The Best Temperature for Dehydrating Foods Safely

woman setting oven temperature
The temperature for dehydrating is important to preserve food safely. Fruits should be dehydrated at 125°F-135°F, vegetables at 120°F-140°F, and meats at 160°F. Maintaining these temperatures over an extended period of time preserves nutrients while removing moisture and killing harmful bacteria.

What is the Best Temperature to Dehydrate Food?

The best temperature to dehydrate food depends on the type of food. Most foods are dehydrated between 120°F-160°F.

Here are the ideal temperature ranges for dehydrated foods:

Type of FoodTemperature
Dried goods135°F – 140°F
Fruits125°F – 135°F
Herbs95°F – 115°F
Meat145°F – 160°F
Vegetables120°F – 140°F

Does the Temperature Matter When Dehydrating Food?

Yes – the temperature matters when dehydrating food.

Dehydrating food at too high a temperature can kill the healthy enzymes and vitamins that are present in your food and disrupt the pH level of the product.

Dehydrating food at lower temperatures can cause food not to dry thoroughly and create an environment that allows bacteria to thrive. The proper temperature is vital to ensuring a safe dehydration process for food preservation.

Does Temperature Fluctuate in a Dehydrator?

The temperature within a dehydrator can fluctuate throughout the drying time. This is due to the evaporation of moisture content in the food.

As the food dries, the amount of moist air decreases, and the temperature within the machine stabilizes.

Food dehydrators with better fans and airflow will experience less fluctuation, as they are pulling in dry air from the outside and constantly reducing the build-up of humidity within the machine.

Dehydrating Fruit Temperature Chart

Fruit is best dried at lower temperatures due to the natural sugar and moisture content they contain. To lower drying time, consider slicing whole fruits into pieces.

Type of FruitTemperature
Apples125°F – 135°F
Blueberries125°F – 135°F
Cranberries125°F – 135°F
Fruit Leather140°F – 145°F
Grapes125°F – 135°F
Pears125°F – 135°F
Raspberries125°F – 135°F
Strawberries125°F – 135°F
Dried banana, cherries, mango and apples slices.
Dehydrated fruits

Dehydrating Meat and Fish Temperature Chart

Many types of meat and fish require cooking prior to dehydration for food safety.

Be sure to follow food safety guidelines and the manufacturer’s instructions for your food dehydrator to ensure it reaches the proper temperature.

Type of MeatTemperature
Beef jerky145°F
Ground beef145°F

Dehydrating Vegetables Temperature Chart

Most vegetables will require blanching for 3-5 minutes before dehydrating. Ensure all excess water is removed by patting veggies with a paper towel before dehydrating them.

Type of VegetableTemperature
Beets120°F – 130°F
Carrots125°F – 130°F
Celery125°F – 130°F
Green Beans125°F – 135°F
Mushrooms110°F – 120°F
Peas125°F – 135°F
Zucchini125°F – 135°F
Variety of dehydrated vegetables on countertop
Dehydrated vegetables

Is it Better to Dehydrate at a Higher Temperature?

No. Dehydrating at higher temperatures can kill some of the nutrients in fresh food. This is especially true when dehydrating fruits such as limes or plums that are full of vitamin C.

Dried fruit, vegetables, herbs, and spices do not need to be cooked before consumption, and dehydrating them at a higher temperature will start to cook them, reducing their quality.

Dehydrating foods at higher temperatures also increases the risk of burning or ruining the food, particularly when using an oven.

Why Drying Meat Requires a Higher Temperature

Many types of meat have fat and a large number of bacteria which increases the risk of spoilage.

Higher temperatures help ensure bacteria cannot thrive, extending the shelf life and making the meat safe for long-term storage.

Tray with different types of dehydrated jerky
Dehydrated meats

What are the Benefits of Dehydrating at a Lower Temperature?

  • Even drying
  • Increased quality and flavor
  • Less risk of burning your food
  • Preservation of delicate aromas
  • Prevention of case hardening (a hard exterior shell with a moist interior)

What to do if Your Dehydrator Doesn’t Have Temperature Control?

Some dehydrators do not have temperature control and are made to operate at one temperature. If you are oven drying, many oven thermometers do not go lower than 150°F, making it harder to set the correct temperature.

If your food dehydrator has only one temperature setting, be sure to check on your food more frequently. You will likely have to dehydrate your food for a shorter amount of time, as the water content will evaporate more quickly.

If you do a lot of dehydrating, it might be worth purchasing a dehydrator such as an Excalibur, which is a high-end dehydrator with multiple temperature settings.

How to Test Your Dehydrator Temperature?

To test your dehydrator, place a trusted food or oven thermometer inside the empty machine. Turn it on for at least 15 minutes, then compare the thermometer reading with the dehydrator thermostat setting.

Be sure to test your dehydrator two or three times a year for accuracy.

Why You Should Test Your Dehydrator Temperature?

You should test your dehydrator temperature to ensure that it is working properly. If your dehydrator is getting too hot or not hot enough, you might burn your food or struggle to get it dry.

If your dehydrator is not getting to the correct temperature, it may be a sign that something is broken within the machine. Your fan might be obstructed, or the heating element might need replacement.

If you discover such an issue, stop using the dehydrator and consult your manufacturer’s instructions for troubleshooting and assistance.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer and keen foodie based in London, England. When he's not writing, he can be found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes for him and his partner to enjoy!

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