Who doesn’t love dehydrated fruits so it is a very legit question: “Can you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer?” The short answer is of course you can. Dehydrating is just the fancy word for drying your fruits which is basically a slow cooking method. Our ancestors just left their food on the sun for a day and voilá, there is you delicious dehydrated fruit.
So of course the air fryer can do it too but there are a few tweaks that we are going to address in this article, like why you should use an air fryer for dehydrating, the best fruits to dehydrate, the air fryer dehydrator function and which air fryers to use.
Can you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer?
You can definitely dehydrate fruit in an air fryer, and it is easier than you may think. Using an air fryer to dehydrate your fruit or other food is safe, effective, and easy.
The first step is to slice your fruit into thin, even slices using a knife or a mandolin. This will allow all of the fruit slices to dehydrate at the same time and will also be quicker than adding large chunks of fruit into the air fryer.
You should also remove the seeds in your fruit at this stage. Next, pat them dry and place them on a rack, making sure not to overlap the slices as this will give you an uneven result.
How to dehydrate with the ‘dehydrate’ function in an air fryer
Most people are unaware that many air fryers in the market these days come with a ‘dehydrate’ function, making them versatile tools that can be used for both cooking and dehydrating food. This means you don’t need to purchase a separate dehydrator, saving you money and kitchen space!
The temperature and time that your air fryer will require to dehydrate the fruit will depend on the type and quantity of the fruit. Fruit with higher moisture content, such as oranges, peaches, plums, and apricots, will usually require more time. Most fruits require temperatures between 175 to 200 degrees F to dehydrate properly. It is crucial to keep the temperature low, as very high temperatures can burn your fruit instead of drying it out.
How to dehydrate fruit without the ‘dehydrate’ function
Many of us own older air fryers that didn’t come with a ‘dehydrate’ function. While this function in your air fryer is a big plus, especially if you use it often, it is still possible to dehydrate your fruit without it. The way to do this is to set your air fryer at the lowest possible temperature, preferably lower than 120 degrees F. Then, place the fruit in a single layer to make it as crisp as possible. The drying process will take a few hours, and you should ideally check in every hour or so to ensure the fruit slices are dehydrating evenly and aren’t getting burnt.
Should you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer?
The benefits of dehydrating fruit
There are many scientifically proven benefits of eating dehydrating fruit, especially if it is homemade and without added sugars. Since dehydrated fruit is naturally sweeter than fresh fruit, it is a more enticing option to many and can serve as a delicious and lightweight snack. Munching on dehydrated fruit is much healthier than eating snacks available in the market, such as crisps, sweets, and fried food. Because dehydrated fruit also shrinks in size, having it as a snack won’t make you feel heavy either. A popular way of enjoying it is to sprinkle a mix of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove on the fruit slices while they dehydrate.
One of the benefits of dried fruit is that it is packed full of micronutrients that support cardiovascular and bone health. It is also an excellent source of fibre, which helps with digestion and other gut-related issues. Since the water gets taken out of the fruit during the dehydration process, the nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals, become highly concentrated in the dried fruit. Fresh fruit also loses nutrients much faster as it is more easily perishable. In comparison, you can store dehydrated fruit for much longer, and it also retains its nutrient value for more time.
Many people prefer dehydrated fruit due to its long shelf-life. When stored correctly in an airtight jar, dehydrated fruit can last up to a few months. This fruit can then be rehydrated in water and used in various recipes and dishes, including smoothies, fruit salads, and desserts. Keeping a store of dehydrated fruit is especially helpful when you want to make a dish using fruit that isn’t in season and can’t be purchased fresh. Canned fruit also tends to have a high amount of added sugar, making it an unhealthy alternative. Dehydration is one of the easiest and cheapest food preservation techniques.
Why is it better to dehydrate fruit in an air fryer?
Its not only about can you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer but should you at all? Dehydrating fruit in an air fryer has many benefits. One of these is that this will make your air fryer a multipurpose kitchen gadget. If you already own an air fryer for cooking purposes, it is cost-efficient to use it for dehydrating fruit as well. Buying a separate dehydrator can be confusing and expensive, not to mention you will have to learn how to operate a brand-new and unfamiliar machine. Even if you buy a new air fryer, they are usually not very expensive, and their multipurpose nature makes them even more worth the price. You can also try this delicious recipe if you have bananas left over after dehydrating your fruit!
Air-fryers are also very energy-efficient and use less electricity than a convection oven. It takes much longer for heat to start flowing evenly throughout an oven, and it must be preheated, which ends up using more electricity. The air fryer’s low consumption of electricity, coupled with how much faster they dehydrate fruit compared to ovens due to the hot air that flows throughout the fryer, makes this an even more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly option.
Best fruit to dehydrate in an air fryer
You can dehydrate tons of different fruit successfully, but here is our top pick of fruit you should definitely try to dehydrate in an air fryer:
Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to dehydrate. Due to their small size, the dehydration process is relatively quicker, and they taste wonderful once dried! They can be used in dozens of recipes, including as a healthy but fun add-on to your bland daily cereal, muesli, or baked with oats for a fulfilling and guilt-free dessert. Strawberries are also readily available in most supermarkets, making this a popular choice amongst dehydrated fruit fans.
Dried apricots are considered a delicacy in many countries, and rightfully so! They are packed full of antioxidants and nutrients like Potassium and Vitamins A and C and have a unique texture once dried. Unlike most fruits that tend to get crispy, apricots become plump and chewy. They are incredibly flavourful and taste great in a dish of baked fruit.
Bananas are perhaps one of the most popular choices when it comes to dehydrated fruit. After all, who doesn’t love some crispy banana chips? This snack is a great energy booster and is low in sodium. They are a great alternative to potato chips, which have much higher quantities of fat and sodium. Make sure to drizzle some lime on top before dehydrating bananas, as the ascorbic acid in the lime will prevent the bananas from going brown.
Dehydrated grapes, also known as raisins,are highly beneficial. They contain protein, fibre, and other nutrients that make this a superfood that benefits your health and skin. The Vitamin A found in grapes is a popular ingredient in anti-aging creams, while magnesium and potassium make your skin glow. Raisins are also very versatile and can be eaten as a stand-alone snack or added to cereal, cookies, or even savory dishes!
Dehydrated fruits not only provide a plethora of nutrients but are also easy to prepare at home. An air fryer easily solves this task while creating exciting culinary possibilities such as dried fruit based snacks, or toppings for cookies, smoothies, cereals, etc.
Best air fryer for dehydrating
You can basically dehydrate in any air fryer but I think there are 2 things to consider when searching for the best air fryer for dehydrating:
- Is there a dehydrator function
- How big is the surface of the air fryer (not the quarts)
The first one is quite straightforward. Your life will be much easier if you want to dehydrate a lot of fruits and get an air fryer with a dehydrator function. Mostly because most air fryer that don’t have a dehydrator function will turn off after 60 minutes and dehydrating needs at least 5-6 hours depending on the fruit so you’ll have to turn it on again all the time
The second one is what not many people are aware. Since you can only dehydrate on a single layer the surface of the air fryer makes a lot of difference. If you have a regular 4-5 quart basket type air fryer, then you can only place a few slices of apple on them. Given that it takes at least 6 hours its not a lot of benefit for such an effort.
Therefore it is worth much more to get an air fryer oven for that reason and better yet an air fryer that has several racks that you can use. Take the Kalorik Maxx for example that has 3 racks. That gives you enough space to make a lot of dehydrated fruits.
So to sum it all up: Can you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer. Yes! You can dehydrate all kinds of fruits including apricots, strawberries, grapes and so on. It is a great and healthy snack so everyone should use their air fryer for dehydrating. Also an air fryer can be a more cost-effective way for dehydrating (if we are not counting the sun, haha).
As we learned if you plan to dehydrate fruits a lot you should go for an air fryer that has a dehydrator function and has a lot of surface space like an air fryer oven.