Fun to make and fun to eat, these homemade fruit leathers are a perfect grab-and-go snack for hikes, camping, ski trips, or road trips. In this post we’ll walk you through how to make fruit leather using an oven or dehydrator!
This recipe was created in partnership with Eddie Bauer.
We love making fruit leathers—either in a dehydrator or in an oven. They’re easy to make, open to a lot of personal customization, and a ton of fun to eat. Theoretically, these fruit leathers can be stored for a couple of months, but in practice, they’re so good that they’re usually gone within a few days.
For this particular recipe, we’re using apples, ginger, maple syrup, which we feel has a certain warming vibe that works perfectly for cool weather. The other added benefit of fruit leathers is that they will remain soft and chewy, even in cold temperatures. This makes them an ideal snack for winter hikes and ski trips.
So if you’re excited to start making your own fruit leathers, we have everything you need to know below. We share instructions for preparation both in a dehydrator or in a home oven.
Why We Love Them:
- Really fun to make and eat.
- Perfect for cold-weather hikes, because they won’t freeze into hard little lumps like most energy bars.
- Lots of fun flavor customization.
Apple: You can use any variety of apples you like. We prefer Pink Ladies because they are a nice balance of sweet and tart that comes through, but fuji, honey crisps, and jazz are good options as well.
Ginger: The unique flavor of fresh ginger really compliments the apples in this recipe.
Maple Syrup: We love the flavor combination of apple and maple syrup, which is why we use it as a sweetener. But you could use an equivalent amount of agave, honey, or granulated sugar if you prefer.
Lemon (juice): The citric acid from lemon juice enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients without overpowering them.
Dehydrator (or oven): While you can make fruit leathers in either a dehydrator or home oven, we prefer using a dehydrator as it allows us to really dial in the temperature. Our favorite dehydrator for fruit leather is the Brod & Taylor SAHARA, which has racks large enough for a normal size silicone baking sheet. If you are in the market for a dehydrator check out our Best Dehydrators article.
Blender or Food Processor: We used a high-powered Vitamix blender for this recipe, but any blender or food processor will work. The goal is to get the fruit into a smooth, consistent puree.
Silicone Baking Mat: Silicone baking mats are hands-down the best non-stick surface to make fruit leathers on and make peeling the dried leather so easy.
Offset Spatula: If you make a lot of fruit leathers, an offset spatula is a must. It will help you spread and shape your fruit puree so it’s the perfect thickness and size.
Parchment Paper: One of the best ways to store fruit leathers is to roll them with parchment paper. The non-stick paper liner prevents the fruit leather from sticking to itself, even if it is crushed in your pack.
How to Make Apple Ginger Fruit Leathers – Step by Step
The first step is to peel, core, and chop your apples into roughly 1” pieces and then transfer them to a pot with the lemon juice, minced ginger, and a little bit of water. Bring the fruit to a simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the apples are soft.
Once the apples are soft, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the maple syrup and then process until the mixture is completely smooth.
Spread the puree on a silicone mat lined baking sheet (for oven) or fruit leather tray (for dehydrator).
Using an offset spatula, spread the puree until the center is about ⅛ inch thick and the edges are roughly ¼ inch thick. Fruit leathers dry from the outside in, so by building up thicker edges it will ensure the entire fruit leather dries at the same time.
A good trick to achieve this is to spread the entire puree out as uniformly as possible. Then turn your offset spatula on edge and use it to gently push the edges back in towards the center. This will allow you to tidy up your edge lines and build up a little depth around the edges.
To dry in the oven: Place the baking sheet in the oven at the lowest temperature the oven can go. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape (be careful if you have curious pets or children!).
To dry in a dehydrator: Place the puree in the dehydrator and set it to 135F.
Dehydrate for a few hours until the fruit leather is no longer tacky and can be peeled up in one piece. The exact times will depend on if you use an oven or dehydrator, the humidity level in your house, etc. But anticipate somewhere between 3-6 hours.
Gently peel the fruit leather from the silicone mat. If there are soft sections in the middle which cause it to tear, stop, and return it to the oven or dehydrator to continue dehydrating.
If it’s uniformly dry it will peel up effortlessly. Then transfer it to a piece of parchment paper, which you may need to cut to size, and then roll it up. Using a pair of scissors or kitchen shears, cut the roll into snack sized pieces, roughly 1 ½” to 2” wide.
How to Store Fruit Leathers
For short term storage of a few weeks, fruit leathers will store perfectly well on the counter if stored in a ziplock bag or resealable container. Excessive exposure to air will start to dry them out.
For medium term storage of a few months, we’d recommend placing them in a tightly sealed mason jar and placing them in a cool, dark place.
For longer term storage of upwards of a year, we’d recommend placing them in a vacuum sealed container and placing them in a cool dark place.
Top Tips For Making Fruit Leather
- Heating your fruit mix releases extra pectin, which helps give the fruit leathers a stretchy, elastic texture.
- A small squeeze of lemon juice will brighten the flavor of any fruit leather without making it taste like lemon.
- Use a silicone bake mat! It makes peeling up your finished fruit leather an absolute breeze.
- An offset spatula makes shaping your fruit leather puree so easy.
- Aim to make the edges of your fruit leather slightly thicker than the center. It will dry from the outside in, so by building up a little extra on the edges it will help it all finish at the same time.
- After you have spread out the puree on your sheet, use the offset spatula to tidy up the edges by turning it on edge pushing the puree back (like a squeegee).
- Dehydrate at 135 F in a dehydrator, or as close as you can get in your oven. Use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door open to allow for air circulation.
Apple Ginger Fruit Leathers
- 4 cups chopped apples
- Juice of ½ lemon, about 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, more or less to taste
- Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1” pieces and transfer to a pot with the lemon juice, minced ginger, and water. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the apples are soft.
- Carefully transfer the apples into a blender or food processor, add the maple syrup, and process until completely smooth.
- Spread the puree on a lined baking sheet or dehydrator tray. The trick to fruit leathers is to spread the puree so the edges are a little thicker than the middle—it will dry from the outside in, so this helps to ensure it will all finish at the same time.
- To dry in the oven: Place the baking sheet in the oven at the lowest temperature the oven can go. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape (be careful if you have curious pets or children!).To dry in a dehydrator: Place the puree in the dehydrator and set it to 135F.
- Dehydrate for a few hours until the fruit leather is no longer tacky and can be peeled up in one piece. The exact times will depend on if you use an oven or dehydrator, the humidity level in your house, etc.
- Transfer the leather to a piece of parchment paper and roll it up. Using a pair of scissors, cut into snack sized pieces.
- Store in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to a few weeks.