Making dried apples at home is a great way to preserve the fruit and have a homemade snack on hand that is homemade. Let me share the simple how-to to make dried apple steps with you. It is so much easier than you might think!
Not only can these dried apples be eaten as a snack, but they can be added to trail mix, and yogurt, and even reconstituted for baking.
I like them too because they help to curb my sweet tooth in a better way.
I will be sharing methods for making these in the oven and in a dehydrator. Both work to produce a great dried apple.
What kinds of apples do you use for drying/dehydrating?
The type of apple will have so much effect on how the apples dehydrate and what their taste is like. And the best apple also has a lot to do with the flavor you are looking for. If you want more info on the options, check out this article from Minnetonka Orchards.
While juicy apples are the best for eating fresh, they are not always the best option for drying and dehydrating. Firm, sweet, or tart apples will hold the best and dry the best.
Do you want a crispy, sharper-flavored dried apple? Granny Smith and Braeburn are my recommendations here. While the tartness mellows when it has dried, they are still tarter than the others.
For a sweet apple, let me recommend Fuji apples (my favorite), gala apples (a close second), and Pink Lady.
Why dehydrate apples?
The most important reason is to preserve the apples. This will extend the life of your apples by removing moisture that would otherwise let them rot more quickly.
Dehydrating the apples makes them shelf-stable. While you typically store apples in the fridge or other cool space, drying them allows you to store them at room temperature, right in your pantry.
- Apples- This is obvious, I know. Use the guide above to decide on which apples you want to use.
- Ascorbic acid or another acid- This is optional, but I like to use it to prevent browning. You can also use pineapple juice or lemon juice as well.
- Cinnamon- is optional as well, but adds a nice burst of spice to the apples.
Simple how-to dry apples
As noted in the beginning, I am going to share 2 methods for drying your apples- the oven method and the dehydrator method. Both are very simple to do. Here is a quick rundown of how it will work, no matter the method you choose to use.
- Start by washing your fresh apples.
- Core the apples. This isn't essential, but I like it so much better.
- Slice the apple to between 1/16-⅛-inch thick. You can use a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer for this. The thickness of the slices will determine a lot of how long they will take to dry.
- At this point, you can either soak the apple rings in an acidic soak or start drying them right away. The soak will keep the apples from browning which makes for a really pretty and white dried apple. I will add more on this soaking process in the section below.
- Drain well, then sprinkle with cinnamon if you are using it.
- Layer the sliced apples over the shelves and let the drying process begin.
- The drying time will depend on the method you use and the thickness of your apple slices.
Drying apples in the oven
Did you know you can dry out apples even without a dehydrator? Yes! The good news is, you need no special equipment. You will just need a baking sheet, parchment paper, or a wire rack.
Follow the process outlined above.
Start by washing the apples, slicing the apples, core then the apples.
With that, decide if you want to soak the apples or not, this is a personal decision.
If you are using it, sprinkle a little cinnamon on each apple slice.
Now, you can either dry the apple slices on a piece of parchment paper on a pan or on cooling racks on cookie sheets. I wrote a post about what cooling racks can be used in the oven.
Set the oven to the LOWEST temperature it will go, mine does 220 degrees but go with the lowest you can.
It will take anywhere from 2-3 hours to dry the apples out. The oven-dried apples dry out much more quickly than the dehydrator as it is dried at a higher temperature.
Drying apples in a food dehydrator
Drying apples in a food dehydrator is simple too. I use the L'Equip food dehydrator. I have had this for about 5 years and love it. It has easy lift-off lids and shelves. I also like using this dehydrator as I can dehydrate a large batch of apples with all the shelves.
Whatever dehydrator you use, the process is still the same.
Start by coring your apples, and slicing them to about ⅛-inch thick.
At this point, you can either add them directly to the shelves on your dehydrator or soak them in an acidic solution. If you are soaking, make sure to drain them when you are done before adding them to the shelves.
If you want to sprinkle them with cinnamon, do that before adding them to the dehydrator shelves. Place apple slices in a single layer on the shelves.
Set the temperature to 135 degrees. Dehydrate for about 8-10 hours until the apples are dried. If you use thin slices, just know the time will be reduced.
How to store dehydrated apple chips
Be sure the apples are cooled completely before storing them. You will not want that moisture in your bags or containers.
If you plan on eating the apple slices within a month, no need to stress about storage, throw them in a ziplock bag or anything else you like.
A longer storage time will require a little more precaution.
You need to keep as much air out of the dried apples as possible. Either store them in an airtight container, a mason jar, or another glass jar. The mason jars are so pretty, and I always have plenty laying around the house. Be sure these containers are clean and sterilized before adding in the
Don't cram them into the containers though, set them loosely in. Tighten the lid and they are ready for storage.
You can also label them with the date they were dried. I always think my memory is good enough to remember, but the truth is, it isn't.
Tuck them back in your pantry shelves, they will hold for even longer in a dark location.
I also like to keep an eye on them, checking for moisture and molding.
Do you have to peel apples before dehydrating them?
There is no need to remove the apple skins before drying. I like keeping the peels on my apples. I love the texture the peels add to the apple slices and the flavor.
I do, however, make sure that my apple peels are washed before slicing the apples up. This is especially true for apples that are not organic.
If you do want to peel them, you can use an apple peeler or sharp knife to remove the skins.
Do you have to soak apples before dehydrating them?
You sure don't! However, if you want to keep the apples from browning, then, yes.
What do you soak it in? Something acidic. It can be ascorbic acid, lemon juice, or pineapple juice (this will also add to the sweetness of the apples).
How long do dried apples last?
Are you wondering how long dehydrated apples will last? You might be surprised that they can last 6-12 months with optimal storage conditions.
These are great snacks that you are going to love! Being able to store them for such a long time is a bonus as well.
Simple How-To Make Dried Apples
- sheet pan or dehydrator
- 6-10 apples depending on how many apples you want to make
- water I used about 10 cups, but this will depend on how many apples you use.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon optional
- Core your apples and slice them into ¼-inch slices.
- Combine the water, lemon juice, and pineapple juice in a large bowl.
- Add in the apples and gently mix with your hands to ensure they are all spread apart and covered in citric water.
- Let this sit for about 5 minutes.
- Drain the water. If you are sprinkling with cinnamon, lay out the slices now and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
- Spread the apple slices on your cooling rack on a cooling rack if you are dehydrating in the oven or the dehydrator shelves if you are using a dehydrator.
- If you are using the oven, set it at 140-150 degrees for about 6-12 hours. For the dehydrator, set it at 135 degrees for 12-24 hours.