Dehydrating your own food for snacks is healthy and cost-effective. Here we have compiled some of the best foods to dehydrate for snacks including some delicious recipes!
Whether it be daily on-the-go snacking, camping, for kids, or on the hiking trail, these snacks will not disappoint. You will snack easy knowing exactly what is in your food and what is not!
Buying dehydrated snacks at the grocery store can leave your money pockets feeling empty. By growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables or buying what is in season, it can be easy to make your own snacks. Dehydrating for snacks is cheaper and healthier than buying pre-made dehydrated snacks.
We will go over some of the best foods to dehydrate for snacks along with some of our go-to recipes. If you haven’t gotten yourself a dehydrator yet, then head over to look at the best dehydrators under $100! You won’t be sorry you got one!
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Best Fruits to Dehydrate for Snacks
Many fruits dried on their own make great snacks. However, there are some great flavor options that will take your snacks up a notch. Here are some great stand-alone fruits that make great snacks. You can also create a “fruit salad” of dehydrated fruits by mixing many of the fruits into one container.
Dehydrated Fruit Snack Recipe Ideas
Cinnamon Apple Chips: Cinnamon apple chips will be your go-to snack they are so good! The key to good apple chips is to slice the apples as thinly and uniformly as possible, we highly recommend using the Johnny Apple Peeler. Pre-treating apples in ½ cup of lemon juice and 3 cups of water will help the apples maintain their color. Once you have laid your apples on the dehydrator tray, sprinkle generously with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and dehydrate as normal!
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Banana Chips: Dehydrated bananas are a great snack all on their own! You don’t need to add anything! They are great right out of the bag, in a snack mix, or in your breakfast cereal.
Citrus Powder: Lemons, limes, and oranges make great additions to drinks all year! These fruits are loaded with vitamin C. After dehydrating, grind the citrus up into a powder. Store in an airtight container. When desired, add a spoonful to any drink or smoothie for a vitamin boost and slightly citrus flavor! These powders are a great addition to ice water in the summer or a warm tea in the winter!
Dehydrated Cranberries: Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins making them a perfect nutritious snack. Some of the benefits of cranberries include preventing and treating urinary infections, improving memory, alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety, lowering cholesterol, and much more! Dried cranberries make great snacks, or you can toss them into salads, cookies, muffins, or trail mix.
To prepare your cranberries, either blanch them or pour boiling water over them and let them sit in a close container for 10 minutes. This will cause most of the skins to split. Slit any remaining unpopped cranberries with a knife. Cranberries can be tart on their own, so it is best to soak them in a sweetener overnight. A sweetener can be as simple as apple juice concentrate or sugar water. Adding lemon juice or citric acid will help with the preservation of the cranberries. Dehydrate the fruit in your dehydrator per manufacture instructions or around 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrate cranberries for about 6-8 hours. Check periodically for doneness. They will still be pliable, but no moisture should escape when they are squeezed.
Fruit leather/rolls (strawberry fruit roll recipe): Fruit roll-ups are my boys’ favorite homemade snack. Fruit roll-ups are so simple to make too! You won’t feel guilty letting your kids devour these homemade fruit roll-ups because they are healthy. Fruit roll-ups can be made using a variety of ingredients. Our favorites are pears, apples, and strawberries. You can even add vegetables such as spinach and carrots.
Here is one of our favorite (and simple) strawberry fruit roll-up recipes:
- In a blender or food processor, combine 4-4 ½ cups of strawberries (fresh or frozen) with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and ½ cup of sugar. You can substitute honey for the sugar or omit it completely if you desire.
- Puree them for about a minute or until smooth. Strain to remove seeds, if you like.
- Pour the mixture onto fruit roll-up trays. Dehydrate at 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit until it no longer sticks to your finger when touched, about 3-4 hours.
- Once cooled, turn the fruit roll-up onto parchment paper and slice to desired strip sizes. Roll up the strips and store them in an airtight container.
Dipped Grapefruit Slices: Grapefruit slices can be bitter on their own, but make a great sweet snack when dipped in chocolate! Dip up to half a slice of dehydrated grapefruit slice in your favorite chocolate. These will be a sweet treat all year!
Raisins: Red grapes make the best raisins, but green grapes will work to. For best results blanch the grapes before dehydrating. Raisins can take up to 24 hours to fully dry, so be patient! Raisins are great on their own but can be added to oatmeal, cereal, muffins, and bread. Or for the kids create ants-on-a-log with celery and peanut butter!
Watermelon “Jerky”: Who says jerky can only be made with meat? Enjoy this summertime fruit in the dead of winter with watermelon jerky. Dry the watermelon in strips for a chewy jerky-like fruit snack.
Best Meats to Dehydrate for Jerky Snacks
Homemade jerky makes it to our list of best foods to dehydrate for snacks. Jerky is a great way to get needed protein on the go. So whether you want a satisfying quick snack or you’re heading on the hiking trail; jerky is the way to go! Store-bought jerky isn’t always great for you since it is loaded with preservatives and other things that are hard to pronounce. Homemade jerky is a great option and not hard to do with a dehydrator!
It is always best to use lean cuts of meat for jerky since excess fat can make them go rancid faster. Good trimming of fat will also help your jerky to taste good and last. Here are the meats that are good for homemade jerky.
- Smoked Turkey
How to Make Beef Jerky Recipe
- Choose a lean cut of beef (flank stakes are a great choice.) Partially freezing jerky will make it easier to cut. Trim and discard all fat from the meat. Slice the meat no thicker than ¼ inch.
- Marinade the Jerky with the desired recipe. Here is a quick and simple marinade:
- 1 ½ pound of meat
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon hickory smoke-flavored salt.
- Marinade the meat for about 1 hour or overnight. Longer marinade times may result in a salter jerky.
- Lay the strips in a dehydrator and cook per manufacture directions. Jerky will take about 8 hours to dehydrate. It should be dry and firm, but a little pliable.
- Seal cooled jerky in an airtight container for about a month. Once the package is opened, consume within a week.
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Best Seeds and Nuts to Dehydrate for Snacks
There are many seeds and nuts that are great to dehydrate and snack on. Just think about carving pumpkins at Halloween time. Why not make a delicious traditional snack using all those seeds your scrapped out for your Jack-O-Lantern? Or grow your own sunflowers and you will get a lot of sunflower seeds for snacking! Here are some seeds that make great snacks!
- Butternut Squash seeds
- Pine Nuts
How to Dehydrate Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Did you know pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients like magnesium and zinc?
- Remove seeds from the pumpkin and rinse well in water. There should be no pulp let on the seeds.
- Fill a bowl with filtered water and add a good amount of sea salt. Soak the pumpkin seeds in the water solution for 12-24 hours. Soaking the seeds is an important step to making them more digestible. We don’t suggest skipping this step!
- Drain and rinse the seeds. Allow to dry on paper towels.
- Place the seeds evenly on your dehydrator trays. You can sprinkle them with a little paprika or cumin if you desire.
- Follow the manufactures instructions on dehydrating seeds, typically around 95-100 degrees. We recommend a low temperature for a long time (12-24 hours), to preserve vital enzymes. You will know they are done when they are dry, crisp, and crunchy.
Best Vegetables to Dehydrate for Snacks
Veggie chips make a great snack that the whole family will enjoy. Or you can even opt for a healthy veggie leather.
- Beets (beet jerky)
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Zucchini slices
Sweet Potato Chips Recipe
Yes! You can make sweet potato chips in your dehydrator! Now you can eat your potato chips without the guilt of extra oils and fats. Using a dehydrator is also a great way to prevent you from burning your chips and it still brings out a bright and crispy chip. The key to getting a great chip is to create uniform slices using a mandolin.
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- Wash and peel (if desired) your sweet potatoes.
- Using a mandolin slice the potatoes in thin, even slices. Spread evenly in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.
- Sprinkle with desired seasoning or your choice. We like some sea salt and paprika, but the combinations are endless!
- Dry in the dehydrator at around 155 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1-2 hours. Check periodically for doneness.
- You know the chips are done when they are perfectly crispy and crunchy. Happy snacking!
Beet “Jerky” Recipe
This recipe is perfect for the vegans in your life, but also will be enjoyed by anyone who gets a taste. Again using a mandolin is key to getting perfectly thin slices of beet for even dehydrating. There are many ways to season beets, but here is a good recipe from EatingWell.
- Slice about 1 ½ pound (3 beets) into 1/8 inch slices.
- Whisk ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup tamari, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder together in a bowl.
- Add the beets and toss to coat. Then, cover and refrigerate for 2- 48 hours.
- Drain the beets and arrange on your dehydrator trays in a single layer. Dehydrate around 155 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4-8 hours.
- Periodically check for doneness. Look for the texture of jerky. The beets should be fully dry, but pliable.
- If you leave them in longer, they may become beet chips. Beet chips make a great snack too!
Surprising Best Foods To Dehydrate for Snacks
It may surprise you want else you can dehydrate for great snacks. Take a trip down the snack isle and let your imagination run wild! Here are a few surprising best foods to dehydrate for snacks.
Yogurt Bites Recipe
Yogurts bites are usually some of the first snacks babies and toddlers enjoy. They are also great in mixed in cereal and pretzel snack bags. If you or your little ones love yogurt bites, then you will love the homemade ones! Don’t let your yogurt go bad sitting in the fridge, make some yogurt bites!
- You will need to use the fruit roll-up tray of your dehydrator for yogurt bites. Spraying your fruit leather tray will a little bit of non-stick cooking spray will help the bites to come off a little easier.
- Scoop the yogurt (smooth no chunks) into a baggy and snip off a little corner. This will make it easy to squeeze little dollops of yogurt on the tray. Squeeze dollops that are about ¼ teaspoon in size on the fruit roll-up trays.
- Dehydrate at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 hours. Check periodically for doneness.
Bagel Chips Recipe
This is a great way to use up any bagels that may be starting to go stale. They are a great addition to your snack arsenal with many ways to use it! Why by bagel chips when you can make delicious ones right at home? Any kind of bagel will work, depending on the flavor you want.
- Slice the bagels into ½ inch slices.
- Spread in a single layer on your dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate at 115 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3-4 hours, or until the are completely dry and crispy. Create a bagel chip dip with this recipe from An Affair At Heart for the perfect combo snack!
French Toast Crunch Recipe
These dehydrated French toast bites are the perfect snack or breakfast on the go. You can even add them to cereal for fun morning breakfast!
- Make your French toast as you normally would using a recipe of your choice. Freeze until you are ready to dehydrate. (This will prevent sogginess).
- Brush each piece with a thin layer of maple syrup or honey. Slice or cube French toast into desire sizes (remember they will shrink when dehydrated).
- Dehydrate at about 115 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6 hours. Enjoy as a snack, cereal, or add to salads!
Crispy Bacon Recipe
Bacon can be dehydrated cooked or raw. Each will produce a different texture, but be delicious! Dehydrated cooked bacon makes a great snack, soup topping, or soup ingredient. Cooked bacon will come out crunchy. Raw bacon will have more of a jerky texture when finished. It makes a great snack for hiking, camping, or on the go.
- If cooking the bacon first, cook as desired and drain well on paper towels.
- Place the cooked or raw bacon in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate bacon according to manufacture instructions for about 6-8 hours. Cooked bacon will be crispy. Raw bacon will be completely dry, but pliable like jerky.
- Variations: Add different seasonings to the bacon before dehydrating for a twist on regular bacon. Cracked pepper, maple syrup, or onion powder are great options. Or dip dehydrated bacon into some chocolate for sweet and salty goodness!
Crunchy Marshmallow Recipe
Crunchy marshmallows, yes, please! The dehydrator is a great way to preserve marshmallows or to create a crispy snack all on its own. Add these crispy delicious sweet nuggets to cereal, cocoa mixes, desserts, or eat like candy! And these are so simple to make!
- Spread the marshmallows in an even layer on the dehydrator trays. Make sure to not overcrowd!
- Dehydrate at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours. When done they will be wrinkled and crispy, but may not shrink too much.
- Dried marshmallows will keep well for a year in an airtight container.
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Excuse us while we go put a few of these snacks in our dehydrator! We are so excited to try all these best foods to dehydrate for snacks. We don’t even have to worry about what is in these snacks. We don’t think we will ever go back to store-bought snacks again!
What snack are you going to try first? We will be using all the fruit when in the season to dehydrate for snacks all year round.
We also love homemade jerky with a side of bagel chips! My sweet indulgence is a few crunchy dehydrated marshmallows or chocolate-dipped grapefruit slices. Yum!
Now that you are dehydrating more and making your own snacks, make sure you know how long dehydrated food will last! Freeze-dried foods are another option too. See what is right for you in this article on freeze dried food vs. dehydrated foods.