Air fryer beef jerky is the best way to make beef jerky at home. Simple and straight-forward, tasty and nutritious. And the best part? No dehydrator required.
The prep time is minimal, but it does take a bit of organization as you want to marinate the sliced beef overnight. The best beef to make jerky is something lean and flavorful. Top round and bottom round are ideal, flank steak and sirloin tip can also work well.
Begin by removing any excess fat from the outside of the beef (this helps with the drying process), and then you need to slice the beef very thinly, around 1/4 inch is ideal. You should be able to ask your local butcher to slice it for you. I have also had good results using thin minute steak (Rouladen style beef). If you are slicing it yourself, use a very sharp knife and slice with the grain.
The marinade I use combines the rich smoky flavors of…. You can substitute any other marinade you like or mix up the ingredients if you like (Teriyaki jerky is also awesome). The basic recipe to air fry the jerky is the same.
When you place the beef in the air fryer it is important it is not overlapping as it needs all surfaces exposed so the air fryer can dry it out evenly. If you only have a small air fryer you may want to use a rack so you can cook twice as much in one go.
You need to cook jerky low and slow. To air fry the jerky, you will need to set your air fryer to 180°F (80°C), and cook it for around 2-3 hours. It is difficult to know exactly how long it will take to cook as it is dependent on a few things including exactly how thick the beef was cut.
After around two hours cooking time I usually cook in 15 minute intervals, and check the jerky until it is done to my liking (ie until all the moisture has gone, but before it starts to char).
- 1 lb thinly sliced beef top round, bottom round
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp chili flakes optional, or add more if desired
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
- Cut beef slices into strips or squares.
- Add the beef strips to the marinade, ensure that all surfaces of the beef are covered by the marinade.
- Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours.
- Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place beef strips in air fryer basket in a single layer – ensure it is not overlapping.
- Air fry beef strips until completely dehydrated. Set to air fry at 180°F (80°C) for two hours, then check the jerky. If it is not completely dried out continue to air fry for 15-20 minute intervals until it is ready.
- When the jerky is ready, allow to cool and store in an air tight container.
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