The Ultimate Bacon Jerky Recipe | Chewy, Salty, and Delicious!

April 28, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Making bacon jerky, in a nutshell, involves marinating a piece of thick-sliced bacon in a savory blend of spices. Then dehydrating it in an oven or food dehydrator until it gets dry, chewy, and crispy. 

There’s something about that smoky, salty flavor of bacon that just screams “snack time.” And the chewy texture of jerky is perfect for on-the-go munching. So when I stumbled upon my old, cooking school recipe for homemade bacon jerky, I knew I had to give it a try once again. 

It was like two worlds colliding in the most delicious way possible – the crispy bacon transformed into a chewy, savory snack that was impossible to resist. And the best part? I got to customize the flavors to my liking, adding a little kick of spice or a touch of sweetness. So grab your apron, and let’s get cooking!

bacon jerky recipe

How to Make Bacon Jerky? (Ingredients and Step-by-step Directions)

Bacon jerky is the perfect snack for anyone who craves the smoky, salty taste of bacon. Imagine the chewy texture of your favorite jerky but with the mouth-watering flavor of crispy bacon. 

In this guide, I’ll show you how to make this from scratch so you can indulge in this delectable snack anytime you want.

Ingredients for Bacon Jerky

Here is a list of ingredients and their quantities I use in making my homemade bacon jerky recipe:


  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Sharp carving knife or meat slicer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or silicone mat
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper towels
  • Airtight container or plastic bag
Platter with Bacon Jerky, Sausage and Blue Cheese

Step by Step Directions for How to Make Bacon Jerky

Step 1: Slice Your Bacon

Once you’ve got your bacon, slice it into even strips. You need a sharp knife to do this, but if you have a meat slicer, it will make the job much easier. Aim for strips about 1/4 inch thick, as they will dehydrate evenly.

Step 2: Prepare Your Marinade

This is where you can get creative and customize the flavors. You can mix soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, and black pepper in a bowl. You can add other spices, such as cayenne pepper or smoked paprika, to give your homemade jerky a little kick. You can also include maple syrup to add some extra kick of sweetness.

Step 3: Marinate Your Bacon

Once your marinade is ready, add your thick-cut bacon strips to the bowl and toss them around to coat. Make sure each strip is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.

Step 4: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. This will prevent your bacon from sticking to the pan.

Step 5: Remove Bacon From Marinade

Remove the bacon strips from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Discard the leftover marinade.

Step 6: Arrange Bacon on the Baking Sheet

Arrange the bacon strips on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each strip. This will ensure that they dehydrate evenly.

Step 7: Bake the Bacon

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 2-3 hours or until the bacon is crispy and fully dehydrated. Flip the bacon strips halfway through the baking time to ensure that they dehydrate evenly on both sides.

Step 8: Cool and Store Your Jerky

Remove the jerky from the oven and let it cool completely on the baking sheet. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container or plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. You can also freeze your jerky for more extended storage.

Buying the Bacon – Thick or Regular Cut?

I think thick-cut bacon is the way to go when making bacon jerky. Here’s why:

Firstly, thick-cut bacon has more meat to it, which means more flavor in each bite. When dehydrating the bacon to make jerky, the meat will shrink, and thin-cut bacon can shrink to almost nothing. This can result in a jerky that is more like a bacon chip, lacking the chewy texture that makes bacon jerky so satisfying.

Secondly, thick-cut bacon has a higher fat content than regular-sliced bacon, which is good when making jerky. The fat helps to keep the meat moist during the dehydrating process, preventing it from becoming too dry and tough. Plus, the fat gives the jerky a rich, smoky flavor that regular-cut bacon just can’t match.

Of course, there are also benefits to using regular-cut bacon for jerky. For one, it’s usually less expensive than thick bacon, which is great if you’re making a large batch of jerky. Additionally, regular-cut bacon may be the way to go if you’re looking for a more crisp bacon chip-like texture.

Thin Cut Bacon Slices on a Fork

Recipe Variations – Tasty Jerky Flavors

If you would love to vary the recipe each time you make bacon jerky, then there are flavor variations that can take the basic bacon jerky recipe to a whole new level. It’s a great way to use up any leftover bacon slices you might have in the fridge:

Candied Bacon Jerky

For those who prefer a sweeter flavor, candied bacon jerky is the way to go. To make the candied bacon version, mix light or dark brown sugar and maple syrup to create a sticky and sweet glaze. You can then coat the bacon slices in the glaze and bake them in the oven until they’re caramelized and have a crispy texture. The result is a deliciously sweet and savory snack perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Sweet and Spicy Jerky

Unlike the candied bacon type, this flavor is perfect for those who like a little spicy kick from their sweet jerky. You can combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder to create a marinade that packs a punch. 

The brown sugar’s sweetness balances out the cayenne pepper’s spiciness, making it a delicious combination. 

Honey Mustard Jerky

Honey mustard is a classic flavor combination that never gets old. This recipe can combine honey, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and black pepper to create a sweet and tangy marinade. It’s a sweet version. But it’s different from candied bacon jerky whose sweetness comes from brown sugar and maple syrup.

The honey adds a touch of sweetness, while the Dijon mustard gives it a zesty kick. When the bacon jerky is done, it has a beautiful golden color and a deliciously sweet and tangy taste.

Teriyaki Jerky

Teriyaki is a popular flavor for jerky, and for a good reason. It’s sweet, savory, and has a nice umami flavor that’s hard to resist. 

This recipe combines soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar, and ginger to create a marinade perfect for bacon jerky. 

The soy sauce gives it a salty flavor, while the brown sugar adds sweetness. The garlic powder and ginger bring subtle spiciness, making it even more delicious.

BBQ Jerky

Who doesn’t love BBQ? This is perfect for those who love the smoky taste of BBQ sauce. It’s a type of smoked bacon jerky done with a special marinade. To create a delicious BBQ flavor, you can make the marinade combine ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke.

The ketchup tastes sweet, while the Worcestershire sauce adds a savory and spicy kick. The apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke give it a smoky flavor that’s hard to resist.

Sriracha Bacon Jerky

Sriracha bacon jerky is another variation for those who like it spicy. To make the Sriracha bacon jerky flavor, add a healthy dose of sriracha sauce to the marinade, along with some brown sugar to balance the heat. The combination of spicy and sweet is truly addictive, and you won’t be able to resist reaching for more.

Close up of Bacon Jerky

Tips for Serving Bacon Jerky

So you’ve made a batch of delicious bacon jerky and are now wondering how to serve it. 

First and foremost, remember that bacon jerky is a snack, so it’s perfect for munching on the go or enjoying during a movie night. That being said, if you want to elevate your jerky bacon game, there are a few things you can do.

Pair With Complementary Flavors 

One way to make bacon jerky even more enjoyable is by pairing it with complementary flavors. Think of bacon jerky as the star of the show and other snacks as its supporting cast. 

For example, you could serve bacon jerky with some fresh veggies like carrots and celery or with a side of spicy pickles. The contrast between the savory bacon and the crunchy veggies or tangy pickles creates a well-rounded flavor experience.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to spice up your next party, why not create a bacon jerky charcuterie board? It’s like a cheese board but with a bacon twist. Include different bacon jerky flavors, cheeses, crackers, and fruits for a unique and memorable snack board.

Incorporate With Other Dishes 

Another way to serve bacon jerky is by incorporating it into other dishes. Like how bacon is a versatile ingredient used in many recipes, bacon jerky can also be a delicious addition to some dishes. 

You can crumble it on top of a salad for some extra crunch or use it as a topping for your favorite pizza. You can even chop it up and sprinkle it over popcorn for a movie snack.

Another idea is to crumble bacon jerky over a salad for an added crunch and smoky flavor. It’s like adding croutons but with a bacon twist. You can also chop it up and use it as a topping on your favorite pizza, transforming it into a delicious bacon-infused masterpiece.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also add bacon jerky to your breakfast routine. It pairs perfectly with eggs, whether you add it to an omelet or use it as a side dish. It’s like having bacon and eggs but in jerky form!

Serve as Appetizers 

If you’re feeling creative, you can also try making some bacon jerky-based appetizers. 

For example, you could wrap a slice of bacon jerky around a cheese cube. Then secure it with a toothpick for a delicious and easy snack. 

Or, you could mix chopped bacon jerky into a cream cheese dip for a unique twist on a classic party favorite. The possibilities are endless, and the end result is always tasty.

Serve With a Refreshing Drink 

One thing to keep in mind when serving bacon jerky is that it’s a relatively high-sodium snack. While the sodium content may vary depending on the recipe used, it’s still important to be mindful of your salt intake. 

To balance the saltiness of bacon jerky, you can serve it with refreshing drinks like iced tea or lemonade. These drinks can help cleanse your palate and enhance the jerky bacon flavors without overpowering them.

Homemade Trail Mix

Another idea is to use bacon jerky as a savory ingredient in your homemade trail mix. Mix it with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a snack that will give you energy and satisfy your cravings at the same time.

Greasy Hot Grilled Bacon Jerky

How to Store Bacon Jerky?

Like beef jerky, the best way to store up bacon jerky is to keep it in an airtight container. This will prevent moisture and air from getting in, which can cause the jerky to spoil or become stale. You can use a plastic container, a mason jar, or even a resealable plastic bag. Just make sure it’s airtight!

Another thing to keep in mind is the temperature. You want to store your bacon jerky in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or a warm, humid area. 

If you have leftover bacon jerky, a rare occurrence in my house, you can also store it in the fridge. Just make sure to wrap it tightly.

How Long Will Bacon Jerky Last?

Store bought bacon jerky can last for up to 12 months when left unopened and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  But always check the expiry to be sure.

It is important to note that the shelf life of bacon jerky can vary depending on the brand, the ingredients used, the packaging, and the method of preparation. 

Your typical homemade jerky will only last for 1 to 2 months in the fridge if vacuum-sealed. 

However, consuming it within a few weeks is always best to ensure its optimal flavor and texture.

Can You Freeze Bacon Jerky?

Yes, you can freeze your bacon jerky. Freezing can extend the shelf life of the jerky for up to six months, similarly to beef jerky. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the jerky in the fridge overnight before consuming.

The Nutritional Benefits of Jerky

You might be thinking, “Wait, is bacon healthy?” Well, hear me out. Bacon jerky can actually provide some essential nutrients that your body needs.

First off, it is an excellent source of protein. We all know how essential protein is for building and repairing tissues in the body. It helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Just an ounce serving of bacon jerky can provide up to 12 grams of protein, an excellent boost to your daily intake.

Bacon jerky is also a good source of healthy fats. While bacon contains 40% of saturated fat and a decent amount of cholesterol, 50% of its fats are monounsaturated types and can actually be beneficial for your health, especially the heart.

Another benefit of bacon jerky is that it’s a diet low in carbohydrates. For those of us watching our carb intake, bacon jerky can be a great snack option. 

But note, since bacon is processed meat, some products may contain additional ingredients which can raise the carb content. However, the carbs from fillers added during the processing is only expected to contain small amounts of carb. 

Of course, it’s important to remember that this jerky should still be taken in moderation. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that includes bacon jerky. It’s also essential to choose high-quality bacon that is free from antibiotics and hormones.

Nutrition Facts of Bacon Jerky

Here’s a table showing the nutritional value of bacon jerky for every 2oz (56 grams) serving size: 

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving



Total Fat


Saturated Fat


Trans Fat






Total Carbohydrates


Dietary Fiber






Vitamin A


Vitamin C






Note: The nutritional value may vary depending on the ingredients and recipe used to make the jerky.


1. Can You Put Bacon in a Food Dehydrator?

Yes, bacon can be dehydrated in a food dehydrator to make bacon jerky. Another common method applies to smoked bacon jerky which involves smoking the bacon over low heat for several hours until it becomes dehydrated and chewy. 

However, a food dehydrator is the most common and effective way to make bacon jerky, as it allows for precise temperature control and even dehydration. Meanwhile, I used an oven in the recipe so it can be a little faster. But you have to be careful or you could overcook the jerky. 

2. Is Bacon Jerky Just Cooked Bacon?

Many people like to consider bacon jerky as cooked bacon because it goes through a cooking process. However, I think it’s more than that. Bacon jerky is a dehydrated form of bacon marinated in a blend of spices and cooked at a low temperature for several hours. This process transforms the crispy bacon into a chewy, savory snack that can be enjoyed on the go.


Well, folks, we did it. If you can follow my jerky bacon recipe step-by-step, you should have no problem making homemade bacon jerky! Each bite’s combination of smoky, salty, and savory flavors is truly something special. 

Not only is bacon jerky a tasty snack. It can also provide some important nutrients your body needs, like protein and healthy fats. And let’s be real, sometimes we just need a little indulgence in our lives, and bacon jerky is the perfect treat for that.

Now that you know how to make your own bacon jerky, you can experiment with different flavors and spices to create your signature blend. Maybe you like it a little spicy, or perhaps you prefer a touch of sweetness. The possibilities are endless!

So go ahead, grab some bacon, fire up the oven, and get ready to snack on some delicious bacon jerky.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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