Air Fryer Beef Jerky

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Peeps, get ready to transform your snack game with this Air Fryer Beef Jerky recipe! It’s a simple, flavorful treat that’s both high in protein and ridiculously easy to make.

Suitable for low carb and paleo diets. Weight Watchers points included.

Side view of Air Fryer Beef Jerky in a mason jar.

First, this Air Fryer Beef Jerky recipe is about convenience. Convenience is king. You’re heading to snack heaven with just a couple of ingredients and your trusty air fryer. The soy sauce imparts a rich umami to the beef, creating a tasty snack.

What’s really great about this recipe is the flexibility. If you have more time, let the beef marinate overnight for a deeper flavor. But hey, even a quick marinate works wonders. This recipe is forgiving like that.

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And let’s talk about that air fryer. It cooks the beef perfectly and does so without the fuss of traditional jerky-making methods. No smoking, dehydrator, or oven-watching is needed. Just set it, forget it (for safety, stick nearby), and return to perfectly dried, flavorful homemade beef jerky.

For game days, family movie nights, or special celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas, pair this beef jerky with Cheese Snack Mix or Sweet and Salty Snack Mix. It’s a perfect snack for any occasion!

The finished beef jerky in air fryer recipe

Why Make This Air Fryer Beef Jerky Recipe

  • Perfect Texture – Use your air fryer to achieve that ideal chewy yet tender jerky texture effortlessly.
  • Flavorful – The simple soy sauce marinade adds a savory taste that’s hard to resist.
  • High-Protein Snack – This jerky is a fantastic source of protein, ideal for a quick energy boost, and perfect for lunchboxes.
  • Customizable – Feel free to experiment with additional spices or marinade ingredients to suit your taste.

Ingredient Notes

  • Sliced Beef – Opt for lean cuts for the best results. Fat can cause the jerky to spoil faster.
  • Soy Sauce – It gives the best flavor! It tenderizes the beef and adds a deep, savory taste. Feel free to use low-sodium soy sauce if you’re watching your salt intake. To make it gluten free, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Adds depth and a slight tang. Adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.
  • Honey – For a hint of sweetness. Feel free to add more if you like your jerky on the sweeter side.
  • Smoked Paprika – Gives a smoky flavor. This spice makes for that classic jerky taste.
  • Onion Powder – Adds a subtle onion flavor without the bulk of fresh onions.
  • Black Pepper or Chili Flakes (Optional) – Great for adding a spicy kick. Adjust to your heat preference.
the ingredients needed to make this air fryer recipe for beef jerky

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Make Air Fryer Beef Jerky

Don’t forget to check out my best air fryer tips to get better results with every recipe.

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card further below.

Top down view of raw Beef in a white bowl.

Step 1. To prepare the marinade, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Slice the beef into 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch slices. Slice against the grain.

Top down view of beef in a white bowl being marinated.

Step 2. Add the beef to the marinade, ensuring all slices are evenly coated. A ziplock bag works well. Refrigerate, ideally overnight or for at least 4 hours. Before cooking, remove the beef slices and pat them dry.

Top down view of Beef strips n an air fryer basket being cooked.

Step 3. Arrange them in a single layer in your air fryer. Set the temperature to 210 degrees F / 99 degrees C and air fry for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Top down view of  Beef Jerky in an air fryer basket once cooked.

Step 4. Check the jerky. If it’s not dry enough, continue air frying, checking every 20 minutes. The total cooking time might reach up to 3 hours, depending on how chewy you prefer your jerky.

How To Cut The Beef

Cutting the beef properly is crucial for making good beef jerky. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose the Right Cut: Opt for lean cuts of beef like flank steak, sirloin, or round. These have less fat, which is ideal since it doesn’t dry well and can cause the jerky to spoil faster.
  • Partially Freeze the Beef: Place the beef in the freezer for about 1-2 hours until it’s firm but not frozen solid. This makes slicing the meat much easier and allows for more uniform slices.
  • Slice Against the Grain: Look for the direction of the muscle fibers in the beef and slice against the grain. This will make the jerky more tender and easier to chew. The slices should be consistent in thickness, ideally about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Thinner slices will dry faster and be crisper, while thicker slices will be chewier.
  • Uniformity is Key: Try to keep the slices as uniform as possible in thickness. This ensures even drying and cooking in the air fryer.
  • Trim the Fat: If there are any large pieces, trim them off. It can cause the jerky to go rancid more quickly.
  • Optional Tenderizing: If you have tougher cuts of meat, you can use a meat mallet to gently pound the slices to an even thickness, which can also help tenderize them.
Jerky in side a mason jar.

What Kind Of Beef Can I Use For Jerky?

When making beef jerky, the type of beef you use can significantly impact the final product. Here are some of the best cuts to consider:

  • Eye of Round: This is a popular choice for jerky. It’s a lean cut from the hindquarters, which means less fat and great texture for jerky.
  • Top Round: Also, from the hindquarters, the top round is leaner than the bottom round but still flavorful. It’s a great choice for a balance of tenderness and low fat.
  • Bottom Round: More affordable than the top round, this cut is slightly tougher but still lean. It’s a good option if you’re making large batches of jerky.
  • Sirloin Tip: Lean and flavorful, sirloin tip is from the cow’s rear and makes for delicious, high-quality jerky.
  • Flank Steak: While more expensive, it is lean and has a great, intense beefy flavor, making it ideal for jerky.

Pro/Expert Tips

  • Ensure the beef is well-coated with soy sauce for consistent flavor, preferably overnight. If not possible, then for at least 4 hours.
  • Place the beef in one layer in the air fryer basket for even cooking. Depending on your air fryer size, you may need to do it in batches.
  • You want to cut the beef into 1/4 or 1/8 thin strips. Make sure you have uniform strips so they cook evenly.
Close up view of a hand holding one piece of Jerky.

Delicious Variations

  • Spicy Jerky – Add a dash of chili flakes or hot sauce to the marinade for a spicy kick.
  • Garlic – If you are a fan of garlic, add garlic to your marinade; it is so good!
  • Pepper – A simple addition can also be cracked black pepper, generously added to your meat.
A view of Air Fryer Beef Jerky on a white plate.

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Marinate the beef slices in your chosen flavorings up to 24 hours before air frying. This longer marination time helps the beef absorb more flavor and makes your jerky even tastier.
  • Store – Keep your beef jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it can last for 2-3 weeks. Make sure the jerky is completely cool before storing to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Freeze – For longer storage, you can freeze the beef jerky. Place it in a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible. Frozen beef jerky can last for several months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before enjoying it.
The completed jerky placed on a white surface.

FAQs

Can You Dry Jerky In An Air Fryer?

Yes, you can dry jerky in an air fryer. Set the air fryer to a low temperature, typically 210° degrees F / 99 degrees C, and air fry for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

However, the process can take 1 to 4 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat and your air fryer’s model, so it’s important to check the jerky periodically to ensure it doesn’t over-dry.

Does air fryer dehydrate faster than dehydrator?

Yes, an air fryer often dehydrates food faster than a dehydrator due to its higher operating temperatures and effective air circulation.

However, the capacity of an air fryer is usually smaller, so you may need to dehydrate in batches.

Can you dehydrate in an air fryer without a dehydrator setting?

Yes, you can dehydrate in an air fryer even if it doesn’t have a specific dehydrator setting.

Keep in mind that it may require monitoring and adjusting the time based on your air fryer model and the type of food you’re dehydrating.

Can I cook raw beef in Airfryer?

Yes, you can cook raw beef in an air fryer. It’s a quick and convenient method for cooking beef to your desired level of doneness.

Is an air fryer better than a dehydrator for jerky?

An air fryer can be more convenient than a dehydrator for making jerky due to its faster dehydration process and versatile cooking capabilities.

However, a dehydrator offers more space and consistent low-temperature control, which can be crucial for evenly dried jerky.

The choice depends on your specific needs, kitchen space, and how often you plan to make jerky.

pieces of jerky stacked vertically

Similar Recipes

Looking for more EASY, delicious, and flavorful recipes? I’ve got you covered. Check out my full collection of air fryer recipes, or start a few of my most popular recipes:

Serve Air Fryer Beef Jerky with:

Serve this as a standalone snack or add it to:

close up view of the finished recipe for beef jerky.

Weight Watchers Points

There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

air fryer cheat sheet printable
  • Use an Air fryer to cook your beef strips to perfection.
  • Kitchen tongs to safely remove the jerky from the air fryer.
  • For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.)

Thank you for reading my Air Fryer Jerky recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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Side view of Air Fryer Beef Jerky in a mason jar.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Air Fryer Beef Jerky

Air Fryer Beef Jerky makes a great protein snack.
Prep Time4 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time6 hours
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (454g) beef thinly sliced or cut into what shapes you want max 1/4 ich
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1½-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce depending on taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey or more to taste
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon black pepper or chili flakes optional

Instructions

  • To prepare the marinade, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Slice the beef into 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch slices. Slice against the grain.
  •  Add the beef to the marinade, ensuring all slices are evenly coated. A ziplock bag works well. Refrigerate, ideally overnight or for at least 4 hours. Before cooking, remove the beef slices and pat them dry.
  • Arrange them in a single layer in your air fryer. Set the temperature to 210 degrees F / 99 degrees C and air fry for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  • Check the jerky. If it’s not dry enough, continue air frying, checking every 20 minutes. The total cooking time might reach up to 3 hours, depending on how chewy you prefer your jerky.
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Notes

  • Ensure the beef is well-coated with soy sauce for consistent flavor, preferably overnight. If not possible, then for at least 4 hours.
  • Place the beef in one layer in the air fryer basket for even cooking. Depending on your air fryer size, you may need to do it in batches.
  • You want to cut the beef into 1/4 or 1/8 thin strips. Make sure you have uniform strips so they cook evenly.
  • Store – Keep your beef jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it can last for 2-3 weeks. 
  • There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 4926mg | Potassium: 762mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1748IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 4mg

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
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  2. Loved the recipe!! i have tried this with my family, the crunchiness and taste of beef, They loved it . Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. also this Black Leather Jackets are well designed and suitable for every functions.