The 10 Best Dehydrated Foods to Make at Home (Plus 4 of the Worst)

I'm going to share my food dehydrator tips so you can get the most from your dehydrator. Many people get a dehydrator but never use it, even though the utility far exceeds many other pieces of equipment in your kitchen.

Today, I'll explain the best ways to use your dehydrator and the best dehydrated foods I've made.

How to dehydrate ground beef

1. Ground beef

I will never be without ground beef again. It is extremely hard to discern the difference between freshly cooked and rehydrated ground beef. They look and taste the same once cooked.

You'll dump your dry crumbles into a bowl, cover them with hot water, and put a plate on top for several minutes. You'll start to see things perk up pretty quickly. 

How to dehydrate ground beef

You'll want to start by using lean or extra lean ground beef with a fat content that's not more than 15%. This is because the fat in meat can turn rancid as it reacts over time with oxygen, and you don't want that.

Rinse your beef using hot water, removing more fat without removing minerals or flavor. As the water drains into a bowl you've placed below, you'll see it's nearly translucent, another sign that you're removing most of the fat. Now return it to the stove to boil for another five to ten minutes. 

After a final rinse, your ground beef is ready for the dehydrator. You'll want to use a tray to catch the small crumbles. Be sure not to overcrowd things so that you have sufficient airflow and everything dries evenly. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for about 6 to 8 hours.  

Dehydrated scalloped potatoes

2. Scalloped potatoes

A quart-sized jar of dehydrated potato slices gives you almost two and a half cups of scalloped potatoes. You prepare them the same way as the packaged kind. I bulk buy dehydrated cheeses from my Amish market, using a sour cream and cheddar cheese blend. 

Dehydrated mixed vegetables

3. Mixed vegetables 

Dehydrated mixed vegetables are amazing. We're limited on freezer space, so when I want to take advantage of frozen vegetable sales, I don't have to miss out anymore. Frozen veggies rehydrate so well. If you're looking for an incredibly easy dehydration project, start with mixed vegetables. 

Dehydrated mushrooms

4. Mushrooms

If you're a mushroom lover, you've got to try dehydrating them. Whether you need a little or a lot, dehydrated mushrooms are perfect for pizza toppings thrown into soups, salads, casseroles, or other sides. They're ready within a few hours and taste delicious.  

How to make jerky treats for your dog

5. Jerky treats

Everyone eats well, including our French bulldog, Thor, and he is crazy over these jerky treats.

How to make jerky treats for your dog

Take a slightly frozen pork loin, which makes for easy slicing, and cut it into uniform pieces. Then take healthy liquid aminos, molasses, and any other healthy spices like turmeric you want to add. 

Place them on the dehydrator rack, and remember that these are for your pup, not you, because they will smell amazing. Quality dog treats are expensive, so switching to making my own has been a genuine saving.  

Dehydrated lemon and orange slices

6. Dehydrated lemon and orange slices 

Get your citrus while they're in season and at their lowest price. Having dehydrated lemons on hand barely takes up any space or weight, so I always have them on hand to add to water bottles or a cup of tea.  

Dehydrated strawberry powder

7. Dehydrated strawberry powder

Dehydrating strawberries is pretty straightforward. You evenly slice them and add them to your dehydrator racks.

After your strawberries come out of the dehydrator, it will be tedious to remove them. Mine are headed straight for the blender, where I'll add them to my morning smoothies.

Dehydrating banana peels

8. Banana peels

I enjoy slicing and freezing bananas to make our smoothies, but instead of tossing the peels into the compost, I've created a shelf-stable potassium fertilizer. By cutting the peels and dehydrating them, I can use as much or as little as I want when I want. 

Dehydrated greens

9. Dehydrated greens 

Green goodness in the form of celery, kale, and broccoli blends into a powder ready to be snuck or tucked into a smoothie, soup, baked goods, or whatever else you can imagine.

There's no reason to let greens from the grocery store or garden go to waste when they can be enjoyed in a green powder, which you'll overpay for premade mixes. Plus, this lets me make a smoothie in minutes with minimal mess.  

Dehydrating French press coffee beans

10. French press coffee beans

When I clean my French press, I toss the beans into a bag I store in the fridge until I can get enough to run the dehydrator. Then I have these ready to go for use in the garden. 

Besides your dehydrator, you'll need a Food Saver, Mason jars, and new canning lids to store your dehydrated foods.

Things I won't dehydrate again

1. Onions

When it comes to what I am not going to dehydrate anytime soon, it will be onions. It's not because they didn't turn out great. It's managing the logistics of them.

Running a dehydrator will fill your home with the ambient smells of whatever you're dehydrating. The onion smell will last in your home for days. It's cheap enough to find in powdered form, and I don't necessarily need them like this. 

2. Cabbage

I won't dehydrate cabbage again because it just doesn't come back to life. Plus, I make my sauerkraut all of the time, and we love that. 

3. Bananas

Next up is bananas. They lose their color and texture and taste strange, so I am not dehydrating them again. 

4. Whole strawberries

Strawberries in any form other than powder are something that I will not dehydrate. I had wanted to keep them sliced because I thought they would be perfect in my homemade cereals and granolas, it is a lot of work, and they rip and tear too easily. Also, when they rehydrate, they just become way too mushy. 

For that matter, I think that almost all berries lose their pizzazz when they're in the dehydrator, mainly raspberries and blueberries, unless you go through several time-consuming prep steps.

The best dehydrated foods

Using a dehydrator has been a great experience for me. What is your favorite food to dehydrate? Share in the comments below.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Marie Marie on Mar 30, 2024

    I love dehydrating apples with cinnamon and sugar. I’m going to try sweet potatoes for my dog today.

  • Faith Faith on Mar 31, 2024

    You are Ms personality!!!!! loved your video...tks :))