So, you’ve got your first dehydrator and don’t know where to start, or you need to jumpstart your creative juices to find new things to dehydrate. I’ve got 101+ dehydrating recipes and techniques for you!
Dehydrating or drying foods is a perfect way to preserve foods that are more easily stored than canned varieties. This process is easy to integrate into meals or pack for hiking/camping/emergency foods. In this article, you will find a variety of dried and dehydrated recipes. While most recipes call for a dehydrator, there are other options such as the oven or air drying.
Use your choice of foods to make a food storage inventory that allows you to build the basics of meals that don’t need cooking. In the case of an emergency, you’ve got ready-made meals that can be reconstituted with hot water heated by your fireplace, a rocket stove, a camp range, or even a fire pit or grill in the backyard.
Different Methods to Dehydrate Food
Before I share food dehydrating recipes, let’s talk about how to make dehydrated food. There are several ways you can dehydrate your food.
Make Dehydrated Food in the Oven
First, you can use an oven. Preheat the oven to 145 degrees for your ingredients to turn out crisp and tasty. But if you’re dehydrating meat – such as homemade jerky and beef – we recommend increasing the temperature to 150 degrees. You can use parchment paper for this process, it works particularly well with fruit leather recipes, too. When using an oven to dehydrate the food, it usually takes around six to eight hours. If you’re in a rush, you can increase your oven’s temperature, although the food won’t dry as thoroughly or taste as flavorful.
Cut your ingredients into thin slices – around ¼ inch each, and add to the oven.
Use a Toaster Oven
Alternatively, you can use a toaster. Set your toaster oven to its lowest temperature, and keep the oven door slightly ajar. During the time your ingredients are in the oven, keep a watchful eye on them. This is the best strategy to ensure you’re left with thoroughly dehydrated food.
Dehydrate Your Food in the Sun
Another option and the most energy efficient is to dry your food on trays in the sun. Slice your ingredients, place on parchment paper and leave out to dry. Depending on the temperature, this process can take several days to dry your ingredients thoroughly. Use a thin material on top of the dehydrated food to keep insects and flies away.
Use a Microwave
Finally, another process to achieve dehydrated food is with a microwave. However, to dry food this way, carefully consider the foods you use, as this process can take longer than using an oven or dehydrator.
How to Dehydrate Fruit
The best dehydrator recipes produce healthy, pleasant-tasting foods which make a great snack. To improve the taste of your dehydrated food and make the process user-friendly, focus on the preparation before dehydrating.
First, rinse your fruit with cold water – not boiling water. Once cleaned, blot the food dry using parchment paper before adding to trays. Ensure the fruit is thoroughly dry before placing in a dehydrator.
Alternatively, soak the fruit in ¼ cup lime juice and 1 cup water. As a general rule of thumb remember that the thinner you cut your fruit, the less liquid you’ll need, and the less time the fruit will take to dehydrate. Cut the fruit into thin slices. Place parchment paper onto the trays and add the fruit on top. In an average food dehydrator, fruit takes around six hours to dehydrate completely.
To confirm that it’s dehydrated correctly, pinch the fruit to see if any moisture squeezes out. If moisture comes out, the fruit isn’t properly dehydrated. It’s essential that you cut your fruit evenly so that the entire batch finishes at the same time.
What Foods Can You Dehydrate?
There’s an abundance of fruits and vegetables you can dehydrate.
First, apples are a great go-to because they dry easily, and you can even achieve an added crunch if you freeze them. Strawberries will also please your taste buds, and make a great snack for in front of the TV, or for children to take to school. Keep in mind that this fruit doesn’t maintain its sweetness once dehydrated. Blackberries make a great snack or addition to your meal as well. You can even add this fruit to your dried cereal for a healthy and delicious start to the day. Try adding some excitement to your taste buds with pineapple. This fruit dries exceptionally well, although pineapples can lose their sweetness once dry. A way to combat this is by adding sugar once the fruit is dry.
Why not take things to another level with homemade jerky? Ensure you begin with a slice of jerky with as little fat on it as possible. Not only does this make the result healthier, but ensures that the homemade jerky properly dehydrates. Play around with a new sauce to create a homemade jerky marinade recipe the whole family will love.
Dehydrating beef and other meat is an option, too. Ensure that the beef is pre-cooked before you begin to quicken the process. You don’t have to buy fresh beef to dehydrate, because you can use any leftover food from your Sunday roast dinner. Slice up the meat and add it to a dehydrator.
Tools You’ll Need to Dehydrate
- Oven – you can dehydrate many foods with an oven set to its lowest setting with the door propped open. Most of these recipes call for a dehydrator, but many also give oven instructions too. The oven takes a little less time because it’s hotter (thus keep the door propped open)
- Hook – many herbs don’t need anything more than being gathered and hung to dry.
- Dehydrator – I use both an Excalibur Dehydrator and a Nesco FD-80 (see the information at the end). There are many varieties, so choose one that has temperature controls you can adjust the heat on.
- Knife or mandolin – cutting vegetables and fruit in equal sizes is essential for dehydrating. If you have limited foods, just a knife will suffice. But if you have a ton of food or want skinny slices, a mandolin is a great tool (please be sure to use the cutting guard!).
Let’s get to it, shall we?
101+ Dehydrator recipes & tips for:
Tomato Powder – creating tomato powder from skins to use in addition to food or make a paste with
Vegetable Chips (different than a snack..powerhouse packing food)
Vegetable Powder – great for using bits of things up, and then adding to food to boost flavor and nutrition
Herbs & Spices
* (these aren’t necessarily good for long-term storage because of the oils added to them, but they make great snacks!)
Carrot Straws (the oil is the only thing keeping these from being included in basic dehydration for long term storage)
Curried Baked Carrot Chips (these can also be dehydrated, though won’t be as crisp)
Dehydrate using an oven
Obviously, there are many, many more that we don’t have time to cover – and I’ll add to it over time for major ones that I’ve missed. I hope this helps!
How to Choose a Food Dehydrator
Are you excited to try these food dehydrator recipes? If so, you’ll require a food dehydrator you can trust.
Consider a dehydrator with stacking trays as these include a fan mounted in the base. This feature helps to filter air through the dehydrator and out of the machine. This enables the trays to rotate for even distribution. As the food dehydrator rotates on its own, this makes the dehydration process more convenient for the user.
Another essential factor to consider is that the food dehydrator maintains a consistent temperature throughout the operation. If you set the dehydrator to 95 degrees, you want it to maintain that temperature for an even and thorough distribution. You can monitor this with an external thermometer.
Size of the Food Dehydrator
Finally, bear in mind the dehydrator’s size compared to your kitchen. If you’re happy to store it atop your units, make sure that it’s not too bulky.
HOW TO STORE DRIED DEHYDRATED PRODUCTS:
I used to store dehydrated products in glass mason jars. They were convenient and they looked pretty in my pantry. Then there was the time I dropped a jar full of mushroom powder. I couldn’t be sure that it was safe from glass shards, so I tossed it. What a waste! That was a lot of mushroom work gone to waste. So I’ve since come up with a better solution.
Because so much of what I do involves powders and tiny flakes, I use my vacuum sealer on those items.
You can still store dehydrated foods in mason jars, just be extra careful you don’t drop it and have all your hard work go to waste.
My Favorite Dehydrating Resources
If you want to know about foods to avoid dehydrating, check out this post for all the information.
And if you’re wanting to know about foods you should not dehydrate? Check out this post for all the information.
And as an FYI – here is what I do all of my dehydrating with:
- Adjustable thermostat (95-160º F)
- Powerful Top Mounted Fan. 700 watts of drying power
- Expandable to 8 trays. (Outside Tray Dimension 14.5 x 14.5 x 1)
I have recently invested in an Excalibur Dehydrator (I purchased mine from here with free shipping). I still love the Nesco, and always will because I think it’s a fantastic machine in the under $70 crowd, but I do love the Excalibur and I’ll review it soon.
- 5-YEAR Limited Coverage
- COMPACT - The 2400 dehydrator is a 4-Tray dehydrator with four square feet of drying space
- THE PERFECT STARTER - The Economy dehydrator performs like larger models and is a great starter to try out dehydrating
Another wonderful resource to have is The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook:
While I love having so much available to me online, sometimes, I really do prefer a hard copy of a resource. This is not only for times without power, but sometimes I just like to take notes in the margins, put in bookmarks (see the tabs on the book? Lots and lots of great ideas), and only a good book will do. The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook is worth it. You can purchase it here or read a review of the book here.
Here’s more info you’ll find helpful:
Find more dehydrating recipes on my Dehydrating Pinterest Board: