Using An Air Fryer To Dehydrate Food

Using an air fryer to dehydrate food has allowed me to make some incredible snacks without any additional equipment. I’ve spent time exploring the various features of my air fryer to become proficient in its use.

After making significant adjustments, I was able to achieve the desired outcome using the appliance. Today, I will discuss my recent addition to cooking methods – dehydrating.

The process of dehydrating food appears somewhat like this.

  • By directing warm air (typically ranging from 125 to 200 degrees) towards fruits, vegetables, herbs, or beef strips, you can dehydrate them using an air fryer.
  • The objective is to remove moisture from the food, not to cook it.
  • For dehydrating food using an air fryer, it is essential that the warm air circulates both inside and outside of the appliance to eliminate the warm and moist air, which is not typical during cooking in air fryers.

When attempting to dehydrate food using an air fryer, I experimented to see if it was possible and successful.

If your air fryer has a dehydration setting or can maintain a temperature below 123°F, you can use it to dehydrate food. To achieve optimal results, ensure that the slices are uniformly thin by using a mandolin, arrange them in a single layer, and set the air fryer to the lowest temperature possible if it lacks a dehydration function.

Although I think that most air fryers can perform the same basic functions, I am of the opinion that certain air fryers yield superior outcomes compared to others.

The outcome of using an air fryer to dehydrate food can be attributed to both the appliance and the technique employed by the cook.

To achieve optimal outcomes and to discover which air fryers we have effectively utilized, read on to gain more knowledge about the procedure of dehydrating food in an air fryer.

How To Dehydrate In An Air Fryer

To dehydrate food using an air fryer, it is necessary to lower the temperature significantly below its usual setting to prevent cooking. It is recommended not to exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit while dehydrating, as this temperature may still be too high for certain foods.

It is advisable to maintain the temperature of the air fryer between 125-150 degrees Fahrenheit while dehydrating, and make necessary changes accordingly. Generally, air fryers equipped with a dehydration feature come pre-set to the appropriate temperature.

When using an air fryer to dehydrate food, it is important to take into account the size of the pieces, whether they are banana bits, beef strips, apple slices or any other type of food, in order to achieve maximum crispiness by removing all moisture.

When dehydrating a batch of 20 apple slices that are unevenly cut, the outcome will differ for each individual slice.

Unless you consider yourself a master of knives and precision, I would hand over the responsibility of making slices to a tool, preferably a mandolin.

By using a mandolin, you can consistently slice your food into thin pieces that will dehydrate evenly and thoroughly.

When dehydrating food using an air fryer, it is important to avoid stacking the slices on top of each other and instead place them beside each other without touching or overlapping to ensure proper dehydration of every piece.

To ensure even dehydration of fruits like apple or banana in an air fryer, it is important to give each piece enough space so that the circulating air can reach them from every angle.

Cooking times may differ based on the type of food being prepared, with certain items requiring up to 12 hours for optimal dehydration, while others can be ready in as little as 6 hours.

If you are not knowledgeable about dehydrating food, refer to any of these sources to determine the appropriate duration for the specific food you are dehydrating.

  • To dehydrate food using an air fryer, it is important to carefully read the manual and rely on the designated dehydration function.
  • Following recipes online
  • Trying out different methods through trial and error.

Consider: Is an Air Fryer a Good Investment?

What’s The Difference Between An Air Fryer And A Dehydrator

The air fryer can also be utilized to eliminate the moisture from our food, preventing the growth of bacteria or fungi. This process of extracting water from food can serve other objectives as well, like producing dehydrated snacks and muesli.

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How Do Dehydrators Work?

Not many appliances are designed to function at the low temperatures required for dehydrating food, unlike dehydrators that operate at very low temperatures for a prolonged period of time.

The reason why low temperatures are not used in cooking with appliances like air fryers is that it would defeat the purpose of an appliance designed to bake food.

Using an air fryer to dehydrate food is done by regulating the temperature with its heating element and circulating the hot air through its mesh layers, ensuring that all sides of the food are evenly dehydrated.

As previously stated, dehydrators typically come with 2 or 3 tiers that consist of mesh-patterned trays enabling the hot air to circulate throughout the entire dehydrator cavity.

When using an air fryer to dehydrate food, the food is subjected to heat for a period of 4-12 hours, which results in the release of moisture from the food and its subsequent ventilation.

It is a time-consuming and uncertain process to achieve the desired outcome of dehydrating food using an air fryer, as it requires adjusting both time and temperature until the optimal point for each ingredient is reached.

Discover: Is It Possible to Dehydrate Multiple Foods Simultaneously?

Read: Can You Dehydrate Multiple Foods at Once?

Discover: Is It Possible to Dehydrate Multiple Foods Simultaneously?

How Do Air Fryers Work?

Unlike a deep fryer, the air fryer utilizes a fan to circulate hot air and cook food, resulting in a crispy texture without the need for oil, which makes it a healthier option.

You may think that using an air fryer to dehydrate food is similar to using a dehydrator, but the crucial difference lies in the fact that air fryers have the ability to cook while dehydrating due to their capability of operating at higher temperatures.

The air fryer is designed with a basket that has a mesh pattern to guarantee the circulation of hot air and the cooking of food from all sides.

The dehydrator also operates on the same principle as an air fryer, which is essentially a small oven that can quickly reach cooking temperatures due to its size.

The air fryer and the dehydrator differ significantly in terms of speed, with one being notably faster than the other which can take a considerable amount of time.

When it comes to dehydrated food, its crispy texture is due to the absence of moisture, whereas in air-fried food, the crispiness results from the removal of moisture and a chemical reaction known as The Maillard effect.

When amino acids and specific carbohydrates are subjected to heat, a reaction occurs that results in visual alterations like browning of the food, as well as changes in taste and aroma.

Regarding dehydration, what sets these two apart?

    Firstly, although the air fryer has a smaller capacity compared to the dehydrator, it provides more features.
  • Air fryers that come with a dehydration program can produce the same outcomes as a dehydrator, but not all air fryers have this capability.
  • While the air fryer has the ability to perform various functions such as baking, roasting, grilling, heating, and dehydrating, the dehydrator is limited to only dehydrating.

Air Fryers That Are Good At Dehydrating Food

If you’re considering purchasing a dehydrator, it may be more practical to invest in a versatile air fryer that can perform various functions, including dehydration.

Although air fryers may have less cooking space than dehydrators, they usually come with accessories that can easily solve this issue for a reasonable price of no more than 15 dollars. Nevertheless, it is important to note that not all air fryers are capable of effectively dehydrating food.

Stacking Food In An Airfryer (How Much Can You Really Cook?)

To dehydrate food using an air fryer, it is crucial that the appliance has a dehydration cycle or can operate at 123°F or below, as temperatures above this level will result in cooking rather than dehydration.

Another important consideration is to ensure that the air fryer has an adequate steam ventilation system. Failure to allow steam, which results from moisture leaving the food, to escape from the air fryer’s cavity will cause it to condense inside the appliance.

It is possible for the dehydrated food to absorb the condensation again, although it may be difficult to verify and requires further investigation.

Having extra cooking accessories for placing food is recommended when using an air fryer for dehydrating purposes. Although the default basket is useful, cooking racks or trays may be more appropriate.

Considering the use of an air fryer to dehydrate food, it is recommended to ensure that the basket size is sufficient by selecting a larger than average air fryer, such as a 5 quart or more.

Although it may not be a significant issue for some, the duration of a single cycle in which an air fryer program runs is worth noting as it could be considered a deal breaker by certain individuals; typically, these programs run for 10-25 minutes.

When using an air fryer to dehydrate food, it is important to note that a short duration of 10-25 minutes may not be sufficient. It is recommended to run the unit for at least an hour. If the air fryer cannot be programmed for an hour, you can opt for two 30-minute programs or three 20-minute programs instead.

In my opinion, this is a small obstacle.

When it comes to dehydrating food, I have two top picks that not only get the job done but exceed expectations. While both options are reliable, if you’re working with a limited budget, the Ninja is a great choice. On the other hand, if you have some extra funds to spare, the Power Air Fryer is worth considering.

The Ninja Air Fryer

The popularity of the Ninja air fryer can be observed through its numerous positive reviews online. As someone who is passionate about cooking, I possess a variety of kitchen gadgets at my residence, including some that are currently in use, others that are kept in storage, and a few that have been neglected.

The ninja air fryer remains irreplaceable due to its versatility, providing excellent functionality and performance at a highly reasonable cost.

Although I own other air fryers that excel in certain areas, they come with a higher price tag and the outcomes are not significantly superior, which is why I appreciate this one.

  • One of the functions it provides is dehydration.
  • The air fryer comes with a rack that has multiple layers, providing ample space for both cooking and dehydrating.
  • As a kitchen enthusiast, the air fryer‘s broad temperature range provides me with numerous possibilities to experiment with.
  • It’s easy to clean
  • It cooks very fast.

The Power Air Fryer

Although the Power air fryer is pricier than the Ninja air fryer, it offers a broader range of programs and functions that make the extra cost worthwhile.

While the Ninja air fryer only has four functions, including dehydration, the power air fryer boasts ten functions, which may be advantageous for certain individuals despite four functions being sufficient for most air fryer users.

The air fryer is simple to operate and delivers delicious outcomes, which is why I am a huge admirer of it. These are the reasons why I appreciate it:

  • The air fryer is equipped with numerous features and settings.
  • The rotisserie function is something that I really enjoy.
  • The air fryer has ample space to prepare meals for a whole household.
  • The three tiers of cooking surfaces are ideal for dehydrating food without having to stack it.
  • It is easy to clean
  • Upon purchase, the air fryer includes three racks, a tray for catching oil drips, ten skewers, a rotisserie that rotates, a basket made of mesh material, and a pair of recipe books.
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Other Ways to Dehydrate Food

Dehydrating food has been a traditional way of preserving food for centuries, and it involves eliminating moisture from the food to prevent bacterial growth.

There are several ways to achieve the dehydrating effect, including modern appliances and traditional methods that rely on natural resources.

It is worth mentioning that traditional techniques are still being employed by individuals worldwide, some of which you may be familiar with or have attempted.

Air Drying

Air drying is a technique that involves keeping food in a well-ventilated area, away from sunlight and wind, to eliminate moisture. Depending on the item, it may take several days or even weeks for complete dehydration using this approach.

Air fryer dehydration is a popular method for preserving herbs and mushrooms.

Sun Drying

Dehydrating food can be done through sun-drying, which involves exposing the food to the sun’s heat for a specific duration. The food is regularly flipped to ensure that it receives sunlight from all sides.

When using the sun to dry food, the moisture in the food will gradually evaporate due to exposure to sunlight. However, it is crucial to safeguard the food from unwanted substances that may contaminate it since it will be left outside.

Using an air fryer to dehydrate food is a popular technique for drying out herbs, fruits, and vegetables.


Most people are familiar with smoking as a cooking method, especially for meat, but it is not commonly used for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, and other greens.

Dehydrating food can also be done through smoking, where the food is exposed to smoke, making it a faster method of preservation compared to others, which makes it ideal for meat and other perishable foods.

Dehydrating meat by leaving it in the sun or attic for a few weeks can lead to bacterial growth surpassing that of the remaining meat, making it an ineffective and unsafe method.

Discover: Which Meats Are Ideal for Dehydrating with an Air Fryer?

Oven Drying

Although ovens have existed since 29000 BC, I still regard them as a contemporary means of dehydrating food because I am referring to the modern oven and its various capabilities.

Although the oven can accommodate several trays simultaneously, it is still a time-consuming process compared to using an air fryer. Unlike an oven, an air fryer blows hot air directly onto the food being dehydrated, which speeds up the dehydration process.

To dehydrate food in an oven, it is recommended to set the temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or use the Keep Warm setting. The food slices should be arranged in a single layer on an oven tray and ensure that the oven door is left open by 2-3 inches while directing a fan towards the opening to facilitate air circulation inside the oven.

It is important to be cautious when using an air fryer for dehydrating food, as there is a delicate balance between cooking and dehydrating, and crossing that line can lead to significantly different outcomes.

Microwave Drying

It is feasible to dry food using a microwave, which was my preferred method for dehydrating herbs before I switched to using an air fryer; in my opinion, both techniques are effective.

Although the microwave is a rapid way to dehydrate food, it can occasionally be overpowering for the food.

As mentioned earlier, this technique is suitable for herbs. Firstly, put the herbs on a piece of paper towel and then cover them with another one. Next, set the air fryer to a high-to-highest temperature and run it for a few minutes.

Keep repeating the process until the herbs reach your desired level of dryness, but reduce the duration of each cycle as you approach that point. It’s important to avoid running a 2-3 minute cycle if you’re close to achieving the desired result, as this could potentially damage the herbs.

Read: Foods That Should Not Be Air Fried

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