This healthy homemade beef jerky recipe is an easy, cheap and flavourful snack – make it without a dehydrator in the oven!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Top sirloin steak – top-round or bottom-round steak is also good for jerky.
- Soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best soy sauce substitutes.
- Worcestershire sauce – white wine vinegar would also work here.
- Honey – maple syrup will also add some sweetness to your jerky.
- Hot sauce – use more or less hot sauce or tabasco depending on how much spice you like.
- Black pepper – freshly cracked pepper will give the jerky more of a peppery flavour.
- Onion powder – double up on the garlic powder if you don’t have any onion powder on hand.
- Garlic powder – swap out for more onion powder or use finely minced garlic cloves.
- Paprika – cayenne will provide a similar flavour but has more of a kick.
- Red pepper flakes – cayenne or chili powder would also be good here.
How to make beef jerky
Step 1: Freeze then slice the steak.
Slice the frozen steak as thinly as possible against the grain, trimming away any fat.
Step 2: Marinate the steak strips.
Mix together the marinade ingredients, then marinate the steak strips.
Step 3: Squeeze out the excess liquid.
Squeeze any excess liquid out of the marinated steak strips until dried.
Step 4: Add the beef to bamboo skewers.
Add steak strips to bamboo skewers, then hang along the highest rack of the oven.
Step 5: Hang the skewers in the oven.
Close your oven door, propping it open slightly with an oven mitt, and cook the jerky.
Step 6: Remove from the skewers and store for later!
Beef jerky tips
Here are some top tips to ensuring this beef jerky recipe turns out perfectly every time:
- For chewy jerky, cut with the grain. For tender jerky, cut against the grain.
- Freeze the steak for at least an hour first to make it easier to cut.
- Trim away any fat, as fat does not dehydrate.
- Tenderize the steak by pounding it with a mallet for the most tender jerky.
- Try out different beef jerky marinade options like lemon pepper, chili lime, diced jalapeno, sweet and spicy, Caribbean jerk, and Thai-inspired.
Frequently Asked Questions
I used top sirloin steak to make my healthy beef jerky, since it’s a super lean cut of meat and you cut away any of the excess fat. You can also use top-round or bottom-round steak. Along with top sirloin, these are the most tender and flavourful cuts of beef. You can also try making your jerky with pork or venison!
I used an oven to make my beef jerky, but it can be made in a dehydrator as well! I find that using an oven is more convenient and takes less time – the oven method takes about 5 hours, while a dehydrator can take up to 8 hours.
I'd recommend slicing the beef against the grain for tender jerky. If you prefer your jerky to be a lot chewier, cut with the grain.
If you're going to eat your jerky within 3 to 4 days, it's fine to leave it out on the counter in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. If you want it to last longer than that, I'd recommend storing it in the fridge.
You'll know the jerky is done when it's dry to the touch and doesn't bend without cracking. Just make sure it doesn't break immediately when you bend it – if it does that, it's overcooked! Five hours in the oven at 170° Fahrenheit should do the trick.
How long does homemade beef jerky last?
If you are going to eat the homemade healthy beef jerky within 3 to 4 days, you can keep it on the counter at room temperature in an airtight container or Ziploc bags. If you want it to last longer than that, I recommend storing it in the fridge, since it’s not as shelf-stable as the store-bought versions. It should last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Can you freeze beef jerky?
Yes, you can! This beef jerky recipe can be frozen for 7 to 12 months. Pack it into an airtight container or Ziploc bag and make sure to get as much air out as possible before sticking it in the freezer. Just pull it out of the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight before eating.
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Easy Homemade Beef Jerky Recipe
- 16 oz top sirloin steak
- 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Freeze steak for 1 hour and then slice as thinly as possible against the grain, trimming away any fat.
- Mix together marinade ingredients then add to a large freezer bag. Add steak strips to a bag and let marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170 F. Place steak strips on a paper towel-lined plate and squeeze excess liquid out of strips with paper towel until dried. Add steak strips to bamboo skewers, then hang along the highest rack of the oven.
- Close your oven door, propping it open slightly with an oven mitt. Be sure to do this so some moisture can escape from the oven, and cook for 5 hours.
- When finished, remove jerky from skewers and store in the fridge up to 14 days.