Although it might be the most important step in making homemade jerky, the storing process is one that is often neglected and misunderstood. The following information are excellent guidelines in helping you to properly store jerky after the cooking process to ensure a quality snack for the longest time possible.

Before you store your jerky, always make sure that it has completely cooled. If you do not do this it will sweat and mold will set in.

The following are ways you may preserve your jerky:

* Shrink wrap – a material made up of plastic film. When heat is applied to this material it shrinks tightly over whatever it was covering.
* Skin Pack – a type of carded packaging where a product is placed on a piece of paperboard, and a thin sheet of transparent plastic is placed over the product and paperboard.
* Plastic wrap – a thin plastic film typically used for sealing food items in containers to keep them fresh. Plastic wrap, typically sold on rolls in boxes with a cutting edge, clings to many smooth surfaces and can thus remain tight over the opening of a container with no adhesive or other device.
* Vacuum packing – a method of storing food and presenting it for sale. Appropriate types of food are stored in an airless environment, usually in an airtight pack or bottle to prevent the growth of microorganisms. The vacuum environment removes atmospheric oxygen, protecting the food from spoiling. Vacuum packaging products using plastic bags, canisters, bottles, or mason jars are available for home use.
* Vacuum pouches are used in conjunction with vacuum packaging equipment to reduce the atmosphere in a package to protect and preserve the freshness of food products, such as meat and poultry, seafood, produce and cheese. Vacuum pouches are also used to keep other non-food products (e.g. medical and pharmaceutical items) sterile and to prevent oxidation.

The benefits of vacuum packaging in vacuum pouches include:

* Increased shelf-life of food products:
* Prevention of product degradation and protection from oxidation:
* Protection against contact and contamination:
* Various types of vacuum pouches include:
* Side-seal Vacuum Pouches
* Zipper/Resealable Vacuum Pouches
* Metalized Vacuum Pouches
* Stand-up Vacuum Pouches
* (Boil-in-Bags) Vacuum Pouches
* Safe Handling Vacuum Pouches

If you know you are not going to eat your jerky for several months up to a year or plus, you will want to package it very tightly and place in the freezer.

Commercially packaged jerky can be kept 12 months out of freezer.
Home-dried jerky can be stored 1 to 2 months out of freezer.
Unsalted jerky should be refrigerated and used within two weeks.

Roll it up in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.


Do you want more information about making your own jerky? Download our Beef Jerky Recipes ebook while it's FREE and you'll also get a ton of tips, tricks and how-to videos to help you along your way! But's only free for a limited time!

36 Responses »

  1. by ken pack

    I was wondering what method of storage would allow the longest shelf life (without freezing).

  2. by JerkyRecipes

    Thanks for the response Ken. To answer your question, you must keep the beef jerky in a cool and dry place (away from any UV lights) to be most effective and get the longest shelf life possible. A kitchen cupboard will do just fine, it also depends on the nature of the beef jerky and what kind of preservatives were used when making it. Hopefully this was of help to you. Visit us again soon.

  3. by Terri S

    It seems to me that most of the recipes call for items that contain plenty of salt without adding extra salt. Items such as soy sauce, tenderizer, etc.
    After reading this, it appears the extra salt is a preservative. Is there anything else that can be considered a preservative? I just don’t really like salty jerky.
    Thank you

  4. by JerkyRecipes

    Terri, thanks for visiting the site and leaving a comment. While most all jerky consists of some form of preservative such as the ones you mentioned, it isn’t completely necessary to add them. You can help preserve and prolong the life of the jerky by doing other things like storing it in a cool and dry place. You should also remove any air from the container or bag you’re are placing it in, some people have even had success by refrigerating it, but I don’t do that. A side note is not to use salt of any kind, but to use some low sodium soy sauce sparingly.

    Hopefully this has answered your question.

    Have a great day.

  5. by Skip

    website – — – – – says you should store jerky in a container where the tops have holes punched in them to prevent mold ??? versus airtight as you reccommend ????????????

  6. by JerkyRecipes

    Thanks for the question Skip, airtight is always the way to go when storing jerky. That’s why most beef jerky bags have either an oxidation packet in them or they are vacuum sealed. Oxygen is the enemy of beef jerky, along with moisture. Your absolute easiest and best bet is to store it in a sealable baggy that has had the air removed from it and put it in a cooler dark place, somewhere around 70 degrees or so.

    Hope this answered your question and cleared up any confusion.
    Thanks again for visiting

  7. by D Johnson

    I just need clarification, are you storing your jerky in airtight containers in a cupboard at 70 degrees for serveral months? a year? and not in the refrigerator or freezer? A friend of mine was told by a home extension agent to refrigerate only but that could be because they can’t be sure of the processing techniques.

  8. by JerkyRecipes

    D Johnson,

    Yes, we recommend storing your jerky in a moisture and oxygen free sealed baggy or container at a room temperature of about 70 degrees or so. A year would be pushing it, however, a couple of months should be just fine. Especially if the jerky has a natural preservative in it like salt. Refrigeration can be done, but it isn’t going to keep the jerky any longer. It does alter the taste quite frequently however. Remember that jerky is a meat and that cooking it and then freezing it and thawing it again for consumption will have similar effects as any other meat.

    Hope this answered your question.
    Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you again soon.

  9. by B Kruep

    When storing your jerky in an air tight container , lets say in a pantry, is it beneficial to get the oxidation packets? Or is the air tight container enough?

  10. by JerkyRecipes

    Thanks for the question,

    An air tight container would be enough, however, any additional help such as an oxidation would better.

    Thanks for visiting

  11. by Alex L.

    Hi, would rock salt be a fine replacement for curing salt?

    also, am i able to vacuum seal the bag my jerky is in and keep it for say a year?

  12. by patrick

    what about putting some dry ice into the bag and letting it melt, removing all the oxygine, and then vacume sealing the bag?

  13. by JerkyRecipes


    We’ve never heard of that approach to vacuum sealing a bag so we can’t say whether or not it will work. I can say on the other hand that our current storage techniques are proven to work. 🙂

  14. by Marks_Jerky

    I use sodium nitrate when making beef jerky and now I make Chicken Jerky and its outselling beef jerky. I worry about bacteria since I dont use any nitrates. I marinate in a soy sauce/hickory salt combo and dry to 155 over 3-4 hours. Why dont I see any chicken jerky in stores and is chicken jerky safe?

  15. by brian

    regarding vacuum sealing …… would the oxidation pack and vacuum make for a longer shelf life , i.e. a year or so?

  16. by Eva.Bostwick


  17. by STEVE

    I put my beef jerky in plastic baggies after it has cooled. The next morning when I get up it has sweated in the bag so it is all wet and sticky. What can I do to prevent that?

  18. by Sasquatch Jerky Man

    If it’s sweating in the bag it isn’t cooked long enough. It still has too much moisture in it.

  19. by Evan

    I want my jerky to be “commercial quality” and I want to be able to store it for a year. Can anyone help?

  20. by Jerky Man

    I have some nice slab jerky that is vacuum packed but is still developing what looks like Mold.When you look at it magnified 25 times, it looks like a fine silk spider web !
    The guy making it says it is the nitrate showing itself, but this does not look like salt to me !

    Anybody ? Jerky Man,

  21. by Tony

    Hello Jerky Recipes,

    This is great blog, lot’s of useful information. If I was interested in purchasing airtight plastic bags to give my jerky the retail appeal (packaging) where would I go? I have a church event coming up soon and wanted to sell my jerky for the fundraiser but I would really like the packaging to look as good as it taste! Thanks!


  22. by Amber

    Good evening. I am trying to make homemade beef jerky and sending to my husband overseas. I have the vacuum sealed ziploc bags, what else can I do to make sure they receive some great beef jerky! Supposing it comes out right!

  23. by hot rod

    i dry my jerkey for about 6 to 7 hrs when i vacuum seal it the sharp edges poke a small hole in the bag and it looses its airtight seal any help or ideas would be appreciated

  24. by Karen

    What is the best way to make beef jerky with a dehydrator? What seasoning should I use. How and how long can I store it if it is vacuumed sealed.

  25. by Brenda Brasher

    I want to send my jerky to my son and his fellow Marines so what would be the best method of sealing to send it?

    Thank you~

  26. by Wes

    I just got some fresh jerky from a butcher in the midwest to take back to boston with me. It was vacuum sealed in a clear plastic packaging. Now that I have opened it, I’m not sure how to store it. It’s fresh and moist unlike some of the dried out jerky’s out there. For now, I have it in a ziplock baggy in my cupboard. Should I be refrigerating or freezing it? What’s it’s life span? I can only eat so much jerky at a time! Thanks

  27. by steve

    this is a little of the subject of storage, I was hoping you or someone might instruct me on the most effecient way to preheat the beef to 160 before dehydrating. I got presliced and its marrianated. Sincerely

  28. by jorge zambra


    im starting a small beef jerky business in Venezuela and I have several questions before I begin producing jerky at a commercial level. please send me an email adress to my were i can write you with all my questions to see if you can help me out. thankyou.

  29. by Michael Holmes

    When you say ” unsalted jerky” what exactly do you mean by this. I don’t actually put salt on my jerky but I do put soy sauce in the marinade which has a high sodium content. How long will this keep if vaccum packaged out of the fridge ?

  30. by Charlene

    DO NOT use dry ice. When it melts the taste from it will saturate your jerky!
    Know this from using the dry ice and what it did to the food.

  31. by Catreass

    Hope your not selling deer jerky.
    Homemade jerky from venison atleast should not be put in the fridge. Refrigeration promotes moisture which will mold your jerky easily. Fresh jerky should be left to air dry until room temperature before being ziplocked. Jerky easily lasts 6months or so depending on quality. Vaccumm sealing is the way to go. Make sure to use salt and to cook to 160 degrees at some point.

  32. by Mags Hamer

    I want to make jerky for dogs without any added salts or spices. Can I use real chicken stock? Will the jerky keep for a month itpf vacuumed without using salt to preserve?

  33. by Olivia Tapelt

    The recipes for the beef jerky say *salt and *curing salt but I don’t see the amounts . Did I just miss some important info somewhere? Not comfortable just guessing.

  34. by Olivia Tapelt

    Oh, and what is “spice powder”?

  35. by Cody Mac

    I try vacuum sealing my jerky, however half of the time the sharp edges of the jerky or pepper flakes put tiny holes in the vacuum bags. It has happened even when i double bag them. Does anyone have any ideas to keep this from happening?

  36. by Jennifer

    I can’t download the ebook. None of the links work

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