Dehydrating In An Air Fryer (The Complete Guide)

Across the nation, no, across the globe, air fryers are becoming increasingly popular. They are used in so many different ways every day! From deep-frying without oil to dehydrating food, this trend started out as a way to fry without oil.

Is it really possible to dehydrate food inside an air fryer? Air fryers are capable of dehydrating food. The foods should be dried for 2-4 hours, depending on the type of food you’re dehydrating, at the lowest temperature setting (or to the dehydration setting) of an air fryer.

In today’s article, we will go over some traditional dehydrating methods and compare them with air-drying.

In the next section, we will examine exactly how to dehydrate food using an air fryer, as well as some of our favorite products available online.

Traditional Ways To Dehydrate Foods

Preservation of food through drying goes back thousands of years. Its origins date back to 12,000 BC. Middle Eastern and Asian regions were the first to discover/invent it.

Dehydrating food has as large a purpose as possible: removing the maximum amount of moisture from it. Bacterial survival depends on moisture.

If you remove it, you are eliminating one of the most important elements of their existence. In the same way that we need water to survive, so do they.

In traditional food drying, four methods are used: air drying, wind drying, sun drying, and smokering.

Air Drying

Ventilation is used to help dry food by air drying. Neither sunlight nor wind are allowed to affect the process. 

A well-ventilated room or attic can be used for drying food items. A couple of days, some even a couple of weeks, are then spent allowing the items to dry. 

Herbs, mushrooms, and hot peppers are ideal ingredients for air-drying. In addition to keeping these items safe from pests and foreign objects, they dry quickly without a lot of fuss.

Wind Drying

In Wind drying, food is dried not by hot air but by the actual wind blowing outside. A person participates in this method by hanging food in a shady place on hooks or strings. 

Food is left exposed for a few days or weeks until it naturally, slowly, and evenly dries.

However, many people who practice this method have special ways to keep pests out of their ingredients and to protect them from the elements. While this method obviously has its drawbacks, such as the way it is exposed to all the elements.

Sun Drying

Food can also be dried by sun exposure. A relatively safe place for the food to be stored is one that is preferably free of pests and foreign objects such as dust and twigs.

All sides of the ingredients are exposed to the sun and evenly dried during the couple of days spent in the sun.

Among the most common ingredients that are sun dried are cocoa beans and coffee beans. In addition to herbs, most fruits and vegetables can also be dried in the sun.

Smoking

In addition to dehydrating food, smoking imparts flavor. It is a wonderful method of killing bacteria and keeping food free of pests and foreign objects as it kills bacteria.

Dehydrating meats with this method is most common, while fruits, vegetables, and herbs are better dehydrated with other methods.

It is a requirement due to the fact that meat is a perishable item, which cannot be kept at room temperature.

New Ways To Dehydrate Food

Let us now look at some more modern methods of dehydrating food, since we just discussed many traditional ways.

In spite of the pros and cons of traditional methods, newer methods were developed primarily for safety reasons.

Traditional methods expose food to a lot of foreign objects, which makes dehydrating food very difficult and risky at times. There are pests, polluting agents, dust, and other hazards in the food supply.

In these modern methods, everything is done indoors and in a controlled environment. There are some methods used and even pieces of equipment that are much more advanced than others, but can still effectively achieve their goals!

Microwave

Microwaves are only good for drying herbs (in terms of dehydrating food). As a result of the intense heat, the food usually only tastes overcooked rather than dried.

Herbs are a great way to remove almost all of the moisture quickly. For uniform drying, it is best to work in small batches.

Microwaves can be used to dry food by placing about 4-5 branches between two pieces of paper towel, setting them to their highest setting, and heating for approximately 2-3 minutes.

The herbs should cool completely before being checked once the time has elapsed.

It should be brittle and dry after cooling. Otherwise, microwave them for 30-second intervals. Until the paper is fully dry, repeat the process.

Oven-Drying

The most popular method for drying household items is oven drying, especially if you don’t have or want any special equipment.

Dehydrating food in ovens takes quite some time, but they are great for large batches, and you can dry almost anything in them. Ovens do not have fans to circulate air, so they require a long time to dry.

Dehydrate food in an oven by setting the temperature to roughly 140°F or as low as it will go. Use the “keep warm” setting if your oven has one. Food will be cooked instead of slowly dehydrating if the temperature is too high.

Placing the ingredients on a tray inside the oven and placing it in the oven allows them to dry. Propping open the oven door by 2 to 4 inches is essential. Make sure that the air in the house is circulated by placing a fan near the door.

Dehydrators

A dehydrator is a piece of cookware that is designed specifically to dehydrate food.

Since they use electricity to work, they can dehydrate your food much faster than nearly any other method that we have discussed. 

As opposed to ovens, these have a built-in fan that circulates the air. Drying bulk quantities evenly is made possible by their low temperature and multiple mesh screens.

What Is An Air Fryer?

It is not the same as a normal fryer and you won’t be frying food in air fryers. An appliance similar to deep-fried food, it’s a countertop convection oven.

An extremely high-speed fan circulates hot air through it. In order for the food to brown and to become crisp, the surface layer of the food is dehydrated.

Understanding how air fryers work is crucial to understanding this effect and how it is used for dehydrating food. Each time you dehydrate food, you will get perfect results.

A fan and a heating element are the main components of air fryers. A heating element produces intense and instant heat in the chamber of an air fryer.

With certain models, it is capable of creating temperatures up to 482°F.

Air fryers contain a fan that circulates air evenly, allowing for even cooking (and crisping) of the food.

A typical deep-fryer works much slower than an air fryer. The Maillard reaction is induced quicker and doesn’t require much oil (if any).

Hot air circulates in the room as a result. A thin layer of oil or oiliness already present in the food is kept at a constant temperature and crisps up when it is kept warm.

Dehydrating In an Air Fryer

It makes sense that more people have air fryers than dehydrators for drying food if they have them. The air fryer is a very versatile kitchen appliance, whereas dehydrators only serve one purpose.

  1. Choose the lowest possible setting for your air fryer. Temperatures above 123°F will cause the food to start cooking instead of drying.
  2. On the food rack or shelf, arrange the food in a single layer. This will help the air circulate around the items.
  3. Dehydrate your food for a few hours in the dehydrator. The length of time it takes to dehydrate an item depends on its size, weight, and thickness.

You can dehydrate food very effectively with an air fryer. Dehydrated food cannot be made in large batches, and it may have to be cut smaller to fit inside the air fryer.

Besides that, it produces crisp and evenly dried food products. Using the air fryer is an excellent way to enhance fruits’ natural flavor and preserve their texture.

In fact, mushrooms, apples, fruit stones, tomatoes, and berries can be difficult to dry because of this reason. In any case, we’re confident that the dehydrating process worked flawlessly in our air fryer.

Tips For Dehydrating In An Air Fryer

Here are a few tips for getting started dehydrating in an air fryer.

  • Food should not be stacked! The food must be arranged in a single layer when dehydrating. Only by doing so will the ingredients dry evenly and at the same speed.
  • Use the same temperature and time settings for your air fryer (if possible) as if you were drying a dish in a dehydrator. As an alternative, you can leave it on the lowest setting for a couple of hours. The progress must be checked every hour.
  • Checking the consistency of your food is a good indicator that it has been properly dehydrated (and for long enough). In the case of soft or sticky items, continue dehydrating. You should remove hard, crunchy food first. Avoid moist areas, humidity, and breezes when dehydrating your food.
  • Ensure all your food has been prepared before you begin to dehydrate. You should wash your ingredients before dehydrating (if possible. After that, pat dry with a paper towel before placing them in a dehydrator.
  • Make sure the dehydrated food has cooled completely before storing it. As well as protecting the food from moisture, sunlight, and air, it is extremely important to use an airtight container. A pantry or food cupboard works best.

Air Fryer Vs Dehydrators

Is that why you would prefer an air fryer to a dehydrator?

In the end, there are pros and cons to each, but an air fryer can be used for a variety of reasons besides dehydrating. Only food can be dehydrated in a dehydrator.

Air Fryer Vs Dehydrator

The heat is evenly distributed by both of these pieces of equipment by circulating air.

Dehydrators dehydrate food at the lowest possible temperature, while air fryers cook food at the highest possible temperature.

Air fryers and dehydrators both cook food quickly, but over longer periods of time. By using longer times and lower temperatures, the food is allowed to dry rather than cook.

Air Fryer Buying Guide For Dehydrating Food

It doesn’t mean that all air fryers dehydrate your food, just because one is capable of doing so. If you want to dehydrate or cook other foods, you have to look out for several things in an air fryer.

Air fryers should be picked out based on their lowest temperature setting, which is arguably the most important. 

It should be possible to drop the temperature below 123°F now that you know the reason for this. Any higher than that and you will have cooked food, not dry food.

It is also important to make sure that your air fryer has a good air venting system, but this is harder to assess or test. Moisture is released when food dehydrates.

A moisture trap would lead to condensation, which leads to the dried food reabsorbing the moisture.

A shelf or rack should come with your air fryer. Hot air will then circulate evenly throughout the pan and cook all the food evenly. Having the food constantly rotated will also reduce your work load.

Air fryers come in many different sizes, so consider this when choosing one. Food must be dehydrated one layer at a time in air fryers because there are no multiple layers.

While this might not be an issue for many, you might want to consider investing in a bigger air fryer or dehydrator if you intend to dry bulk quantities of food.

A long-lasting air fryer is important. In general, an air fryer only needs to run for about 15-30 minutes, maybe an hour. To find out the time it can run, you need to research your specific model.

The 5 Best Air Fryers For Dehydrating Food

Following our discussion of how to dehydrate food in an air fryer, let’s look at some of our favorite air fryers for that exact purpose!

1. Instant Vortex 7-in-1 Air Fryer

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Instant Vortex Plus 10 Quart Air Fryer, Rotisserie...
21,138 Reviews
Instant Vortex Plus 10 Quart Air Fryer, Rotisserie...
  • 7-in-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Air fry, broil, bake, roast, dehydrate, reheat,...
  • EvenCrisp TECHNOLOGY: All the crunch and tenderness of deep-frying...
  • QUICK AND EVEN HEATNG: Top heating element with fan ensures optimal...
  • ONE-TOUCH SMART PROGRAMS: Customizable cooking programs for easy...

It can be used for more than air frying, making it one of the leading air fryers on the market.

Dehydration is built into this specific model.

Air fry, bake, broil, roast, rotisserie, and reheat are the other settings.

As for dehydration specifically, both perforated cooking trays and a drip pan come with the machine.

By ensuring air circulation during dehydration, you can dehydrate effectively on multiple levels.

It can also dry your food for hours at a low temperature.

This air fryer has a very affordable price, which is our favorite part.

Several air fryers are available on the market that can only do one thing but still cost you a tiny house! This one will last you a long time and is definitely worth the money.

2. Ninja Air Fryer

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Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Qt, Black/gray
29,165 Reviews
Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Qt, Black/gray
  • Now enjoy guilt free food; Air fry with up to 75 percent less fat than...
  • Wide temperature range: 105 degree Fahrenheit to 400 degrees...
  • 4 quart ceramic coated nonstick basket and crisper plate fit 2 pounds...
  • The unit will need time to preheat before coming up to temperature. We...

Although this might seem like an ordinary air fryer, it offers some impressive features.

There is a built-in dehydrator on this model as well as an additional multi-layer rack.

You will be able to dehydrate foods faster this way.

Dehydrated foods will be deliciously crisp and flat thanks to the low temperature and fan speed of this machine. 

Moreover, all removable parts can be washed in the dishwasher! Save yourself a lot of time and effort by using this method!

Due to its simpler design and fewer features compared to some other air fryers, the Ninja air fryer is less expensive.

It is a great choice if you are dehydrating or simply want a well-rounded air fryer.

3. COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer

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COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer(100 Recipes), 13...
20,891 Reviews
COSORI Smart WiFi Air Fryer(100 Recipes), 13...
  • YOUR PERSONAL KITCHEN ASSISTANT - Cook hands-free by connecting your...
  • NEVER LOSE TRACK - Spend more time with family and friends and less...
  • UP TO 85% LESS OIL! Enjoy the same crispy textures you love with low...
  • OVER 100 RECIPES! No matter what your skill level is, 100+ detailed,...

You won’t find a better air fryer than this one if you are looking for a modernized one!

The reason this model is so impressive has to do with its other features before we get into its functions.

Vous can control it remotely with an app, on the screen, or with Alexa or Google Assistant — crazy, huh?

Now, let’s take a look at the design features it has. A 5.8-quart basket inside the air fryer is quite spacious. The result is a lot of space for dehydrating food.

However, it contains an app that lets you monitor the food being dehydrated closely while you dehydrate it. 

4. Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer

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Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer, Electric Hot Air...
6,170 Reviews
Ultrean 8.5 Quart Air Fryer, Electric Hot Air...
  • Fry Tasty Meals with Less or No Oil: With ULTREAN's 360 degrees rapid...
  • Multifunctional All-In-One Cooker: That fries, roast, grill and can...
  • Bigger Cooking Capacity, Hassle-Free Cooking: Which means you can...
  • Easy To Use and Safe: With auto shut off and overheat protection to...

Despite its simplicity, this air fryer packs a powerful punch.

You can dehydrate or cook your food perfectly with this product’s preprogrammed settings.

We like this device because of its auto-shutoff features.

Essentially, these are built-in settings that automatically shut down the machine if the fryer becomes too hot.

As the air circulates throughout the device, unlike many other air fryers which only vent in certain directions, this air fryer utilizes 360-degree cooking for even cooking.

It takes no time at all to dehydrate your ingredients to perfection!

5. Chefman Air Fryer and Dehydrator

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Chefman 6.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer+ Rotisserie,...
7,339 Reviews
Chefman 6.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer+ Rotisserie,...
  • THE ONLY PRODUCT YOU’LL NEED: This versatile product functions as an...
  • EFFORTLESS COOKING: This multi-functional air fryer cooks faster than...
  • CONVENIENT ACCESSORIES: Interior lighting allows you to easily watch...
  • PERFECT FOR FAMILIES: Extra guests, or just extra hungry? Either way,...

We were very impressed with their air fryers after shopping at Chefman, a very well-known kitchen appliance store.

This model has a dehydrator setting built-in and is also designed with this function in mind.

Besides the two removable racks, it features a drip tray that will catch any spilled juices or crumbs.

A perforated wire rack will be able to dehydrate foods much more quickly, while a drip tray will be much easier to clean!

Even better, all parts of the set can be cleaned in the dishwasher! 

Dehydration is just one of many ways you can prepare food inside. Try roasting a whole chicken or making a meal with dried fruits!

Resources:

  1. https://www.gowiseproducts.com/blogs/gowise-blog/how-to-dehydrate-food-with-an-air-fryer-or-dehydrator
  2. https://mybudgetrecipes.com/how-to-use-an-air-fryer-as-a-dehydrator/
  3. https://kitchensnitches.com/using-an-air-fryer-to-dehydrate-food/
  4. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/how-to-dehydrate-fruits-and-vegetables

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