Chicken Jerky Recipe

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Do you crave the savory, chewy goodness of chicken jerky? Look no further, because this article has got you covered!

You’ll learn how to make your own delectable chicken jerky right at home. Choose the perfect chicken cuts, whip up a tantalizing marinade, and load up your dehydrator.

With a little patience, you’ll be rewarded with mouthwatering, protein-packed snacks that will keep you coming back for more.

Get ready to satisfy your jerky cravings like never before!

Key Takeaways

  • Lean and tender cuts of chicken, such as chicken breast, make the best chicken jerky.
  • Trim off excess fat before slicing and marinating the meat.
  • Let the marinade sit for at least 30 minutes to enhance flavors.
  • Use a reliable dehydrator brand and ensure even drying of chicken jerky by setting up the dehydrator properly.

Choosing the Right Chicken Cuts

When choosing the right chicken cuts for this recipe, it’s important to consider the texture and tenderness. You want cuts that are lean and tender, as they will make the best chicken jerky.

Chicken breast is a popular choice for this recipe, as it is low in fat and high in protein. It is also easy to slice into thin strips, which is ideal for making jerky.

However, if you are looking for alternative protein options, you can also use chicken thigh or even turkey breast. These cuts will still give you that delicious, chewy texture that everyone loves in jerky. Just make sure to trim off any excess fat before slicing and marinating the meat.

Preparing the Marinade

After mixing the ingredients together, it’s important to let the marinade sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and penetrate the chicken, resulting in a more delicious and tender jerky.

But did you know that there are alternative marinade options that can elevate your chicken jerky to the next level? Here are four tantalizing options to try:

  1. Sweet and Spicy: Combine soy sauce, honey, sriracha, and lime juice for a perfect balance of heat and sweetness.

  2. Teriyaki Twist: Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic for a savory and slightly sweet marinade.

  3. Lemon Herb Delight: Blend lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and a medley of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley for a refreshing and aromatic flavor.

  4. Smoky BBQ Bliss: Combine your favorite BBQ sauce with liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and a hint of cayenne pepper for a smoky and tangy marinade.

Marinating the Chicken

Letting the marinade sit for at least 30 minutes allows the flavors to meld and penetrate the chicken, resulting in a more delicious and tender outcome.

Marinating chicken is an essential step in creating mouthwatering chicken jerky. To ensure the best results, you need to master marinating techniques.

One popular method is to use a ziplock bag to marinate your chicken. This allows for easy mixing and ensures that every piece of chicken gets coated evenly.

If you’re looking to switch things up, try alternative marinade options like teriyaki, honey mustard, or even a spicy buffalo sauce. The possibilities are endless!

Whatever marinade you choose, make sure to let it work its magic for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 24 hours, to avoid over-marinating and ending up with an overly salty or mushy chicken jerky.

Setting up the Dehydrator

To start the process, you’ll need to gather all the necessary ingredients and equipment for setting up the dehydrator. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Choose a reliable dehydrator brand: Look for trusted brands like Excalibur, Nesco, or Presto. These brands offer good quality dehydrators that will ensure even drying of your chicken jerky.

  2. Clean and assemble the dehydrator: Before use, thoroughly clean the dehydrator trays and any removable parts. Assemble the dehydrator according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure all parts are securely in place.

  3. Preheat the dehydrator: Set the temperature to the recommended setting for drying meat, usually around 160°F (71°C). Allow the dehydrator to preheat for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Troubleshooting tips: If you encounter any issues during the setup process, refer to the manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide or contact their customer support for assistance.

Loading the Chicken Onto the Dehydrator Trays

Once you’ve cleaned and assembled the dehydrator, it’s time to start loading the chicken onto the trays.

Now, let’s talk about the proper loading technique and stacking order to ensure your chicken jerky turns out perfectly.

Begin by slicing the chicken into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Lay the strips neatly on the trays, making sure they don’t overlap. This allows for even drying and prevents sticking.

As you load the trays, follow a stacking order that promotes efficient airflow. Start with the bottom tray, then alternate between placing the trays directly on top of each other and rotating them 180 degrees.

This way, the hot air circulates evenly, drying the chicken uniformly.

Adjusting the Dehydrator Temperature and Time

When adjusting the dehydrator, it’s important to find the right temperature and time settings for optimal results. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect chicken jerky:

  1. Start with the temperature: Set your dehydrator to around 165°F (74°C). This will ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly while still retaining its moisture.

  2. Adjust the cooking time: The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken slices. Generally, it takes about 4-6 hours for the jerky to be fully dehydrated. Keep an eye on it and check for the desired texture.

  3. Experiment with different seasonings: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your flavors! Try adding spices like garlic powder, onion powder, or even a dash of cayenne pepper to give your chicken jerky a kick.

  4. Taste and adjust: Once your jerky is done, let it cool down and taste a piece. If you feel like it needs more seasoning, you can sprinkle some on top before storing it.

By following these tips and adjusting the temperature and time settings, you’ll be able to make delicious chicken jerky that’s packed with flavor.

Happy dehydrating!

Checking the Chicken for Doneness

Now that you’ve adjusted the dehydrator temperature and time, it’s time to check if your chicken jerky is done. Testing doneness is crucial to ensure that your jerky is safe to eat and has the perfect texture.

The cooking time for chicken jerky can vary depending on the thickness of the slices and the moisture content of the meat. As a general guideline, it usually takes around 4 to 6 hours for the chicken to fully dehydrate.

To check if the chicken is done, take a piece of jerky and bend it. It should be firm and break easily without any signs of moisture. If it feels rubbery or bends without breaking, it needs more time in the dehydrator.

Cooling and Storing the Chicken Jerky

To ensure the best flavor and texture, let the chicken jerky cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. The cooling process is crucial as it allows the jerky to firm up and develop its signature chewiness.

Here are some important things to keep in mind during the cooling process:

  1. Patience is key: Resist the urge to dig in right away. Giving the jerky enough time to cool ensures that it retains its moisture and flavors.

  2. Proper airflow: Allow the chicken jerky to cool on a wire rack or a parchment-lined baking sheet. This allows air to circulate around the jerky, preventing it from becoming soggy.

  3. Room temperature: Avoid placing the hot jerky directly into the refrigerator as it can create condensation, which leads to moisture build-up and potential spoilage. Instead, let it cool down at room temperature first.

  4. Packaging options: Once cooled, store the chicken jerky in an airtight container or resealable bag to maintain its freshness and prevent exposure to moisture and air.

Flavor Variations for Chicken Jerky

One way to add a unique twist to your homemade chicken jerky is by experimenting with different marinades and seasonings. By trying out various flavor combinations, you can create a delicious snack that is tailored to your taste buds.

To start, consider using different cooking methods to enhance the flavor of your chicken jerky. You can try smoking it for a smoky and savory taste, or grilling it for a slightly charred and bold flavor.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasonings. Try using unique spices like smoked paprika, chili powder, or even a touch of cinnamon for an unexpected kick.

The possibilities are endless, so have fun and let your taste buds guide you as you explore the world of flavor variations for your chicken jerky.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Chicken Jerky

If you’re looking to make the best chicken jerky, try experimenting with different cooking methods and seasonings to find the perfect flavor combination. Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve optimal texture and troubleshoot common problems:

  1. Slice your chicken breast into thin, even strips to ensure consistent drying.
  2. Marinate the chicken in your favorite flavor combination for at least 4 hours to infuse the meat with deliciousness.
  3. Use a food dehydrator or oven set to a low temperature (around 160°F) to slowly dry out the chicken, preserving its natural flavors.
  4. Rotate the trays or flip the chicken strips halfway through the drying process to ensure even cooking.

By following these tips, you can create chicken jerky that is tender, flavorful, and free from common issues like undercooked or overly dry meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Frozen Chicken for Making Chicken Jerky?

Yes, you can use frozen chicken for making chicken jerky. However, keep in mind that thawing the chicken before marinating will allow the flavors to penetrate better, resulting in the best flavor.

How Long Does It Take to Marinate the Chicken for the Best Flavor?

To achieve the best flavor, you’ll want to marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a delicious and tender jerky. Experiment with different marinating techniques and flavors for exciting variations.

Can I Use a Regular Oven Instead of a Dehydrator to Make Chicken Jerky?

Yes, you can use a regular oven instead of a dehydrator to make chicken jerky. However, keep in mind that using a dehydrator may provide better results. Also, consider alternatives to chicken breasts like turkey or beef for your jerky.

Is It Necessary to Cool the Chicken Jerky Before Storing It?

Before storing your chicken jerky, it is necessary to cool it down. This helps to prevent moisture buildup and ensures that the jerky stays fresh longer. Consider using proper storage methods to maintain its quality.

Can I Use Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts for Making Chicken Jerky?

Yes, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for making chicken jerky. It will add a richer flavor and juiciness to the jerky. You can also try alternative seasonings like teriyaki or buffalo for a unique twist.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully created your own delicious chicken jerky. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ve learned how to choose the right chicken cuts, prepare a flavorful marinade, and properly dehydrate the chicken.

Now, let’s imagine a case study. Meet Sarah, a busy mom who loves to snack on protein-rich treats. She decided to try making her own chicken jerky using this recipe. Not only did she find the process easy and enjoyable, but she also loved experimenting with different flavor variations.

Sarah now has a healthy and delicious snack that she can enjoy anytime. So why not give it a try yourself and start enjoying homemade chicken jerky today!