Skip to Content

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

It’s summer, which means BBQ season!

If you’re hosting a party this year or just looking for some tasty snacks to bring along, consider making your own beef jerky.

This recipe uses an air fryer, so there’s no need to worry about all the mess associated with drying meat.

  • What is the best beef jerky for air frying?
  • How do you make beef jerky in an air fryer?
  • What is the difference between air fried beef jerky and oven baked beef jerky?
  • What are the benefits of air frying beef jerky?
  • How long does it take to air fry beef jerky?
  • Is air fried beef jerky healthier than oven baked beef jerky?
  • What are the best spices for beef jerky?
  • What is the best marinade for beef jerky?
  • How do you know when beef jerky is done in an air fry

What Is The Best Beef Jerky For Air Frying?

If you’re new to air frying food, then we have to start off by talking about what kind of equipment you’ll need to use.

Air frying requires specialized cooking tools specifically designed for air frying.

You can find them on Amazon for as little as $20 each.

These tools come with features like temperature control, a fan-forced basket design, and even self cleaning capabilities.

The most important tool you will need is a thermometer.

An accurate digital probe thermometer is essential because it allows you to monitor the internal temperature of your food while air frying.

Another great thing about air frying is that it lets you cook larger quantities of food at once compared to conventional methods.

For example, you could easily put six pounds of beef strips into one single batch of oil if you were air frying instead of broiling.

You also don’t have to be concerned with how much fat content your food has.

Since air frying uses convection heat rather than direct contact, it cooks food evenly regardless of its moisture content.

Air frying works well with foods that require minimal preparation before being cooked.

It’s good for things like chicken wings, fish sticks, and pork chops among others.

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

How Do You Make Beef Jerky In An Air Fryer?

The first step to air-frying beef jerky is preparing the beef jerky mixture itself.

The beef needs to be cut into strips before being added to the air fryer basket.

You can use either lean or fatty cuts of beef depending on how much fat you like.

Fatty cuts will have more moisture content while lean cuts tend to dry out faster.

To prepare the beef mixture, simply mix together all the ingredients listed below until they form a thick paste.

Be sure not to overmix as you don’t want the meat to become mushy.

Next, add the seasoned salt and black pepper to your beef mixture.

Seasoning helps develop the flavors in the finished product, giving it a unique taste.

Finally, place the sliced beef into the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Allow the beef to sit overnight or at least several hours to allow the flavors to penetrate throughout the entire piece of meat.

Once ready to cook, remove the plastic wrap and pat down the mixture to ensure even thickness throughout.

Once the beef has been formed into slices, place them onto a paper towel lined tray.

Next, set your air fryer temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).

The time required to fully cook the beef jerky depends on its size and thickness.

For thinner pieces, around 2 minutes should suffice.

Larger slabs may require up to 5 minutes per side.

If you’d prefer to bake the beef jerky instead of air frying it, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F (93 C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the beef jerky onto the baking sheet in one layer and leave uncovered for 24 hours.

Turn the pieces halfway through the cooking process.

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

What Is The Difference Between Air Fried Beef Jerky And Oven Baked Beef Jerky?

The most obvious difference is texture.

Oven baked jerky will have more chewiness and be firmer, while air fried jerky will be softer and much easier to eat.

The other main differences are how they were processed and what ingredients went into them.

Oven-baked jerky is typically made from cuts like flank steak and brisket, which require longer cooking times.

These meats must first be cooked slowly until tender before being shredded and seasoned.

Then they’re left out overnight to dry out completely.

Finally, the dried meat is heated up again and smoked over hardwood fires.

Air-fried jerky can be made from almost anything.

It only needs to be cut into strips and then seasoned.

In fact, many people prefer air-fryed jerky because it has less fat content than oven-baked jerky and is usually lower on salt as well.

What Are The Benefits Of Air Frying Beef Jerky?

Air frying beef jerky can be great if you don’t have access to a dehydrator or don’t care much for the smell of one (or both).

It also gives you more control over how dry you like your jerky to be.

Since it cooks at such high temperatures, it’s important to monitor the temperature closely during cooking time.

You can add different flavors to your homemade beef jerky by adding different herbs and spices.

You could even use a mixture of dried fruits and nuts for added texture and sweetness.

The possibilities are endless!

How Long Does It Take To Air Fry Beef Jerky?

Air-frying beef jerky takes a lot less time than traditional methods like smoking or drying out beef jerky on racks over firewood.

The process only requires 30 minutes from start to finish.

The amount of time needed depends on how thick your strips are.

For thicker strips (or those that contain more fat), you may have to cook them longer than others.

It also helps if your beef jerky has been cut into smaller pieces before being air fried since they will dry faster.

We recommend checking every 15 minutes or so until you see brown spots appearing on the surface.

You can usually tell by smelling whether the jerky is ready because it should smell sweetly fragrant and not burnt.

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

Is Air Fried Beef Jerky Healthier Than Oven Baked Beef Jerky?

If you’re wondering if air-fried beef jerky is better for you than traditional oven-baked beef jerky, the answer depends on how much fat was used to cook the meat before air frying.

Oven-baked beef jerky typically has high levels of added fats from cooking methods like pan searing or baking.

These additional fats can be unhealthy, especially when combined with other ingredients such as sugar and salt.

Air fried beef jerky usually contains less fat because it cooks by being sprayed with hot oil instead of being cooked inside a closed container.

However, it still isn’t quite healthy enough to eat every day, so don’t expect to find 100% healthy food options at this point.

The healthiness of air fried beef jerky

When compared to traditional oven-baked beef jerky, air-fryed beef jerky tends to have more protein and lower amounts of saturated fat.

The lower amount of saturated fat is due to the fact that air frying removes most of the moisture during the process.

However, since air frying also adds extra oils into the mix, you’ll probably end up having to add more oil while finishing off the jerky after it comes out of the air fryer.

In order to ensure that the finished product tastes good, you may need to increase the total amount of oil needed to finish the jerky.

In addition to losing water during the air frying process, the meat will also lose some of its natural juices during the process.

As a result, you might need to add more liquid to help keep the finished product moist.

But overall, air-fried beef jerky should contain slightly fewer calories and less saturated fat than traditional oven-baked beef jerky.

What Are The Best Spices For Beef Jerky?

The most important factor in getting the best results from your air-fried jerky is choosing the right combination of ingredients.

You can use whatever spices you like, but if you’d rather avoid MSG (which makes your food taste better), try these two options instead:

1. Garlic powder + onion powder + salt + pepper = The Perfect Spices for Beef Jerky

2. Salt + black pepper + garlic powder + paprika = A Great Combination of Flavors for Beef Jerky

What Is The Best Marinade For Beef Jerky?

There’s nothing like the aroma of freshly made jerky coming out of the oven.

The smell alone can put even the most seasoned cook at ease.

However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to bake your jerky, then try air frying instead.

It takes less effort and will still give you plenty of bang for your buck.

You’ll find many different recipes online, but here’s one I found on Food52.

This recipe calls for a simple mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper, and cayenne.

There’s also a little bit of liquid smoke, but you could easily omit it because as mentioned earlier, this isn’t really meant to be barbecue flavored.

All you really need to add for extra flair is your favorite hot sauce.

If you’re going to use the same basic ingredients for every batch, why not go ahead and create a master list? Keep track of what works well together and what flavors pair up nicely.

When you’ve got your ingredients ready, simply place them into the air fryer basket (or whatever vessel you choose) and close the lid.

Set your temperature control to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it on.

The food should start cooking within 15 minutes.

Once it reaches 165 degrees F inside, check back again to see how much longer it needs to stay in the oil.

As soon as it comes up to 170, pull it from the heat and let it cool completely before wrapping it up and storing it away until you plan to enjoy your creation.

The beauty of air frying is that you don’t have to wait around for hours while your jerky dries.

In fact, if you leave it overnight, you won’t even notice anything missing.

Just keep in mind that it may dry out a tad faster than traditional methods, especially since it was left in direct contact with oil.

How Do You Know When Beef Jerky Is Done In An Air Fry

The first step to making great beef jerky is to choose the right cut of meat.

You can use chuck roast or even flank steak if you prefer leaner cuts.

I recommend getting whole muscle pieces because they’ll be easier to slice into small strips.

The key to creating good beef jerky is the length of time you cook them, as well as how thick they are sliced.

If you plan on eating the jerky within two weeks, then by all means go ahead and buy a dehydrator.

However, most people don’t have one of those handy these days, so you should opt for something like an air fryer instead.

When you’ve got your meat ready, let’s move onto the next part of the process – choosing what kind of seasoning you’d like to add to your jerky.

There are three basic types of seasoning that will work well with beef jerky.

First up, try soy sauce (or tamari).

It has a nice umami flavor and pairs nicely with the natural saltiness of beef.

Next would be chili powder.

While not exactly an “authentic” ingredient, it adds heat and spice to beef jerky.

Finally, garlic powder provides a subtle kick while keeping things light-hearted.

Once you’ve chosen your ingredients you can decide whether you’d like to smoke your jerky before cooking it in the air fryer.

Smoked jerky tastes fantastic, especially after smoking over hardwood chips.

Unfortunately, smoking requires quite a bit of equipment and expertise.

But if you live near a forest or wooded area, why not give it a shot?

Just remember that smoked beef jerky takes longer to dry out than non-smoked varieties.

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

Beef Jerky using Air Fryer

The best air fryer beef jerky is arrived! Are you ready to cook delicate meat in an electric air fryer? We provide a simple way for you to sample your first batch.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Jerky using Air Fryer
Servings: 8
Calories: 154kcal


  • Air fryer


  • 1 lb steak used round steak, but into strips
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/8 c teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper crushed
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • Set aside. Slice round steak into thin strips, then into 1/2 inch strips.
  • Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Submerge and cover the steak strips in the bowl.
  • Marinate the beef in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Put strips in air fryer basket without overlapping pieces and cook for 2 hours at 180°F.
  • Cool before serving.



Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 682mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me