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The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky

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Have you ever tried making your own beef jerky? It's a healthy snack that is high in protein and almost zero-carb. Making jerky at home is really easy and you won't even need a dehydrator. All you need is an oven!

I love making low-carb jerky because it's a fantastic travel-friendly snack — it lasts for months without refrigeration. Dehydration (removing water from food) helps preserve it, and using salt adds another level of protection.

I keep some jerky at hand when I travel, or just in case I get hungry and have no time to cook. It's also ideal for camping and even makes a great edible gift.

Why Make Your Own Jerky?

Most jerky products contain sugar, MSGs, caramel colouring and starches. Although there are a few sugar-free products that are made with simple whole foods and organic meat, they can be really pricey. Homemade jerky is not just delicious, it's a lot less expensive and you have complete control over what's going into it.

How to Make the Best Homemade Jerky

It's really simple — you just need to follow the following steps:

  • Use lean meat cuts and part-freeze them to make them easy to slice.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice as thin as you can.
  • Marinate the sliced meat (ideally overnight).
  • Dehydrate on oven racks with a tray positioned in the bottom part to collect the juices, and leave the oven door slightly open using a wooden spoon so that the meat dehydrates rather than cooks.
  • When done, leave at room temperature to cool down and dry out.
  • Store in a sealed jar at room temperature for months.

Tweaks & Substitutions

This homemade jerky recipe is so versatile! You can skip the sweetener, add herbs or sub any of the spices with your favourites. To make the marinade, I used coconut aminos but feel free to swap it with tamari sauce (fermented gluten-free soy sauce) if you can tolerate it. If you can't eat beef or simply want to try other equally delicious options, try lean pork such as tenderloin, chicken, turkey or duck breasts (without the skin). The options are endless! Just remember to use lean cuts as excess fat would slow down the dehydration process.

Compared to most recipes you'll find online, mine uses less marinade, just enough to add flavour without wasting ingredients. In fact, I found that using less marinade that is more concentrated makes the jerky more flavourful.

If you don't like your jerky too hard or chewy, make sure to cut it against the grain, or try this Soft & Tender Beef Jerky made with ground meat that also includes a quick video tutorial.

Now let's make some jerky — I hope you like it as much as I do!

Hands-on Overall

Serving size 57 g/ 2 oz

Allergy information for The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Egg free
✔  Nut free
✔  Pork free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free

Nutritional values (per serving, 57 g/ 2 oz)

Net carbs2.4 grams
Protein30.2 grams
Fat7.7 grams
Calories209 kcal
Calories from carbs 5%, protein 61%, fat 34%
Total carbs2.8 gramsFiber0.5 gramsSugars0.3 gramsSaturated fat2.8 gramsSodium1,207 mg(52% RDA)Magnesium44 mg(11% RDA)Potassium522 mg(26% EMR)

Ingredients (makes about 450 g/ 1 lb jerky)

  • 1.1 kg lean beef such as skirt, flank, brisket, top round or sirloin (2.5 lbs) - the leaner the meat, the better
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos or tamari sauce (120 ml/ 4 fl oz)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or more coconut aminos (30 ml)
  • 1 tbsp coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar (15 ml)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp smoked sea salt or plain sea salt (I used 2 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar substitute such as Sukrin Gold or just use Erythritol or Swerve (20 g/ 0.7 oz)
  • Optional: 1 tbsp chile pepper flakes or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Before you slice the meat, place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. The aim is to part-freeze it so that it's easy to slice really thin.
  2. Once ready, use a sharp knife and slice the meat into long strips as thin as you can. I slice mine to less than 1/2 cm (1/4 inch). You can also ask you butcher to slice it for you.
    Note: Slice the jerky to your preference. Slicing the meat against the grain will result in jerky that is easier to chew as it will break more easily as you chew it. If you slice it with the grain, it will be more chewy and harder to break apart. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  3. Prepare the marinade by mixing the coconut aminos, fish sauce, coconut vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, freshly ground coarse black pepper, smoked salt and brown sugar substitute. Optionally, add chile flakes or cayenne pepper if you want to add some heat. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  4. Use a baking tray deep enough to fit all the meat. Brush the bottom of the tray with some marinade. Place the first layer of the meat slices inside the tray and brush the tops with the marinade. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  5. Place another meat layer on top and brush again with more marinade. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  6. Repeat until all of the slices are in the tray. Cover with a cling film. Place in the fridge for 8 hours to marinate, or ideally overnight. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  7. When the meat is ready, preheat the oven to 70 °C/ 160 °F (fan assisted), or 90 °C/ 195 °F (conventional). Lay the slices on clean racks (or a heatproof wire rack or a mesh net tray) and transfer into the top part of the oven.
    Note: Keeping the oven door slightly open will help dehydrating the meat without cooking it. A wooden spoon or a crunched can inserted in the top of the door work best. Thanks to The Art of Manliness for this great tip! The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  8. Place a baking tray in the bottom section of your oven ready to collect all of the juices dripping from the meat (otherwise your oven will get really messy).
  9. Dehydrate for 3 to 4 hours. The exact time depends on the thickness and position of the racks. The top rack will dehydrate faster than any racks below as the juices will drip down. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky
  10. The jerky is done when it’s dry and it snaps when you bend it. Remove the jerky from the oven and let it cool down. You can leave it out for up to 24 hours. The longer you leave it, the drier it will get.
    Storage: Properly dehydrated jerky is travel-friendly. Keep it in a sealed jar or a Ziploc bag at room temperature for 3-4 months. The Best Low-Carb Homemade Beef Jerky

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 57 g/ 2 oz)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Beef round steak, lean, trimmed to 0" fat, raw
0 g29.7 g7.6 g195 kcal
Coconut aminos (substitute to soy sauce)
0.8 g0 g0 g4 kcal
Fish sauce
0.2 g0.2 g0 g2 kcal
Apple cider vinegar
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Onion powder, spices
0.4 g0.1 g0 g2 kcal
Garlic powder, spices
0.5 g0.1 g0 g3 kcal
Paprika, smoked (spices)
0.1 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Pepper, black, spices
0.3 g0.1 g0 g2 kcal
Smoked salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Sukrin Gold, brown sugar substitute
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving, 57 g/ 2 oz
2.4 g30.2 g7.7 g209 kcal

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (25)

For those of you who, like me, did not know... DO NOT attempt to leave your gas oven open in order to achieve this recipe, you can get carbon monoxide poisoning from this. My oven was not retaining heat and when I looked up why that might be I found out that it was a safety feature of the oven when it has been left ajar (to shut off). Really irresponsible of this article not to mention this, extremely disappointed that all of my hard work is completely worthless because I cannot complete this recipe with my oven and have no other appliances with which to do so. 0/5

Dear Joseph, I did not realise that my beef jerky recipe is meant to educate people about safety features of their ovens in case they are not functioning correctly. Very childish. You could have just warned other readers but I guess it wouldn't feel as good as to blame a recipe author. FYI: the tip for opening the oven is optional, it's not mine (linked to another blog), so I'm not sure why you feel it's compulsory.

Martina’s reply to Joseph’s comment sold me on this blog. I’m staying! What an excellent, intelligent & articulate reply. I respect that.

Thank you Jenny!

That is such an immature comment and to be frank I was trying to find a polite way to describe your silliness. How can you blame a food blogger for something your oven does/doesn't do? I can see from the recipes that Martina has an electric oven and the tip wasn't even hers. If anything you need to blame yourself for not understanding how to use your own oven. Grow up Joseph and make sure to rate it cause I bet it makes you feel even more important. Unbelievable.

Joseph, REALLY???  you gave her a zero which directly effects her business because you didnt know how your oven works.  Shame on you!!!

A question about jerky storage, you said a sealed jar...
Would a vacuum sealed baggy work?
I'm considering buying the device...
I also wonder if the vacuum seal would work for long term storage if homemade dry cured meat...

Yes that will work great! I'm considering buying it myself. If properly dehydrated it will keep well for weeks!

My best friend is on Keto and doing great!  Yay!  They love beef jerky.  I would like to support them by making a nice big batch of it with most of it going to them and a little bit of it kept for me.  The problem is that all of the sugar alcohols and/or other sugar substitutes have a very negative impact on my lower GI tract.  So would it be okay, taste wise, to simply leave off the Erythritol or other sugar substitute in your recipe?  Thank you.

You can absolutely skip the sweetener, it's is not necessary. Sweetener is used for taste as well as spices - which you can change based on what you like. I hope you like it!

Great recipe, thanks! How would change your instructions for a food dehydrator (which I have ;) ).

Thank you Stuart! I don't own a dehydrator but I'd go with the recommendations used for any "non-keto" recipes. I'd only be guessing here!

Cant wait to try the jerky

🙂 Thank you, Martina,   I'm going to try it today. Usually buy my jerky, but Keto friendly is hard to find.

So true, there's sugar in most of the products I've seen. I hope you like it 😊

Good recipe!
I'll just throw out a little hack if you want to save time and space in fridge.  Put all of your mixed ingredients with the meat into a ziploc bag.  Mix the meat with the juices very well inside the bag, let all air out and zip up.  Fold over bag so meat and juices are in maximal contact.  Halfway through marinade time, flip bag over to run juices the other way.

Thank you Dave, that's a great suggestion!

Looking for easy make ahead recipes for my husband and myself.

Hi Alicia, these are the recipes I grouped for "meal prep" so there should be plenty of make-ahead options:

Thanks for this recipe, and the entire website!
What does it mean to "Slice the meat against the grain"?

Thank you Brooke! It means slicing the meat in the direction in which the muscle fibres are aligned.

I was so interested to see this recipe.  We have been making biltong - the South African version - for many, many years.  Thinly sliced meat is lightly salted with kosher salt, laid out on a tray and left overnight in the fridge.  Then coriander seeds are grounds with cumin, cloves and peppercorns.  The sliced meat is then wiped dry before being coated with the ground herbs and  then being laid out and dried in a dehumidifier for about 24 hours.  The meat should be cut with the grain lengthwise for best results.  Simple and delicious.  Perfect Keto standby!

Thank you Christiana, that sounds interesting, I'll give it a go!

Excellent!  I've been looking for different jerky recipes to try.  I've got a bit of beef in the freezer just waiting for the dehydrator : )
A trick I've been using lately is to keep the jerky in the freezer.  Then if it's a fattier cut there's no issue with rancidity.
I've also been making Salmon jerky in a similar way.  Slice and spice it, put in a ziploc for a day then into the dehydrator.  Again, I keep it in the freezer and get a few pieces out as needed.  Also, I try and wild salmon and keep the skin on.  I suspect some won't be that keen on the skin so they can get skinless or remove it when slicing.

Oh I'd love to try salmon jerky, on my list 😊 Thank you for the tip!