Dehydrated chicken is great for long-term storage or as a shelf-stable meal solution for backpacking, camping, or hiking. To make dehydrated chicken, cut pre-cooked chicken into small pieces and then dry them at 165°F for 5 to 7 hours. Store dehydrated chicken or chicken jerky in an airtight container.
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What’s the Best Way to Dehydrate Chicken?
The best way to dehydrate chicken is to dry it in a food dehydrator at a high temperature. This speeds up the dehydrating process and makes the meat safe to eat.
It is best to pre-cook the chicken in a pressure cooker rather than cooking it by frying it or baking. Pressure-cooked dehydrated chicken rehydrates better, and retains more flavor than chicken cooked in any other way.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dehydrate chicken in a food dehydrator:
- Cook your chicken using a pressure cooker until the internal temperature hits 165°F. Pressure cooking chicken only takes a few minutes.
- Cut your pressure-cooked chicken into 1/4-inch thick cubes or strips. Remove and discard any excess fat.
- Place your chicken pieces between two pieces of parchment paper and use a mallet or meat hammer to flatten the chicken pieces. This tenderizes the meat and will help the meat rehydrate later.
- Place your chicken in the dehydrator trays. Make sure the chicken strips do not touch each other.
- Dehydrate chicken in the dehydrator at 165°F for 5 to 7 hours. The chicken will be fully dehydrated when dry to the touch and snaps when bent.
- Let the chicken cool before storing it in an airtight container.
- Rehydrate the chicken by pouring boiling chicken broth or water over it.
Does Chicken Jerky Have to Be Cooked Before Dehydrating?
Yes. Chicken should be cooked before dehydrating.
When making chicken jerky at home, you must ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F before consuming it. The easiest way to do this is to cook the chicken before dehydrating it.
Preheat an oven to 300°F and place your chicken strips on parchment lined baking trays. Allow the strips to remain in the oven for around 10 minutes or until they reach 165°F. Then, place your chicken strips in a dehydrator and allow them to dry.
You can skip pre-cooking if your food dehydrator goes over 165°F, but most food dehydrators only reach a maximum of 160°F (70°C), which is not high enough to kill bacteria.
Is it Safe to Dehydrate Raw Chicken Breast?
Raw chicken breast can be dangerous because of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. It is not safe for people to consume dehydrated raw chicken breast.
Can Dehydrated Raw Chicken Breast Be Fed to Dogs?
You can dehydrate raw chicken breast for use as dog food as long as the dehydrator temperature reaches 170°F. If your dehydrator does not reach this temperature, you can pre-cook the chicken before dehydrating it.
Here are the steps to follow when dehydrating chicken breasts for your dog:
- Freeze the chicken breasts for 1 or 2 hours until semi-frozen.
- Remove them from the freezer, remove any visible fat, and slice into thin strips.
- Arrange the chicken strips on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 170°F until the chicken jerky is completely dry and the strips reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
Can You Dehydrate Chicken without a Dehydrator?
Yes, you can dehydrate chicken in a conventional oven if you don’t have a dehydrator at home. However, you will need to set the oven temperature to its lowest setting.
It is important to know that your oven’s lowest temperature is likely still warmer than a dehydrator’s hottest setting. So your chicken is likely to cook rather than dehydrate. You can avoid this problem by cycling your oven on and off to maintain the dehydrating temperature.
To dehydrate chicken in an oven, follow these steps:
- Place your chicken strips on a baking sheet. If you brined the chicken, pat it dry using paper towels.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the oven door partially open to ensure proper air circulation.
- Cook your chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Flip your chicken strips periodically and cycle your oven on and off to maintain a steady temperature around 170°F. Use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature.
- You’ll know your chicken is fully dehydrated once it is has a slight snap when broken. This takes roughly 4 to 5 hours.
It’s important to note that dehydrating chicken in an oven takes a bit longer than it would take to dry in a dehydrator.
What Temperature Do You Dehydrate Chicken?
The ideal temperature for dehydrating chicken is 165°F.
The overall dehydrating process for chicken should take about 5 to 7 hours. However, you should refer to your food dehydrator’s user manual for precise directions for dehydrating meat.
What are the Benefits of Dehydrating Chicken?
DIY dehydrated chicken offers many amazing benefits:
- Dehydrated chicken is a great protein source without a lot of calories.
- Dehydrating chicken doesn’t affect the flavor and allows for longer shelf-life.
- Homemade dried chicken is packed with nutrients to promote good health.
- It is a lightweight food great for backpacking and camping.
- It is a quick and inexpensive way to preserve your food.
How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Chicken?
The time it takes to dehydrate chicken depends on the thickness of the pieces, the method used for dehydrating and the humidity of the environment. The drying time ranges from 5 to 7 hours for chicken breast tenders. To ensure your chicken is dried quickly, cut it into smaller pieces, and ensure it is blotted with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible before dehydrating.
Storage and Shelf Life of Dehydrated Chicken
Let your dehydrated chicken come to room temperature after dehydrating, and use paper towels to eliminate any excess moisture before storing it. Properly stored chicken jerky can last up to 14 days at room temperature and up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
Store dried chicken in an airtight container or mylar bag. You can also preserve it by using a vacuum sealer and vacuum storage bags. To ensure the best quality, store in a cool, dry place.