How to Dehydrate Apples for Apple Chips

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Making dehydrated apple chips is a great way to use the abundance of apples that are available this time of year. This easy snack is naturally sweet, and the whole family will enjoy crunching on them!

Bowl of homemade apple chips in front of food dehydrator.

Almost every fall when apple season arrives, we get a lot of apples from our trees that need to used before they spoil. I make a lot of homemade applesauce, but we love crunchy snacks too, so I started making crispy apple chips because of how many dehydrated zucchini chips we were going through!

All you need are a handful of ingredients to make this healthy snack with no added sugar. I typically make a large batch because we go through them so quickly, but you can make smaller batches too.

The drying process is really simple and properly dried apples keep well in long term storage for several months. I love that I can satisfy my sweet tooth with these healthy apple snacks all year long!

Ingredients & Supplies

  • 18 small apples
  • 8 cups of filtered water
  • ½ cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Mixing bowl
  • Apple peeler/corer/slicer
  • Food Dehydrator
  • Mason jars

By the Numbers: How to Make Dehydrated Apple Chips

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to learn how to make the best apple chips in your dehydrator.

Step 1: Prepare Apples

The very first thing you want to do is to add 8 cups of filtered water and ½ cup of lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. The citric acid in the lemon juice will help prevent oxidation. Next, peel, core and slice your fresh apples to about ¼” thick. I have a really neat gadget that does all 3 things at once.

As you prepare the apples, put them into the bowl of lemon water. Once they’re all in there, let them soak for 10 minutes.

Fresh apple slices soaking in lemon water in a large metal mixing bowl.

Step 2: Dehydrate Apples

When your apple slices are done soaking, lay them out in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. I have a Nesco food dehydrator that’s round, but any dehydrator will work. I have 5 trays and 18 small apples fit perfectly in it.

Turn your dehydrator on to 135˚ F and let the apple slices dry for about 12 hours. I rotate the racks every couple of hours to make sure there’s good air circulation and they dry evenly.

Fresh slices of apple laid out on dehydrator trays.

Step 3: Let Dry Apples Cool

When they’re done dehydrating, allow the apples to cool and come to room temperature before removing them from the dehydrator. I find that dehydrated apples crisp up as they cool, so even if they’re a bit “floppy” they become crisp. If they’re not crisp after they cool, you’ll probably want to dehydrate them for longer.

Dehydrated apple slices cooling on dehydrator trays.

Step 4: Proof Apple Chips

Once you think they’re fully dehydrated and they’ve cooled and crisped up, transfer your apple chips to mason jars for storage. A couple of hours after sealing the jars, check them to make sure they’re still dry and crisp. If they soften or you notice any moisture, you’ll want to put them back into the dehydrator or keep them in the fridge.

Dehydrated apple chips in 2 quart sized mason jars on table with dehydrator and one fresh apple.

Step 5: Eat Dehydrated Apple Chips

Now that you know your apple chips are completely dehydrated you can eat them! They never last long in my house because they’re such a yummy and easy snack.

Bowl of dehydrated apple chips on green napkin next to a fresh apple and dehydrator.

Tips for Dehydrating Apple Chips

Answers to all of your questions about making dehydrated apple chips, including tips and substitution ideas.

How to know they’re done

You know your apple chips are done when the moisture has been completely dehydrated out of them. They’ll shrink significantly in size and dry out. They may not appear crispy at first, but they will become more crunchy as they cool. If they’re not, then they need to go back in for longer.

I like my chips crispy both for the taste and for longer storage. If your personal preference is chewy apple chips, reduce the drying time that the instructions call for. However, be sure to read the Storage Tips section below as they can’t be stored the same way as crunchy chips.

Cinnamon apple chips

If you want to add cinnamon to your apple chips, I suggest adding it to the lemon water and soaking the apples for a bit longer. If you add the cinnamon directly to the apples, the flavor will be stronger than expected since the apples shrink down so much. Soaking them will give them a light, cinnamon flavor.

Best apples to dehydrate

You can use any apples you can find. We have a few apple trees, so every year I dehydrate several batches of apples so we can snack on apple chips for a while.

Any type of apple you can get at the grocery store will work as long as they’re fresh and crisp. I personally prefer sweet apples like pink lady or gala apples. However, some people prefer tart apples like granny smith. Softer apple varieties like Red Delicious don’t work quite as well because they seem to shrink down more, but they can be used.

I don’t recommend dehydrating bruised apples either. If you have a bunch of bruised apples, the best way to use them is to make Crock Pot Apple Butter.

Best way to prepare apples

I have a combo apple peeler/corer/slicer that works amazingly well for prepping apples for all sorts of tasty apple recipes. If you plan on making a lot of apple treats, I recommend picking one up…. you’ll be astonished at how much time it saves.

However, you don’t need special equipment… you can simply use an apple peeler to remove the skin, then use a sharp knife to cut apples in quarters so it’s easy to cut out the core, then cut it into slices. A works well for making even slices too.

Chips with apple skins

If you want to save time or don’t want to waste the apple skin, you don’t have to remove it. My family prefers skinless apple chips, but either way works.

Make apple rings not slices

If you’d prefer to make apple rings rather than dehydrated apple slices, the best way to do that is with an apple corer. Use it to take the core out of the apple, peel it if you’d like, then use a sharp knife or mandolin slicer to make thin slices.

Oven dehydration method

While I think the best way to make apple chips is in a dehydrator, if you don’t have one, you can also make them in an oven or in an air fryer with a dehydrator function.

How to dehydrate apples in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting it has – usually it’s between 180˚ and 200˚ F.
  2. Lay your prepared apples out on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  3. Bake the apples, flipping them every 30 minutes so they dry evenly. They usually take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the temperature and the thickness of your slices.

If your oven seems to be too hot for oven drying, even on a low temperature setting, you can keep the oven door cracked slightly to allow some of the heat to escape.

If you want to use the air fryer method, follow these same steps or see the air fryer’s instruction manual. Most air fryers will only produce a small batch at a time.

Storage tips

I like to keep my dehydrated apples in a mason jar, but you can use any airtight container, including ziplock bags. For best results, keep your apple chips out of direct sunlight in a cool, dark place so they last longer. Make sure it’s also a dry place as moist air will cause them to spoil sooner.

Properly dried and stored apple chips should last for about 6 months on the shelf or one year in the freezer. If they’re not fully dried and they’re still a bit chewy, they’ll have a shorter shelf life and should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent microbial growth.

More apple recipes

If you also get a ton of apples every year, here are some other great recipes to help you use up your surplus!

Close up overhead view of dehydrated apple chips in a white serving bowl.

Dehydrated Apple Chips Recipe

Making apple chips in the dehydrator is the easiest way to make a great snack that can be kept for months without preservatives or added sugar.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

Equipment

Instructions

  • Add water and lemon juice to a large bowl. Core, peel and slice your fresh apples to about ¼” thick and add them to the bowl. Let everything soak for about 10 minutes.
    Fresh apple slices soaking in lemon water in a large metal mixing bowl.
  • Place apple slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, then turn it on to 135˚ F. Sliced apples will need about 12 hours to dehydrate. Rotate the racks every couple of hours so they dry evenly.
    Fresh slices of apple laid out on dehydrator trays.
  • Let the apples cool to room temperature before you remove them from the dehydrator. They will crisp up as they cool, so even if they’re a bit flexible, they’ll become crunchy. If not, you’ll want to dehydrate them for longer.
    Dehydrated apple slices cooling on dehydrator trays.
  • Transfer the dried apple slices to a glass jar for storage. Be sure to check the jars in a couple of hours to make sure they’re still dry and crisp. If they become soft or there’s any moisture, put them back into the dehydrator.
    Dehydrated apple chips in 2 quart sized mason jars on table with dehydrator and one fresh apple.
  • As long as they’re dry, you can enjoy eating your new crispy snack!
    Bowl of dehydrated apple chips on green napkin next to a fresh apple and dehydrator.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 454mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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