How to Make Perfect Oven-Dried Cherries

oven-dried cherries in a bowl
To make the perfect oven-dried cherries, wash and pit the cherries. Arrange them in single layers cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dry cherries in a preheated oven at 170°F for 6 to 9 hours.

How to Dry Cherries in an Oven

Many people think they have to have a food dehydrator to make dried fruit at home, but unless you plan to dry fruit frequently, your oven can get the job done.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dry cherries in the oven:

  1. Before you get started, select fresh cherries without any blemishes.
  2. Wash the cherries and drain them in a colander.
  3. Remove and discard the stems.
  4. Pit your cherries using a cherry pitter to make the task easier.
  5. Preheat your oven to 170°F or the lowest setting.
  6. Line baking sheets with a layer of parchment paper.
  7. Cut the pitted cherries into halves and arrange them on the baking sheets with the cut side up. Make sure the pitted cherry halves aren’t touching to ensure proper ‌airflow.
  8. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape.
  9. Dehydrate the cherries in the oven for 6 to 9 hours. Cherry halves dry faster than whole cherries, so keep an eye on them. Rotate the trays every 2 to 3 hours and flip the cherries, if necessary, to ensure even drying.
  10. Turn off the heat and open the oven. Let your oven-dried cherries cool for 20 to 30 minutes and test them for dryness. Fully dried cherries are as hard as raisins and slightly pliable with a leathery appearance.
  11. Store the dried cherries in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

What is the Best Temperature to Dehydrate Cherries in an Oven?

The best temperature for dehydrating cherries in the oven ranges from 150°F or 170°F, or the lowest oven setting. If you raise the temperature, the cherries will cook instead of drying. A better way to reduce the drying time is by cutting the cherries in half instead of dehydrating them whole.

It takes up to 9 hours to dehydrate cherries in the oven at 170°F. At 200°F, they may be done in as few as 6 hours but have a higher risk of cooking or burning.

Plate with whole and halved cherries
Halving cherries

Is it Better to Oven Dry Cherries or Use a Food Dehydrator?

You can use either a food dehydrator or a kitchen oven to dehydrate cherries. It comes down to personal preferences and what equipment you have available.

The oven method is a simple way to dry fresh cherries and other fruits and veggies without having to buy a dehydrator or any other special equipment. While you can dehydrate cherries in the oven, you have to keep a closer eye on them because ovens operate at higher temperatures.

Drying cherries in a dehydrator
Drying cherries

Top Dehydrating Tips for Oven-Dried Cherries

Here are some expert tips for making the perfect oven-dried cherries:

  • Slice the cherries in half to reduce the drying time.
  • Dry cherries in the oven at its lowest temperature setting.
  • Keep the oven door partially open to maintain a lower temperature and to allow moisture to escape.
  • Keep a close eye on the cherries during the drying process and flip them as necessary.
  • Once fully dried, remove the cherries from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes before storing them in airtight containers.

How to Use Oven-Dried Cherries

Dried cherries are a great addition to various dishes and are a healthy snack on their own!

  • Use oven-dried cherries in various cherry recipes, including salad and granola.
  • Rehydrate dried cherries and add them to smoothies or mix them into yogurt or ice cream.
  • Diced dried cherries can be mixed into quinoa with dried figs and red wine vinegar for a delightful side dish.
  • Consider topping pulled pork sandwiches with a reduction made from dried cherries!
  • Add dried cherries to baked goods or as a topping for homemade chocolates.
Dark and white chocolate bark with dried cherries and almond topping
Chocolate bark with dried cherries

How Often Do You Need to Check on Cherries While Drying in an Oven?

When drying cherries in an oven, you should check on them frequently. Flip the fruit every 3-4 hours during the drying process. Cherries can burn easily burn while drying, so check on them every 30 minutes, especially near the end of the dehydration time.

Do You Need to Pit Fresh Cherries When Drying Them in an Oven?

Yes, you need to pit fresh cherries before drying them in the oven. You can do this by slicing each cherry in half with a sharp knife or using a cherry pitter to make the job easier and faster.

If you don’t have a cherry pitter or a sharp knife, you can use a DIY drinking straw pitter. Simply remove the stem and hold each cherry between the forefinger and thumb with the stem end pointing up. Press the drinking straw into the cherry to force the pit out.

Bowl of pitted cherries
Pitted cherries

Best Method for Storing Dried Cherries

Store dried cherries in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Dried cherries stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator have a shelf life of 12 months.

You may also store dehydrated cherries in your freezer for 3-4 years but consider using dried cherries within 18 months for the best taste and highest quality.

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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