[FULL GUIDE] How Long To Cook Beef Jerky In Oven

Beef jerky is a popular and delicious snack that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its flavorful taste and chewy texture make it a favorite among many people. While beef jerky can be made using a dehydrator, some might prefer using their oven for this purpose. If you’re looking to make beef jerky in the oven, it’s important to understand the process and ensure that it is cooked thoroughly while retaining its desired texture and flavor.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of making beef jerky in the oven. We will cover everything from choosing the right beef to the specific oven temperature and the cooking duration required to create perfect beef jerky.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Beef Jerky In The Oven

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick answer, the recommended cooking time for beef jerky in the oven is typically around 4-6 hours at a low temperature of 175°F (79°C) to 200°F (93°C). However, the precise cooking time can vary based on the thickness of the meat slices, the desired level of moisture, and your oven’s specific characteristics.

Choosing Beef Jerky

The first step in making beef jerky is choosing the right cut of beef. It’s crucial to select lean and tender cuts of meat with minimal fat content. This ensures that the jerky will dehydrate properly and have a longer shelf life. Popular choices for beef jerky include:

Beef Cuts For Jerky

  • Top Round: This is a lean and flavorful cut that is often used for making beef jerky. It’s relatively easy to work with and yields excellent results.
  • Bottom Round: Another lean cut, the bottom round is known for its rich beef flavor and makes for great jerky.
  • Eye of Round: This is a slightly tougher cut, but when sliced thinly against the grain, it can produce delicious and chewy jerky.

Slicing The Beef

Once you’ve chosen the cut of beef, the next step is to slice it correctly. For ideal beef jerky, it’s important to cut the meat against the grain. This allows the jerky to be chewy rather than tough. Additionally, slicing the beef thinly (around 1/8 inch) will aid in the dehydration process.

Preparing Beef Jerky

Marinating The Beef

Marinating the beef is a crucial step as it imparts flavor and tenderizes the meat. A basic marinade typically consists of a mix of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and various seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. You can also add liquid smoke for a deeper smoky flavor. It’s recommended to marinate the beef for at least 8-12 hours, or ideally overnight, in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat thoroughly.

Drying The Beef

Before placing the beef in the oven, it should be patted dry with paper towels to remove excess marinade. This will help facilitate efficient dehydration and prevent the meat from becoming overly sticky during the cooking process. It’s important to remove as much surface moisture as possible to aid in the drying process and to achieve the desired texture in the jerky.

Oven Temperature For Cooking Beef Jerky

Choosing The Right Temperature

When cooking beef jerky in the oven, it’s crucial to use a low temperature to achieve the desired dehydration without cooking the meat. The ideal range for oven temperatures when making beef jerky is between 175°F (79°C) and 200°F (93°C). This low and slow method ensures that the jerky dehydrates evenly and retains its flavor and texture.

Preparing The Oven

Before placing the beef in the oven, it’s important to prepare the oven racks and optionally lay down aluminum foil or parchment paper on the racks to catch any drips. Additionally, using a wire rack on top of the foil/parchment paper can help promote air circulation around the beef slices, aiding in the dehydration process.

Cooking Time

The cooking time for beef jerky in the oven can vary depending on a few factors:

  • Thickness of the Slices: Thicker slices will require more time to dehydrate, while thinner slices will dehydrate more quickly.
  • Oven Temperature: Maintaining a consistent low temperature is crucial. Ensure your oven is calibrated properly and use an oven thermometer for accuracy.
  • Desired Texture: Some people prefer their jerky to be more chewy, while others may prefer it to be drier and tougher.

As a general guideline, beef jerky slices will usually take around 4-6 hours to dehydrate in the oven. However, it’s essential to periodically check on the jerky’s progress, especially as it nears the end of the expected cooking time. You can perform a simple bend test to determine if the jerky is ready – it should bend and crack but not break apart. Additionally, cutting into a piece will allow you to check for any signs of moisture remaining in the meat.

Making beef jerky in the oven can be a rewarding and enjoyable process, leading to a flavorful and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed at any time. From choosing the right beef cuts to preparing and dehydrating the meat, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and taste of the final product. By understanding the nuances of preparing beef jerky in the oven and paying attention to the details, you can create delectable homemade beef jerky that suits your preferences in terms of texture and flavor. Remember to experiment with various marinades and seasoning to tailor the jerky to your liking. With the right approach and careful attention to the cooking process, you can achieve perfect beef jerky that’s sure to impress your taste buds and those of your friends and family.

Oven Cooking Time For Cooking Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a popular and tasty snack that is packed with protein and flavor. It is made by marinating strips of beef in a flavorful mixture and then drying it out to remove the moisture. One of the methods commonly used for drying beef jerky is using an oven. This method allows you to have control over the drying process and achieve the desired texture and taste. However, cooking beef jerky in an oven requires the right temperature and time to ensure that it is cooked properly while retaining its tenderness.

The cooking time for beef jerky in an oven can vary depending on various factors, including the thickness of the beef slices, the desired level of dryness, and the type of oven being used. However, as a general guideline, beef jerky typically takes around 4 to 6 hours to cook in an oven.

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The cooking time can also be influenced by the temperature at which you choose to dry the beef jerky. Most recipes suggest using a low and slow drying method, where the oven is set to its lowest temperature, usually around 150°F (65°C) or 175°F (80°C).

How To Cook Beef Jerky In Oven

Cooking beef jerky in an oven may seem like a daunting task, but with the right technique, it can be a simple and enjoyable process. Here are the steps to cook beef jerky in an oven:

  1. Start by preparing the beef: Select lean cuts of beef like top round, sirloin, or eye of round. Trim off any excess fat from the meat as it can cause the jerky to spoil quicker. Slice the beef into thin strips with a thickness of about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. Make sure to cut against the grain for a more tender jerky.

  2. Marinate the beef: Prepare a marinade of your choice using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, honey, garlic, and spices. Place the beef strips in the marinade and ensure that all the strips are coated evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 to 24 hours, depending on the desired flavor intensity.

  3. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature setting. This is usually around 150°F (65°C) or 175°F (80°C). It’s essential to use a low temperature to ensure slow and even cooking.

  4. Arrange the beef strips: Remove the beef strips from the marinade and pat them dry with a paper towel. Discard any excess marinade. Arrange the beef strips on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Leave some space between the strips to allow air circulation for even drying.

  5. Place in the oven: Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, place the baking sheet with the beef strips on the center rack of the oven. If you have a convection oven, it can help with better air circulation and even drying. Close the oven door but leave it slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.

  6. Monitor and flip the beef jerky: It’s essential to monitor the beef jerky during cooking to ensure it doesn’t overcook or burn. After about 2 hours, check the jerky and flip the strips over to promote even drying. Continue monitoring and flipping the beef jerky every hour or so.

  7. Test for Doneness: After about 4 to 6 hours, depending on your oven temperature and desired texture, test a piece of beef jerky for doneness. It should be firm and slightly bendable without breaking. If it is still too moist, continue drying for another hour or so, checking regularly.

  8. Cool and store: Once the beef jerky is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. This step is crucial as it allows any remaining moisture to escape, ensuring a longer shelf life. Once cooled, store the beef jerky in an airtight container or sealable bags for optimal freshness.

Cooking Techniques

While the basic steps outlined above are sufficient to cook beef jerky in an oven, there are a few techniques that can help enhance the taste and texture of the final product:

  1. Tenderizing the beef: To achieve a more tender beef jerky, you can tenderize the meat before marinating it. This can be done by pounding the beef strips lightly with a meat mallet or by using a kitchen utensil with textured surfaces.

  2. Preheating the beef: Some recipes suggest preheating the beef strips in the oven for a few minutes before marinating. This step can help kill any potential bacteria on the surface of the meat.

  3. Using a dehydrator: If you frequently make beef jerky, investing in a food dehydrator can be a worthwhile purchase. A dehydrator offers precise temperature control and a dedicated airflow system, resulting in consistent and efficient drying. The cooking time for beef jerky in a dehydrator is generally shorter than in an oven.

Do I Need To Use Foil?

Using aluminum foil is not mandatory when cooking beef jerky in an oven, but it comes with some advantages. Here are a few reasons why you may choose to use foil:

  1. Easy cleanup: Lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil makes cleanup a breeze, as it prevents any marinade or drippings from sticking to the pan.

  2. Preventing flare-ups: If your marinade contains sugar or honey, these ingredients can caramelize and potentially cause flare-ups in the oven. Using foil can help protect the oven from any mess or potential accidents.

  3. Promoting even cooking: The foil helps distribute heat more evenly, resulting in a better-cooked jerky.

If you choose not to use foil, make sure to place a drip pan or baking sheet underneath the wire rack to catch any drippings.

Cooking beef jerky in an oven is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to enjoy this flavorful snack at any time. The recommended cooking time for beef jerky in an oven is around 4 to 6 hours at a low temperature setting of 150°F (65°C) or 175°F (80°C). By following the steps outlined in this article and using some additional techniques, such as tenderizing the beef or preheating it, you can achieve a tender and delicious batch of beef jerky. Whether you choose to use foil or not, don’t forget to monitor the jerky and test for doneness to ensure the perfect texture. So, grab your favorite marinade and start cooking your own homemade beef jerky in the oven!

Cooking Times For Frozen Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a popular snack that is loved by many for its flavor, texture, and portability. It is essentially the process of drying strips of beef to remove the moisture content, resulting in a shelf-stable product that can be enjoyed for months. While there are various methods to make beef jerky, one of the most commonly used techniques is cooking it in an oven.

When making beef jerky, it is preferable to start with fresh, unfrozen meat. However, there are circumstances where you may have frozen meat that you want to turn into jerky. If this is the case, you will need to adjust the cooking times accordingly.

Cooking frozen beef jerky in the oven requires a longer cooking time compared to fresh meat. This is because the frozen meat takes longer to thaw and for the moisture to evaporate. To ensure that your beef jerky is properly cooked and safe to consume, it is recommended to add an additional 1 to 2 hours to the cooking time. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and the exact cooking time may vary depending on your specific oven and the thickness of the meat.

Adjusting Oven Temperature For Cooking Beef Jerky

The temperature at which you cook your beef jerky plays a crucial role in the final texture and flavor of the product. A higher temperature will result in a crispier texture, while a lower temperature will yield a more tender and chewy jerky. The ideal temperature range for cooking beef jerky in the oven is between 145°F (63°C) and 165°F (74°C).

If your oven does not have a low enough temperature setting, there are a few alternatives you can consider. First, you can prop the oven door open slightly to allow more heat to escape, thus lowering the overall temperature. Alternatively, you can use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the oven and make any necessary adjustments. It is important to note that cooking at too high a temperature can result in a dry and tough jerky, while cooking at too low a temperature can potentially lead to bacterial growth.

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Adjusting Oven Cook Times For Cooking Beef Jerky

The thickness of your beef jerky will significantly affect the cooking time. Thicker strips of meat will take longer to dry out, while thinner strips will dry out faster. It is crucial to ensure that the entire piece of jerky is properly dehydrated to prevent bacterial growth and spoilage. The general rule of thumb is that the thicker the meat, the longer the cooking time.

For beef jerky cooked in the oven, the average cooking time range is between 4 to 6 hours. This is based on using fresh meat at a temperature range of 145°F (63°C) to 165°F (74°C). Thicker cuts of meat may require up to 8 hours of cooking time, while thinner cuts may be finished in as little as 3 hours. It is essential to monitor the jerky throughout the cooking process to prevent overcooking or undercooking.


Undercooking beef jerky can pose a health risk as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. It is crucial to ensure that the jerky is heated to a safe internal temperature to eliminate any potential pathogens. The USDA recommends heating beef jerky to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) to ensure it is safe to consume.

To check the internal temperature of your beef jerky, you can use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the jerky to get an accurate reading. If it reads below the recommended 160°F (71°C), you will need to continue cooking the jerky until it reaches the desired temperature. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

Cooking beef jerky in the oven can be a convenient and effective way to make this delicious snack. By monitoring the cooking times and adjusting for factors such as frozen meat, oven temperature, and jerky thickness, you can achieve perfectly cooked and safe-to-eat beef jerky. Remember to always follow food safety guidelines, such as cooking to the recommended internal temperature, to ensure that your beef jerky is both tasty and safe to consume. So, gather your ingredients, take note of the guidelines, and enjoy the process of creating your own homemade beef jerky!


Beef jerky is a delicious and healthy snack that is high in protein and low in carbs and fat. Making beef jerky at home is a great way to save money and customize the flavors to your liking. One of the most popular ways to make beef jerky at home is by using an oven. Oven-drying your beef jerky is a great way to get perfectly crispy, flavorful jerky that you can enjoy anytime.

Overcooking your beef jerky is one of the most common mistakes that people make when making jerky in the oven. If your jerky is too dry and tough, it’s likely that you left it in the oven for too long. Overcooked beef jerky can be difficult to chew and can lose its flavor.

When Things Go Wrong

If you overcook your beef jerky, don’t fret! There are a few things you can do to salvage your jerky. First, try rehydrating it by soaking it in water for a few minutes. This can help soften the meat and make it easier to chew. You can also try adding some moisture back into the jerky by brushing it with a little bit of oil. This can help give the jerky some of its moisture back and make it easier to chew.

Tips For Cooking Beef Jerky In Oven

Here are some tips for making perfect beef jerky in the oven:

Choose The Right Cut Of Beef

Choosing the right cut of beef is key to making great beef jerky. Look for a lean cut of beef, such as sirloin, top round, or flank steak. These cuts of beef have less fat than other cuts, which means that they will dry out better and make for a better jerky.

Freeze The Meat Before Slicing

Freezing the meat for a little while before slicing it can make it easier to cut into thin, even strips. Place the meat in the freezer for about an hour before slicing it.

Slice The Meat Thinly

When slicing the beef, make sure to slice it as thinly as possible. This will help it dry out more evenly and quickly in the oven.

Marinate The Meat

Marinating the meat is a great way to add flavor to your beef jerky. You can use a pre-made marinade or make your own by mixing together soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and any other seasonings you like.

Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 175°F. This is the optimal temperature for making beef jerky in the oven.

Use A Wire Rack

Place the meat strips on a wire rack so that air can circulate around them. This will allow the meat to dry out evenly and prevent it from sticking to the pan.

Check On Your Jerky Frequently

Check on your jerky every hour or so to make sure that it isn’t overcooking. As soon as the jerky is dry and chewy, it’s ready to be removed from the oven.

Store Your Jerky Properly

Store your beef jerky in an airtight container or plastic bag in a cool, dry place. It should last for up to two weeks. If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze it for up to six months.


Making beef jerky in the oven is easy and fun. With a little bit of practice and these tips, you can make perfectly crispy and flavorful beef jerky every time. Remember to choose the right cut of beef, slice it thinly, marinate it, use a wire rack, and check on it frequently to avoid overcooking. With these tips in mind, you’ll be snacking on delicious homemade beef jerky in no time!


How Long Should I Cook Beef Jerky In The Oven?

The recommended cooking time for beef jerky in the oven is typically between 4-6 hours, depending on the thickness and cut of the meat.

Can I Use Any Type Of Beef For Making Jerky In The Oven?

Yes, you can use any type of beef for oven-dried jerky. However, leaner cuts such as eye of round, bottom round, or top sirloin are best, as they result in a drier, more flavorful jerky.

What Oven Temperature Should I Use For Cooking Beef Jerky?

The ideal temperature for cooking beef jerky in the oven is between 150-175 degrees Fahrenheit. This low temperature allows the meat to dry out slowly without cooking it too quickly and resulting in a tough and chewy texture.

Can I Marinate The Beef Before Cooking It In The Oven For Jerky?

Yes, marinating the beef is a crucial step in making flavorful jerky. You can marinate the meat for anywhere between 4-24 hours before cooking it in the oven.

How Do I Know If The Beef Jerky Is Done Cooking In The Oven?

After the recommended cooking time has passed, check the jerky for doneness by bending a piece. It should be firm, but not so stiff that it snaps. You can also use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be between 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption.