Air Fryer Beef Jerky: How To Make Beef Jerky in an Air Fryer

Air Fryer Beef Jerky: How To Make Beef Jerky in an Air Fryer

The air fryer is one of the coolest kitchen gadgets around. You don’t have to work in a restaurant to make your own delicious pub foods like fries, chicken, baked potatoes and ultra-crispy bacon. This countertop appliance cooks food by circulating hot air, heating the food using convection. 

The air fryer found fresh popularity in kitchens all over the world at the start of the pandemic. As people began cooking at home more often, the air fryer became a fast, fun way to copy favorite foods that we’d otherwise order from a restaurant or bar.

Combine this easy-to-use kitchen appliance with a classic snack like beef jerky, and what do you get? Why, it’s a simple and nutritious homemade beef jerky treat that’s ready to nibble on and share with friends in just a few hours.

[Related: How To Use Beef Jerky in Recipes]

Benefits of Air Fryer Beef Jerky

The air fryer method creates a crunchy exterior on foods while using little fat, making it convenient and a bit healthier than other options. Plus, making air-fried beef jerky lets you avoid high sodium levels and artificial additives. Instead, you can try leaning into simple ingredients and hot air to make a tasty, healthy treat.

Another benefit of air-fried beef jerky is that the appliance does all the work for you. Simply place the seasonings, marinade and meat into your air fryer and relax. Before you know it, you’ll have a great nutritious snack that’s easy to make and even easier to devour.

It’s also easier on your wallet. 

Delicious prepackaged beef jerky can be fairly expensive, especially if you’re looking for organic or exotic beef jerky options. With the air fryer method, jerky’s not only healthier and as easy to make as a batch of french fries but also costs a fraction of the price.

[Related: How To Make Beef Jerky in a Smoker]

Air Fryer Beef Jerky Recipe

If you’re looking for tips on how to make beef jerky in an air fryer, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s go over the simple steps to have you munching on your homemade air fryer beef jerky in no time.

Get an Air Fryer

First things first, you’ll need an air fryer. Choose one that’s large enough to make a decent-sized batch of jerky. You can make sure the air fryer you buy also has a rack to arrange the meat slices inside the container without overlapping. 

Choose Your Beef

The best choice for air fryer beef jerky meat is a lean and flavorful cut. Air fryer beef jerky time and temp are pretty straightforward. It takes a while to cook at a low temperature, so you can use a tougher cut of meat than you would for a quick roast. 

Just remember: A tougher cut means a chewier jerky. A tender beef cut gives it a softer texture. Some ideal cuts for air fryer jerky include top round, bottom round and flank steak.

[Related: What Is the Best Meat to Make Beef Jerky?]

Prepare Your Beef

To prepare the beef, trim excess fat from the outside to help with the drying process. Use a meat mallet to pound the cut until it's fairly thin (no thicker than a quarter inch). Now it’s time to get slicing.

If you’re slicing your own meat, use a very sharp knife and go with instead of against the grain. You can then decide whether you want to leave it as full slices or cut it into strips or squares (or stars and hearts — we’re not here to stifle your creativity!).

If you’re not too confident with knives, you can also ask your local butcher to slice the beef when you get it. 

Mix Your Meat With a Marinade

Purchase or craft your own marinade to add a nice flavor to your beef jerky. 

Many people opt for a mix of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey and brown sugar. But you can also try teriyaki sauce, paprika, garlic, liquid smoke and/or chili flakes to boost the spice level and tweak the taste.

Mix your marinade with your beef slices until they’re fully saturated. Let them marinate for at least three hours in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Remove Excess Marinade

After marination, remove the beef from the fridge and drain the strips thoroughly. Pat away the excess marinade with a paper towel and season the strips with black pepper. Now, you’ll begin the air-frying process!

Arrange in the Air Fryer

Set the strips in your air fryer and avoid overlapping. The hot air should be able to reach all surfaces of the beef strips. Consider using a rack to arrange them properly.

Fry and Enjoy!

As far as setting the air fryer beef jerky time and temp goes, take the low-and-slow road. This helps the moisture evaporate before the meat begins to char. Set your air fryer to 210 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook for two to three hours. 

After two hours, start checking on the jerky every 15 minutes until it’s done and all moisture has evaporated. The meat strips’ internal temperature should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit to eat safely.

Once the beef is done, remove your jerky masterpiece from the air fryer. Allow it to cool, store it in an airtight container and enjoy! 

[Related: How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?]

Explore the Jerky Universe Today

When you love jerky as much as us, you get a real tasty kick out of sharing tips and teaching people about the expansive Jerky Universe. Check out our blog to find beef jerky health benefits and nutrition guides. You can even learn about exotic jerky types and meatless jerky alternatives.

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Featured image “Kichen Air Fryer” by HS 

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