How to Make Dried Fruit without a Food Dehydrator

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I’ve been wanting to try dehydrating fruit but I do not have room for a food dehydrator.  There is just not enough space in my small apartment for another gadget.  But I there is a way to dehydrate fruit without a food dehydrator – just use your oven!

I had a couple of apples that were a bit past their prime but still in good shape.  They were perfect for my apple chips experiment.

Apple Chips

You will need:

2 apples

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

parchment paper


Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Thinly sliced apples

Thinly slice the apples.  You can use a mandolin or just slice thinly with a sharp knife.  It was easier for me to core the apples first then slice.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.  In a large bowl, add the cinnamon sugar mixture to the apples.  Mix well.

I mixed them by hand to make sure the mixture was well distributed.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Arrange the apples on the sheet so they are not touching each other.

Cook in the oven for an hour, then turn the slices over.  Cook for another 45 minutes.  Your oven times may vary.


The apples turned brown as they dried out.  If you do not want them to get too brown, some recipes indicate you need to soak them in a mixture of half lemon juice and half water for an hour.  However, I do not mind the browning.   They came out crisp and tasty.

If you want to try it yourself, just start with a very small batch to avoid wasting fruit.  Ideally, a food dehydrator would still be great to have if you are going to make larger batches of dried fruit.  But if you don’t have a lot of space like me, and are just making small batches every now and then, using your oven will suffice.

Drying fruit is a great way to save money on snacks and is a good way to use up fruit before they go bad.

Have you tried food dehydrating?  Please share in the comments below.


About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.




If you are interested in more dehydrating recipes, this book shows a number of ways to dehydrate food:

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  1. I have dehydrated potatoes, pineapple and bananas. I use a round simple food dehydrator with out a fan that I found at Good Will very cheap. The potato slices and pineapple rings worked out the best. It takes time and I have to move the racks around as the food dries. I store the dried pineapple rings in a Mason jar and vacuum packed the potato slices.

    1. Hi oldguy, Good to know you’ve gotten some good results with the simple food dehydrator. I will look out for deals at our Goodwill. Thanks for the comment.

      1. if you do potatoes you will need to blanch them. I slice them thin on a mandolin cutter and put the slices in boiling water for about 3 – 4 minutes. This will keep the slices from turning black as they are being dehydrated. I use the potato slices in stews and baked dishes. just soak the slices for a few minutes in warm water before using. I leave the skins on and just wash the potatoes with a stiff vegetable brush. I like your web site a lot of good info on it.

  2. I, too, have the inexpensive round dehydrator (bought at walmart). I’ve only used it one year with mixed results. Fruit turned out well; veggies results were mixed. The carrots were little rubber disasters. It does take up room not only to store but also to use & rotating the trays is a pain. I keep hoping Santa will bring an Excalibur.

    1. Hi Linda, Sorry to hear the round dehydrator did not work out well. I wish I had an Excalibur as well, I just don’t have the room for one! That’s why I tried the oven method, next time I will try using a small convection oven. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I have two cheap dehydrators-one from WM and one from CL.
    I love them. I dry on the covered back porch. I have extra trays, so I get more done in less time.
    The only thing I wish I hadn’t dried was beets–they had to be thrown away.
    All my vegetables and fruit is great; I used dried green pepper for meat loaf last week.
    I even have 20 pints of egg powder now–use it a lot too; just used in cornbread.

    1. Hi JJ, That is excellent you are able to do egg powder! I am going to have to look that up. I’m working on a preserving eggs article, that would be a good addition. Thanks!

  4. I made my first dehydrator back in the early 70’s using a wooden box, a couple of old kitchen racks, some foil and a 100 watt light bulb, I used it for years to make everything from fruit roll ups which is called fruit leather to beef jerky, you do not have to soak fruit in half lemon water for an hour to keep it from browning, just a light mixture of about 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a quart of water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute works just fine without imparting any unwanted flavor.

    1. Hi Jerry, Sounds like you’re quite experienced with food dehydrating! Good to know about using lemon juice with a quart of water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute will do the trick to prevent browning. Thanks for the tip!

  5. In a pinch (or in a grid-down situation), you could also dehydrate food by putting it on screens or racks and putting it in a car parked in the sun. Leave a window cracked about 1/4″ to let smells escape. (I wouldn’t try this with onions!)

    1. Hi Suzanne, That is a great tip, dehydrating on screens. It is too humid where I live and the moisture causes mold so I am not able to try it. It would work well in a dry hot area. Thanks for the comment!

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