Air fryers are such versatile kitchen appliances! I use mine for so many different things, including dehydration. I have plenty of tips if you’re not sure how to do it, including pros and cons of using an air fryer vs. dehydrator!
If you’ve recently invested in an air fryer, you may have wondered, “Can you dehydrate in an air fryer?” The great news is, yes!
This kitchen appliance is one of my absolute favorites. You can do so much with it: air fry, bake, roast, broil, and even reheat food.
If you’re looking for air fryer recipes, you’ve come to the right place! I have a ton to choose from on the site. And, if you’re a true air fryer newbie, you’ll get a lot out of my air fryer tips articles!
Now, back to dehydration. I’ve dehydrated fruit, vegetables, meat, and even seeds and nuts in my air fryer.
The best part? Using an air fryer to dehydrate means you don’t have to worry about investing in another appliance (I dive into the differences between the two in-depth below).
More counter space means more freedom for at-home cooking and baking!
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- The differences between an air fryer vs. dehydrator.
- Answers to questions like can you dehydrate in an air fryer? And, how long does it take to dehydrate?
- My favorite things to dehydrate in an air fryer and some recipe suggestions that you can try at home.
Learn all there is to know about using your air fryer to dehydrate food before you try it out yourselves. This helpful guide will answer all of your air fryer dehydration questions!
What is the Dehydrate Button on an Air Fryer?
Whether you’ve owned your air fryer for a while now or recently purchased one, you may be wondering what all of the different settings can do.
Most air fryers feature a “dehydrate” button. That’s the setting you’ll need to use when using your air fryer to dehydrate your favorite foods.
It will circulate warm air around the food, which will remove any excess moisture. Remember, it’s a “low and slow” cooking method — you’ll have to wait several hours for your air fryer to work its magic.
Air Fryer vs. Dehydrator
Air fryers and dehydrators both use heat to cook. That said, the way they use heat is different! Let’s take a closer look at an air fryer vs. a dehydrator.
Air fryers don’t actually fry foods — rather, they use very hot air to cook whatever type of air fryer-friendly food you put in them.
Hot air circulates around the food in order to cook at very high temperatures for short periods of time.
You typically don’t need to use any oil or butter — it’s one of the best parts about using this kitchen appliance. Clean-up is a breeze!
There are also many different settings to choose from on an air fryer. Not only can you dehydrate in an air fryer, but you can bake, broil, roast, and reheat too!
Dehydrators also use air. You don’t need to use any oil or butter (like an air fryer), but dehydrators use low temperatures to remove moisture from food and dry it out.
Dehydrators typically take longer to dehydrate than air fryers do — favoring the low and slow cooking method I mentioned.
Unlike an air fryer, the only thing you can do with a food dehydrator is, well, dehydrate. You can’t use one to bake, broil, roast, or reheat.
Can You Dehydrate Fruit in the Air Fryer?
Absolutely! One of my favorite things to dehydrate in my air fryer is fresh fruit. Here are a few of my go-to’s:
The process is so easy! Simply place your fruit of choice in your air fryer basket and turn the setting to “dehydrate.”
Most fruit will dehydrate at 175 degrees F. You’ll have to have a bit of patience as it cooks — the process usually takes about 4 hours.
While this may seem like a long time, it can take up to 6 hours to dehydrate fruit in a standard oven or a dehydrator.
You’ll get back up to 2 hours (or more, depending on the fruit!) when you use your air fryer instead.
Can You Dehydrate Vegetables in the Air Fryer?
You sure can! Not only can you dehydrate fruit in an air fryer, but you can also dehydrate fresh vegetables in the air fryer.
Dehydrated tomatoes, zucchini, kale, carrots, and more are all delicious and wholesome snack options. Here are some of my other favorites:
Just like fruit, vegetables will dehydrate at 175 degrees F. The cook time ranges depending on what type of veg you want to dehydrate.
Carrots, for example, will take about 3 hours. Kale, on the other hand, takes just 1 hour.
Enjoy your dehydrated vegetables as a snack (they taste like vegetable chips!), or you can use them in soups and stews.
I like to use peas, corn, and mushrooms best. They’ll rehydrate as they soak up the broth, and it’s a great way to extend the shelf-life of your veggies so that you don’t have to worry about them going bad in the fridge.
It’s a wonderful way to avoid food waste!
Can You Dehydrate Meat in an Air Fryer?
Yes, again! Homemade jerky, anyone? I’ve always been a huge jerky lover, but you never really know what’s in those store-bought packages that you can find at the gas station or supermarket.
Instead of attempting to decipher what all of those ingredients are, make it yourself at home. Here are some different types of meat that you can dehydrate in an air fryer:
- Round steak
- Strip steak
Not only can you create a protein-packed snack to enjoy at home, but dehydrated meat is also an excellent option for camping trips.
You’ll get the energy you need without having to worry about refrigerating. Keep in mind that you’ll have to dehydrate meat at higher temperatures than vegetables or fruit.
The key is to make sure that it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F — only then will it be safe to ingest!
How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate?
It all depends on what food you use. When you use your air fryer, the process can take anywhere from 1 hour to 6 hours.
Foods that naturally contain more moisture will take longer. For example, kale doesn’t hold onto much excess moisture once it’s picked and packaged.
Apples — known for being juicy and flavorful — will take a lot longer.
If you’re stuck on how long to dehydrate a certain type of food, a quick search online will be able to tell you how long to leave your food to dehydrate in an air fryer basket.
Some air fryers come with a book of recipes that may include dehydration cooking instructions for specific foods. When in doubt, call up a fellow air-frying friend to ask for advice!