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How to Dehydrate & Store Apples

Dehydrated apples are a simple way to preserve autumn’s bounty and make a healthy, shelf-stable snack! Learn how to dehydrate apples and also customize their flavor with your favorite fall spices.

A bowl of dehydrated apples next to 3 apples on a wood table

Apple season is in full swing and you know what that means: apple cobblers, apple cakes, apple bread, and apple pancakes! But even with so many easy apple recipes to tempt the tastebuds, the fact is that when apples are on the tree there are usually so many of them that you need to find a way to use them all up – stat. This is where my handy dandy dehydrator comes in!

Dehydrated apples are easy to make and are a healthy snack to boot. It takes about 10 minutes to prep 9 apples, then 10-12 hours for them to dehydrate at 145F. If you have an oven that goes this low you could also dehydrate apples in there.

Last year I made several nice-sized bins of these and they were gone in a month because everyone ate them. So this year, I’m dehydrating apples like nobody’s business in the hopes of making enough to just last us through December.

Apples on a tree
Some of the apples we picked for all our apple goodies. See more snapshots from my daily life on Instagram.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a rundown of equipment and ingredients.

Equipment:

  • Apple corer – Not 100% neccessary, but if you want to make apple rings then this will make it simple to just remove the cores. I have been using this one for several years.
  • Mandolin – You could techinically slice the apples with a knife. But it is much easier to use a mandolin and you will also get more consistently sized slices. It is important that all the slices are about the same thickeness so that they dehyrdate at the same rate. I recommend this Mueller slicer and spiralizer since it does more than just slice. (It slices, it dices, it spiralizes!) I’ve been using this one for about 7 years and it’s still in great shape.
  • Dehyrdrator – You will need a dehydrator unless you have an oven that goes down to 145F. I use a Cosori dehydrator. It has six trays for drying food, does not take up a lot of space and is under $200. Last time I checked it was only $159!

Ingredients:

  • Apples – Use firm apples like Golden Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady. Firm apples hold their shape better. You could also use Granny Smith if you want some tartness.
  • Lemon Juice – I recommend using fresh lemons. The citrus juices help prevent your apples from browning (although some discoloration will still occur and that is totally fine.)
  • Sugar – Regular white sugar, but brown sugar works too.
  • Spices – I like to use cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also add some cloves and allspice (just a pinch!) if you want to go all in on the fall flavors.
  • Vanilla – This is also optional but I like to add a splash of vanilla to the citrus juice mixture for flavor.
A white bowl filled with dry apples

How to Dehydrate Fresh Apples

Once you have gathered your equipment and ingredients, it’s time to start dehydrating! Here’s how to do it:

  • Make lemon juice mixture. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar and spices. Set aside.
  • Core the apples (optional). Wash your apples, then use an apple corer to press down through the middle of each apple and remove the core. If you would prefer not to fuss with this step you can just slice the apples.
  • Slice. You want your apple slices to be the same width so a mandolin is worth using here. Be careful to watch your fingers!! Do not rush this process and use a hand guard or gloves. You want to slice your apples about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick, depending on whether you want your apples to be slightly crisp or more soft/chewy.
    • You can also just slice the apples with a knife, doing your best to make sure they are about the same thickness.
  • Toss with lemon mixture. Add the slices to a large bowl, then pour the lemon juice mixture over it. Gently mix together with your hands so that all the slices get coated in the citrus-sugar mixture.
  • Place in dehydrator. Add the slices to your dehydrator making sure that the slices do not overlap. The edges can be touching (the apples will shrink) but if they are overlapping then some parts of the slices won’t dry out properly.
  • Dehydrate. Set the temperature to 145F and the timer to 10 hours. You’ll need to check them when the timer goes off to make sure the slices are completely dry. If there is still some moisture then add another hour or two of drying time.
  • Cool. Let the apple slices cool completely before transfering them to an air tight container.

Tips for Success

  • Do I need to peel the apples? Some people do, I don’t. Apple skins have a lot of nutritional value and once the slices are dehydrated the skin becomes paper-thin. Plus, it’s easier to prep your apples if they are not peeled!
  • Careful with the mandolin. It is very easy to slice your hand open on the mandolin blade, so do not rush. Slow and steady wins the day. Use the hand guard that came with the mandolin or wear a glove on the hand doing the slicing.
  • How to use the apple tops? When you are slicing apples with a mandolin the tops/bottoms of each apple will usually be left over because they are too small to slice. I like to save these and make a quick batch of stewed apples.
    • To make stewed apples: add the extra apple pieces to a pot (roughly chop them if you like), then add some sugar and water or apple cider. You can also add a dash of cinnamon. (How much? Well if you have ~ 2 cups of chopped apples then I would add ~ 1/2 cup liquid and ~ 1-2 tablespoons sugar.) Cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the apples are soft. Keep an eye on the apples and add more water/cider if they are drying out. Let them cool, then transfer to a mason jar and store in the fridge. These are excellent spooned over maple oatmeal, steel cut oatmeal or on top of old fashioned pancakes.

How to Store

As long as your apples have been completely dehydrated they will be shelf-stable. You can store them in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 1 year. I’ll be honest though, my family always eats all the apples before we get even a few months into their potential storage time!

Print

How to Dehydrate and Store Fresh Apples

Dehydrated apples are a simple way to preserve autumn’s bounty and also make a healthy, shelf-stable snack!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Food Preservation
  • Method: Dehydrator
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 9 apples
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Make lemon juice mixture. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar and spices. Set aside.

Core the apples (optional). Wash your apples, then use an apple corer to press down through the middle of each apple and remove the core. If you would prefer not to fuss with this step you can just slice the apples.

Slice. Slice your apples about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick, depending on whether you want your apples to be slightly crisp or more soft/chewy.

Toss with lemon mixture. Add the slices to a large bowl, then pour the lemon juice mixture over it. Gently mix together with your hands so that all the slices get coated in the citrus-sugar mixture.

Place in dehydrator. Add the slices to your dehydrator making sure that the slices do not overlap. The edges can be touching (the apples will shrink) but if they are overlapping then some parts of the slices won’t dry out properly.

Dehydrate. Set the temperature to 145F and the timer to 10 hours. You’ll need to check them when the timer goes off to make sure the slices are completely dry. If there is still some moisture then add another hour or two of drying time.

Cool. Let the apple slices cool completely before transferring them to an air-tight container.

Notes

  • Properly dehydrated apples can be stored in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 1 year.

This recipe is adapted from the Cosori recipes handbook.

Keywords: dry apples, dehydrating apples, apple rings

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