An easy tutorial on how to dehydrate apples, plus a way to add flavor and make dehydrated caramel apple chips – an excellent alternative to holiday candy!
If you find a good deal on produce, do you stock up and preserve? Do you freeze blueberries? Or make strawberry jam? Do you dehydrate apples? If not, there’s one particular reason you should: Apple Chips.
When my kids were little, we used to make apple chips regularly. They were cheap, delicious, and practically taste like candy!
I’ve gotten away from it a little bit, but boy was that a mistake! They are SO easy, SO tasty, and EVERYONE loves them!
What are apple chips?
Apple chips are basically dehydrated slices of apples. The tastiest apple chips are sprinkled with cinnamon and are slightly crispy. Pure heaven!
Are apple chips healthy?
Yes! I will say that some recipes I’ve seen use sugar and cinnamon to make sweet apple chips. But, I found that plain apples are plenty sweet on their own. I’m all about healthy snacks and apple chips add a nice variety to our favorite quick and easy snacks.
What kind of apples do you need?
The Girl and I both have a sweet tooth, so we like to use apples that are naturally sweeter. Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji, and Honeycrisp are our favorites. But you can really use any type of fresh apples. Some people prefer more tart apples like Granny Smith or McIntosh.
Thanks to my price book, I know when organic apples are at an amazing price. I like to stock up on our favorites and dehydrate them.
How do you make apple chips?
You can make dried apples in the oven or in a food dehydrator. Both methods slowly remove the moisture from the apple slices leaving you with crispy, sweet treats.
When dehydrating, you will want to soak your sliced apples in lemon water first to prevent browning. This also allows the apples to pick up the cinnamon flavor. I have not noticed my apples turning brown if dried in the oven.
Your apples will dry best if thinly sliced. A sharp knife will work, but a mandoline slicer like this one will give you even slices.
The shape of your apple chips is up to you. They can be:
- In rounds with the core (it makes a pretty flower!)
- Shaped in rounds without the core
- In slices
You don’t have to peel the apples. But if you prefer no peel, an apple peeler like this one is GREAT. It also speeds up the process if you make homemade applesauce (and homemade apple cider vinegar!).
How to Make Homemade Apple Chips in the Oven
Drying your apple rings in the oven is very easy, especially for smaller batches. Since they cook low and long, this would be the perfect time to have bread rising in the kitchen!
Tip: Do you need more ideas on how to be more efficient with your time in the kitchen? My Real Food Fast mini-challenge is just what you need! You can find it HERE. Plus it comes with two meal plans and three cookbooks to save you even more time in the kitchen!
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Slice apples with a sharp knife or mandoline slicer. (Soak in lemon water if desired. Use 1 Tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup water.)
- Lay apples on parchment paper or a Silpat mat (like this one) on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. Checking apples halfway and flipping. Continue baking until apples are dried and crispy.
How to Make Dried Apple Slices in the Dehydrator
Dehydrated apple chips are also very easy. Although it takes more time, you won’t heat up the house like with the oven method.
Since my dehydrator fits more apples than my oven, I like this method when I have a large batch of apples. I can set it up and dehydrate overnight and I’m all about hands-off batch cooking!
- Slice and soak apples in lemon juice and cinnamon.
- Arrange on dehydrator trays and set temp on low or 145 degrees.
- Start dehydrator and let apples dry for 6-8 hours. Depending on your dehydrator, you may need more or less time or may need to rotate the trays.
By the way, I have this dehydrator. It was given as a gift to me several years ago and it’s still going strong! I’ve heard great things about the Excalibur dehydrator, but frankly, you don’t need to go high end here. I would recommend getting extra trays AND/OR extra jelly roll trays if you dehydrate often or want to make homemade fruit roll-ups!
Can I add other flavors to dehydrated apples?
Yes! Cinnamon is a great go-to. It tastes like apple pie! But you could also try these flavors:
- Pumpkin pie spice
- “Caramel apple” – soak in lemon juice and brown sugar
How to Store Dehydrated Apples
The shelf life of dehydrated fruit is a surprisingly long time, up to ten years! It rarely lasts that long in my house.
Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. In the fall, I put mine in mason jars on the counter because they look pretty!
How to Use Apple Chips
My favorite way to use apple chips is just for snacking. They are so good on their own! They also work well in these recipes that use dried fruits:
- Homemade Cinnamon Granola with Coconut Oil
- Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
- Instant Pot Oatmeal
- High Protein Sweet and Salty Trail Mix
- 4-5 small apples, or 3-4 large, washed
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- Combine water, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large bowl; stir to mix.
- Cut each apple in half then slice each end off the apple (the stem and butt). Slice the remaining apple into approximately ⅜" thick slices, making the slices as even as you can. Use a mandolin if you have one. (Do not slice too thin or the apple will stick to the dehydrator.)
- Repeat for the remaining apples. Place cut apples into the lemon water, stirring so each apple is coated with the water. Let soak for 8-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After soaking, place apples in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Set the temperature for 145 degrees and allow to run for 8-12 hours, testing at the 8 hour mark for doneness. Apples should be hard and crunchy without any moisture. Dehydrate apples longer if they are too chewy.
- Store in a sealed container.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Slice apples with a sharp knife or mandoline slicer. (Soak in lemon water if desired. Use 1 Tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup water.)
3. Lay apples on parchment paper or a Silpat mat (like this one) on a baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
5. Bake for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. Checking apples halfway and flipping. Continue baking until apples are dried and crispy.