What’s cooking today: Roast beef dinner in 90 minutes

What’s cooking today: Roast beef dinner in 90 minutes
Tony Jackman’s air fryer roast beef, potatoes and beetroot. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Can you arrive home by 6pm and be sitting down to roast beef with roast potatoes and veg by 7.30? Yes, you can. This recipe is best suited to those of you who have twin drawer air fryers, or one that has a large basket, with cunning time management. It’s a fun challenge.

You can roast a joint of beef, roast potatoes and root vegetables in an hour and a half, give or take, in your air fryer. You need to start planning in the morning before going out the front door and get things going quickly when you arrive home.

This does depend on the size of your air fryer basket; a tiny one will not do the job. I must admit that I am in the unusual position of having two air fryers, both of which I employed, but my recipes here can be managed in one large air fryer.

The beef I used was as simple as it gets: a 1.2kg hunk of silverside with a nice fat cap which roasted to golden and crispy delight, in one hour. I also roasted halved potatoes after parboiling them, and cooked cubed beetroot, also in an air fryer. The beetroot was not parcooked, and a part of its cooking time happened while the potatoes were boiling.

The beef took an hour to cook, the beetroot half an hour and the potatoes 20 minutes after being partly cooked. They were cooked at the same time for a portion of their cooking time.

If the beef has been frozen, thaw it overnight. In the morning, pat the meat dry and salt the joint lightly all over. Put it on a dry plate in the fridge, uncovered. Now get about your day. 

What to do when you get home follows in the method. The beef even leaves you with pan juices to spoon over when serving.

(Serves 4)


For the beef:

1.2 kg silverside


Kalahari smoked salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

For the potatoes:

2 or 3 large potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered

Olive oil

For the beetroot:

2 large beetroot, peeled and cubed quite small

Olive oil

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Garlic powder

Salt and black pepper


The first thing you need to do on arriving home is take the beef out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature, then immediately get the potatoes peeled, halved and put on a high heat in lots of salted water to come to a boil. Then, boil them rapidly for 15 minutes. Tip them into a colander and leave to drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, preheat an air fryer at 200℃ for 10 minutes.

Peel and cube the beetroot and put the dice in a foil tin or other suitable vessel. Drizzle a little olive oil over, season with the cinnamon, garlic powder, salt and black pepper, toss to coat, and air fry at 200℃ for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside while you quickly get the beef into the air fryer.

Also while the potatoes are boiling and the beetroot is in the air fryer, smear the beef with plenty of mustard (I used smooth German mustard), salt and pepper it generously, and drizzle olive oil over.

All of the above should have been done within 30 minutes: potatoes boiled and drained; beetroot parcooked; meat ready to go in.

Pop the meat into the heated air fryer and cook on grill or on air fry at 200℃ for 15 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 180℃ and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove and keep it warm, to rest for 15 minutes.

That’s half an hour plus 45 minutes. (Are you keeping up with me? It feels like one of those episodes of MasterChef Australia where the contestants have to keep up with the guest judge.) 

We have 15 minutes left, and both the potatoes and the beetroot are in their foil tins (or even together in a suitable container), ready for the air fryer.

Let’s step back for a minute: while the beef is cooking, make sure the drained parboiled potatoes are dry and put them in a foil tin or similar. Douse with olive oil (not too much) and season with salt and black pepper. Toss them about a bit to coat them.

So, the meat is out. While it’s resting, get the beetroot and potatoes back in for their final cook. Immediately turn the air fryer temperature up to 200℃ and cook at that temperature for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and soft within. Alternatively, put the beetroot back in after the potatoes have been taken out, for another 10 minutes at 160℃, but this will take you slightly over time.

Don’t forget the pan juices below the rack in the air fryer. Some pinkish juices (it’s not blood, it’s haemoglobin) will have collected where the meat has been resting too. Pour it all off into a small saucepan, heat, and spoon over the beef on the plate. Add a splash of red wine and/or some balsamic vinegar during the reduction if you like. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Karla DOLMAN says:

    I mean, you can but the photo makes you really not want to. Fat not rendered on the beef, roast potatoes look dry and too blonde and the root veg looks burnt. Roast things in animal fat like you’re supposed to, in an oven like you’re supposed to or it just won’t taste right.

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