Food drying (or dehydrating) is a method of preserving fruit, vegetables, and meat that has been practiced for centuries. Nowadays, there are Food Dehydrators to make it easy to dehydrate your foods with minimal effort from the comfort of your home.
We tested some recipes in a dehydrator and in our very own Air Fryer Oven using its Dehydrate setting. Continue below to read all you need to know about dehydrating and what it has to offer.
We used standard store-bought vegetables for this article. For each recipe, we measured the vegetables, cut them into strips/pieces, and placed them on the drying tray. Before dehydrating, we sliced apples into rings and then cubed them to measure 1 cup of apple pieces. Note that only the inner core is used – this is where the most nutrients are found. We removed the rest of the apple pieces (the peel) before placing them on the drying tray.
We also found that fresh herbs and spices are a great addition to dry foods, especially a nice parsley or a pinch of oregano.
Enjoy your new healthy lifestyle!
#1 Dehydrate Food with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. There are two popular methods to dehydrate food: in an air fryer or in a dehydrator. The latter is often seen in restaurants and homes, while the former is usually used for small batches of foods. When dehydrating food, you can choose to go with temperatures between 125°F to 165°F.
We suggest that you start with lower temperatures first to ensure that your food will not burn. Depending on the density of your food, check on it every hour. When the vegetables are not as crisp as you want, increase drying time or temperature levels. For soups or sauces, turn off the heat after they are cooked. Dehydrate them at around 125°F for about 10 hours until they are semi-dry. They will be ready to use in soups and stews.
#2 Dehydrate Apples with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate apples, cut the apple into rings first. We found that if you cut them into slices, they will not dry evenly. Place them on your drying tray at 125°F for about 5 hours until they are semi-dry. They will be ready to use in pies, tarts, jams, sauces, or fruit juices. You can also freeze apple pieces to use in smoothies.
#3 Dehydrate Cabbage with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate cabbage, cut it into half-inch thick strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch squares. Place them on your drying tray at 125°F for a few hours until they are semi-dry. They will be ready to use in soups and stews. You can also freeze cabbage pieces to use in smoothies.
#4 Dehydrate Garlic cloves with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate garlic, use a garlic press to extract as much garlic as you can from each clove so it dries fast and evenly. Place the garlic on the drying tray at 125°F for about 20 hours until it is semi-dry. They will be ready to use in soups, stews, and sauces. You can also freeze garlic pieces to use in smoothies.
#5 Dehydrate Eggs with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate eggs, fill a small bowl with water and place the eggs on your drying tray at 125°F for about 2 hours until they are semi-dry and slightly sticky. Now you can enjoy eating dried eggs as a healthy snack or add them to your favorite dishes such as pasta or omelettes. You can also freeze dried egg pieces to use in smoothies.
#6 Dehydrate Fruit with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. When dehydrating fruit, slice it into rings. We found that if you cut apples into slices, they will not dry evenly. Place them on your drying tray at 125°F for about 10 hours until they are semi-dry. They will be ready to use in pies, tarts, jams, sauces, or fruit juices. You can also freeze apple pieces to use in smoothies.
#7 Dehydrate Tomatoes with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. For both cherry and grape tomatoes, you can use a small bowl of water to float the tomato slices in. Cover them in cheesecloth (to prevent them from drying out) and place them on your drying tray at 125°F for about 7 to 10 hours until they are semi-dry. Now you can enjoy eating one of our all-time favorite foods – tomato soup! You can also freeze the tomatoes in small pieces (sliced or halved) to use in smoothies.
#8 Dehydrate Vegetables with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. Place these on your drying trays at 125°F for about 8 hours to 10 hours. They will be ready to use in soups and stews, or you can even dehydrate them for other dishes. You can also freeze the vegetables to use in smoothies or sauces.
#9 Dehydrate Fruit with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. Purée fruits in a food processor before placing them on your drying tray at 125°F for about 3-5 hours until they are semi-dry. Once the fruit has dried, you can either store it in an airtight container or freeze it. You can also freeze fruit in small pieces (sliced or halved) to use in smoothies or sauces.
#10 Dehydrate Soup with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To make a delicious cold soup, you can always add some of your dehydrated ingredients to this soup when making it in your air fryer or dehydrator. To make our Chicken Soup, place the pot on the stove with two cups of chicken broth and set your dehydrator to 125°F for about 2 hours until the soup is ready. Garnish it with chopped parsley before serving. You can also freeze soup in individual servings to use in smoothies or sauces.
#11 Dehydrate Meats with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. You can add meats such as lean beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey to soups and stews to add extra flavor and nutrients. To dehydrate these meats for soups and stews: place the meat on your drying tray at 125°F for 1 to 4 hours depending on the size of the meat pieces. You can also freeze the meats in small portions (sliced or cubed) to use in smoothies or sauces.
#12 Dehydrate Pasta with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate pasta for your favorite recipes, place it on your drying trays at 125°F for about 6 to 10 hours until the pasta is semi-dry. You can also freeze dried pasta pieces to use in sauces or soups.
#13 Dehydrate Meatballs with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To make meatballs, place them on your drying trays at 125°F for about 5 hours until they are semi-dry. You can also freeze meatballs to use in sauces or soups.
#14 Dehydrate Vegetables with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate vegetables, you can slice them and place them on your drying trays at 125°F for about 10 hours until they are semi-dry. You can also freeze the vegetables to use in sauces or soups.
#15 Dehydrate Vegetables with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To dehydrate vegetables, cut them into strips and place them on your drying trays at 125°F for about 7 to 10 hours until they are semi-dry. You can also freeze the vegetables to use in sauces or soups.
#16 Dehydrate Chicken Legs & Thighs with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To make chicken legs and thighs, you can marinate them for about 12 hours and then remove the meat from the bones and slice or cube it. Place it on your drying trays at 125°F for about 2 hours until it is semi-dry. You can also freeze chicken legs and thighs to use in smoothies or sauces.
#17 Dehydrate Chicken Wings with an Air Fryer or Dehydrator. To make chicken wings, you can first joint the wings with a sharp knife or poultry shears before placing them on your drying trays at 125°F for about 20 minutes until they are semi-dry. You can also freeze chicken wings to use in sauces or soups.
We hope that this article provided you with a great resource to use when cooking with your air fryer or dehydrator! These appliances are a perfect combination for preparing deli-quality foods at home. Now you can enjoy a variety of snacks and meals made from healthy ingredients.
If you want to learn how to create delicious, healthy dishes in your air fryer, check out our popular Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners. In this easy-to-follow book you will find recipes for appetizers, soups, main courses, desserts and snacks.
What is a Food Dehydrator and What Does It Do?
A food dehydrator dries (also known as dehydrates) your food. It uses a built-in fan and low heat to dry out food. The light flow of hot air reduces the overall amount of water found in fruits, veggies and other foods. Once all the water is removed from the foods, the food won’t spoil as quickly.
When we are trying to eat healthier, we go straight for fruit or vegetables. We think the dried fruit we see at the store is considered healthy. When in fact, it is filled with sugars, fats and other ingredients that are the exact opposite of healthy. That is why dehydrating your own food is the answer!
It is extremely healthy, because most of the time you are only using ONE ingredient (the food you are drying). When you use a dehydrator, you are in control and know exactly what ingredients are in your food and what you’re putting into your body. Dehydrating turns the simplest foods, like bananas or sweet potatoes and turns them into a healthy and delicious snack! Dehydrated food is a great alternative for junk foods, because it gives you that crunchy taste you are looking for.
It doesn’t stop at fruits and vegetables. You can make some tender beef jerky or herbs for seasoning any dish you wish! Dehydrated food, when properly stored (we’ll get to more on that later) can last much longer than any food you have in your pantry or fridge. So not only are you enjoying a healthy, tasty snack, but you are saving money too!
Which Airfryer can dehydrate?
If you have an airfryer that is not listed above, you can still dehydrate with it. You just have to be aware of the differences between the different models and what they were engineered to do.
For example, the GoWise 4-in-1 is a combination air frier and dehydrator. However, 1 large tray is all you get. With other air frier-dehydrators, you have several trays that hold smaller quantities of food at a time. If you are planning on drying very small quantities of just a couple of different fruits or snacks for your family, then this product may be right for you.
Another issue to take into account is how powerful the fan inside the air fryer will be. Does it have multiple speed options to accommodate for different size drying trays? The more powerful the fan, the better your food will dry out.
How do I dehydrate in my air fryer?
Dehydrating is very simple. Once you have your airfryer, food dehydrator or air oven, it’s just the simple process of putting food on the tray and setting it in the unit to dry!
Dehydrated fruits and veggies look just like they did when they were picked: almost like a Play-Doh toy with no color or texture.
This makes us not want to eat them because we think we wouldn’t know what they tasted like if we didn’t taste them raw. But, what you have to remember is that your body needs the nutrients from the fruit and veggie.
So, dehydrating them first can help to remove some of the flavor but keep all the nutrients intact. It also allows you to rehydrate them by putting them in a small bowl with water and microwaving for several minutes. Then, you can add it to any meal and enjoy!
Can I use my air fryer as a dehydrator?
While air fryers were originally designed to be a way to cook in a fraction of the time it usually takes to cook with a standard oven, many people have used them for more than just fried foods.
Because of the precise temperature control and dryness provided by an air fryer, it can be useful for dehydrating foods. You can get started with your own homemade jerky or fruit leather at home more easily than you may think.
If you are looking to make fruit leather, it is useful to purchase the heating unit separately. It is designed for vegetable dehydration. If you are looking to make your own jerky or fruit leather, this is typically built right into the unit.
Some people may want to re-use the original baking rack and cooking tray as a dehydrator, but make sure it is made of food grade materials. If the tray and rack are not made from food materials, they can break down and cause illness if they come in contact with various foods, such as meat or milk.
How does it work?
Most of these products were designed to be efficient and safe using a fan and low heat for dehydrating food.
You’ll notice that there is nothing to plug into the unit. This is because dehydrators do not use electricity. The heat and humidity they provide close to the dehydrating surface remove moisture through evaporation. Once they are dry, you can put them in sealing bags or glass jars.
When the food dries, it forms a crust on the surface which seals in the nutrients and flavors so your food can last longer. Because these trays are designed to be portable, you can take them to any location where you need delicious snacks or meals that are good for your health!
Is an air fryer a dehydrator?
The short answer is yes, an air fryer is a dehydrator. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has used an air fryer. You know exactly what you are getting when you buy an air fryer, but many people are unaware of the fact that they can be used to dehydrate food.
There are some very notable differences between the two, however. While they both use low heat and fan ventilation to remove moisture from your food, the end result is very different. With a dehydrator, you can see how dehydrated your food is because it will form a crust on the outside of it.
With the air fryer, you won’t necessarily see how dehydrated your food is. You can still dehydrate food in an air fryer, it just won’t look as dry as other dehydrators might. This does not mean that you should not follow the instructions for your air fryer when it comes to drying foods, however. If you use the settings recommended by the manufacturer, your foods will be perfectly dried and delicious!
While it may seem strange that people originally used an air fryer to dehydrate food, it does make sense logically. It was designed to use low heat and airflow like a dehydrator. Air frying is a great alternative to traditional cooking, and it’s much healthier for you and the environment in the long run because you don’t use oils to cook food when you use an air fryer.
Some people enjoy using their air fryers when they don’t want to use oil or grease at all. They like the taste and texture of foods without adding any fat to them! That’s why dehydrated foods offer such an easy way to get a healthy twist on that favorite dish!