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.
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How to Make Beef Jerky in an Air Fryer
Beef jerky makes an awesome snack. It is delicious, healthy, low carb, and portable too!
Air frying makes amazing homemade beef jerky! The recipe is very simple and prep time is minimal, but it does take a bit of organization as you want to marinate the sliced beef overnight to allow the flavor to develop.
What Beef to Use for Jerky
The best beef to make homemade jerky is something lean and flavorful. Top round and bottom round are ideal. Flank steak and sirloin tip can also work well, but they will result in chewier beef jerky.
Because the cook time is very long and low then you can use a cheaper (tougher) cut of meat than if you were wanting to quick roast it.
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.
How to Prepare Beef for Jerky
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 (not against as you normally would when carving beef).
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
After marinating the beef strips, they need to be dried thoroughly. I drain the beef in a sieve to allow excess marinade to drain away, then pat dry with a paper towel.
How to Air Fry Beef Jerky
Having prepared the beef, you are now ready to dehydrate it!
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 175°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 and how efficient your air fryer is.
After around two hours cooking time I usually cook in 15 minute intervals, and check the jerky until it is done to my liking (i.e. until all the moisture has gone, but before it starts to char).
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.
Scroll down for the recipe card for this air fryer jerky!
Air Fryer Beef Jerky Recipe
How to make beef jerky in an air fryer.
- 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 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.
- When the jerky is ready, allow to cool and store in an air tight container.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 5.8gSaturated Fat: 2.5gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 10.9mgSodium: 472mgCarbohydrates: 2.5gFiber: 0.4gSugar: 2gProtein: 7.5g
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