An Apple a Day: How to Dehydrate Apples for Snacks & Recipes

dehydrated apple slices in bowl
The best way to dehydrate apples is to dry them in a food dehydrator to ensure even-drying. Prepare your apples by washing them and removing the seeds. Slice apples into 1/8” thick slices and place in single layers in a food dehydrator or a baking sheet in an oven set to 135°F for 6-10 hours until fully dried. Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

Dehydrated apples remain one of the most healthy snacks for kids and adults and are one of the best fruits to dehydrate. You’ll love them whether you make them chewy or crisp for their intensified apple flavor!

In this guide, you’ll learn how to dehydrate apples in multiple ways and how to use them creatively to enjoy their enhanced flavor!

3 Ways to Dehydrate Apples

You can dehydrate apples in several ways, but the three most popular methods are in a food dehydrator, oven, and naturally in the air.

How to Dehydrate Apples in a Food Dehydrator

Drying apples in a dehydrator is the quickest method for producing dried apples that are more chewy rather than crispy.

Here are the steps to follow to dry apples in a dehydrator.

  1. Clean the apples under running water using bare hands or a soft brush if they have any soil on them.
  2. Dry the apples using a kitchen cloth or paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Use an apple corer to remove the cores. If you wish to peel your apples, use a vegetable peeler to carefully remove the skins.
  4. Use a mandolin slicer or sharp knife to slice the fresh apples into 1/4-1/8 inch-thick apple rings, chips, or slices.
  5. Pretreat the apple slices in a solution made with ascorbic acid, lemon juice, citric acid, or saltwater. This will help preserve them and ensure oxidation doesn’t occur. Soak the slices for 10 minutes. If you soak them in citric acid, rinse them before putting them in the dehydrator. No rinsing is needed if you soak them in the other pretreatment liquids.
  6. Use paper towels to remove excess pretreatment liquid on the apple slices. The more moisture you remove in this step, the less time it will take them to dry.
  7. Place the slices in a single layer on dehydrator trays with enough spaces between them for air circulation.
  8. Dehydrate the apples for 6-12 hours at 135°F until fully dry. The total time for drying will depend on the dehydrator load, size of apple slices, and moisture content of the apples.
  9. Spread the dehydrated apple slices on a cooling rack to cool for 30-60 minutes, then test them for dryness. They will be dry when they have no visible moisture if you squeeze them or when they become pliable. To make dried apple chips, they should snap when you bend them.
  10. Condition the dry apples in sealed containers for 1-2 weeks before long-term storage when they are fully dry.
Sliced green apple in round food dehydrator
Apple slices in a food dehydrator

How to Dry Apples in an Oven

Drying apples in an oven results in crispier apple slices, but you must check on them regularly to avoid burning them.

To dehydrate apples in an oven, follow the steps below:

  1. Prep the apples by rinsing, drying, de-seeding, coring, slicing, pretreating, and drying off the excess pretreatment liquid from your prepared apples.
  2. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting, which could be 125°F or 150°F.
  3. Arrange the apple slices on oven trays lined with parchment paper or baking sheets.
  4. Dry the apples for 1.5-3 hours, depending on moisture content, oven load, humidity, and thickness of the slices. If you have a conventional oven, open the door a bit to enhance air circulation and to allow moisture to escape.
  5. Flip the slices over after an hour to dry the other side.
  6. Cool the dried apples and put them in sealed containers or ziplock bags for conditioning before long-term storage in vacuum-sealed containers.

How to Air-dry Apples

Air-drying apples results in chewier, softer apples with a soft leathery feel.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to dry your apples naturally in the air.

  1. Prep the apples by rinsing, drying, de-seeding, coring, slicing, pretreating, and drying off the excess pretreatment liquid from your prepared apples.
  2. String the apple slices on thread and hang them horizontally to dry in a dry location inside the house. You will want to ensure that the apple slices do not touch each other.
  3. Speed up drying by setting an air fan to blow air over the slices. The apples will dry to chewy in 3-7 days, depending on the prevailing humidity, the size of the slices, and the moisture content of the apples.
  4. Remove the dry apples and store or refrigerate them immediately. (Note that air-dried apples may not be consistently dry, hence the need for immediate storage or refrigeration.)
A single piece of twine, threaded through the center of apple slices to hang them.
Air-drying apples

How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Apples?

It takes 6-12 hours to dehydrate apples in a food dehydrator, 1.5-3 hours in an oven, and 3-7 days in the air with the help of an air fan.

As mentioned, the total drying time depends on the moisture content of the apples, prevailing humidity, the size of the slices, and the amount of apples to be dried. Prep time will vary depending on whether you wish to peel them.

If you intend to use the dried apples as a snack, leave them unpeeled to preserve color, vitamins on the skin, texture, and fiber. Peel the apples if you’ll bake them or use them to make dried applesauce.

Do You Have to Soak Apples Before Dehydrating?

You have to pretreat apples before dehydrating them by soaking them in saltwater, lemon juice solution, ascorbic acid solution, or citric acid water for 10 minutes.

Making a solution is easy. Mix two tablespoons of ascorbic acid powder and four cups or one quart of water to make the ascorbic acid solution. Make a lemon juice solution by mixing equal parts lemon juice and water. For citric acid water, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid powder in 2 cups of water.

Soaking apples helps prevent oxidation, preserve color (prevent browning), and preserves vitamins and flavor.

glass of water and a scoop of ascorbic acid powder next to each other.
Ascorbic acid powder solution

Best Apples to Use for Dehydrating Apples

Any type of apple can be dried but some varieties produce better-tasting dried apples than others.

The best sweet apple varieties to dry for intensified sweetness include Ambrosia, Kiku, Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Cortland, and Fuji apples.

The best acidic or tart varieties of apples to dry for intensified tanginess include Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonagold, and McIntosh apples.

Besides sweetness and tartness, the best drying apples should be dense and firm. Juicier and softer apples lose shape more than firm ones when dried. Look for firm varieties if you can find them, such as McIntosh, Pink Lady, and Fuji.

Rehydrating Dehydrated Apples

While you can eat your dried apples as dry apple chips or slices, rehydrating them is necessary for some recipes. Rehydrated apples are ideal in apple pies, dried applesauce, strudels, and bread.

Rehydrate apples by soaking them in plain hot water for an hour or in hot apple juice for one hour. Use one cup of hot soaking liquid for one cup of dried apple slices.

Tips for Crispy Dehydrated Apples

To produce crispier dehydrated apples, your best option is to dry them in an oven at the lowest temperature for 3 hours. Any duration less than two hours and your apples will be chewy rather than crispy.

Regardless of the drying method, ensure you slice your apples evenly into 1/4-1/8-inch slices for uniform drying.

Storage and Shelf Life of Dehydrated Apples

Dehydrated apples remain viable for 1-2 weeks in simple sealed airtight containers at room temperature.

The best way to keep dried apples intact for 6-8 months is to store them at room temperature in vacuum-sealed containers, such as mason jars and plastic bags. Put a moisture-absorbent desiccant packet in the jar or bag to extend the shelf-life.

Keep the apples in labeled containers in a cool, dry, dark place.

You can extend the shelf life of dehydrated apple chips or slices to up to one year by keeping them frozen in a freezer. Place the apples in a ziplock bag, then put the bag in an airtight and watertight freezer-safe container.

Alternatively, reduce the chances of damage by storing them in a few different containers rather than one that you’ll open frequently.

3 Exciting Ways to Use Dehydrated Apples

There are many ways to use dehydrated apples. Try making dried apple sauce, apple oatmeal cookies, and fried apple pies!

1. Dried Apple Sauce

This recipe results in a versatile sweet sauce you can spoon over various dishes alongside cinnamon. Try the applesauce with vanilla yogurt, dried fruits, ricotta cheese, pork, chicken, and yummy cakes.

2. Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Chopped dried apples are ideal for adding a great twist to oatmeal cookies. Both sweet and tart apples will complement the earthy and nutty flavor of oats. Add some warmth to the cookies using ground cinnamon.

3. Fried Apple Pies

These fried apple pies will take your tastebuds straight to the county fair! You can make the pies more enticing by adding chopped raisins, orange zest, or sweetened cranberries with your dried apple!

Alex Maina

Preserving food has become a meeting point for Alex's passions—gardening, cooking, and writing. Having grown up on a farm with cows, goats, chickens, and fresh fruits and vegetables, Alex knows the importance of preserving food for leaner times. He spends his time drying and canning foods, trying new recipes, and writing for Dehydrated Cookbook.

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