Best Dehydrator for Jerky: 5 Picks for Delicious Homemade Jerky

Best Dehydrator for Jerky: 5 Picks for Delicious Homemade Jerky

14 min read

If you're looking for the best way to make delicious, healthy jerky at home, you're in luck!

Making your own jerky is a great way to control what goes into your food and ensure that it's always healthy and delicious. But finding the right dehydrator can be tricky.

We've done the hard work for you and found the five best dehydrators for making jerky. We've got you covered whether you're looking for an affordable option or a top-of-the-line model.

A Food Dehydrator works by pulling the moisture out of a food product by using a heating element and a fan. The result is that the food becomes very dry, and you can finish that process by baking or roasting it.

You can use a dehydrator to create a huge variety of snacks, including crackers, fruit leather, beef jerky, and tuna jerky.

If you are interested in making your own beef jerky, then you will want to get a dehydrator. Many different dehydrators are available on the market right now. Some of them are better.

There are many ways to make your own Beef Jerky, From the traditional hanging-and-drying method to making it in your oven.

Making jerky using the smoker is possible. One of the most effective methods to create delicious jerky is to make use of the food dehydrator.

The tough part is choosing the right jerky maker to function the way you'd like it to without spending a lot on a product that will not get used every day in many kitchens.

We know the hassle of sorting between the various options and the shaky claims that the manufacturers make to promote their products.

How do Dehydrators Work?

A food dehydrator consists of several common components regardless of their style. The first is an enclosure that houses the heating element as well as the fan. You've also been provided with trays to store the food items.

The entire apparatus is locked to keep the heat in to ensure that food items are rapidly dehydrated in a secure and clean setting.

Once you've finished making your dried snacks, just open the dehydrator, take out the trays, and then clean the dehydrator thoroughly.

You can then store it for the time to make use of it. This is the reason why it is so useful for making homemade jerky.

How We Have Chosen The Best Options

If you're a fan of dehydrated foods, then you'll want to get the best dehydrator for jerky. There are many different models on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Some features to look for in a good dehydrator include dishwasher-safe trays, a fruit roll sheet, and a rotate function.

Dishwasher-safe trays are important if you want to preserve your food for a longer period of time. The fruit roll sheet is also great for making beef jerky or other dried fruits. And finally, the rotate function ensures that your food dries evenly and doesn't stick to the trays.

We have extensively researched all of the top-rated food dehydrators on the market and found the perfect one for you. Our team has personally researched each product to make sure that it meets our high standards.

Let's now take a look at our five best options for jerky making.

1. Excalibur Food Dehydrator: 9 Trays

With just one tray and one less tray, the Excalibur 9-tray is our first choice. With nine separate trays to create an area of 15 square feet, the Excalibur nine-tray electronic dehydrator is equipped with every feature you require to create large quantities of chewy.

The window in the front allows you to monitor the whole process. It comes with numerous controls to facilitate the process of dehydrating for you, and the huge 7-inch fan which allows for plenty of air circulation without making too much sound.

What We Like:

  • Thermostat It's simple to regulate your dehydrator's temperature, thanks to the thermostat. It can be set to the safe poultry temperature of 165 degrees F with the push of one button.
  • A space of 15 sq. feet Ample space to store various types of veggies or meats is a major benefit. It is possible to simultaneously make huge batches of jerky or other dried food items.
  • Set and forget The timer is built into temperature controls. It's great to set the dehydrator to allow you to be doing other things while you sit and wait for your jerky to be ready.
  • Insert that is non-stick. The poly-tray style prevents the food items from adhering to the tray. It's great for making something other than jerky that is sugar-based. Nobody wants to spend lots of cleaning their dehydrator.
  • In the silent operation, you create frequent jerky, then a loud dehydrator on your bench could become irritating. The model is extremely quiet; therefore, it shouldn't bother you.

2. COSORI Food Dehydrator: 6 Trays

Homemade jerky is far superior to the many brands available in stores, which are often made with cheap cuts, artificial flavorings, or colorings.

Making jerky at home, you are able to decide what ingredients you'll use and try different flavors with various marinades and spices.

Also, the homemade leather made from the fruit is superior to the ones you buy at the grocery store and is an ideal opportunity to make use of excess ripe or damaged fruit instead of throwing it into your compost garbage bin.

The Cosori is a top performer in jerky making, creating jerky that has excellent texture and taste. Customers were particularly satisfied with the smooth operation, as well as its ease of using and cleaning.

It also comes with an additional paper for fruit rolls. The controls are simple to operate; they dry evenly and come with an extra tray for fruit. The customers also appreciated the practicality of it: "This is a nice small, medium-sized machine that doesn't take up the entire space of countertops.

The door can be closed and opened well from the side, and it will remain open while you're moving the trays into or out. The front door features an open glass window, so you can view the contents quickly when dehydrating."

What We Like:

  • It evenly dries out jerky.
  • It's also easy to clean and operate
  • Does not take up a lot of counter space.

3. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator: 7 Trays

The Magic Mill dehydrator is well-ranked in user-friendliness design, efficiency, ease of cleaning, and noise. It truly is a Magic Mill.

It is quiet and easy to operate, and it can be easily cleaned so that the food you make into a batch doesn't get stale in the next. It includes a cookbook as well as an oven mitt made of silicone.

The door was simple to open and remains open when the dehydrator is being filled in addition to its automatic shut-off feature and keep warm feature.

The trays are simple to slip into and out of, and the door that is transparent allows you to track the progress of your food without opening the entire machine up.

The trays can be washed and make cleaning effortless. It also produces quality food items. One reviewer was impressed by the fact that it dried evenly across all dehydrator racks with a consistent and even temperature, and also the quality of the leather that didn't break or stick.

What We Like:

  • It's a simple-to-use
  • Inexpensive and efficient
  • Dry food evenly and has an automatic shut-off feature and a timer

4. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator: 9 Trays

If jerky is part of you and only a top model can do the trick, this Magic Mill unit will fulfill all your needs for jerky.

This is a serious jerky maker model with nine adjustable tray slots, but it comes with ten trays, so you'll be able to create massive batches of your favorite jerky and even sell them as a business.

It's a pretty large model, approximately the same size as a drink refrigerator, So you'll have to place it on your counter or have it as a floor unit.

It comes with clear instructions, but they're not necessary because it's a breeze to use.

It comes with a rear-mounted drying fan with excellent air circulation to allow for even drying, meaning you won't have to turn the shelves as time passes.

The shelves also have a variable timer that turns off once it's run out, which means you can put it in place and forget about it and still enjoy the perfect jerky every time you remove it.

The temperature control is adjustable, adding flexibility to the unit since the temperature range of 97 to 167 degrees F lets people utilize this dehydrator for various purposes, something that should be normal for a high-end model.

It's a quiet unit, and the only sound you hear is the timer that goes off at the end of the process; therefore, you won't experience any issues keeping it running inside your cooking area.

What We Like:

  • Drying: You will not need to turn the shelves.
  • Silent mode: Won't cause too many disturbances in the house.
  • Capacity: This can help make massive batches of personal items or commercial uses.
  • Flexible Application: Good temperature range is suitable for herbs, jerky, and even fruit.

5. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator

This dehydrator is equipped with lots of great technological features which make it an excellent kitchen partner, such as an auto shut-off feature and an adjustable temperature.

It's also great for creating food items other than jerky, such as fruit rolls. The 500-watt motor is powerful and offers plenty of drying power to five tray stackables.

What We Like:

  • Timer You can do your jerky work for at least 48 hours or make use of the auto shut-off function. It's ideal for drying your jerky and not having to be atop the machine all day long.
  • Temperature adjustable Select between 100degF or 160degF with only a couple of buttons.
  • Two sheets that are specially designed and included with your purchase is a mesh sheet to dry out herbs and other small-sized foods. Also included is a sturdy sheet to create the fruit roll of your choice.

What to look for before buying a dehydrator

If you're looking for the best dehydrator for jerky making, then you've come to the right place. A food dehydrator is a great way to preserve food, and it's also perfect for making beef jerky. Jerky is a great snack that's high in protein and low in fat, and it's easy to make at home with a dehydrator.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a dehydrator for jerky making. First, consider the size of the unit. You'll want to choose a dehydrator that has enough space to accommodate the amount of jerky you want to make.

Second, think about the features you need. Some dehydrators have dishwasher-safe trays, while others have an automatic shut-off feature or temperature control.

Third, consider your budget. Dehydrators can range in price from around $30 to $200, so decide how much you're willing to spend on this kitchen appliance.

And fourth, read reviews from other customers before making your final decision.

This will help you get an idea of which dehydrators are the best on the market. So what is the best dehydrator for jerky? That depends on your individual needs and preferences. But we've compiled a list of our top picks to help you narrow down your choices.

The best dehydrators possess a few important features that you must be aware of when you shop.


The size of your dehydrator is a major factor. Smaller units aren't capable of dehydrating enough jerky at the same time as larger units.

Dehydrating meat can take a long time, regardless of the type of dehydrator you choose to purchase. Therefore, it is likely that you'll be able to prepare large quantities of jerky in advance rather than making smaller portions when you're in the mood for a meaty snack comes up.

Consider the amount of jerky you'd like to consume in the future and work from there. Get a larger dehydrator even if it's costly if your preference is jerky as your primary everyday snack. Choose a smaller one for jerky that you use only occasionally.

You'll also want to keep in mind how much storage space you have. Choose a smaller option if you don't have the space for a large dehydrator.

Vertical/Horizontal Airflow

The two airflow variations are typical for dehydrators. They are not necessarily superior to one, but each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Vertical airflow dehydrators are equipped with fans that are mounted on the top or at the bottom. They are usually not excessively expensive.
  • They're smaller than horizontal dehydrators, which means they're a great option if you have an overcrowded kitchen counter.
  • They're not as efficient as horizontal dehydrators, but.

This is due to the fact that air that flows upwards or downwards through the dehydrator isn't flowing across the entire length of a particular portion of food. The process of drying and evaporation takes place slightly slower because of this.

You could try shifting the racks in your vertical airflow dehydrator in order to adapt to this.

  • Horizontal airflow dehydrators are equipped with fans that are located in the rear of the unit.
  • This placement of the fan allows each shelf in the dehydrator to receive the same amount of air circulation.
  • The air flows over the entire length of meat, enhancing the evaporation of moisture and ensuring that the entire strip is dried equally.

It's also simpler to inspect your meat racks by using a horizontal dehydrator. The trays typically can be removed like a rack or drawer. It's simple to move meat or vegetables by sliding them out this way.

Noise Level

Also, be sure to check the potential sound levels that a dehydrator can produce. They can be quite noisy due to the fact that they utilize moving air and fans to dry the strips of meat.

It is possible to determine the exact levels of noise of a particular dehydrator in the instruction manual or in the specifications for the product.

Usually, the more expensive dehydrators have quieter fans and soundproofing methods. These are designed to make them easier to operate for the course of a long time.

Less expensive units are likely to be quieter in general. It is advisable to get a dehydrator that is quieter if you intend to use it often.

Temperature Setting

Dehydrators that incorporate some form of temperature control built into their designs are worth a glance. Since temperature plays a huge amount when you make your own chewy, having the ability to regulate it is a huge benefit.

The temperature of the jerky must be at least 160 degrees, except for poultry, which must be 165 degrees F.

Temperature settings allow you to easily prepare your jerky to this safe temperature without the need to constantly check.

You should consider purchasing an instrument for temperature, particularly when you purchase an appliance that does not have a detailed temperature setting.

If your dehydrator isn't able to achieve temperatures of 160degF, you could cook the jerky in an oven before cooking it to the desired temperature. After that, you can put it in the dehydrator until it is completely dry.

But it takes longer than just being able to put the jerky into the dehydrator itself.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dehydrators for Jerky

Do I need a dehydrator for jerky making?

There are many methods to create jerky. The production of jerky began hundreds or even thousands of years prior to the introduction of refrigeration which means it's a very primitive method of preserving food. What a food dehydrator can do is make it simple to use, easy, and safe for you to dry meat (and vegetables and fruits).

Are dehydrators worth it?

A food dehydrator is an excellent kitchen appliance for those who like the taste of jerky, vegetable chips, and dried fruits, but even the regular kitchen cook will find plenty of benefits to having a dehydrator.

We've discussed a lot about cultivating the food you eat, harvesting from your meat, and discovering ways to increase the number of foods you have without going to the grocery store.

With prices for food rising, the need for a food dehydrator is even more sense as you'll pay less for foods in bulk and then use the dehydrator to keep any excess food items that you don't take in right away or store in your freezer.

What are the advantages of a dehydrator?

There is no method to make jerky more practical than using a dehydrator for food. The process is easy and quick. It is also completely enclosed.

You don't have to spend hours monitoring the progress, altering the temperature, or coping with having to use an appliance like an oven.

Cleaning the dehydrator also has a benefit over other methods as the majority of components are dishwasher safe or easy to clean and maintain clear.

Contrary to using an oven or smoker, which can be difficult to wash, cleaning a top-quality dehydrator is clean in a matter of only a few minutes.

It's easier to clean the dehydrator than an oven or a smoker, and all the time you'll save will make your life more enjoyable.

The operating costs of dehydrators are also less than nearly every other technique. Food dehydrators utilize electricity to generate heat and a fan to move air.

It doesn't wind with a lot of power. If your smoker is going to be among the most expensive methods, create homemade jerky; the dehydrator is among the most affordable.

Is it possible to dehydrate your meat for too long?

Based on the way you like the jerky you make, you don't have to make sure that you don't dehydrate the meat for too long.

The longer you cook it, the drier it gets, and it's all about what you intend to use for the jerky.

If you plan to store the jerky for a long time, you may prefer to let it dehydrate for longer. However, if you're making it to bring to camp for the weekend, then you (and your companions) may prefer a more flavorful and more convenient batch that doesn't need more drying time.

What is the ideal temperature at which I dehydrate my homemade jerky?

It is recommended to dehydrate your jerky at a temperature of 150-160 degrees. The secret to creating excellent jerky is to make it slow and slow.

Drying your meat to this degree over a long time will ensure that you get rid of the moisture and also any risk of the growth of bacteria.

Of course, the length of time it takes to dry your meat will vary based on the unit you choose to use and the number of batches that you prepare, but you should be prepared to be spending anywhere from 4 to 8 hours drying the meat.

Do you need curing salt for beef Jerky?

Although there are many opinions regarding whether you require curing salt for jerky or not but there are some benefits when using it. Curing salt (sodium Nitrite) aids in fighting certain bacteria that thrive in jerky-making conditions.

Although you may be sick from eating excessive amounts of curing salt, making sure you use the correct quantity is a good option to ensure you and your family members aren't ill with foodborne illnesses.

Do I need to rotate trays in the dehydrator while cooking?

No, you don't need to rotate the trays while cooking; however, it's a good idea to rotate them occasionally so that all the food gets evenly dehydrated.

Final Verdict

Overall, Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator is a fantastic option for those looking for an all-around good dehydrator.

There's plenty of room for temperature control, space, and even timers to allow you to customize your jerky exactly how you'd like it. No matter what you pick, make sure you have fun and enjoy your next meal!

We hope our article on the best food dehydrator for jerky has helped you find what you were looking for!

Items reviewed:

1. Excalibur Food Dehydrator: 9 Trays

2. COSORI Food Dehydrator: 6 Trays

3. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator: 7 Trays

4. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator: 9 Trays

5. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator

Casa Catalog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to