We all remember the chicken jerky dog treat concerns several years ago–one reason that I prefer to make chicken jerky for our dogs rather than purchasing chicken jerky for dogs. It’s quick and easy to make at home in your oven and requires only one ingredient.
Homemade jerky chews also have the advantage of letting you customize the thickness and chewiness of the chew based on your own dog. If you have a senior who might be missing some teeth, you can create a softer chew. Are you sharing your home with a young chewing machine? You can create a tougher chew, all for a fraction of the price you’d pay for chews in the store.
Chicken Jerky is made from thin strips of chicken slow baked to almost the point of crispness. The most time-consuming part is the slicing of the chicken; after that, just allow a few hours to bake the chicken to jerky chewiness. If your dog loves jerky, dont miss our turkey jerky recipe!)
How to Make Chicken Jerky for Dogs
All you’ll need to make chicken jerky treats for your dog is chicken breasts (I like the deboned chicken tenderloins to make things easier), a cookie sheet, and an oven.
1 pound chicken breasts
- Preheat oven to 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit or lowest temperature setting.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet, using one with a slight edge because there will be water and juices from the chicken during the first hour of cooking.
- Slice chicken breasts in strips no more than ¼-inch thick.
- Place slices on a greased cookie sheet, leaving at least a ½-inch between slices.
- Bake for two hours. After two hours, check the slices and see if they’re dry.
- Continue baking until slices appear very dried.
- When done, remove the treats from the oven and cool on a drying rack.
- When the treats are completely cool, bag in zippered bags or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Tips for making jerky dog treats
It’s easier to slice the chicken when it’s semi-frozen rather than completely thawed; you can use the heel of your hand on the knife to “chop” the slices rather than trying to saw through thawed meat.
Slice with the grain of the chicken, rather than against it; this will make the treats a little chewier and make them last a LITTLE bit longer when you give them to your dogs.
You don’t want the chicken to be crispy to the point of snapping but you do want the pieces to be very chewy.
If you cook more than a pound of chicken, you’ll need to add extra baking time .
If you don’t have a drying rack, just flip over a dish drainer and drape with a dish towel. Put your treats on the towel to cool. The object is to get the treats up off the metal cookie sheets so they’ll cool crispier. A wicker basket flipped over and draped with a dish towel work work great, too.
Be warned, though: these are VERY popular treats…they’ll go fast! (Cats also love them!)
This article was first published in May 2010.