Homemade Air Fryer Beef Jerky

Savor the Flavor: Easy and Delicious Beef Jerky at Home!



Preparation Phase & Tools To Use

Tools Needed:

  • Air Fryer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Sharp knife
  • Ziplock bag or vacuum sealer

Ingredients & Their Roles

  • 2 pounds lean beef (such as top round, bottom round, or sirloin) – the main ingredient, chosen for its lower fat content which is ideal for jerky.
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce – adds saltiness and serves as the base for the marinade.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce – adds complexity and depth to the flavor.
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar – adds a slight sweetness that balances the salty and savory flavors.
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – adds a spicy kick.
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika – gives a smoky flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder – adds a subtle onion flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder – adds a rich garlic taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) – adds heat for those who like a little spice.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Slice the beef: Start by partially freezing the beef to make slicing easier. Slice it into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick, against the grain for tender jerky.
  2. Prepare the marinade: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes if using.
  3. Marinate the beef: Place the beef strips into a ziplock bag or vacuum sealer bag. Pour the marinade over the beef, ensuring all pieces are well-coated. Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Preheat the air fryer: Set your air fryer to 180°F (82°C). This low temperature is essential for dehydrating the beef slowly.
  5. Arrange the beef strips in the air fryer: Lay the marinated beef strips in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Ensure they do not overlap for even cooking.
  6. Cook: Dehydrate the beef at 180°F for about 2-3 hours, flipping the strips halfway through the cooking time. The exact time will depend on your air fryer and how thick your beef strips are.
  7. Cool & Store: Let the jerky cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.



Time & Servings

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 4 hours to overnight for marinating)
  • Cooking Time: 2-3 hours
  • Total Time: Approximately 5 hours to overnight, including marinating
  • Servings: Varies
  • Kcal: Approximately 70 kcal per ounce

Nutritional Information & Health Benefits

Beef jerky is a high-protein, low-fat snack that’s perfect for on-the-go energy. It’s also a good source of iron and zinc. Choosing lean cuts of beef and controlling the ingredients in your marinade makes homemade jerky a healthier option than many store-bought varieties.

Common Mistakes To Avoid & How to Perfect the Recipe

  • Not slicing the beef thinly or evenly: Uniform slices ensure even drying and cooking.
  • Overcrowding the air fryer basket: Air circulation is key to dehydrating the beef properly; make sure there’s space around each strip.
  • Skipping the marinating step: The marinating process adds flavor and tenderizes the beef. Don’t rush it!
  • Using too high a temperature: Slow and low is the way to go for jerky to avoid cooking the beef instead of dehydrating it.


Making beef jerky in an air fryer is a straightforward and satisfying process. With a little preparation and patience, you can enjoy homemade jerky that’s flavorful, protein-packed, and free of the preservatives and additives found in commercial products. Whether you’re hitting the trails or just looking for a hearty snack, this beef jerky recipe is sure to please.

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