Cooking Guide

5 Healthy Alternatives To Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a favorite snack of all ages. But if you are looking for a tasty snack that isn’t high in calories or cholesterol to substitute for beef jerky, our article will help. With the following options for the best beef jerky alternatives, you won’t regret giving them all a try.

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What is beef jerky?

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Beef jerky is a type of meat that has been well-seasoned and dried to preserve it. Beef is one of the most common types of meat to make jerky, but other kinds of red meat like venison, bison, or even game meat can be great for making meat jerky.

Beef jerky is an excellent source of protein and most varieties are low in fat. Beef jerky comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, but it is often shredded into long and thin sticks of beef with a salty and spicy taste.

This food item can be made at home by seasoning the meat and dehydrating it in an oven or smoker for about eight hours. It is also available in most grocery stores or supermarkets. This store-bought version is ready to be served right from the package. Beef jerky has a long shelf life, making it an ideal on-the-go snack for picnics or traveling.

Can you substitute beef jerky?

Of course, beef jerky can be easily substituted with other similar products. The reason is jerky is basically the result of dehydrating seasoned meat, therefore, it can apply to any kind of meat besides beef, from red meat like pork, lamb, venison, bison, or goat to poultry like chicken or turkey. There is even some vegan-based jerky to satisfy vegetarians too.

Therefore, when you are unable to find beef jerky in your local grocery store, don’t worry, there are a lot more options to choose from. Some of them can be easily made at home too, so you will never have to worry about running out of this snack anymore.

What can you substitute for beef jerky?

As already mentioned, there are numerous beef jerky substitutes available on the market or can be easily made at home. Check below for details:

1.     Pork jerky

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Pork jerky is a great substitute for beef jerky. It is made from pork, usually the lean cut. The method to make pork jerky is exactly the same as beef jerky, but the result is a milder flavor of pork compared to beef jerky.

If you want to make your own pork jerky, you can marinate it with any of your favorite spices and herbs (normally dried). Otherwise, you can opt for a much more convenient way by purchasing store-bought pork jerky from any grocery store or supermarket in your area.

2.     Chicken jerky

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Chicken jerky is considered a healthier alternative to classic beef jerky. It is often made from chicken breast, the leanest and healthiest cut of chicken. It takes less time to make chicken jerky because chicken meat is generally softer than beef. Chicken jerky is also available on the market with various brands for you to choose from if you don’t have the time or the mood to make it from scratch.

3.     Coconut jerky

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If you want to go vegan, don’t worry, you have the option to substitute for beef jerky. Coconut jerky is made from young coconut flesh to make sure that you won’t have any trouble when chewing the dried version of it.

To swap from the sweet taste of coconut to a savory dish to replace beef jerky, the coconut flesh is marinated with various spices and herbs that are often used to work with meat.

4.     Mushroom jerky

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Mushrooms are also a great choice to make jerky. This vegan ingredient has the texture of meat, so it is perfect to resemble beef jerky. Mushrooms are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that benefit our health in many ways. Mushroom jerky has a special umami flavor that is different from other kinds of meat and vegetables. This food item can be easily made at home, mainly from oyster mushrooms, or purchased from a vegan or organic store.

5.     Soy curls

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You can also use soy curls to substitute for beef jerky. This vegan option is made from whole soybeans, so it is much healthier than its red meat version. Soy curls taste like soy, but you can look for a brand that offers a flavor of meat by using beef or chicken flavor. Soy curls are also a rich source of fibers and vegan proteins, so you can still feel full after eating this snack without sacrificing your health.

The bottom line

Whether you are looking for a tasty snack that is better for your diet or just want to try something different, we have got you covered. The five best beef jerky alternatives listed above are easy to be made or purchased from most grocery stores or supermarkets across the country. Try them all and find out which beef jerky substitute suits your taste buds the most.


Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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