Can You Use an Air Fryer to Dehydrate Food?

You’ve used your air fryer to bake, roast, broil, grill, and, of course, air fry. But have you ever wondered if you can dehydrate food in your air cooker?

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Why Dehydrate Your Food?

The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Drying Food, Plus 398 Recipes, Including Making Jerky, Fruit Leather & Just-Add-Water Meals

Dehydration has been used for millennia to preserve vegetables, fruits, and meats. Before harnessing electricity, our ancestors left grapes, figs, sliced tomatoes, peppers, fish, strips of meat, and other items out in the sun to dry. Meat items were often rubbed with salt to aid the drying and preservation process.

Dehydration is still an efficient method of preserving the bounty of your garden. Dried foods can last for months. They also represent a range of tasty treats. If you enjoy beef jerky, raisins, or banana chips, you’ve enjoyed dehydrated foods.

Today, dedicated food dehydrators are available from many appliance companies. But, can you save counter space and let your air fryer double as a dehydrator?

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?

COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine(50 Recipes) with Digital Timer and Thermostat Preset,5 BPA-Free Trays Food Dryer for Beef Jerky,Fruit,Dog Treats,Herbs,2-Year Warranty,ETL Listed/FDA Compliant

Typical food dehydrators consist of stacking racks on which thin layers of food are placed. Warm air is then circulated around the food for up to 48 hours. Bacteria and fungi are removed along with the moisture. As long as the items are dried completely and not exposed to moisture, the growth of these organisms will remain inhibited.

Dehydrating Foods With an Air Fryer

Yes, you can use many air fryer models to create delicious dehydrated snacks! Here’s how.

Prepping Your Food

Thinly slice the food item, and apply desired seasonings. There is no need to add oil to your food. Place the slices in a single layer in the frying basket. If your air fryer has multiple racks, you can place an additional single layer on each rack.

Air Fryers with Dehydrator Combo in One

Did you know? Some air fryers are equipped with a dehydration option. Simply select the dehydration preset button, and the temperature and time will be set automatically.

Gowise Air Fryer Oven

At 12.7 quarts, this is one of the largest air fryers on the market.

GoWISE USA GW44800-O Deluxe 12.7-Quarts 15-in-1 Electric Air Fryer Oven w/Rotisserie and Dehydrator + 50 Recipes (Black)

Features

Three rack levels allow you to process more food for dehydration in a single cooking cycle. With a temperature range that begins at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, this oven is gentle enough to dehydrate even the most fragile veggies. It comes with a multitude of accessories, including a rotisserie tong, rod, skewer, cage, and steak cage, as well as an oven rack, drip pan, mesh basket, and two trays. Fifteen presets make cooking (or dehydrating) a breeze.

Size and Appearance

This oven is available in black, white, and red exteriors with a red digital display. It has a footprint of 11.5 by 12 inches and is 14 inches in height. It weighs 23.4 pounds.

Breville the Smart Oven

This countertop convection oven doubles as both an air fryer and a dehydrator.

Breville BOV900BSS Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven Air, Brushed Stainless Steel

Features

Dehydration is one of this appliance’s thirteen cooking functions. The Breville Oven’s convection fan has two speed settings. The temperature sensing technology and Element IQ independent heating elements allow the oven to make precise temperature adjustments. The interior oven is one cubic foot and can handle up to four trays of food for dehydration in a single cooking cycle. The oven fits most 9 by 13-inch trays.

Size and Appearance

The Breville Smart Oven has a metallic exterior, with a digital LCD display and manual control knobs to the right of the oven door. It has dimensions of 25.8 by 18.5 by 16.7 inches and weighs a whopping 40 pounds.

Ninja Foodi

Technically a pressure cooker rather than an air fryer, this appliance has a crisping lid and an optional accessory is available to turn it into a food dehydrator.

Ninja OP301 Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer w/TenderCrisp Technology Pressure & Crisping Lid, 6.5 quart, Black/Gray

Features

The Ninja Foodie comes in a number of sizes, including 6.5 and 8-quart models. The dehydrator rack is an accessory that must be purchased separately. It includes five stainless steel dehydrating racks.

Size and Appearance

This appliance comes in black or grey. The larger model is 14 inches tall and has a footprint of 14.2 by 16.8 inches. It weighs 31 pounds.

Instant Vortex Plus

This 10-quart appliance includes a “Dehydrate” Preset Smart Program.

Features

You can dehydrate, reheat, bake, broil, roast, or air fry with this handy mid-sized option. A rotate preset also allows you to cook items weighing up to 4 pounds rotisserie style. Accessories include a rotisserie basket and tool, spit, forks, two cooking trays, and a drip pan.

Size and Appearance

This stylish black and chrome appliance is sure to complement the color scheme of your Instant Pot. This air fryer weighs 16.6 pounds and has a footprint of about 14 inches. It is nearly 15 inches in height.

Dehydrating Foods With a Standard Air Fryer

Dehydration of fruits and vegetables is also possible with a standard air fryer, though the process differs from standard dehydration.

To dehydrate fruits or vegetables, select the lowest temperature setting that your air fryer affords. Keep in mind that your air fryer’s lowest temperature setting may still be too hot to dehydrate your food items without burning them. This may range from 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the model.

Set the timer for 15 minutes. The first time you dehydrate a given type of food, check it at least every five minutes to determine the exact time needed.

Dehydrating meats is not recommended for standard air fryers, as the timer limits are generally too brief to maintain food safety.

Should You Buy a Dedicated Dehydrator?

Our kitchen experts agree that if you plan on doing a lot of food dehydrating, a dedicated dehydrator is well worth the investment.

Purchasing a dehydrator in addition to your standard air fryer is generally cheaper than springing for one of the combination models listed above. Dedicated dehydrators are also more efficient that attempting dehydration with a standard air fryer in which dehydration is not a preset option.

The drawback of purchasing a dedicated dehydrator is the countertop or storage space necessary for housing the additional appliance. Dehydrators generally have a large footprint greater than 12 inches.

If you decide that dehydrating is for you, we recommend the following options.

COSORI Food Dehydrator

An economical and space-saving dehydrator.

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine(50 Free Recipe Book), 6 Stainless Steel Trays w/Digital Timer & Thermostat Preset for Beef,Jerky,Fruit,Dog Treats,Herbs,2 Year Warranty,ETL Listed/FDA Compliant

Features

This versatile dehydrator has a touch control LED display, temperature settings from 95 to 165 F, and a timer ranging from 30 minutes to 48 hours. It is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and has an automatic shutoff for safety.

Size and Appearance

This dehydrator is cheerfully white in color, and when filled with colorful fruits it is sure to brighten your kitchen decor. It has a footprint of approximately 12 by 14 inches and is 14 inches in height. It weighs just over 9 pounds.

Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator

Excalibur 2400 4-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator with Adjustable Thermostat Accurate Temperature Control Faster and Efficient Drying Includes Guide to Dehydration Made in USA, 4-Tray, Black

This dehydrator is available in multiple sizes to meet your drying needs.

Features

The adjustable thermostat ranges from 105 F for delicate herbs to 165 F for meats and jerky. A fan provides air circulation. The 4-tray model offers 4 square feet of drying space, or you can upgrade to the 9-tray model, which offers 15 square feet of drying space.

Size and Appearance

The economic 4-tray dehydrator has a footprint of 13 by 16 inches, and it is only 6.5 inches in height. It weighs 8 pounds.

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