air fryer beef jerky recipe

The ultimate protein-packed snack food, cooked in your air fryer

Beef jerky is the high-protein snack food that has kept away the munchies during countless road trips, outdoor activities and long hours sitting behind the desk at the office. While grabbing a bag of jerky is incredibly convenient, some find it worthwhile and fun to make it at home. But, what if you don't have a smoker or dehydrator? You can turn to your trusty air fryer. There are many ways to prepare beef jerky, but this recipe follows USDA guidelines for the safe preparation of beef jerky. 

air fryer jerky

  •    Time: 18-24 hours marinate, 2 hours cook


  • Eye of round steaks or favorite lean cut of beef
  • Favorite beef marinade


  1. Cut steaks into 1/4" thin strips, making sure to cut against the grain. Place in marinade and refrigerate 18-24 hours. 

  2. Remove beef from marinade and pat dry. Place steak strips on air fryer tray making sure strips do not touch. Cook beef on steak setting at 350° F for 3 minutes or until there is no pink in the center of the strips. USDA recommends the beef reach an internal temperature of 160° F. Switch air fryer to dehydrate setting for 2 hours. 

  3. Remove from air fryer and store in resealable plastic bags. Store in refrigerator for up to one week. 

what cut of beef do I use for air fryer beef jerky?

We recommend a lean cut for several reasons. You can use a Top Round Roast like the one pictured below. This is a lean cut of beef and will give you plenty of jerky. However, due to the varying size of the roast, the strips of beef jerky you will get can be a little inconsistent. An Eye of Round steak is also a great choice for many reasons. First, the size and thickness of an Eye of Round steak will give you uniform-sized strips for the jerky. An added bonus is eye of round steaks come with no external fat so you will not have any extra trimming to do. Second, one or two Eye of Round steaks is just about the perfect quantity for one batch of air fryer jerky. 

 We recommend purchasing as lean as possible, opting for select grade over choice. 

air fryer jerky

how to cut beef for beef jerky

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to beef jerky and how thick you cut the strips will determine some of the eating experience. Thicker strips will give you an end product with more bite and chew, while thinner strips will be more tender. A simple guideline would be to go no less than 1/8” in thickness and no greater than 1/4". 

The easiest way to cut your beef into thin strips is to have your local butcher cut it for you. One tip to help make cutting all those strips at home is to place the steak or roast in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to cutting. This will give the beef a firmer texture and make it much easier to get those uniform strips for jerky.

Whether to cut against or with the grain is also personal preference. If you cut against the grain you will get strips that are easy to rip apart, while cutting with the grain will provide longer, chewier jerky. 

air fryer jerky

air fryer beef jerky marinade

There are plenty of beef jerky marinade recipes out there, as well as marinades you can purchase from the store. That's the beauty of this recipe,;you can marinate it however you like. The most important part of this process is to marinate the beef for 18-24 hours. This marinade from Hey Grill Hey is also a good base for the process we outline in this article. 

storing your air fryer beef jerky

Many store-bought jerky options that don't need refrigeration rely upon curing salts. Since this recipe is cooked and dehydrated, USDA recommends home-dried jerky be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.