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What Can You Use A Food Dehydrator For?

Jun 17th, 2024

From crackers to yogurt to fruit leather, backpacking meals, dog treats and more, here are some easy ways to use a dehydrator to make your favorite foods and snacks!

11 great uses for a dehydrator

Fruits & vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are great foods to process in food dehydrators. Sliced apples, slivered mangoes, banana chips and berries are easy snacks to dehydrate, and drying your own apricots, peaches or coconut flakes gives you greater control over their sugar content and texture. 

Same goes for vegetables — make vegetable snacks or dehydrate slices of veggies to store for later use in soups, stocks or sauces where they’ll pop back to life in no time at all. Dehydrate vegetables before they go bad in order to maintain their freshness for longer and reduce waste, or pre-process your veggies to reduce your cooking time later on. Honestly, the sky’s the limit here. Just follow your heart.


Don’t let your fresh store-bought or home-grown herbs go to waste! Dry them overnight and keep them in airtight containers for use long past their harvest day. They even make for great additions to homemade spice blends, which you can also give out as artsy gifts. 

Dog treats

Homemade pet treats have a lot of benefits, including having healthier ingredients and potentially being more affordable in the long run. It also gives you, the human in charge, the chance to control exactly what foods your dog does or does not eat. 

It’s not too difficult to make your own dog treats, either — you can even use your dehydrator! Dehydrate chunks of cooked vegetables to use as treats, or create some nutritionally–dense jerky strips from your leftover dinner meats. Dehydrated vegetables ground into a powder makes for a great vitamin and mineral addition to existing meals, especially for senior dogs who can’t stomach hard foods. 


Yogurt may be furthest from your mind when thinking of dehydrator meals, but it turns out that the low, controlled temperatures are perfect for developing the cultures in yogurt. 

Heat whole milk to just under boiling and allow it to cool to around 135° Fahrenheit, then add some full-fat plain yogurt and stir to dissolve. From here, place the milk/yogurt mixture into small glass cups and place inside the dehydrator. Yogurt needs a low, steady temperature to thicken, which a dehydrator is perfectly suited for. 

Find a recipe for dehydrator yogurt here!


If you pay close attention to the time and temperatures, then you can use your dehydrator to make some mouthwateringly-good jerky from all kinds of meat. Beef is a tried-and-true one, but you can also use lamb, bison, veal, wild game, fish and pork! Use cuts that aren’t too fatty, though, otherwise the fat will prevent the meat from drying out properly. 

Fruit leather

Making homemade fruit leather is a great way to use up leftover fruits that are about to go bad, especially if you want to level up your snack game at the same time. 

Blend your fruits to as fine a pulp as you can and add any sweetener you’d like. Spread the pulp onto the dehydrating tray and leave to dry for 6-8 hours, depending on the thickness of the fruit. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!


Dehydrated crackers can be made by grinding a variety of dehydrated seeds, nuts and fruits into a flour and then using it in your favorite cracker recipe. Dehydrate again and, voila! You’ve got some nutrient-packed dehydrator crackers!


Dehydrate flowers for decoration, for potpourri or for teas (if they’re edible). Dehydrating flowers will allow them to keep their color and store better than leaving them out to dry, so it’s a great option for making potpourri, wreaths, crafts and more!

Backpacking meals

If you’re an avid outdoorsman and need lightweight, easy-to-cook meals you can make in a pinch, then you’ve undoubtedly tried a few of the store-bought dehydrated meal packs that are far too expensive and not nearly tasty enough to match.

If you have a dehydrator, though, there’s no limit to the types of delicious food you can bring on your hikes. Make your own mac & cheese, noodle, pasta, curry, soup and more by dehydrating all the cooked ingredients separately, then rehydrating them on the trail! Sky’s the limit, here!


Granola is another easy food that cooks well in a dehydrator — especially if you’re prone to burning things in the oven (guilty as charged). 

Dehydrator granola is, essentially, oatmeal that’s been dried. Make your favorite homemade oatmeal recipe (or follow this one here) then dry it for a few hours in the dehydrator. By the end of it, you’ll have perfectly crunchy granola…with none of the char from your previously unsuccessful attempts. 

Seasonal foods

If you’re into foraging or gardening, then you’ll know the struggle of finding certain kinds of foods outside of their normal growing season. Foraged mushrooms are a great example, as their growing season could be as short as a week or two in most regions!

If you want to preserve your bountiful harvest, dehydrate as much seasonal foods as you can so that you can enjoy them later in the year. Mushrooms dry especially well and can hold their shape, aroma and taste magnificently for months after they’re picked. 

Dehydrating food is easy, once you get the hang of it; and once you get the hang of it, there’s no limit to what you can do!


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Featured photo courtesy by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives on Oahu in Hawai'i. She loves to travel, camp, spearfish and hike. She's also part of a super cool canoe club and is pretty decent at it. Colleen enjoys Star Wars and also not being cold ever.

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