Can You Microwave Beef Jerky? (Answered)

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
microwave beef jerky

You stand in your kitchen, eyeing the package of thinly-sliced beef on the counter. You’ve been wanting to make homemade jerky for a while now, but unfortunately, you don’t have a dehydrator.

And then, a stroke of genius hits you – why not just use your trusty microwave? After all, it’s quick and easy. But is it safe to microwave beef jerky? How long should you cook it for?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll show you everything you need to know about microwaving beef jerky, from making it to rehydrating it. So let’s get started!

So, Can You Microwave Beef Jerky?

Yes, you can microwave beef jerky. Whether you’re trying to make your own homemade beef jerky or you just want to rehydrate some store-bought jerky, the microwave is a perfectly safe way to do it.

I have tried many different methods for making beef jerky – including the oven, smoker, and dehydrator. My oven worked well enough, but I found that using a dehydrator gave me the best results. The meat came out evenly dried and had a pleasant texture.

However, I was dubious about trying to make it in the microwave – wouldn’t the meat just turn into tough leather? Surprisingly, I was proved wrong. Using the microwave to make beef jerky is quick and easy, and the results are surprisingly pretty good!

It might not be quite as good as my trusty dehydrator, but it’s definitely a convenient option for those times when I don’t have access to my appliance. Overall, experimentation has taught me that there’s more than one way to make delicious homemade beef jerky.

Is It Safe To Microwave Beef Jerky?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to microwave beef jerky. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your jerky turns out delicious and safe to eat.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your beef is properly cooked before you start the dehydrating process. This means that you’ll need to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another thing to keep in mind is that don’t leave the beef in the microwave for too long, or it will start to dry out and become tough. I suggest checking on it every minute to make sure that it’s not overcooking.

As long as you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious and safe beef jerky made in your very own microwave.

How Long to Microwave Beef Jerky

If you are making your beef jerky from scratch, 2 pounds of beef should take approximately 5 1/2 minutes to 6 minutes in the microwave. Keep in mind that the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the beef slices and the power of your microwave.

If you are rehydrating store-bought beef jerky, it will take around 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave. Just be sure to check the packaging for specific instructions on how long to cook it.

How to Make Beef Jerky in the Microwave: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of microwaving beef jerky, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to do it. These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make beef jerky in the microwave, from start to finish.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds of beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon liquid smoke


  1. Trim the fat off of the beef. Removing as much fat as possible will help to extend the shelf life of your jerky.
  2. Place the beef in the freezer for about 1 to 2 hours. This will make it easier to slice the beef into thin strips.
  3. Remove the beef from the freezer and carefully slice the meat into thin strips, about 1/8-inch thick. You can choose to slice the meat against the grain or with the grain, depending on your preference.
  4. Mix all of the spices and sauces together in a large bowl or Ziploc bag and stir until everything is evenly mixed.
  5. Add the beef strips to the bowl or bag and coat them evenly with the marinade.
  6. Place the meat in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least 6 hours, or overnight if you have the time.
  7. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on a microwave bacon rack such as the Nordic Ware Bacon Rack.
  8. Cover the meat with a paper towel and microwave it on high power for 2 1/2 minutes. Flip the meat over and cook it for an additional 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the meat again and cook it for 1 1/2 minutes.
  9. Check the meat to see if it is cooked through. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the beef. It should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit or above. If not, keep microwaving it in 1-minute increments, rotating the meat every minute, until it is cooked through.
  10. Once the beef is cooked, let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

How to Rehydrate Beef Jerky in the Microwave

Beef jerky can get too dry if it is overcooked. This means that you need to be careful not to leave it in the microwave for too long and check on it often to make sure that it’s not drying out. Or if you buy store-bought beef jerky, you might forget to seal the package tightly after opening, and the beef can dry out that way too.

If your beef jerky has gotten too dry, don’t worry – there’s an easy way to rehydrate it. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Place the beef jerky in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Add a small amount of water to the bowl. One cup of water should be enough for 2 pounds of beef jerky.
  3. Cover the bowl loosely with a paper towel and microwave it on high power for 1 minute.
  4. Check the beef to see if it is rehydrated. If not, continue microwaving it in 1-minute increments until it is soft enough to your liking.
  5. Once the beef jerky is rehydrated, let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Can You Dehydrate Beef Jerky More Than Once?

Yes, you can dehydrate beef jerky more than once. However, it is important to note that the more times you dehydrate the beef, the drier and tougher it will become. So it’s not recommended to dehydrate it more than once or two.

How to Store Beef Jerky

Unopened, store-bought beef jerky can be stored at room temperature. Once you open the package, you need to put it in a zip-top bag and store it in the fridge. Don’t forget to squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing it. It will last for up to 1 week in the fridge.

This also goes for homemade beef jerky. If you make it yourself, store it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or an airtight container and store it in the freezer. It will last for up to 12 months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the beef jerky in the fridge overnight and rehydrate it in the microwave following the instructions above.

My Favorite Ways to Use Beef Jerky

There are so many ways to use beef jerky! Here are some of my favorites:

1. As a Snack on its Own

This one is pretty obvious. Beef jerky is the perfect snack for when you’re on the go and need something to tide you over until your next meal. It’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates, so it’ll give you sustained energy without making you feel weighted down. Plus, it’s delicious!

2. Added to Soups or Stews for Extra Flavor and Protein

Beef jerky can add a lot of flavor to soups and stews. It’s also a great source of protein, so it’s perfect for adding some extra heft to a dish that might otherwise be lacking in that department. Simply add some beef jerky to your soup or stew towards the end of cooking and let it simmer until heated through.

3. Fried Rice with Beef Jerky

This dish is a play on the traditional Chinese dish of chicken or shrimp fried rice. The beef jerky adds both flavor and protein, making it a filling and satisfying meal. To make this dish, simply sauté some diced onions and garlic in a bit of oil until softened. Then, add in your cooked rice, beef jerky, and any other desired ingredients (peas, carrots, etc.) and stir everything together until well combined. Let the mixture cook until heated through, then serve.

4. Add with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This dish is a fusion of two of my favorite things: roasted Brussels sprouts and beef jerky. The sweetness of the roasted Brussels sprouts pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the beef jerky, making for a delicious and unique side dish.

To make this dish, simply roast your Brussels sprouts in a 375-degree oven until crispy and caramelized. Then, add in some chopped beef jerky and toss everything together until well combined.

5. Add into Pasta

This final dish is a hearty pasta that’s packed with flavor thanks to the addition of beef jerky. To make this dish, simply cook your pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, sauté some diced onions and garlic in a bit of oil until softened.

Then, add in your tomato sauce, beef jerky, and any other desired seasonings (oregano, basil, salt & pepper) and let the mixture simmer until thickened. Once the pasta is cooked, add it into the sauce and stir everything together until well combined.

Final Thought

So, can you microwave beef jerky? The answer is yes – it’s a safe and convenient way to make or rehydrate your beef jerky. While the results might not be quite as good as using a dehydrator, the microwave is a viable option for making this delicious snack. So go ahead and give it a try!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!