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How Many Calories in Homemade Beef Jerky? A Nutritional Guide

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Beef jerky has gained significant popularity as a delicious and convenient snack. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a healthy protein-packed treat, homemade beef jerky offers a satisfying option. One common question that arises when considering the nutritional value of beef jerky is the calorie content.

 How Many Calories in Homemade Beef Jerky

In this article, we will delve into the world of homemade beef jerky and explore the calorie count in detail.

What is Jerky Beef?

Beef jerky is ideal for dried meat that has been seasoned and cured to enhance its flavour and prolong its shelf life. It is prepared by slicing lean cuts of beef into thin strips, marinating them in a mixture of spices, and then slowly drying them to remove moisture. The result is a savoury, chewy snack that is packed with protein.

Calories in Homemade Beef Jerky

The exact calorie content of homemade beef jerky can vary based on factors this as the cut of beef used, marinades, and cooking methods.

On average, one ounce (28 grams) of homemade beef jerky contains approximately 116 calories. It’s important to note that this estimate may differ depending on the specific recipe and drying process employed.

Factors Affecting Calorie Content

Several factors can influence the calorie count in homemade beef jerky. The primary factor is the fat content of the beef used. Choosing lean cuts, such as top round or eye of round, can help reduce the overall calorie content. Additionally, the marinade and seasoning ingredients can contribute to the final calorie count. Opting for low-sugar or sugar-free marinades can help keep the calorie content in check.

Lean Cuts of Beef for Low-Calorie Jerky

When making homemade beef jerky with a focus on reducing calorie content, it’s essential to choose lean cuts of beef. Cuts like top round, the eye of round, or sirloin are excellent choices. These cuts have minimal marbling, making them lower in fat and calories while still providing a satisfying meaty flavour.

Marinades and Seasonings

Marinades and seasonings play a crucial role in enhancing the flavour of homemade beef jerky. While some marinades can introduce additional calories, many options allow you to add flavour without significantly increasing the calorie content. Experimenting with ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, or smoked paprika can create a delicious jerky without compromising its nutritional value.

Making Homemade Beef Jerky

Creating your own homemade beef jerky is a rewarding process. To make your own jerky, start by selecting a lean cut of beef and slicing it into thin, uniform strips. Prepare a marinade using your preferred combination of spices, seasonings, and liquid ingredients. Allow the beef strips to marinate for a few hours or overnight, absorbing the flavours. Finally, dehydrate the marinated beef strips in an oven or a food dehydrator until they reach the desired level of dryness.

Nutritional Value of Beef Jerky

In addition to calories, homemade beef jerky offers several nutritional benefits. It is rich in protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. A 1-ounce serving of beef jerky typically contains around 9 grams of protein. It also provides necessary vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc. However, it’s important to consume beef jerky in moderation due to its relatively high sodium content.

Benefits of Homemade Beef Jerky

Homemade beef jerky offers various advantages for those seeking a healthy and convenient snack option. It is an excellent source of protein, making it a satisfying and energizing snack for individuals following a low-carbohydrate or high-protein diet. Its portability makes it an ideal choice for outdoor activities or on-the-go snacking. Additionally, homemade beef jerky allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring a healthier and preservative-free product.

Calories in Store-Bought Beef Jerky

Store-bought beef jerky often varies in terms of calorie content due to variations in brands, flavours, and ingredients. On average, one ounce (28 grams) of store-bought beef jerky contains approximately 116-130 calories. However, it’s important to carefully read the nutrition labels as different brands may have different calorie counts.

Homemade Beef Jerky and Weight Loss

Due to its high protein content and low carbohydrate content, homemade beef jerky can be a beneficial addition to a weight loss diet. Protein helps promote satiety, reducing hunger cravings and aiding in weight management. Furthermore, the low-calorie nature of homemade beef jerky makes it a satisfying snack option that can be under as part of a balanced diet.

Health Considerations

While homemade beef jerky offers various nutritional benefits, it’s important to consider potential health concerns. One aspect to keep in mind is the sodium content of beef jerky. The curing and seasoning processes often involve salt, which contributes to its savoury taste but can lead to increased sodium intake. Individuals with hypertension or other health conditions requiring restricted sodium intake should consume beef jerky in moderation or explore low-sodium options.

Storage and Shelf Life

Proper storage is crucial to protect the quality and safety of homemade beef jerky. Once fully dried, store it in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag to prevent moisture absorption. Placing the jerky in a cool, dark place or refrigerating it can extend its shelf life. When properly stored, homemade beef jerky can last up to several weeks.

Alternative Jerky Options

For individuals with dietary restrictions or preferences, there are alternative jerky options available. Turkey jerky provides a leaner alternative to beef jerky, while tofu jerky offers a vegetarian or vegan-friendly option. These alternatives offer different flavour profiles and nutritional compositions, providing versatility for various dietary needs.


Homemade beef jerky is a flavorful and protein-packed snack that can be enjoyed by health-conscious individuals. With its moderate calorie content, homemade beef jerky offers a satisfying option for those seeking a nutritious and portable snack. By choosing lean cuts of beef, employing low-calorie marinades, and practicing proper portion control, homemade beef jerky can be a guilt-free treat that aligns with your dietary goals.


Can homemade beef jerky help in muscle building?

Yes, homemade beef jerky is rich in protein, which is necessary for muscle growth and repair. It can be a beneficial snack for individuals aiming to build muscle mass.

Is homemade beef jerky suitable for a low-carbohydrate diet?

Absolutely! Homemade beef jerky is low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those following a low-carb habitual food.

How long does homemade beef jerky last?

When stored completely in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag, homemade beef jerky can last up to several weeks.

What are some low-sodium alternatives to beef jerky?

If you’re looking for low-sodium options, consider making or purchasing low-sodium beef jerky or exploring alternative jerky options like turkey jerky or tofu jerky.

Can homemade beef jerky be included in a weight-loss diet?

Yes, homemade beef jerky can be a beneficial addition to a weight-loss diet. Its high protein content and low-calorie nature make it a satisfying and energizing snack that can aid in weight management.

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