With a soft chew and intense apple flavor, dried apple chips are a healthy and delicious snack that can be enjoyed year-round. Dehydrating apples is also a great way to store seasonally harvested apples for long-term storage.
Unleash the awesome power of apples by making your very own dehydrated apple chips! Each bite contains the concentrated essence of autumn, apples, and wholesome goodness!
But seriously, we absolutely love dehydrating apples. During the fall or any other time of year. They’re a perfect snack for day hikes, backpacking trips, camping, packed lunches, or just having around the house.
Obviously, you can get apples year-round, but peak season for apples in the United States runs from late July through mid-November. Not only are there a ton of unique apple varieties to try out during this window of time, but apple prices across the board are typically much lower as well.
That’s why it’s a great idea to start dehydrating! Lock in your apples at peak freshness and enjoy them throughout the winter (and beyond!).
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to start dehydrating apples and making your own apple chips!
What types of apples can be dehydrated?
You can dehydrate any type of apple! It’s important to know that the flavor of the apple will concentrate when it’s dehydrated—so super tart or super sweet apples will be intensified.
Choose organic apples if possible, as apples are one of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables more likely to contain pesticide residues.
Prepping & pretreating apples for dehydrating
Before you start prepping your apples, make sure your counters, equipment, and hands are clean & sanitized to prevent contamination, which can spoil your batch down the line.
- Clean the apples: Thoroughly wash the apples and dry with a towel.
- Remove the seeds and core. An apple corer is helpful for this, but a paring knife will also work.
- Slice the apples: Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the apples ¼”-⅜” thick. You can cut the apple into rings or slices—whatever will work best for your project. If you’re making apple chips, slice as thin as possible to make them crispier.
- Pretreating the apples will help prevent them from turning brown. To do this, mix 4 cups (1qt) water with 2 tablespoons ascorbic acid powder, or equal parts water and lemon juice, and soak the sliced apples for 3-5 minutes.
- Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon (and maybe a touch of sugar for tart apples) over the apple slices to make apple chips.
Equipment Spotlight: Dehydrators
If you’re in the market for a dehydrator, we recommend buying one that has an adjustable temperature, which will allow you to dial in the drying temp to give you the best results for individual ingredients. The dehydrator we recommend (and use) most often is the COSORI Premium. You can also check out our best dehydrators post for a comparison of all the dehydrators we’ve used and would recommend.
How to dehydrate apples
Dehydrating apples is super easy and a great beginner dehydrating project. Once your apples are prepped, set up your dehydrator and follow these steps:
- Arrange the apples on your dehydrator trays. Leave space between the pieces to allow air to circulate.
- Dehydrate at 135ºF (52ºC) for 6-12 hours until the apples are dry.
- Depending on your machine, you may need to rotate the trays every so often to promote even drying.
How to tell when apples are done
Apples should be pliable when they are completely dried but have no obvious remaining moisture (tear one in half and squeeze—if moisture appears, dry them longer). If you sliced your apples thin for crunchier apple chips, you can dehydrate them longer until they snap when bent. Take a few pieces off and let them cool before testing.
How to store
If you’re dehydrating apples for snacking and plan on eating them within a week or two, you can store them in a sealed container or zip-top bag on the counter or in your pantry. Just let them cool and place them in a sealed container. We like to use these reusable ReZip bags.
However, if properly dried and stored, dehydrated apples can last up to a year! Here are our tips for long term storage:
- Cool: Let the apples cool completely before transferring them.
- Condition: Loosely pack the apples in a transparent airtight container. Check it daily for a week to check for signs of moisture or condensation, and shake to help prevent the apple slices from sticking together. If signs of moisture appear, stick them back into the dehydrator (as long as there’s no mold—in that case, toss the batch). After a week, if there’s no signs of moisture or mold, you can package them for long-term storage.
- Store in a clean, airtight container. For longer shelf life, vacuum seal.
- Use a moisture absorbing desiccant packet if you anticipate opening the container often, or if you live in an area with high humidity.
- Label the container with the date and any other important details
- Place the container in a cool, dark, and dry place—inside of a pantry cabinet works well.
Vacuum sealing tips
We like to store our dehydrated food in mason jars that have been vacuum-sealed using this handheld FoodSaver vacuum sealer along with these jar sealing attachments. This gives us the benefit of vacuum sealing without the waste (and expense) of plastic vacuum sealing bags. Since the jars are clear we make sure we store them in a dark spot in our pantry to keep them out of direct light.
How to use
Dehydrated apples are great to have on hand as a healthy snack, but here are a few more ideas on how to use them:
- Add to trail mix
- Use them to scoop peanut butter or yogurt for a more substantial snack
- Chop and add to oatmeal or muesli
- Chop and rehydrate before adding them to scone or muffin batter
- Chop and simmer with a little water, cinnamon, and some sugar to create a compote for pancakes or ice cream
- Add to mulled wine as it simmers
- Add to apple cider or a hot toddy as a edible garnish
- Use them in these camping and backpacking recipes:
Fresh to dehydrated conversion
Dehydrating apples reduces their weight to 10%-15% of their original weight. One medium-sized apple will yield about 1 oz (28g) of dried apple.
- Airtight storage container
- Vacuum sealer (optional)
- 10 apples
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ascorbic acid powder, or equal parts lemon juice and water, see note 1
- Start with clean hands, equipment, and countertops.
- Prepare the pretreatment solution: Mix 2 tablespoons ascorpic acid powder with 4 cups ol water and stir to dissolve. Alterantively, you can use equal parts lemon juice and water.
- Wash the apples and peel if desired. Remove the seeds and core using an apple corer or paring knife.
- Slice the apples into ¼"-⅜" thick rings or slices using a mandoline or sharp knife. The thinner they are, the crispier they will become in the dehydrator. As you slice them, place the cut apples into the pretreatment solution.
- Drain the apples from the pretreatment solution and gently blot them to dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- Arrange apple slices in a single layer on dehydrator trays, ensuring there is space between pieces to allow airflow.
- Dehydrate at 135F/57C for 6-12 hours, until dry (see note 1).
- Let the dried apples cool completely before storing.
- Short term storage: If apples will be consumed within a week or two, store in a ziptop bag or sealed container on the counter or in a pantry.
- Long-term storage: Condition by loosely packing the dried apples in a transparent, airtight container. Leave it on the counter for a week and check it daily for signs of moisture. If condensation appears, return the apples to the dehydrator (unless there are signs of mold—then, throw out the whole batch). Shake occasionally to keep the apples from sticking together.After conditioning, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Vacuum sealing will help extend the shelf life and quality of the apples.