How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a snack that people love because it tastes good and lasts a long time. Whether you love jerky or want to make your own for the first time, it’s essential to know how long it takes to dry out.

There are many things to consider when dehydrating jerky, so it’s hard to say how long to do it. In this article, we are going to discuss “how long to dehydrate beef jerky.”

How long to dehydrate beef jerky

The most important question for people who want to learn how to make their own tasty beef jerky is how long to dehydrate it. You must pay close attention to this vital step to get the right thickness and taste.

How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky

Usually, the process takes anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, based on the thickness of the meat pieces, the level of humidity, and the way you choose to dry the meat. Be patient as the tastes get more robust and the heart becomes a satisfying, juicy treat that will hook you.

Let’s look at the things that affect how long it takes to get dehydrated:

Dehydration Time:

To get the best texture and taste from beef jerky, you must pay close attention to the drying time. It might be chewy and raw if you don’t give your jerky enough time to cook. If you give it too much time, it might get hard and brittle, which isn’t good.

Time factors that affect dehydration:

Cut and Thickness: It takes longer for thicker cuts to dry out than for smaller ones. The meat will dry the same way, regardless of how it is cut.

Lean vs. Fat: Cuts of meat with less fat dry out faster than those with more fat.

Marinade: If you marinate your beef before drying it, the flavour and amount of liquid in the sauce will affect how long it takes to dry.

Dehydrator Performance: The time it takes to dry something depends a lot on how well your dehydrator works and what temperature you set it to.

Humidity and Ambient Conditions: High humidity can slow down the drying process, while dry conditions can speed it up.

The Standard Time to Lose Water:

Usually, beef jerky is dried at a temperature between 160°F and 175°F (71°C and 79°C) for about 4 to 6 hours. But it’s essential to keep in mind the things above and watch the jerky closely as it dries. Take a piece out and let it cool for a few minutes to see if it’s done. It should be able to bend without breaking. If you cut the meat in half, you might see a few white fibres.

How to dehydrate beef jerky perfectly:

Meat Preparation:

Cut your beef into thin strips to start. Most of the time, it’s best to slice the meat so that it’s about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.


For better flavor, marinate the meat in the spice or marinade of your choice for at least a few hours or overnight.

Heat up:

Heat your dehydrator or oven to between 70°C and 80°C (160°F to 175°F). Some dehydrators have levels that are made for making jerky.

Place on oven racks or dehydrator trays:

Make sure the meat strips that have been marinated don’t touch when you put them on the dehydrator trays or oven racks. You can also hang the strips from food-safe wire racks or skewers if you prefer.


Put the pans or racks in the dehydrator or oven and leave the door or lid slightly open so that moisture can escape. This makes sure the jerky dries right.

Periodically Check:

Check on the jerky every so often while it is drying. How long it takes will depend on the things we’ve already talked about. When the jerky is done, it will be hard, feel like leather, and snap when bent, but not break.

Dehydration time when using a Dehydrator to make beef jerky

Making jerky is an old practice and one of the most common reasons people buy dehydrators. Removing the right amount of water from meat slows down its biological activity, making it safe to eat later.

How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky

It’s easy to think that early hunters put strips of meat out in the sun to dry so they could use them later. With refrigerators, people don’t need to dry meat as much as they used to, but it’s still an excellent way to keep food fresh.

By today’s standards, drying meat in the sun is no longer safe. A dehydrator, on the other hand, lets you keep a steady temperature and airflow in a controlled setting, which is essential for safe food. The US Department of Agriculture recommends making jerky from meats cooked to 160°F (71°C) or 165°F (74°C).

It’s essential to be safe, but making jerky at home is easy and makes tasty snacks, energy for hikes and camping trips, and easy meal additions that can be eaten anytime.

Time effect on dehydration of Beef Jerky Using An Air Fryer

An air fryer usually makes only a small amount of jerky, but it works well.

Put meat strips that have been marinating in the pan and cook them at 350°F for no more than 3 minutes. This will quickly dry out the beef.

Adjust the thermostat to dehydrate at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drying out jerky in an air oven should take 2 hours. After 2 hours, the jerky should have dried out and be ready to eat. To be sure, give it a bend test.

How To Dehydrate Jerky In The Oven

Bring the temperature inside your oven up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the whole baking sheet with metal foil. Put an oven rack on the paper, then put the raw jerky strips in a single layer on the frame.

Drying beef jerky in a warm oven will take 3–4 hours.

Take a piece of jerky out after 3 hours and do the bend test. If it’s not completely dry, give it another hour for the drying process to finish.


Can I Leave the Jerky in the Dehydrator for Too Long?

You should leave jerky in a dehydrator for at most 5 hours.

Can I put meat in a dehydrator and leave it there overnight?

Yes. Leave the meat strips in the dehydrator overnight if they are more than 1/2 inch thick and juicy.

Does the jerky have to be cooked before it’s dried?

No. The taste may be ruined if you cook the meat before you dry it.


There are a number of variables that can affect how long it takes to dehydrate beef jerky. To get the right texture for beef jerky, you have to find a mix between removing enough moisture to keep it from going bad and retaining enough water to keep it chewy and flavorful.

Always follow the instructions that come with your dehydrator or oven, and if you want your beef jerky to taste just right, try out different marinades and spice mixes.

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