Is Beef Jerky Keto? It Depends

Is Beef Jerky Keto? It Depends

May 30, 2024 4 min read

Is Beef Jerky Keto? It Depends

Beef jerky is a popular American snack. You can buy it almost anywhere; it packs well and leaves little to no mess or dishes. That’s probably why new keto dieters are adamant about knowing whether or not beef jerky gets the green light in their diet regime.

In this article, we explore the research to determine whether or not beef jerky is keto-friendly, breaking down its nutritional profile, revealing the ideal serving size and best brands to opt for, and more. 

What is Beef Jerky?

We know beef jerky is a tasty, grab-and-go snack that you just can’t help but crave. Many Americans enjoy it, with over  132 million consuming beef jerky and other meat snacks in 2024. But what is it made of, anyway? 

Beef jerky is made from lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin, flank, or the top or bottom round. The meat is then marinated with flavorful sauces and spices to taste and then dried in an oven, dehydrator, or smoker. 

Can you Eat Beef Jerky on the Keto Diet?

Now, let's move on to the pressing question of whether or not you can eat beef jerky while observing the keto diet. Short answer—seasoned keto dieters say yes.

Beef jerky is touted by nutritionists as safe to consume on keto because it’s low-carb. Some brands are even entirely carb-free. 

Beef is a staple in the ketogenic diet regime, providing dieters with a good source of protein and fat while having zero carbohydrates. But when beef cuts are processed into jerky, manufacturers often add seasoning and sweeteners to give it that savory and sweet flavor. These additives are what you should watch out for. 

According to the  USDA’s FoodData Central, a 1-ounce serving of beef jerky has the following calorie, protein, fat, and carb content: 

  • Calories: 116 kcal
  • Protein: 9.4 grams
  • Fat: 7.26 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.12 grams 

Not all beef jerky products in the market will have the same nutritional profile. The carbohydrate content of beef jerky will ultimately depend on the ingredients and seasoning used, making it essential to be selective about the brands you choose to ensure you’re not exceeding your daily carb allowance. 

Aside from being a good source of protein and fat, the main macronutrients you need for the ketogenic diet, beef jerky can also supply your body with micronutrients like calcium, choline, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. 

How Much Beef Jerky Can You Eat on Keto?

The key to adding beef jerky to your ketogenic diet regime is to know exactly how much you can consume to stay true to your  daily macros. Generally, the keto requires 70-80% of your daily calories to come from fat, 10-20% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. 

How this will look will depend from person to person. Keto experts say you should limit your net carb consumption to less than 40 to 50 grams daily, but the exact amount will ultimately depend on factors like your body type, age, weight, and fitness levels. 

How much beef jerky you can eat will also depend on the brand you choose. Because different jerky brands will have unique nutritional profiles, it’s best to check the label and compute the carb content side-by-side with your daily carb allowance. 

What Brands of Beef Jerky are Keto Friendly?

Practitioners recommend looking for sugar-free beef jerky that you can add to your keto diet without consequences. 

Without sweeteners and sugar additives, the carb content of beef jerky remains relatively low, allowing you to enjoy it without guilt. Here are some that seasoned keto dieters swear by: 

  • Mojave Jerky Co. Hatch Green Chile: 80 calories, 2 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per 1-ounce serving. 
  • Gentleman’s Best Rosemary Steakhouse Beef Jerky: 85 calories, 2.25 grams of fat, 14.5 grams of protein, and <1 gram of carbs per 1-ounce serving. 
  • Cattaneo Bros. Chipotle Beef Jerky: 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 grams of protein, and <1 gram of carbs per 1-ounce serving. 
  • People’s Choice Old Fashioned Original Beef Jerky: 90 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per 1-ounce serving. 
  • Peak Pastrami Jerky: 50 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per 1-ounce serving. 

Ways to Eat Beef Jerky on Keto

Beef jerky is typically eaten as a snack, but keto dieters have found creative ways to add it to their meals to get more flavor and texture. Here are some ideas: 

  • Salad topping: Cut beef jerky into small pieces and sprinkle it on your salads to add more protein! 
  • Bacon substitute: If you run out of bacon, you can use beef jerky. 
  • Fat bombs: Combine cream cheese, butter, grated parmesan, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and coat with chopped beef jerky for a savory snack. 
  • Jerky and dip: Try dipping your beef jerky into a spinach dip, cheese, or any of your favorite keto-friendly dipping sauces. 


Phew! Your favorite grab-and-go snack is keto-friendly!

Generally low in carbs and packed with protein and fat, beef jerky is a savory addition to keto meals or as-is. Join other keto dieters in enjoying it. 

Just remember to be selective about the brand of beef jerky you choose to consume! Look for zero-sugar and low-carb options to enjoy beef jerky on keto without guilt. 

Is Beef Jerky Keto: Frequently Asked Questions

Is beef jerky high in carbs?

No, beef jerky is made of lean cuts of beef, which are naturally low in carbohydrates. However, the seasonings and sauces used to flavor beef jerky can increase its carb content. Look for brands that opt out of using sugar additives in their beef jerky to consume it on keto safely. 

Is jerky junk food?

Jerky is classified as processed meat. While it is low in carbohydrates and contains essential micronutrients, nutritionists recommend consuming it in moderation because of its sodium content.