Dehydrator recipes can be hard to find in this age of modern convenience foods. The thing is, dehydrated food is the original convenience food, and there are few quicker, easier and more versatile food preservation methods than simple dehydration. Recover this lost art with more than 100 food dehydrator recipes to fill your pantry!
Choosing A Dehydrator
There are a number of dehydrators on the market, and the prices span a broad range. Some of the cheaper ones are around $50, and then you can go up to the larger commercial models for hunters and serous homesteaders at around $1000.
I’ve had a number of different food dehydrators over the years, and I can tell you that you get what you pay for, at least to a point.
The cheap plastic stacking dehydrator models (Nesco, Presto, Hamilton Beach, etc) are inexpensive, but they have a number of drawbacks:
- Everything’s dehydrated at the same very high temperature. Fruits and veggies should be dehydrated at lower temperatures, but since there’s no adjustment, everything is dehydrated at around 165/170 F, so that it’s safe for dehydrating jerky and meats. This results in lower quality for everything else.
- Plastic stacking trays break. Pure and simple, the stacking trays for these dehydrators break pretty easily. While I’ve found their fans and heating elements to be surprisingly well made, the plastic body of the inexpensive food dehydrators breaks easily. I’ve lost several over the years to cracked trays after I dropped pieces.
- Stacking dehydrators are loud. Now that I have small kids who nap, noise is more of an issue than ever before. The inexpensive dehydrators I’ve had are very loud, like a tiny countertop leaf blower.
- They also use a lot of electricity for the volume of food dehydrated. Generally, capacity is low and they pull a lot of electricity for extended periods. (Sometimes 24+ hours, depending on what you’re drying.)
For all these reasons, I don’t recommend spending $50 to buy a relatively inexpensive plastic, stacking tray food dehydrator. If you find one for $2 at a garage sale, snap it up. But don’t waste the $50 on something that won’t last.
What’s the Best Food Dehydrator?
While I don’t recommend the low-end food dehydrators, there’s no reason to buy a crazy expensive one either. The best food dehydrator, in my opinion, is actually one right in the middle price-wise.
I’d highly recommend the Excaliber 9 tray food dehydrator. They run about $200, but they are really efficient, quiet and well built. Ask anyone who has one, they last 20+ years.
Sometimes you can find them cheaper on Amazon or super sale sites, but I’d recommend buying them from the manufacturer because then they come with a 10 Year Factory Direct Warranty. Buying anywhere else, there’s no warranty.
We use ours a lot, and I’m a big fan of avoiding plastic anywhere possible, especially in contact with food. For that reason, I invested in a Stainless Steel 9 Tray Excaliber Dehydrator, which comes with stainless drying trays and a rugged stainless steel body.
The stainless models are considerably more (around $500). For me, it’s worth it because we use it several times each week and I expect to hand this one down to my grandbabies in a few decades…
(They also have the option to add stainless steel trays to the base model, and that’s a good middle-of-the-road solution so that the only surfaces in contact with your food are stainless steel.)
Besides the Excaliber, I’ve also heard great things about Cabella’s Dehydrator Models. Though I haven’t used these personally, I have friends who swear by them. They’re similarly high quality, but considerably less expensive than the Excaliber models.
They also adjust down temps between 80 and 160 degrees, which is a wider range than any other dehydrator on the market. Most adjustable temp dehydrators start at 110 degrees, which is a bit hot for drying herbs and other delicate things like flowers.
Lastly, the Cabela’s models have the highest capacity I’ve seen, especially for the price. They offer three models currently, all of which are much higher capacity than the standard Excaliber models:
- Cabella’s 10 Tray Dehydrator ~ A great buy at around $150, and considerably more space than the 9-tray Excaliber. Each individual tray is larger, and there’s an extra one for more dehydrating space.
- Cabella’s 12 Tray Dehydrator ~ Likely the model I’d choose if I were ever in the market for a food dehydrator again, plenty of space to get the job done.
- Cabella’s 80 Liter Commercial Dehydrator ~ The option they market towards serious hunters, homesteaders, and food preservers. Still 12 trays, but each tray is 15.75 x 18.75 inches and holds A LOT of food. Remarkably inexpensive (around $300) given the size and capacity.
Food Dehydrator Recipes
Is it peak summer and your garden is cranking out more fruits and veggies than you know what to do with? Or are you in the midst of autumn and just finished processing your first buck of the season? Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll benefit from preserving your harvest for the cold months ahead.
There are a plethora of dehydrator recipes out there, and I’ve collected them all in one place, neatly organized to save you time during harvest season.
Dehydrated foods can last for several months, if not years when they’re fully void of their water content thus saving you the money you otherwise would have thrown in the compost. Choosing to dehydrate lends you and your family the freedom to enjoy the fruits of your labor well into winter and beyond!
This collection of quality food dehydrator recipes for you to refer back to during any season of the year. From dehydrator jerky to crackers, vegetables, fruits, and yes, even dog treats!
Dehydrator Jerky Recipes
I have fond memories of making and eating dehydrator jerky as a kid and enjoy sharing my knowledge with my children today. It’s one of their favorites, so I try to keep it in stock! When it comes to jerky making, I want to emphasize that you should always use a cut of meat that has as little to no fat on it.
Not only does fat give your meat an off-putting texture, but it also can cause it to spoil more rapidly. Trim off as much as possible!
Choice cuts are those that are lean, readily available, and affordable. A few popular options that meet these standards include top, eye, and bottom rounds. With a few more expensive cuts consisting of flank and sirloin tips.
My personal preference is venison. Deer meat is very lean, flavorful, tender, and best of all, I know exactly where it’s coming from!
- How to Make Chicken Jerky
- Simple Homemade Beef Jerky
- Venison Jerky
- Smoky Beer Beef Jerky
- Hickory Smoked Jerky
- Savory Eggplant Jerky
Mushroom Dehydrator Recipes
Whether you buy your mushrooms at your local farmer’s market, at the grocery store, or forage for chanterelles, chicken of the woods, or morels on your homestead, it can be a losing battle to eat them all while they’re still fresh.
Here are a few ways to dehydrate those umami bombs for long-term storage. When you’re ready to reconstitute them, submerge your fungi in a bowl of water for a minimum of thirty minutes or more depending on thickness.
Once soft, strain the water from them into a jar. Voilà, you now have a tasty mushroom-infused liquid to use as a soup, sauce, or stew base!
- Dehydrated Mushrooms
- Mushroom Powder
- Teriyaki Mushroom Jerky
- Crispy Dehydrator Mushroom Chips
- Porcini Bouillon Cubes
Dehydrator Fruit Recipes
Fruit has got to be the most popular food to dehydrate which made it difficult to narrow down my list to only these few. Fruit leather is easy to make and a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your kid’s snacks. Skip the expensive store-bought versions with added sugar and make your own with these simple fruit and fruit leather dehydrator recipes!
Many of these recipes are versatile and the fruit can be swapped for whatever is local and in season wherever you live. Just make sure you use the right method and temperature for dehydrating your specific fruit as they all differ. Some need very little preparation, whereas others need to be blanched prior to being dried.
- Fruit Powder
- Banana Fruit Leather with Nutella
- Sweet Potato and Apple Fruit Leather
- Peanut Butter Banana Fruit Roll
- Apple Rings
- Pumpkin Fruit Leather
- Orange Creamsicle Fruit Leather
Vegetable Dehydrator Recipes
Ever feel overwhelmed with the yield of your backyard garden harvest? I have the solution for you right here with these simple dehydrator recipes! Vegetables generally dehydrate easily, and then they’re perfect for quick soups all winter long.
Vegetables and fruit are both susceptible to case hardening. This occurs when your vegetables are dehydrated at a temperature too high and the outside becomes too hard for the moisture in the interior to escape.
You’re left with a product that is deceptively dry and ends up becoming a breeding ground for mold in its moist center. Remember, always use the correct temperature on your machine and be extra careful if your oven is moonlighting as a food dehydrator.
- Cauliflower Popcorn
- Zucchini Fruit Snacks
- Cucumber Chips with Salt & Vinegar
- Potato Flakes
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Spicy Onion Rings
- Green Onions
Dehydrated Herb and Powder Recipes
When dehydrating herbs, they must be brittle and crumbly with all their water content removed or they’ll be prone to mold. It’s also a good idea to store dried herbs and powders in airtight containers, like mason jars, so that they can’t absorb water from the air and become clumpy. Another way to avoid clumping is to cut in some arrowroot powder to your finished spices!
Herbs can easily be rehydrated by soaking them in water for ten minutes. When ready to use, they will need additional cooking time to bring out their flavor compared to fresh varieties.
Always use three times the amount of fresh herbs to dry as they can have a more intense flavor. A little goes a long way!
- Basil Powder
- Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon, and Garlic Herb Mix
- Italian Herb Rub
- Garlic Powder
- Ginger Powder
- Chili Powder
- Kimchi Powder
- Onion Powder
- Tomato Powder
- Leek Powder
Dehydrated Cracker Recipes
Crackers make a great vessel for transporting dips and homemade soft cheese into our eager faces. They also add pleasant crunch and texture diversity to an otherwise flat soup.
Making your own dehydrated crackers is an excellent way to use up any scraps, peels or pulp that typically end up in the compost. Finished making a batch of carrot juice? Repurpose that pulp into a creative cracker and let the snacking commence!
- Carrot Juice Pulp Crackers
- Green Juice Pulp Crackers
- Tamari Seaweed Flax Crackers
- Mexican Raw Dehydrated Crackers
- Everything Bagel Flax Crackers
- Golden Flaxseed and Carrot Crackers
- Onion Nut Crackers
- Peanut Butter Banana Graham Crackers
Dehydrator Recipes for Desserts & Sweets
It was only when I stumbled upon dehydrated marshmallows that it hit me, you really can dehydrate anything!
All of the recipes I’ve included for dehydrated candy and cookies are super easy, require minimal sweetener or no sweetener at all. Making your own dehydrated sweets is a fun activity to do with kids and you can rest assured that only nutrient-dense, healthy food is going into their bodies.
- Watermelon Candy
- Pear Candy
- Rhubarb Candy
- Strawberry Twizzlers
- Apricot Coconut Cookies
- Oatmeal Cashew Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Dehydrated Food Recipes for Backpacking
If you’ve ever gone on a hunting or backpacking excursion into the bush for a few days or longer, you understand the constant need to refuel after burning thousands of calories hiking around with a heavy pack on your back. Sure, you could buy some of those freeze-dried meals from an outdoor store, but they’re typically loaded with preservatives and ingredients you can’t even pronounce. What’s more, they’re expensive.
Skip the store-bought packages this time and opt for dehydrating your own healthy, calorie-rich meals. Here are a few backpacking staples to get you started that can be enjoyed on or off the trail!
- DIY High Fat Dehydrated Dinners for Backpacking and Hunting
- Chocolate Almond Breakfast Smoothie
- Vegetable Curry
- Red Lentil Chili
- Traditional Pemmican “protein bar”
- Bread and Cake Crumbs
- Sriracha Chickpeas
- Granola Bars
Food Dehydrator Chip Recipes
Dehydrated vegetable and fruit chips are a guilt-free way to enjoy salsa and other tasty dips. You can bet classics like corn or potato chips will be a hit, but what about trying cantaloupe or green bean chips at your next family gathering?
Get started with a few of these delicious dehydrated recipes and before you know it, you’ll be turning everything into a chip!
- Zucchini Chip
- Crispy Green Bean Chips
- Pear Chips
- Banana Chips
- Cantaloupe Chips
- Cinnamon Apple Chips
- Sweet Potato Chips
- Dehydrated Kiwi Chips
- Beet Chips
- Potato Chips
- Corn Chips
Dehydrated Soup Recipes
Soup becomes essential once winter rolls into town. When I’m busy with the kids and projects around my homestead, sometimes time is not on my side. I’ll quickly toss whatever scraps, leftovers, and dried vegetables into a pot and let it simmer. It’s the pinnacle of simplicity!
Throw in a dehydrated soup broth and you’ll barely break stride between the day’s hustle and cooking a nutritious family dinner!
- Vegetables to Dehydrate for Winter Soups
- Bone Broth
- Beef Broth
- Tomato Soup
- Ground Turkey Taco Stew
- Bone Broth and Soup Bases
- Vegetable Stock Powder
Dehydrated Dairy Recipes
If you’ve read this far, it must come as no surprise that you can dehydrate practically everything, even dairy! Use your powdered milk in baking and your cheese as a popcorn topping or in a homemade instant macaroni and cheese mix.
To reconstitute dehydrated milk, add one cup of cool water to a third of a cup of powdered milk to make one cup of liquid milk. Try enhancing the flavor by adding an equal amount of fresh milk to your yield.
- How to Dehydrate Cheese for Long Term Storage
- Cheese Powder
- Yogurt Drops
- Powdered Milk
- Cottage Cheese
- Yogurt Leather
Dehydrated Flour Recipes
Making homemade flour is extremely empowering and a satisfying activity to do on the homestead. Use some of the flour recipes I have listed here in baked goods, pizza crusts, tortillas, and other gluten-free items.
Savor the flavors of fall by dehydrating fresh pumpkin or any other winter squash for when you need it later in the year.
Food Dehydrator Dog Treat Recipes
Dehydrated foods aren’t only for human consumption. The little furballs around your homestead can also benefit from dried nutritious treats!
Conventional and over-processed pet foods are notorious for containing artificial preservatives that aren’t ideal for your good boy. In the wild, the most natural diet for dogs would consist of meat, bones, and organs. When you dehydrate your own treats you’ll know only natural ingredients are being consumed by your pup.
- Healthy Homemade Dog Treats
- Chicken Treats
- Chicken Liver Dog Treats
- Chicken Heart Treats
- Fish Chew Dog Treats
- Beef Jerky for Dogs
Beyond Food Dehydration
While this list of food dehydrator recipes will likely keep you busy, try any of these other food preservation methods to diversify your preserved pantry:
- 100+ Canning Recipes
- 20+ Ways to Preserve Lemons
- 30+ Ways to Preserve Apples
- 30+ Ways to Preserve Eggs