Easy Beef Jerky Recipe Dehydrator Guide

beef jerky on board
The best way to craft mouthwatering homemade beef jerky is by using a food dehydrator. Simply dehydrate your pre-marinated and seasoned 1/8” thick sliced beef pieces at 165°F for 3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Lower the temperature of the dehydrator to 145°F until the jerky is fully dried (roughly 4-5 hours).

Why Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator?

Dehydrating beef jerky is a delicious way to preserve the meat. With proper storage in an airtight container, dehydrated beef jerky will last for several months or even years. 

After drying beef jerky in a food dehydrator, no moisture is left in the meat. On the contrary, smoking beef jerky increases the risk of over-drying the meat. If you choose to use a conventional oven to make beef jerky, you run the risk of under-drying or over-drying the meat.

Using a food dehydrator to make beef jerky will not only save you time but also give your jerky a wonderful texture that is hard to get with other methods. You’ll be able to monitor the dehydrating condition of the beef jerky throughout the drying process.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Beef jerky in a bowl

Spicy Marinated Beef Jerky Dehydrator Recipe

  • Author: Patrick
  • Total Time: 7 hours


One of the most common methods of making beef jerky at home is using a food dehydrator. Learn how to make spicy beef jerky with this easy-to-follow dehydrator recipe!


  • 1-pound lean beef (eye of round or similar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon liquid smoke (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar


  1. Buy a lean cut of beef such as flank steak, top round, or bottom round. Remove the fat cap and any other excess fat. Once trimmed, keep the beef in the freezer for one or two hours until slightly frozen to make it easier to cut the beef into more uniform pieces.
  2. In a ziplock bag or any other airtight container, combine the marinade ingredients.
  3. Slice the meat into ¼-inch-thick beef strips for easy chewing. Slicing it against the grain will help produce tender beef jerky.
  4. Add your sliced beef to your marinade and ensure the meat pieces are evenly covered. Put in the fridge and marinate for 4 to 24 hours. Remember to shake the Ziploc bag/container two to three times when marinating.
  5. Once the meat is done marinating, use paper towels to dry the sliced meat to remove the excess beef jerky marinade. This step is crucial – you don’t want your meat to have excess moisture while drying.
  6. Arrange the beef strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, leaving enough space between the slices to ensure proper airflow.
  7. Dehydrate at 165°F for 3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Then reduce the temperature of the dehydrator to 145°F. Check your jerky after four hours and continue dehydrating it until it is fully dry.  For food safety, you must ensure that your meat reaches 160°F and finishes drying at 145°F or above.
  8. Let your homemade beef jerky cool before storing it in an airtight container.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 6 hours


  • Serving Size: 70g
  • Calories: 151
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 1310mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

Beef Jerky Dehydrator Recipes

Here are some of my favorite delicious beef jerky dehydrator recipes!

Classic Black Pepper Jerky Recipe

This classic beef jerky recipe is full of peppery flavor that will impress. It uses both ground peppercorns and cracked peppercorns as marinade ingredients.

Chili Lime Beef Jerky Dehydrator Recipe

This fiery beef jerky uses cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes as marinade ingredients for a warm bite and bold flavor. You can make this recipe as a delicious treat for work, camping trips, or road-tripping.

Teriyaki Beef Jerky Dehydrator Recipe

Teriyaki is a popular beef jerky flavor, so it’s a good idea to learn how to make this sweet and savory teriyaki beef jerky recipe for when your cravings strike. It’s the perfect low-carb snack for the whole family!

How Long Does it Take to Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator?

If you set the drying temperature in a food dehydrator to 145°F, it takes about 7 hours to make beef jerky, depending on the brand and model of the dehydrator. 

When you increase the drying temperature to 155°F, it takes about 4 to 8 hours to make beef jerky. 

Below are different temperature settings with their respective drying times for homemade beef jerky: 

TemperatureDrying Time
125°10 hours
135°F8 hours
145°F7 hours
155°F4 hours

Do You Have to Marinate Jerky Before Dehydrating? 

Yes. I recommend marinating your beef jerky for 4 to 24 hours before dehydrating it. The longer you keep it in the marinade, the tastier it will be. 

It is also much easier to cure jerky in a marinade since curing agents should be in contact with the meat for as long as possible to be effective. Just be careful not to over-marinate – remove your jerky from the marinade after 24 hours so it doesn’t negatively impact the texture.

Marinade Ideas for Making Dehydrated Beef Jerky

The best beef jerky marinade involves mixing a few simple ingredients together.

These four dehydrated beef jerky marinades, will help you to kick up the flavor of your homemade beef jerky.

1. BBQ Teriyaki Beef Marinade 

This beef jerky marinade will add a salty and sweet glaze to the meat. 

2. Carne Asada Beef Marinade

This carne asada marinade uses cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, lime juice, and orange juice. Marinate the sliced meat for several hours to allow all the flavors to penetrate the meat.   

3. Ginger Soy Marinade

Give your homemade beef jerky an element of Asian flavor by using this ginger soy marinade. If you’re trying to manage your sodium levels, use low-sodium soy sauce.

4. Peppered Beef Jerky Marinade

It doesn’t get simpler (and more delicious) than this simple peppered beef jerky marinade. It uses sea salt, olive oil, crushed peppercorns, and zesty lemon juice. 

Can You Leave Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator Too Long?

Yes. Leaving beef jerky in a dehydrator for too long will make it hard and brittle. To avoid this, slice your beef thinly and use a tried and true recipe with the dehydrator set to the correct temperature.

What is the Best Type of Meat to Use for Beef Jerky?

My favorite cuts of meat for making beef jerky include the eye of round roast, top round roast, and bottom round roast. These are lean, meaty, and reasonably priced.

A good cut of meat for making beef jerky is any lean cut of beef. Fat can make jerky spoil easily and make it difficult to achieve the chewy texture you desire from jerky.

Recommended cuts for making beef jerky include: 

  • Bottom Round Roast
  • Eye of Round Roast
  • Flank Steak
  • London broil
  • Sirloin Tip
  • Top Round Roast

If you are looking for a beef alternative, try venison!

Storage and Shelf Life of Dehydrated Beef Jerky

The shelf-life of dehydrated beef jerky varies depending on the storage method. The best way to store dried beef jerky is in an airtight container or Ziploc bag at room temperature. 

Dehydrated beef jerky can last for 1 to 2 months. If stored properly in the freezer, however, dehydrated jerky can last almost indefinitely.

For the best flavor, I recommend consuming your homemade beef jerky within six months. 

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic it is to dehydrate and preserve food by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

Recent Posts