Dehydrated apple slices are such a fantastic snack to have on hand. They are healthy, sweet and are easy to grab and go. You can dehydrate fresh apples from the store, from your local fruit stand or from your own apple trees if you have them!
There are many methods for dehydrating apples, and the best way is in a food dehydrator. To dehydrate your fresh apples, you will want to peel, core and slice apples thinly and set them to dry on a dehydrator for several hours.
That's the quick version, but if you want the best apple chips and apple rings to satisfy a sweet tooth in a healthy, crispy way, read on for our best apple chip tips.
There are many different varieties of apples ranging from tart to sweet, but which apples make the best dried apples?
When choosing an apple variety to dry, any apple will do. But if you want the best dried apples, those will be sweet and tart apples that hold their shape and have a great dried fruit texture. But don't worry, we will go over all of the details below.
How To Dehydrate Apples
It is easy and so rewarding when you are dehydrating apples since not only can use use dehydrated apples in your recipes and garnishes, but they also make a healthy, delicious snack.
You can try to air dry the apples, but we find that you just don't get the perfect amount of dehydration to make them into those crispy apple chips and apple rings that you know and love.
To get the best results in your dried, sliced apples, you are going to want to have a great dehydrator that moves warm air evenly over your fruit, you are going to want to choose the best apples to dehydrate and you are going to follow the steps for drying your apples below.
Let's get into it.
How A Dehydrator Works
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A dehydrator is a unique kitchen tool that can be used year round. It is great if you are a gardener who grows their own food, or for if you have fruit trees. Also a good tool if you loving making (or eating) preserved food such as dried apples and apple chips.
A dehydrator is easy to use and is a fantastic way to dry food and make delicious, healthy snacks.
With a dehydrator, you can dry:
A dehydrator preserves fruit, vegetables, herbs, berries and meat by drying them out via a heating element and a fan. These are located either behind the drying racks or below them, depending on the make and model.
When the dehydrator is turned on, heating element warms up and the fan blows the warm air over the food which causes the water content to evaporate. Because bacteria needs water to grow and multiply, removing the water content from food preserves it since the bacteria is not able to develop.
What To Look For In A Dehydrator
If you are thinking of purchasing or upgrading your dehydrator, it is best to purchase one where the fan and heating element are located at the back of the unit, as opposed to a dehydrator where the fan and heating element are underneath.
- When the fan and heating element are located at the back of the drying unit, the air flows more evenly over your drying racks.
- When the fan and heating element are located on the bottom of your dehydrator where you have to stack the racks vertically above them, you will have to rotate the racks to make sure your food is evenly dried.
The Best Dehydrator For Fruit
The best dehydrator for fruit is the Excalibur Dehydrator. This is truly a fantastic dryer model with many options in drying area.
You can choose from:
- 4 dehydrating trays
- 5 dehydrating trays
- 9 dehydrating trays
- 10 dehydrating trays
If you are trying to decide which model to buy, we suggest the 9 dehydrator tray Excalibur. You are going to find that 4 is not enough space no matter what you are drying, and for just a bit more money than the 5, you get almost double the area. This will give you the best bang for you buck.
This dehydrator brand has the heating element and the fan in the back of the unit, so your fruit will evenly dry out, and the dryness level will be consistent.
A great feature of this food dryer is that the temperature range is low enough to preserve active enzymes in the fruit and vegetables and is also high enough to meet safety standards for dehydrating meat for jerky.
The Excalibur is a favorite across many industries who dries fruit, vegetables, herbs and jerky.
The Best Apples to Dehydrate
The best apples to dehydrate are:
- Pink Lady apples
- Granny Smith apples
- Gala apples
- Honeycrisp apples
- Red Delicious
- Fuji apples
- Cortland apples
- Braeburn apples
- Macintosh apples (if you can pick them right from the tree)
It is very easy to dehydrate your own apples for food preservation if you have the right tools for a healthy, tasty and nutritious snack! We are going to share the best and easiest way to dry sliced apples with you step by step.
Should You Choose Organic Apples?
Organic apples are a great choice for dried apples as they do not use pesticides and herbicides to produce beautiful fruit that are appealing in a grocery store aisle. However, purchasing organic apples can be more expensive if they are available where you live. You can make dried apples and apple chips with any apple, as long as you give it a really good wash or you let your apples soak.
Steps For Drying Apples
Choose the apple you are going to dehydrate. If the apple you want to dry is not on our list above, not to worry! It is so fun to experiment, and of course your own personal preference will determine which is the best apple to dehydrate for you. So go ahead and try them all!
We have a printable chart for you to keep track of your favorite apples in the dehydrator. Write down the apple type, if you kept the skin on and how long you dehydrated it for plus how you would rate it.
Download the FREE Dehydrated Apple Log printable right here for your notebook or binder
Decide if you prefer to peel apples or if you want to keep the skin on them. We have found at our house that the kids prefer the apples when there is no skin on them, which works out well as we just run them through our apple peeler and corer.
What is awesome about the apple peeler we use, is that it takes the core right out and slices the apple into the perfect thickness for dehydrating.
See the apple peeler we use right here
*This apple peeler / apple corer is a must have if you plan on dehydrating a lot of apples, or if you like to make homemade apple pie. Also fantastic if you have kids who prefer peeled apple slices.
With your apple skins, you can set them into a bowl of sugar to make apple sugar! You can also compost them or give them to your chickens if you keep chickens as a sweet treat.
Cut your apples into slices if you are not using an apple peeler that cuts your apples. A sharp knife or a paring knife is great for this, aim for about 1/4" thick. They will reduce in size and thickness as the water evaporates from them during the drying process.
If there seems to be excess moisture on your apple slices, you can pat dry the tops of them with a paper towel.
Get your dehydrator ready. You do not have to spray your dehydrator with any non-sticking substance. Lay your apples flat on the dehydrator making sure there is a bit of room between each apple so you get a great air flow.
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Dehydrators that have the fan at the bottom will mean that the apples placed closest to the bottom will dry out more and faster, so make sure that halfway through the dehydration process, you flip your layers around.
The best food dehydrator for fruit will have the fan at the back of the dehydrator so each layer gets evenly dried and there is no need for flipping.
Read about the best dehydrators for fruit right here
Check price of the best dehydrator for fruit on Amazon here
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle or brush your apples with something sweet. You can add a little touch of extra flavor if you add sugar. I find it is easiest to put whatever you want to sprinkle your apples with in a bowl and add your apple slices. Toss gently to coat them.
Here are some added sugar choices you can lightly sprinkle or gently brush onto your apple slices for added flavor:
-pure maple sugar
-pumpkin pie spice
-cloves (very lightly)
Set your apples to start dehydrating. If your dehydrator has a numerical temperature setting, aim for 135 degrees for making dried apple chips and apple rings. We always get the best results at this temperature. Otherwise, set your dehydrator to either "low" or to the "fruit" setting for perfectly dried apples.
How Long To Dehydrate Apples For
How long should you dehydrate your apples for? Well that all depends on how crisp or how chewy you like them.
You can dry apples anywhere form 6 - 12 hours. If you like your dehydrated apples chewier and more flexible, go ahead and try one after about 6 hours.
If you want them crisp like apple chips, check your apples anywhere after 10 - 12 hours of dry time. Then let each apple slice cool and store them properly and you will enjoy crispy, dried apple chips or apple rings.
How To Store Dehydrated Apples
Once the apples are dried and are at your perfect doneness, they are ready to be eaten or stored in airtight containers. For storing dried fruit, keep them somewhere where they will stay dry. A Ziplock bag works well or a Mason jar. If you want to keep your dried apple slices for a longer time, you can vacuum seal them.
The key to keeping them in perfect condition is to keep them in any container as long as it is an airtight container.
Long Term Food Storage With A Vacuum Sealer
If you are wanting to make and store your own apple chips, apple rings and other dried snacks or fresh foods for longer, it's totally worth getting a vacuum sealer to further preserve your goods.
From coffee to fruit, vegetables, berries and meat, a vacuum sealer will allow your food to stay fresh for much longer.
For example: Fruit may stay fresh for 2-6 days in the fridge, but if it were vacuum sealed in the fridge it would stay fresh for weeks. If if it were dehydrated and then vacuum sealed, you would have that dried fruit for years.
The Best Vacuum Sealer
America's Test Kitchen did several tests on many different makes and models of vacuum sealers and they had a clear winner, and that was the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer.
The Nesco model:
- is easy to use
- performs beautifully
- has an automatic mode
- has a manual mode
- has a pulse feature
- has a gentle feature
- has an easy to use handle
- only weighs 6 pounds
- is not expensive
We especially love this vacuum sealer because of its great price for the high and consistent quality you get.
Long considered a favorite among professionals, the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer is a top choice for performance and price.
Summary For Drying Apple Slices
- It is very easy to dehydrate your own apples if you have the right tools
- 3 of the best apples to dehydrate are Gala, Honeycrisp and Fuji
- If you are thinking of purchasing or upgrading your dehydrator, it is best to purchase one where the fan and heating element are located at the back of the unit, as opposed to underneath
- To dry the apples, peel if you don't want apple skin, slice evenly and lay flat on your dehydrating racks with space between slices. Brush with any spices or sugars if you want, then turn your dryer to 135 F or low for 6 - 12 hours, checking for consistency preference after 6 hours to make sure they are dried evenly
- To store apples for food preservation try an airtight container or Mason jars
- For longer shelf life of dried apple chips, make sure they are properly dried and run them through a vacuum sealer to keep them for years
- Eat apple chips as a great snacks or add them to pancake batters, cakes, muffins, trail mixes or more
Here are some other questions people are asking about dehydrating apples:
How long do apples take in a dehydrator?
If your dehydrator is set to either 135 degrees or the the fruit setting, dried apples can take anywhere from 6 - 12 hours depending on preference to dehydrate.
How long do dehydrated apples last?
Dehydrated apples last approximately 6 months if stored properly in an airtight bag or container. If the apples are dried for a long time, like 12 hours, and are crisp, this 6 month time period can extend to about 9 months. If your dried apples are vacuum sealed and frozen, they can last up to a year.
Do apples need to be peeled to dehydrate?
You do not have to peel your apples to dehydrate them. This is completely a matter of preference as the apple peel might be a bit chewier and have a different flavor from the apple flesh. If you do not want this, then go ahead and peel your apples before dehydrating.
What is the best apple for dehydrating?
Our favorite apple for dehydrating is a fresh Gala apple. Any apple can be dehydrated, and every apple will give you a different texture and flavor depending on how long you dehydrate it for.
The best thing to do is keep a log of the different apples you dehydrate, and give them a rating out of ten and the temperature you dried them at. It is easy to forget the apples you really liked in the dehydrator.
What temperature do you dehydrate apples?
If you have a numerical setting on your dehydrator, the best temperature to dry your apples is 135 degrees. Otherwise, set your dehydrator to low or to the fruit setting.
What is the best fruit to dehydrate?
Apples are our absolute favorite fruit to dehydrate, but there are so many different amazing fruits you can dehydrate.
The best fruit to dehydrate includes:
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