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How Long Does Jerky Last? Does it Go Bad?

Jerky lovers all over the world are always asking: How long does jerky last? Does it go bad?

The short answer — with proper storage, most types of jerky should keep for up to a year.

But if you want to be sure, let’s dive into what type of jerky you have and how best to store it so that your favorite savory snack will stay fresh until you’re ready also savor its flavor.

We’ll explore exactly how long different types of jerky can last without going bad, and when even properly stored varieties should be thrown out as a precaution.

Keep reading and find out more about the secrets behind making sure your delicious dried meat stays good-to-eat!

What’s Jerky?

Jerky is a type of dried or cured meat that originated in South America.

It is commonly made with lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, or other meats that are trimmed of fat and then cooked with spices and a bit of added sweetener such as brown sugar.

The meat is then cut into thin strips and dried or cured, usually by air-drying, smoking, or sun-drying for several days.

Jerky can either be soft to the touch or chewy depending on how long you choose to dry it.

Delicious and nutritious jerky provides essential protein in an easy grab-and-go form – making it a great snack choice while on the go.

How to Store Jerky?

Jerky is an incredibly popular snack, revered for its delicious taste and long shelf life.

Storing it to get the optimal flavor and time frame for use is relatively easy; follow the advice of jerky connoisseurs when it comes to storage.

Keep jerky in a sealed, air-tight container or bag to maintain freshness and preserve the flavor.

An environment that’s too hot or too moist will cause the jerky to spoil quickly, so store it away from direct sunlight or other heat sources.

Make sure your container has a tight seal and check often to see if condensation has formed; if so, store in a drier place next time.

Properly stored, quality jerkys can last up to six months.

How Long Does Jerky Last?

Jerky is not just a delicious snack—it’s also an incredibly durable food.

With proper storage, jerky can remain fresh for months.

If refrigerated in an airtight container, your jerky should remain fresh for up to three months.

When stored at room temperature and kept out of direct sunlight, it will stay fresh for about one month.

If you freeze your jerky, it should last anywhere from six to twelve months.

Despite its lasting shelf life, no matter how long the jerky has been around it will always be a great snack choice.

Jerky’s amazing taste and nutrition profile make it an ideal choice for those looking for a satisfying protein-packed munchies.

Can You Freeze Jerky?

You can freeze Jerky, but it’s not the best way to store it.

The reason is that freezing Jerky causes the water in the meat to expand and rupture the muscle fibers.

This makes the Jerky less tender and flavorful.

If you do freeze Jerky, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before eating.

How To Tell If Jerky is Bad?

The best way to tell if Jerky is bad, is by its smell.

If Jerky smells rancid, then it is most likely bad and should be thrown out.

Another way to tell if Jerky has gone bad is by looking at the color.

If Jerky has changed color from its original state, then it is probably bad and should not be consumed.

Finally, if Jerky has been stored for a longer period of time than what is recommended, then it is probably best to discard it.


Jerky is a great snack that lasts a long time, but it does eventually go bad.

The amount of time jerky lasts depends on how it is stored.

If jerky is stored in a cool, dry place, it can last for up to a year.

However, if jerky is stored in a warm, humid place, it will only last for a few months.

Jerky can also be frozen, which will prolong its shelf life.

To tell if jerky has gone bad, look for signs of mold or spoilage.

If the jerky smells bad or looks discolored, it is best to throw it out.

how long does jerky last

How Long Does Jerky Last? Does it Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Jerky
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Store your product in an labelled container in a cool, dark place like the pantry or fridge.
  • If your food is frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  • Make sure to look for signs that your food has gone bad before eating it.
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