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Air Fryer Beef Jerky

This air fryer beef jerky is simple to make, packed with flavor, and way better than anything from a bag.

Air fryer beef jerky strips in a white bowl.

Air frying is a great method to make jerky

Here’s why I love this air fryer beef jerky recipe: it’s simple to make at home, the air fryer dries the meat evenly, resulting in the perfect chewy texture and intense flavors, and because it’s homemade I know what’s in it (unlike the store-bought stuff).

What do you need?

Beef strips

The best beef to make homemade jerky is something lean and flavorful. Top round and bottom round steaks are ideal and what I normally use.

A tougher cut means chewier jerky. A tender beef cut will give softer melt-in-the-mouth jerky. So choose a cut of beef appropriate for the type of jerky you want to make.

I have also had good results using thin minute steak (Rouladen style beef), which is already sliced, so saves you a step!

Marinade

The marinade I use combines the rich smoky flavor of Worcestershire sauce, honey for sweetness (you can substitute brown sugar), and soy sauce and onion powder for a flavor punch!

You can substitute any other marinade you like or mix up the ingredients if you like. The basic recipe to air fry the jerky is the same.

Some other seasoning flavors to try are:

  • Teriyaki beef jerky: soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, ground ginger
  • Smoked beef jerky: add some liquid smoke or smoked paprika to the recipe below
  • Spicy beef jerky: add some chili flakes to the recipe below

Let’s make this jery in the air fryer!

1

Prepare the beef.

Trim the beef to remove any excess fat from the outside of the beef. Then slice the beef very thinly, aim for no thicker than ¼ inch. Use a very sharp knife and slice with the grain (not against as you normally would when carving beef).

Note: Partially freezing the beef can make it easier to cut thinly. Or you may be able to ask your local butcher to slice it for you.

2

Marinate.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, and add the beef strips, ensuring they are all covered by the marinade, and not sticking together. Cover and place in a refrigerator to allow the beef to marinate for at least 3 hours, though overnight is best.

Beef jerky marinating in a glass bowl.

After marinating the beef strips, remove from the refrigerator, drain, and dry thoroughly before air frying.

3

Arrange in the air fryer.

Place beef strips in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Try to arrange them so they’re not overlapping too much, 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.

Strips of beef jerky in air fryer basket.

4

Set to air fry.

Air fry the beef jerky at 175°F/ 80°C for around 2-3 hours. The temperature needs to be low so that the moisture in the beef can evaporate before the beef strips start to burn.

5

Monitor.

Check the jerky after around two hours’ cooking time, continue cooking in 15-minute intervals, and check the jerky until it is done (i.e. until all the moisture has gone, but before it chars).

Monitor the jerky as it gets close to the end of the cooking time, as the time it will take to dehydrate will vary depending on your air fryer and how thick the jerky is.

It needs to reach 160°F/71°C to be safe to consume, so check with an instant-read meat thermometer to be sure.

Note: You can also make this jerky recipe in a regular oven, you just need to lay the jerky on a rack, or turn it often to ensure it dries out evenly.

Air fryer beef jerky strips in a white bowl.

Air Fryer Beef Jerky

4.5 from 576 votes
This air fryer beef jerky is simple to make, packed with flavor, and way better than anything from a bag.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes
Serves10 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thinly sliced beef steak (sirloin steak, round steak [Note 1])

Marinade

  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional, or add more for spicy jerky)

Directions

  • 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 they are not overlapping.
  • Air fry beef strips until completely dehydrated. Set to air fry at 175°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. It needs to reach 160°F/71°C [Note 2].
  • When the jerky is ready, allow to cool and store in an air tight container.

Notes

  1. Beef should be no thicker than ¼-inch/ ½cm thick. Partially freezing the beef can make it easier to slice.
  2. Check with an instant-read meat thermometer to be sure it has reached 160°F/71°C.

Nutrition

Calories: 93kcal  Carbohydrates: 2.5g  Protein: 7.5g  Fat: 5.8g  Saturated Fat: 2.5g  Cholesterol: 10.9mg  Sodium: 472mg  Fiber: 0.4g  Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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