Everything You Need to Know About Making Dehydrated Meals in a Jar

There is something utterly satisfying about preparing a meal ahead of time, placing it on the shelf, and having dinner ready at some point in the future.

For me, prepping meals in jars is part of the routine, and I always have multiple meals already assembled and ready to make when needed.

Today, I want to teach you the basics of dehydrating foods in jars, give some advice on picking the right gadgets and share a few wonderful breakfast and dinner recipes that my family has enjoyed on busy days or day trips.

These amazing dump-and-go recipes for dehydrated meals in a jar will save you both time and storage space. Let’s get started!

If you do not have a freeze dryer, that is totally fine, I don’t either! I do want to make that investment down the road, but for now, I am purchasing freeze-dried foods for two reasons: to make sure I actually enjoy cooking with those and to build a rotation of meals ready for when I do get one.

Dehydrated meals in a jar

Here are a few general tips on how to make dehydrated meals in a jar.

First, if you are storing these jars beyond five days and using freeze-dried meat, the meat must be placed in a separate jar or bag.

Second, let’s talk about shelf life. How long do dehydrated meals in a jar last? The shelf life of each jar is roughly the length of the shortest ingredient that is stored in them.

This will normally be between three and six months, but always look out for condensation on the inside of the jar or mold growth.

This is especially true if your home is humid. Be especially careful with ingredients that retain some moisture, such as figs, apricots, and tomatoes.

Food dehydrator

If you are choosing your first dehydrator, I will say that I have experience with both cheap and expensive ones, and they both do a very decent job.

When choosing, consider how much space you want it to take up on your counter, how often you will be interacting with it, and how much you are willing to fuss with it.

An entry level dehydrator will be smaller, but you will need to remember to rotate the racks to ensure sufficient air circulation and set a timer to turn the machine off.

The fancier ones have a built-in timer, and the air movement design is much better so you do not have to rotate your racks. Pick the one that makes more sense for your budget and your space.

Food gadget

Concerning the gadget to seal your jars, you can get a $100 commercial vacuum sealer, or you can go for a non-electric super simple vacuum you can get anywhere for $20-30.

Make sure to pick the one that fits your jar mouth (regular or wide). These are easy to use and reliable, so do not be scared of the more budget friendly option.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

1. Chicken soup in a jar

Chicken tortilla soup takes just five minutes to make in your instant pot or ten minutes on your stovetop. Any way you serve this, you cannot go wrong.

Unlike with store-bought convenience soups, you will not have to worry about preservatives and sodium and have full control over what to put in and what to leave out.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

2. Holiday dinner in a jar

Are you ready for a feast in a jar? This is truly a holiday meal that can sit on your shelf ready to impress for a special occasion or a Sunday dinner.

Like all the other recipes, this one can be tweaked to fit your family’s preferences, so feel free to switch out that turkey for any fresh or frozen meat you have on hand.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

3. Healthy cheesy bean appetizer dip

This is such a crowd pleaser, excellent to have on your shelf to keep you calm in case of unexpected company. Before you begin, crumble your beans with a mortar and pestle to crumble it.

4. Beef & veggie chili

There's nothing quite as comforting as a steaming bowl of chili on a cold fall or winter day.

If you have mason jars on hand, dried staples like beans, a simple dehydrator, and even just a few cans of freeze-dried meats, these are meals that can easily be on your shelf too.

This recipe can be kept vegetarian, too. These jars are also probably the easiest way to have a hot nutritious meal on a road trip.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

5. Hamburger pasta

This is an easy one skillet meal that you can have on the table in just 20 minutes. Add some cheese to make it even better. You can also use fresh or canned chicken, fish, or whatever meat or vegetables you have on hand.

For a camping trip, fill a thermos full of hot water before you leave, then toss in your dried ingredients to reconstitute a delicious, healthy meal, even on the go.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

6. Breakfast casserole

This is such a customizable and fun recipe for a breakfast on the go. All you need is to add water! This casserole is super healthy and flavorful, and you can truly use whatever you have dehydrated or freeze-dried on hand.

I love layering an assortment of dried greens like kale or other veggies like diced zucchini or celery. The possibilities are endless.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

7. Blueberry & almond oatmeal

Oatmeal is a weekday breakfast staple in my home because it truly keeps us full and getting creative with topping ensures that it never feels boring.

Prepping it in advance makes breakfast so fast and easy, and having that fresh blueberry taste in the middle of winter is such a treat.

Making dehydrated meals in a jar

8. Date and pecan oatmeal

Who says a weekday breakfast meal cannot be decadent? This is a perfect breakfast to take with you in a thermos, or even a great gift during the holiday season. It is so quick to assemble, and I have enjoyed adding freeze-dried strawberries, pineapples for a bit of sweetness, and mango to the original recipe.

Dehydrated meals in a jar

I hope you have learned something new today and will try to prepare your own meals in a jar. Have you ever dehydrated food? Is it part of your cooking routine? Let me know in the comments!

Next, check out my 7 Tasty Homemade Condiments.

Join the conversation
  • Faith Faith on Apr 04, 2024
    Hmmmm....I don't see where I can" subscribe " to get your notifications....I love your energy and ideas . I am a prepper , so enjoy your recipes gracewithfaith@yahoo.com add me to your email list! :))
    You have such a great YouTube channel. Thank you.