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Beef jerky is an exceedingly popular snack and to make things even better, it is high in protein (and it is easily made with charcoal grill smoker). However, jerky doesn’t always have to be made with beef and if you’re trying to cut down on red meat, try turkey instead. It even makes a good treat for your dogs.

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Over the past centuries, people have been dehydrating food to keep them going through the winter. All they had was sun and salt, but we now have dehydrators which makes life much easier (just like many grilling accessories). In this article, we will be taking a look at how dehydrators work and we will give you our top picks.

In a hurry? This is our winner!

Runner Up

Best Dehydrator for Jerky – Comparison Table

Best Dehydrator for Jerky – Reviews

Our Pick


COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator (50 Recipes) for Jerky Meat Herbs Fruit, Dryer Machine with Digital...
Our rating:

This dehydrator comes with 6 food-grade stainless steel trays, making them durable and long-lasting. The door is made from glass so you can keep an eye on how your jerky is coming on. There is also a mesh screen in the package, as well as a fruit roll sheet, a manual, and a recipe book containing 50 recipes.

As well as making jerky, you can dry fruit and herbs and make tasty treats for your pets. The fan and heating elements are on the back of the appliance and ensure that the heat is evenly spread throughout the dehydrator.

It is easy to use as it has a digital control panel. The temperature can be set anywhere between 95F and 165F which is the maximum temperature for dehydrating jerky. You can also set the time in 30-minute sections right up to 48 hours. Once you have done all of this, just push a button and it will start. It will automatically switch off when the set time is over. If it overheats, it will switch off automatically. A bonus point with this dehydrator is that it’s quiet, as quiet as if you were in a library!

The stainless steel trays are dishwasher safe so you will save time on cleaning. The trays have liners, and these can also be washed in the dishwasher on the top rack. They need to be removed before the end of the drying cycle.

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator (50 Recipes) for Jerky Meat Herbs Fruit, Dryer Machine with Digital...
  • Designed in California: Comes with 6 Stainless Steel Trays, 1 Mesh Screen, 1 Fruit Roll Sheet, 1 Manual, 1 Recipe, Check out our VIDEO on the left side & take a quick tour of this COSORI Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator Machine (search for C267-2ST, C267-2MS or C267-FR to get more accessories)
  • Stainless Steel: Made with food-grade stainless steel and glass front door. This dehydrator is perfect for making healthy beef jerky, snacks, fruit leathers, dog treats, bread crumbs, and for preserving herbs, flowers, and much more
  • Easy to Use: Use the digital control panel to set the timer in 30-minute increments for up to 48 hours. Make average-sized batches of dried foods with accurate temperatures between 95º℉-165ºF. Refer to 50 recipes designed for beginners by COSORI Chefs Team
  • Quiet to Use: Simply press the start button to dehydrate your food and go to sleep. The noise is less than 48dB, which equals noise levels recorded in library
  • Safe to Use: Tray liners are BPA-Free. Auto shut off kicks in right when the timer ends. Overheat protection will activate if the dehydrator overheats.120V, 600W. Please note that this voltage only applies to USA and Canada

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • 6 stainless steel trays
  • Glass front so you can see inside
  • Digital control panel
  • Overheat switch
  • Trays are dishwasher safe
  • One person complained that the fan shut off every now and again

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine | 7 Stainless Steel Trays | Dryer for Jerky, Dog Treats, Herb,...
Our rating:

This dehydrator is different from the other two we have looked at as it is round and made of plastic. However, the plastic is heavy-duty. It comes with 5 plastic trays, but it can expand to 12 trays which is plenty of room to dehydrate food for the next few weeks. Each tray is 13” in diameter and provides 0.8 square feet of cooking space.

It has an adjustable thermometer and you can set the temperature anywhere between 95F and 160F.

The outside of the dehydrator is made from opaque Vita-Save, which stops harmful light from reaching your food. Too much light can reduce the nutritional value of your meat, fruit, and vegetables.

The fan is at the top of the unit. The air is pushed down the exterior pressurized chamber and then goes across each tray horizontally. You will find that flavors won’t mix and if you want to cook meat at the same time as fruit, your food will only retain the original flavors. The air is evenly spread around the dehydrator, so you won’t need to rotate the trays. 

As well as the trays, it comes with 2 fruit roll sheets, a sample of jerk seasoning, an instruction book, and a 52-page recipe book.

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine | 7 Stainless Steel Trays | Dryer for Jerky, Dog Treats, Herb,...
  • REAR MOUNT FAN FOR SUPERIOR HEAT DISTRIBUTION – DRIES FOOD EVENLY The electric dehydration machine is equipped with a rear-mounted drying fan and air flow circulation technology to promote even drying, there is no need to rotate the shelves as needed by other brands, monitor the dryer process easily with the transparent door window
  • DIGITAL THERMOSTAT AND TIMER- AUTOMATIC SHUT OFF WHEN TIMER DONE -- An adjustable temperature and timer ensure you to have your delicious, dehydrated food done to perfect at optimal temperature and exact timing; the Countdown timer will show you when it will be done, once done it will automatically shut off
  • SPACIOUS ADJUSTABLE STAINLESS STEEL TRAYS – INCLUDED FRUIT ROLL TRAYS! Use the trays for regular food and the mesh trays for smaller food as nuts and herbs, for fruit roll ups use the fruit leather sheet which can also be used for drip trays! you can do a lot in one batch with the Magic Mill dehydration machine, the dehydrator comes with 7 adjustable trays each tray is 13 x 12"
  • EASY TO USE AND CLEAN - DISHWASHER SAFE TRAYS You want to dry Jerky, beef, herbs, vegetables, fruit, granola, fruit leathers, breadcrumbs, and for preserving herbs, flowers, and much more, cleaning is easy all trays and liners are dishwasher safe, and the housing can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth
  • SAFETY FEATURE / BPA FREE Overheat protection will activate if the dehydrator overheats. Built with food-grade – BPA Free material

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • 5 trays which can be expanded to 12
  • The fan is on the top of the unit and gives even heat
  • Vita -Save exterior which stops harmful light getting to the food
  • You need to open the unit to check on the food
  • One person complained that it took too long to dehydrate

Gastrorag Food Dehydrator Machine ETL-Certified BPA-Free – 5-Tray Temperature Control Dehydrator...
Our rating:

This dehydrator is also round and comes with 5 trays. It is made from 100% BPA-free food-safe plastic. The plastic is durable, and it doesn’t come with any sort of odors that you can sometimes get with plastic.

There is a digital control panel and you can set the temperature in 5-minute increments between 100F and 160F. The time can be set for up to 48 hours in one-hour increments. Perhaps you are wondering why you need so much time, but you might want to dehumidify certain items of food overnight at an extremely low temperature. It shuts off automatically when the time is up, so you don’t have to worry about food becoming too dry. It also has overheating protection and switches off if the unit starts to get too hot.

The dehydrator has an excellent airflow system, heating everything evenly, so there is no need to rotate the trays.

Gastrorag Food Dehydrator Machine ETL-Certified BPA-Free – 5-Tray Temperature Control Dehydrator...
  • UNIVERSAL - Dries evenly and quickly to make delicious beef jerky, dried fruit chips, and other healthy snacks and chews at home for you and even your pets! 5 spacious trays. Temperature range from 100 ℉ -160 ℉ to dehydrate a variety of foods perfectly and save original flavors and vitamins.
  • EASY TO USE - Large and simple display to navigate settings easily. No tray rotation needed and no risk of mixed flavors. Timer up to 48 hours for dehumidifying overnight or when you're not home without the risk of over-drying. Trays are dishwasher safe. Auto shut-off when done.
  • QUIET - It works almost silently, and no obnoxious beep at the end of the drying cycle! It will not wake you up at night.
  • BEAUTIFUL - Sleek, modern, and stylish. Takes up little space in the kitchen. Lightweight 6.08 pounds. Easy to store.
  • SAFE - High quality, 100% BPA-Free, food-safe plastic materials without the slightest odor. Dryer is ETL Certified and compliant to North American safety standards. Overheating protection.

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Made from 100% BPA-free plastic
  • 5 trays
  • Digital control panel
  • Overheating protection
  • One person claimed that it stopped working after a week.

Food Dehydrator Machine, Electric food dryer, Jerky Dehydrators with 8 Trays, Temperature Control,...
Our rating:

This dehydrator is innovative as it has 8 adjustable trays. All you have to do is rotate the trays 180 degrees and you will get different heights. If you are drying thin slices of food, use the 0.79” height. If you are drying thicker pieces, the 1.25” height will be better. Once you start dehydrating, you will need to rotate all the trays horizontally every 2 – 3 hours. At the same time exchange the bottom and top trays.

It has an adjustable temperature setting of 95F – 158F. The fan and heating elements are situated at the bottom of the unit. It has a 360-degree hot air circulation so your food will be dehydrated equally. 

Food Dehydrator Machine, Electric food dryer, Jerky Dehydrators with 8 Trays, Temperature Control,...
  • 400W Power - Dehydrating Faster: 400 watts of drying power provides more power and maximum speed to dehydrate food faster. Save your time a lot. Not only great for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, beef jerky, and venison jerky, but also drying pets' favorite high hardness of the meat.
  • Adjustable Thermostat Setting: Accurate temperature settings (35º-70ºC/95-158ºF) allow you to dry out different types of food at proper temperatures. A perfect way to preserve foods, with no additives or preservatives.
  • Adjustable Height: 8 Trays with adjustable height design provide more drying space. Two ways to place and different sizes: Rotate food trays 180 degrees together to get different heights, 3cm and 1.7cm. The bottom-mounted fan and heating element provide consistent air flow for optimum drying.
  • Easy store &Clean: Dishwasher safe. 8 trays with two placing way for different sizes bring large capacity for drying food and less space to store. Easy to clean, tiers are fully dishwasher safe.
  • Widely Use: Not only perfect for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, but also great to dehydrate beef jerky, venison jerky or for pets dry their favorite high hardness of the meat. With the great dehydrator, you can make apple snacks, banana chips, dried soup mixes, dried tomatoes, mangoes, papaya and other dried fruits at a fraction of the cost. Making dried herbs, spices, dried flowers is very nice as well.

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Can be made into 2 different heights
  • 8 adjustable trays
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Two people complained that the food took too long to dehydrate
  • You have to rotate the trays

Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine, Touch Screen Electric Multi-Tier Preserver, Meat or Beef Jerky...
Our rating:

This dehydrator is made from heavy-duty BPA-free plastic and has 6 adjustable trays. Each is 13″ x 12″. It’s not necessary to rotate them during the dehydration process as the airflow, which is horizontal, is even. All your jerky will end up ready at the same time. 

It has digital touch settings which are state-of-the-art. There are 14 temperature presets and you can set your temperature anywhere between 95F – 158F which is perfect for making jerky. There is a countdown timer that goes up to 19 and a half hours. 

The dehydrator has a glass door, so you don’t need to open the door to check on your jerky. Opening the door affects the temperature inside so this is a useful addition.

Additional benefits include a fruit roll mesh and drip tray which, together with the trays, are all dishwasher safe. Alternatively, you can wash them all with warm soapy water.

Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine, Touch Screen Electric Multi-Tier Preserver, Meat or Beef Jerky...
  • DEHYDRATING SIMPLIFIED: The Chefman dehydrator includes 6 spacious (13"x12") adjustable BPA free plastic trays, so you can create different types of dehydrated foods in one convenient batch at a fraction of the cost of commercially dried foods. Makes for a great healthy snack and ideal for people with allergies as there are no preservatives!
  • DIGITAL TOUCH SETTINGS: Digital temperatures preset settings ranging from 95º F to 158º F, integrated with a countdown timer up to 19.5 hours, provides accurate drying times and temperatures to make it super easy for you to start creating delicious dried fruit, herbs, meat or yogurt!
  • CONSISTENT RESULTS: The Chefman 480W Food Dehydrator has a built in innovated design that maximizes airflow that results in an even drying without overheating ensuring the perfect dried fruit slices, long-lasting dried herbs, delicious beef jerky and more! You can even use this dehydrator when making your own pasta or use it to freshen up stale cookies or crackers!
  • EASY TO MONITOR: The process of drying can be observed without opening the door, designed with a clear door that allows you to monitor the progress of drying meat beef jerky, fruit slices, sweet potato and vegetables, or any other dried food snack
  • RESOURCES: cETL approved with advanced safety technology for long lasting durability, & 1-year warranty provided by Chefman, so you can purchase worry-free - we've got your back! For information on how to use your product, scroll down for a PDF User Guide and Quickstart Guide. 480 Watts/120 Volts – RJ43-SQ-6T

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Made from BPA-free plastic
  • 6 adjustable trays
  • Even airflow
  • Digital touch settings
  • Glass door
  • Parts are dishwasher safe
  • 1-year warranty
  • One person complained that his jerky took too long to dehydrate

Best Dehydrator for Jerky – Buyers Guide

What is a Dehydrator?

A dehydrator is a kitchen appliance that reduces the amount of water in meat, vegetables, fruit, and even herbs. You put it on a low heat of around 165F and the fan sends out a light flow of hot air. 

Reasons to Use a Dehydrator

  • You could use the oven to dehydrate your food, but it takes more electricity than a dehydrator so after the initial cost, a dehydrator will save you money.
  • It is a healthy way to prepare jerky as it preserves essential nutrients. Also, you don’t have to add any type of additives or preservatives.
  • It’s easy to use. Once you have put your meat in the dehydrator, set the temperature and the time and you’re ready to go.

How to Make Beef Jerky

There are different ways to make beef jerky. Firstly, you can use steak and slice it up. The next step is to put the slices in a marinade and leave in the fridge for a couple of days. An alternative is to use ground beef. It’s easier than using steak as you don’t have to slice it, nor do you have to leave it to marinate. With ground meat, you will need a jerky gun so you can squeeze out the meat into slices.

Recipe for BeefJerky

  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  •  1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Mix all the ingredients and then put all the meat into the jerky gun. You can use a piping bag if you haven’t got a jerky gun. Make sure that there are no air bubbles in the meat otherwise the slices won’t come out evenly. Using the gun, put the slices on the rack inside the dehydrator. Switch the temperature on to 165F and leave for 2 – 12 hours. This seems a big difference in time, but dehydrators can have different power levels. It also depends on the thickness of your meat. The jerky is finished when the meat has turned dark and pliable. If it’s cooked for too long it will crack when you bend it. It will possibly be a little bit of trial and error in the beginning, but it won’t be long before you get to know your dehydrator.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further questions about dehydrators and jerky, please feel free to contact us. We have answered one of the most popular questions here and other popular essential smoker accessories:

And we have answered which is better charcoal or briquettes and is the Thermoworks Thermopop worth it.

How do you Store Jerky?

If you plan to eat the jerky within 7 days, you can store it in a sealed bag on your countertop. However, if you put it in the fridge, it will last for a few weeks, and in a freezer, a couple of months. If you put it in the freezer, you need to put it in Ziplock bags, fitting in as many as you think you might need at a time.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have found this article interesting and that it has given you enough advice about using a dehydrator. Hopefully, too, you will have found one to suit from our choices. We stand by our top choice of the Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator. It has 6 durable stainless steel trays which will take a lot of meat, it has a digital control panel, it is quiet, and the trays are dishwasher safe. You don’t have to rotate the trays as the airflow in the dehydrator is even. 

Find out our other top choices of: