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How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?

Written by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD on August 29, 2022


Not only is beef jerky an incredibly nutritious and convenient snack, but it also has a long shelf life. But how long does jerky last? Does it last forever, or does beef jerky have an expiration date?

If you’re a fan and are wondering how long can it stay in the pantry until it goes bad, keep reading. We will discuss how long beef jerky typically lasts and stays fresh, including tips on storage to retain the best quality.

How Long Does Store-Bought Beef Jerky Last?

The exact shelf-life of beef jerky varies depending on whether it’s homemade or store-bought jerky.  In general, commercial beef jerky lasts longer than homemade and typically can be enjoyed for up to a year. This is good news if you enjoy the convenience of commercial beef and turkey jerky.

However, for the best results and quality taste, we recommend enjoying your jerky within six months of purchase.

How Long Does Homemade Beef Jerky Last?

Homemade jerky doesn’t last nearly as long as commercial jerky - typically up to two months maximum. This is mainly because homemade jerky lacks the salt and acid preservatives that extend the shelf life of  store-bought jerky.

Does Beef Jerky Go Bad?

Beef jerky technically doesn’t spoil, which is a big reason why so many people enjoy it as their snack of choice. Instead of an expiration date, beef jerky comes with a “best-by” date. 

If properly stored and sealed in its original packaging, your store-bought beef or turkey jerky can last up to several months after the best-by date on the label. This can allow you to enjoy a quality snack without worrying about such a short time stamp.

How to Store Your Beef Jerky

The way you store beef jerky can help it last a long time. Here are a few tips on to store your beef jerky once you’ve opened the package:

Keep it out of the hot sun 

Store jerky in dark, cool places away from direct sunlight. Leaving jerky in the sun can create condensation and moisture in the bag, which breeds mold. It’s also recommended to store at room temperature for best quality.

Keep it tightly sealed 

Tightly seal your jerky in an airtight container or keep it vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag. This helps keep it fresh.

Don’t freeze

You may be tempted to freeze your jerky if you made a bulk purchase, but this will only alter the taste and dry it out. 

Buy the best quality

Look for a jerky that is free of harmful chemicals like nitrates, nitrites, fillers, additives, or synthetic preservatives. Our beef jerky is preserved naturally using a salt and celery juice mix, ensuring only the best quality and freshness.

How Long Does Beef Jerky Stay Good After Opening?

Once you open a store-bought beef jerky, we recommend eating them within a day or two — ideally as soon as possible!

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How to Tell if Beef Jerky Is Still Good

If you’re in doubt, there are a few telltale signs your jerky has gone bad. It will likely have a rancid smell, have visible mold, or be darker and harder than it should be. If you notice any of these signs, we recommend throwing the jerky out and starting with a fresh new batch.

Our CHOMPS jerky is a healthy and portable snack with a long shelf life. Follow these tips for proper storage to enjoy the freshest-tasting jerky any time your next craving hits.

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Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Melissa Mitri, RD Melissa is a health writer with over 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She specializes in helping women move away from restrictive habits that lead to vicious yo-yo weight cycles. Melissa enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness with the goal of simplifying complex health topics for the reader. You can find out more about Melissa at www.melissamitri.com.