When it comes to dehydrating apples you can do it with a dehydrator or an oven. I've chosen to use a dehydrator since I have one. If you are interested in using an oven, I suggest checking out Baked Apple Chips by jessyratfink. Hers also have the skin on if you want to see the difference.
Otherwise, read on to learn the basics of dehydrating apple slices and pieces!
Also, once you've dehydrated your apples, check out my Instructable on how to make Caramel Apple Chocolate Bark!
Step 1: Supplies
I'm going to list the basic supplies for just dehydrating apples. If you want to do anything fancy with them like coat them in cinnamon/sugar or simple syrup, you'll need that as well.
The supplies you need will also vary depending on if you are doing pieces of slices.
- Apple of choice
- Lemon Juice and water (optional)
- Dehydrator - I'm using a Nesco Dehydrator
- Mandoline - I just have a cheap one, but if you can get one that you can adjust the width with, it will be helpful for doing chips of different thicknesses
- Apple slicer
- Cutting board and knife
- Paper towels
- Potato Peeler (optional)
- Salad Spinner (optional) - I found this helpful when trying to dry off the apple pieces before putting them in the dehydrator
Step 2: Dehydrating Apple Slices
If you don't want the peel, peel your apple first. I didn't want the tough edges, but it's a personal preference.
Once you peel your apple, use your mandoline to slice it into discs. I would suggest doing 1/8" - 1/4". Mine were pretty small and the thicker they are the longer it will take to dry them out.
[You can slice starting from the side of the apple or from the top/bottom. If you do the top/bottom you'll get the fun star shape in the middle of many of them. Also, the very ends of the apple don't make the best chips because they have the top or bottom of the core and come out small, I just snacked on these while I was doing this and didn't dehydrate those pieces.]
When I got halfway through slicing my apple, I picked the seeds out because they were getting caught on my mandoline.
Once you have all of your slices, you can soak them for a bit in lemon water to prevent them from getting dark. You don't have to soak them for long if you decide to do this. Also, I pat some of the water off with paper towels before dehydrating them so they wouldn't have to sit any longer.
After patting them dry, lay them out on your dehydrator racks. They are going to shrink up, but I suggest you don't have them overlapping or they'll stick together.
It will probably take anywhere from 4 - 8 hours to dehydrate them on 135ºF. Mine took about 6 hours.
They will not be crispy all the way when they are done. When you think they are done, make sure there isn't any moisture and then turn off the dehydrator. Let them sit until they have reached room temperature and then you can store them in an airtight container. If you put them away straight from the dehydrator, they will be warm and the warmth will create moisture in the container and prevent them from getting crispy.
One small apple's worth of slices filled two trays in my dehydrator.
Step 3: Dehydrate Apple Slices
I wanted to have some small pieces for my Caramel Apple Chocolate Bark, and this is how I did it.
Start by peeling the apple. You aren't going to want the skin for these.
Cut the apple into slices or, to make it easier, use an apple slicer.
Take your slices and cut them into about 1/4" slices. If you have an adjustable mandoline, you can also use that to cut your pieces down (mine was too thin for this).
Soak your pieces in lemon water to prevent them from getting darker, but I didn't notice much of a difference for the pieces.
Pat your pieces dry with a paper towel before putting in the dehydrator. You can also use a salad spinner to get the excess water off.
Arrange them on the racks and dehydrate at 135ºF for about 6 hours.
Again, they will not snap right away when they are done. Let them sit out until they get to room temperature before storing them. Once they sit out for a while, they should snap in half.
One small apple's worth of pieces filled one tray of my dehydrator.
Step 4: Lemon Juice or No Lemon Juice
I didn't really notice much of a different with my apple pieces, but you can see in this photo the difference between soaking the slices in lemon water before dehydrating them. I didn't really measure it out, but it is more like a 1 to 4 ratio, or less.
They don't have to soak long, just make sure they get coated. You can even spritz your slices and pieces in lemon juice.