamey” taste out of venison if it’s not your favorite.
- Frying Deer Meat in Oil – Although this is our favorite way to enjoy venison steak (bites), getting the oil and flour out, and cooking the fryer meat (tenderloin or backstrap) in small batches, can have a few more steps and more clean-up than air frying.
- Cooking venison on the stove – with this recipe, it uses the same concept of butter, salt and pepper, as the air-fryer recipe here. However, the big difference between the two recipes is that this one gives the “browned-butter” flavor and it also uses whole cuts of steak, rather than cut up peices of fryer meat or tenderloin or backstrap pieces.
So when it comes to deciding on the best way to cook venison, it can depend on the cut, and what flavor outcome you desire.
Common Questions about Venison
When cooking venison it’s recommended to have pink in the middle so it doesn’t get too tough. But a good range of internal temperature to go by is cooking until it reaching 130°-140°. Keep in mind that venison is also a deeper red (compared to beef) so a “medium” deer steak can look really rare and a pink inside is actually more “well done”.
This is where the butter in this recipe comes in. After testing this recipe in the air fryer the first time, without butter, it gave the venison a very tough texture, making it almost like jerky. Adding the butter allows the deer to stay juicy and cook without drying out.
You don’t have to but some do. Some soak it overnight in salt water or vinegar and water can help draw the blood out, to help remove the gamey taste. However we rarely do this, and only tend to when it was an older, tough deer.
How to Make Venison in the Air Fryer
This may be one of the easiest venison recipes you’ve ever made and it’s very family-friendly considering it’s cut up and bite-size which is great for little hands if you have kiddos.
For this recipe, we used:
- Deer meat tenderloin and/or backstrap, that’s sliced into 1/4 inch slices.
- Melted butter – Depending on the amount of venison you’re cooking, you may need more/less butter
- Salt – kosher salt is our favorite but table salt will work just fine
- Pepper – black pepper or ground peppercorn medley is our favorite
Start by melting butter in a small, dish and dredge each piece of the deer tenderloin (or fryer deer meat) in to the butter to coat each side.
Most air fryers recommend that you avoid spraying the air fryer baskets with cooking spray and there’s no need to for this recipes, especially since the butter-coated venison should keep it from sticking.
Place venison in to air fryer basket and sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper (keeping in mind whether or not you used salted butter or unsalted).
Cook the venison at 400° for 5-7 minutes (depending on the internal temperature you prefer).
In my air fryer, we didn’t find a need to have flip it during the cooking process but if you find that yours needs to flipped, flipping half way through would probably be the best solution.
Once it has finished cooking, remove from the air fryer and it’s ready to eat!
Cooking at 400° for 7 minutes gave the thicker pieces of venison this beautiful pink color.
Be mindful of the thinner pieces that you may have and reducing the cook-time may be more ideal for those.
What to serve with venison
Side dishes that go great with this are:
Tips for Making This
- If possible, make sure venison is closer to room temperature before cooking as cold venison may cook differently in the air fryer. If it is cold, you may need to adjust the cook-time so it’s best to keep an eye on it for your desired “doneness”.
- Depending on how thick or thin the venison pieces are can make the cooking time vary. If possible, and if you need to cook it in batches (based on the size of your air fryer) try cooking the pieces that are similar in size, together.
More Posts You’ll Love
If you love air fryer recipes, you’ll love these too!
- Brats in the Air Fryer
- Burgers in the Air Fryer
- Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer
- Buffalo Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer
- Bacon in the Air Fryer
Air Fryer Venison
- air fryer
- 1 lb venison sliced in to 1/4 in. slices
- 1/4 cup melted butter salted or unsalted
- salt as desired (I sprink about a teaspoon for 1 lb.)
- pepper as desired (I used about 1/2 tsp for 1 lb.)
- Melt butter in small dish
- Dredge venison pieces in to melted butter and place in air fryer basket
- Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Cook at 400° for 5-7 minutes, depending on desired internal temperature. See notes.
- Room temperature venison – If possible, make sure venison is closer to room temperature before cooking as cold venison may cook differently in the air fryer. If it is cold, you may need to adjust the cook-time so it’s best to keep an eye on it for your desired “doneness”.
- What temp should venison be cooked to? When cooking venison it’s recommended to have pink in the middle so it doesn’t get too tough. But a good range of internal temperature to go by is cooking until it reaching 130°-140°. Keep in mind that venison is also a deeper red (compared to beef) so a “medium” deer steak can look really rare and a pink inside is actually more “well done”.
- Thickness/Cook time: Depending on how thick or thin the venison pieces are can make the cooking time vary. If possible, and if you need to cook it in batches (based on the size of your air fryer) try cooking the pieces that are similar in size, together.