A dehydrator is one of your most versatile kitchen appliances, as you’ll see in this list of the best dehydrator recipes! You can dehydrate pretty much anything, from fruits to vegetables, meat to mushrooms, even cheese and eggs.
Food dehydrators come in all shapes and sizes and for all budgets. As with most things, you do get what you pay for. Look for a dehydrator that has enough surface area for your needs. Dehydrating can take a long time, from a few hours to a day, so you may as well pack it as full as possible to save on energy costs. I much prefer the ones with square trays than round, it’s a much more efficient use of space.
Another important feature is a decent thermostat with timer. As you’ll read in the dehydrating mushroom section below, the wrong temperature can ruin a whole batch of dehydrated foods! My favorite, best dehydrator is the Excalibur, closely followed by COSORI and Nesco. I also like Lehman’s dehydrator, which is made in the USA. These brands offer great quality, long-lasting dehydrators.
Dehydrator foods can last as long as 10 years. The key to having them last longer is proper storage. If you’re going to eat your dehydrated food quickly, within a year, you can store it in freezer bags with as much air squeezed out as possible.
For longer storage, you can vacuum seal them and add an oxygen absorber. Learn as much as you can about food dehydration so you’re preparing food that’s safe to consume, is long-lasting, and shelf-stable. My favorite books about dehydrating are the Ultimate Dehydrator Cook Book by Tammy Gangloff and the Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food by Teresa Marrone.
Best Dehydrator Recipes List
You can use the table of contents to quickly skip to the different recipe categories, like jerky, mushrooms, powdered eggs, and much more dehydrated goodness. You’ll also find a few great recipes that were contributed by dehydrating experts, including a wonderful fruit roll-up recipe and hibiscus beef jerky.
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Jerky
There are a million different ways to make jerky; with different meats, different spice combinations, and seasoning mixes. People have been drying meat for 1000s of years so they could preserve large amounts of meat they couldn’t eat in one go.
Ohio State University says:
“When jerky is made safely, it is nutrient-dense, shelf-stable and lightweight. Once dried, a pound of meat is typically reduced to about 4 ounces.
The biggest safety concern when making jerky is the risk of allowing bacteria that can cause human illness to grow to high levels in the warm, dry environments of a food dehydrator or oven drying process. An added step of heating the meat either before or after drying is needed to destroy these bacteria.”
They recommend several ways of decreasing the risk involve with dehydrating meat, including washing your hands thoroughly, using clean equipment, defrosting meat in the fridge (not on the counter), and drying meat in a food dehydrator that has an adjustable temperature dial.
Choose a dehydrator that “will maintain a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the drying process”.
You can make jerky from nearly any meat, poultry, or game. The best cuts have less than 10% fat, to avoid them going rancid quickly. Lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb are all great choices for jerky, as is smoked poultry.
As for making jerky with game meat, Ohio State recommends:
“When making jerky from game harvested in the wild, it is possible that the animal may be carrying the Trichinella parasite. To destroy the parasite, meat can be frozen in small portions (no thicker than 6 inches) to zero degrees Fahrenheit or below for at least 30 days.
Game meat may also be contaminated with fecal bacteria depending on the location of the wound and field dressing practices. Carcasses should be rapidly cooled and care should be taken to avoid damaging the gastrointestinal tract.”
Here are some great recipes for jerky in the dehydrator.
- Best Beef Jerky – Gimme Some Oven
- Chilli Lime Jerky – Joybilee Farm
- Smoked Deer Jerky
- Smoky Beer Beef Jerky – Trail Recipes
- Venison Jerky – Rustic Elk
- Chicken Jerky – Homesteading Hippy
- Hickory Smoke Beef Jerky – DIY Danielle
- Hibiscus Beef Jerky – Zhi Herbals (see below)
- Ground Turkey Jerky – Summer Yule (see below)
- Doc’s Best Beef Jerky
Ground Turkey Jerky Recipe
“There can be safety issues when dehydrating meat. The USDA recommends that beef must be heated to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process. Many dehydrators don’t go that high, so you need to often start the process in an oven prior to dehydrating.I don’t have a favorite dehydrator. I picked one up years ago on Craigslist for $25 and it has served me well since that time. As long as you practice food safety measures (including handwashing and maintaining the correct temperatures) food dehydrating can be safe.
- 1 lb. ground turkey, 99% fat-free
- 2 T low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 c pecans, chopped
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 t dried sage
- ¼ t black pepper
- ¼ c unsweetened applesauce
- Preheat the oven to 170°F. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Wash and sanitize any surfaces that will come in contact with food.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Blend the soy sauce, pecans, thyme, sage, black pepper, and applesauce in a food processor. Put the mixture in a large mixing bowl, and mix in the turkey with your clean hands.
- Place the mixture between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out into a 10″ square.
- Cut the square into 10 bars and arrange the bars in a single (non-touching) layer on the lined baking sheet.
- After you are done touching the raw turkey, rewash your hands.
- Bake the bars for 5 hours, then flip them and bake for an additional hour. If you’ve used a dark-colored baking tray, your overall cooking time may be shortened by 15 minutes.
- While they bake, wash and sanitize all surfaces that came in contact with raw turkey.
- Let the bars cool before placing them in individual snack bags and storing them in the fridge at 40°F or below. Enjoy!
The important part is that it reaches the right internal temperature. I would check it every 30 minutes or so and then switch over when it reaches that point. It will take a bit longer than it would have if you completed the process in the oven because the dehydrator uses a lower temperature.”
Hibiscus Beef Jerky Dehydrator Recipe
“Hibiscus is an excellent herb to cook with. It is extremely high in vitamin C and its flavour is floral and reminiscent of limes. A note (and you probably already know this), the quality of the beef greatly influences how the jerky tastes. It is imperative to use the highest quality meat available.”
To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 4 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 7 tbsp hibiscus flower petals (powdered)
- 1 tbsp curing salt
- 2 lbs inside round beef, thinly sliced and fat removed
- In a bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, garlic powder, black pepper, hibiscus, and curing salt.
- Piece by piece, coat your beef evenly in the seasoning mixture.
- Once seasoned, seal your meat in an airtight container and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- After marinating, remove beef from the fridge and spread in a single layer across the trays of your dehydrator.
- Dehydrate at 165F for approximately 5 hours. The thickness of the beef will determine the exact drying time, so be sure to check it often as it may take slightly more or less time than you expect.
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Fruit, Seeds & Nuts
- Spiced Up Trail Mix
- Dehydrating Reference Chart – Step-by-step instruction guide for preparing crackers, chips, fruit leathers, and dried foods.
- Dehydrated Apple Pie Sugar – Uses leftover apple peels
- Raw Sprouted Granola
- Homemade Raisins – A Traditional Life
- How to Make Fruit Leathers
- Homemade Fruit Leather. You can do a purely strawberry version of this recipe as well as a mixture of grapes, strawberries, and apples. Both are sweet and rich with the natural sugars and pulp of the fruit.
- Savory Sun Trail Mix
- Dried Apple Chips
- Berry Green Fruit Leather
- Powdered Strawberries and How to Use Them
- Nori Trail Food Wraps
- Simple Flax Cracker
- DIY Fruit Leathers – Fresh Off the Grid
- Banana Leather With Nutella – Cupcake Project
- Apple Rings
- Orange Creamsicle Fruit Leather
! Don’t miss: 49 Unusual Things to Dehydrate in a Dehydrator
Fruit Roll-Up Dehydrator Recipe
Jessica Randhawa, head chef, recipe creator, photographer, and writer behind The Forked Spoon, recommends her Fruit Roll-Up recipe (which you can see in the beautiful picture above) because it always puts a smile on her son’s face. It’s true, my kids love fruit roll-ups too!
“When dehydrating meat, it’s best to use leaner pieces of meat, as fatty meats can turn rancid over time, which can quickly become a food safety issue.
When dehydrating meats and fruits, we love utilizing our COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator, as it is both so easy to use, and very clean afterward as it is dishwasher safe.”
Don’t miss: How to Eat Zucchini in 87 Different Ways
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Vegetables
- Curried Carrot Crackers
- Dehydrated Tomatoes
- Carrot Leather “Bread” Recipe
- Dried Vegetables Flakes.
- Goddess Kale Chips Recipe
- Savory Eggplant Jerky – Thank Your Body
- Dehydrated Corn Silk. Nutritious powder to add to almost any meal.
- Pine Tree Cookies Using Cambium
- Dehydrated Okra. Dehydrated okra is great! Use as croutons or just snack on them. Check the comments of this article for the full instructions to dehydrate.
- Potato Flakes
- Simple Cinnamon Zucchini Chips
- Dehydrated Cambium (Pine Tree inner bark). You can eat this raw, boiled, roasted, or fried. When fried, it’s often called “pine bacon”. Dehydrate it and grind it into a flour/powder. You can then add the cambium powder to soups, bread, and other recipes. Make porridge with milk or make pine tree cookies.
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Mushrooms
The Bay Area Mycological Society recommends looking for a dehydrator that will last the distance (10 years or more) and has a thermostat. Without a thermostat, you run the risk of ruining beautiful mushrooms due to too much heat.
Their recommendations for the best dehydrator for mushrooms are Excalibur, Nesco American Harvest (make sure it has a top fan, not a bottom fan as spores can clog the fan), and L’Equip. You can also build your own dehydrator or use a solar oven.
Some of the best dehydrator recipes for mushrooms:
- Easy Dehydrated Mushrooms – The Lean Green Bean
- Red Wine Dehydrated Mushrooms – a recipe by Weston Dehydrators
- Mushroom Powder – Mom With a Prep
- Teriyaki Mushroom Jerky
- Lemon and Garlic Mushroom Chips – Health, Home, and Happiness
- Porcini Mushroom Umami Bombs (bouillon cubes) – Hunger and Thirst
- Portobello Mushroom Jerky – The Full Helping
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Complete Meals
Dehydrating complete meals is a great way of increasing shelf-life or your produce and having a meal ready to go! Fresh off the Grid is a great resource for complete, dehydrated meals. They say it’s a great way of taking meals for backpacking or camping trips.
These types of meals need to be lightweight, calorie-dense, and quick-cooking, they say. Not only that, but dehydrating your own meals for on the go ensures you know exactly what goes in!
- Dehydrated Risotto With Vegetables – Fresh off the Grid
- Dehydrated Minestrone Soup – Fresh off the Grid
Homemade Powdered Eggs in the Dehydrator
5 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Fresh Eggs
from: The Grow Network
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Dairy
- Dehydrate Cheese for Survival/Long Term Storage (Joybilee Farm)
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Flour and Bread
- How to Dehydrate Sprouted Grains to Grind Into Flour
- Sprouted Grain Flour
- Dehydrate Your Sourdough Starter
- Sprouted Bean Flour
Best Dehydrator Recipes for Herbs
The National Center for Food Preservation (NCHFP) says drying your own herbs is the easiest method of preserving them. Harvest the herbs just before the flowers open, first thing in the morning after the dew has evaporated.
Harvest your herbs as carefully as possible and process them as soon as you can. The NCHFP recommends:
“Pre-heat dehydrator with the thermostat set to 95°F to 115°F. In areas with higher humidity, temperatures as high as 125°F may be needed. After rinsing under cool, running water and shaking to remove excess moisture, place the herbs in a single layer on dehydrator trays.
Drying times may vary from 1 to 4 hours. Check periodically. Herbs are dry when they crumble, and stems break when bent. Check your dehydrator instruction booklet for specific details.”
- How to Dehydrate Herbs
- Dehydrate Herbs for Tea – With Lots of Recipes for Tea
- Basil Powder
- Dehydrated fresh rose petals
- Dried Cilantro
- Italian Herb Rub
Best Dehydrator Recipe Books
Dehydrating & Food Security Information
- How to Create Food Security for You and Your Family
- 5 Keys to Food Security in Extreme Weather, for Home Gardeners
- Grow Your Own Simple Backyard Pharmacy … Just Like Grandma’s!
- Designing Your Own Solar Cooker and Dehydrator
Last update on 2020-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API