Is it cheaper to make your own beef jerky in 2020


homemade beef jerky in a jar
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Beef jerky is one of the most popular high protein snacks. Since the demand is continually growing, more and more people are deciding to make beef jerky at home in their food dehydrators. But is homemade beef jerky really cheaper than store-bought beef jerky?

Beef jerky is cheaper if you make it at home. Eighteen oz (510 g) of beef jerky made at home costs 5.28$ less than if you would buy 18 oz (510 g) pack in a store. If you consume 18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky per week, you can save 21$ per month and 253$ per year if you make it at home instead of buying it in a store.

PRICES UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020 – Average store-bough price per ounce is calculated based on 15 different beef jerky products!

Weight/Quantity Store-bought
Average price
Store-bought
Average price per oz.
Homemade Difference Saving per month if you consume 18 oz (510 g) a week Savings per year if you consume 18 oz (510 g) a week
Beef jerky 18 oz (510 g) $23.98 $1.33 $18.70 $5.28 $21.10 $253.25


is it cheaper to make or buy beef jerky homemade jerky

I’ve written a complete “is it cheaper” analysis of the most popular foods cooks make at home.

(BREAD, PIZZA, PASTA, FRIES, BEEF JERKY, LASAGNA, CHEESECAKE, GRANOLA BARS, GLUTEN-FREE BREAD, MAYONNAISE, GNOCCHI, GUACAMOLE, GROUND BEEFBROWNIES, HUMMUS)

I outlined the costs and buying guides for the ultimate savings.

How much does it really cost to make beef jerky at home

Beef jerky is high-grade protein snack food, which is getting more and more popular. With different flavors and meat varieties, anyone can find a personal favorite jerky.

Most famous and also mostly consumed is beef jerky. According to the analysis made by grand view research, beef jerky dominates the global jerky snack market share by more than 50%.

Because every day, more people discover this lovely carb-free snack, many also decide to make it at home. Since more and more people are making beef jerky at home, the question of “is it cheaper to make your own beef jerky at home” always arises.

Using only a food dehydrator and a good marinade can bring outstanding results. Food dehydrators are essentials when making beef jerky. If you want to know more about how to choose the right beef jerky dehydrator, check our post on the Best Food Dehydrator For Jerky.


There are many types of marinades used when making beef jerky. A few of the favorite once are bbq beef jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, sweet beef jerky, spice or pepper beef jerky, and many more.

is it cheaper to make or buy beef jerky Homemade jerky

There are a lot of recipes for beef jerky out there. But we took into our calculation a relatively classic recipe. The recipe is from fox valley foodie, and if you want to check the direction on how to make this beef jerky check out his website.

How Is The Price For Homemade Beef Jerky Calculated

Measurement to grams: we calculated each measurement in grams to get the sum quantity of ingredients for not dehydrated beef jerky.

Average product price: For each ingredient, we checked the latest prices online and calculated the average price of beef jerky products.

Price per ingredient: The price for each ingredient is calculated to match the amount used in the recipe.

Sum weight of not dehydrated beef jerky: to get the total weight of beef jerky, we summed all ingredients in grams.

Sum weight dehydrated: beef jerky losses moisture in the dehydration process. That is why the percentage of weight was taken from the sum weight of not dehydrated beef jerky. In the dehydration process, around ½ to ⅔ of the total weight is lost. This is how we got the end weight of dehydrated beef jerky.

Electricity cost: we calculated electricity for a standard 500 Watt dehydrator. The calculation also includes the average electricity rate in the USA which is 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour (updated April 2020)

Example: if you live in an area where electricity costs 13.19 cents per kWh (updated April 2020), and you want to calculate the cost of running a 500-watt dehydrator for 4 hours, you would pay 0,26$:

(500 watts x 4 hours) / 1000 = 2 kWh

2kWh * $0.13 = 0.26$

Time cost: We did not include time cost into the calculation. Making beef jerky includes preparation (marinading the meat) and cleaning of dehydrator trays. None of these take a lot of time. You can even speed up the cleaning process if you consider these 3 tips, which we describe in our best dehydrator for beef jerky post.

Food dehydrator cost: the cost of buying a food dehydrator is not included

The calculation shows that it costs 18.84$ to make 18.1 oz (513 g) of beef jerky at home.

Homemade Beef Jerky recipe ingredients by fox valley foodie – for recipe directions check his blog
Ingredients Quantities Quantities in grams Cost
Beef round roast 2 pounds 900 g $12.70
Worcestershire sauce 2/3 cup 181 g $2.21
Soy sauce 2/3 cup 168 g $2.40
Liquid smoke 1 tsp 4.5 g $0.09
Smoked paprika 1 tbsp 6.9 g $0.72
Brown sugar 1 tbsp 12.5 g $0.09
Freshly ground black pepper 2 tsp 4.66 g $0.17
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp 1.7 g $0.11
Garlic powder 1 tsp 3.3 g $0.04
Onion powder 1 tsp 2.3 g $0.05
Electricity – dehydrator 4 hours $0.26
Cost of homemade beef jerky $18.84
Dehydration wight loss percentages 60%
Dried beef jerky weight 18.1 oz (513 g)

The price difference between Homemade beef jerky compared to store-bought beef jerky

The table shows that homemade beef jerky is cheaper than store-bought beef jerky. The prices for store-bought beef jerky are calculated as an average price per ounce. You can get much more expensive beef jerky in the stores and also some cheaper ones.

The difference in price is in favor of Homemade beef jerky. You can save 5.28$ if you make 18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky at home instead of buying it in the store. But if you calculate the price difference for a whole month or even a year, you can see considerable savings in favor of homemade beef jerky.

Monthly and yearly savings are calculated based on a basis for consuming 18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky per week. The calculation shows that it is cheaper to make beef jerky at home. You could save approximately 21$ a month or 253$ a year if you make beef jerky at home.

Is homemade beef jerky cheaper than store-bought? Yes, it is!
Weight/Quantity Store-bought
Average price
Homemade price Difference Saving per month if you buy 18 oz (510 g) a week Saving per year if you buy 18 oz (510 g) a week
Beef jerky 18 oz (510 g) $23.98 $18.70 $5.28 $21.10 $253.25

 

Savings if you buy 18 oz (510 g) a month
Weight/Quantity Average price store bought Average price store-bought per oz. Homemade per oz. Difference Saving per month if you buy 18 oz (510 g) a month Saving per year if you buy 18 oz (510 g) a month
Beef jerky 18 oz (510 g) $28.23 $1.33 $1.04 $0.29 $5.24 $62.88

homemade beef jerky ready for dehydration

Is there a huge difference in savings if you buy 400 watt instead of 1000 watt food dehydrator for making beef jerky at home

Food dehydrators total power usage ranges between about 400 and 1000 watts for most popular home-use dehydrators. The saving for making beef jerky at home also defer depending on the dehydrator you use.

The following table shows the 10 most popular food dehydrators on amazon together with their power usage. To calculate the monthly and yearly savings for homemade beef jerky, we calculated the cost of making 18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky for 4 hours in a food dehydrator and comparing it to average online store price (listed above).

The results show that if you make beef jerky at home in 1000 watt food dehydrator, it will only cost you 15$ more per year than if you make it in 400 watt food dehydrator. The result of monthly saving is not even mentionable. You will save only 1,26$ more if you make homemade beef jerky in 400 watt food dehydrator instead of 1000 watt food dehydrator.

The cost of buying dehydrator is not included in this calculation Wats electricity cost of homemade beef jerky (dehydrating 4 hours) monthly saving if you consume
18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky per week
yearly saving if you consume
18 oz (510 g) of beef jerky per week
Aroma Housewares Professional 400 $0.21 $38.32 $459.84
Nesco Food & Jerky dehydrator 400 $0.21 $38.32 $459.84
LEM Products 1152                     500 $0.26 $38.11 $457.32
Excalibur 3926TB                         600 $0.31 $37.90 $454.81
NESCO FD-75A, Snackmaster 600 $0.31 $37.90 $454.81
COSORI Premium                     600 $0.31 $37.90 $454.81
Excalibur 3900B                         600 $0.31 $37.90 $454.81
Magic Mill                                   600 $0.31 $37.90 $454.81
Presto 06301                              750 $0.39 $37.59 $451.03
Nesco Gardenmaster 075         1000 $0.52 $37.06 $444.73
Savings difference between 400 and 1000 watt dehydrator if you make beef jerky at home $0.31 $1.26 $15.11

I’ve written a complete “is it cheaper” analysis of the most popular foods cooks make at home.

(BREAD, PIZZA, PASTA, FRIES, BEEF JERKY, LASAGNA, CHEESECAKE, GRANOLA BARS, GLUTEN-FREE BREAD, MAYONNAISE, GNOCCHI, GUACAMOLE, GROUND BEEFBROWNIES, HUMMUS)

I outlined the costs and buying guides for the ultimate savings.

* The prices for ingredients and products in our tables are average prices take from various websites. The prices are not taken directly from Amazon.
* Pro family chef utilizes affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of our product links, Pro family chef will receive a small commission at no cost to you. This helps support us, and allows us to keep providing tips, reviews, guides, and content for you.

Is it cheper to make beef jerky at home

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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