The Best Food Dehydrators, According to Our Test Kitchen
A food dehydrator is the perfect kitchen appliance to help you make healthy, homemade snacks and meals. From making your own beef jerky, fruit leather and fruit chips to taking your camping and backpacking meals to the next level, a food dehydrator comes in handy. Food dehydrators come in a number of sizes and models, and many have extra accessories included so you can make the most of your machine. To help you find the perfect dehydrator to fit your needs, we've pulled together a list of the best food dehydrators.
How a Food Dehydrator Works
Unlike conventional ovens, which typically can't get below 175°F, electric food dehydrators use lower temperatures (ranging from 95 to 167°) to preserve food. Food dehydrators circulate the warm air around the racks inside the machine to dehydrate the ingredients evenly. Heating foods at these low temperatures over a long period of time removes the moisture from the ingredient while intensifying flavor and retaining nutrients and vitamins.
Best Foods to Dehydrate
If you're wondering what the best foods to dehydrate are, the sky's the limit as nearly any ingredient can be dehydrated. You can turn an orchard's worth of fruits like apples, bananas and apricots into chewy or crispy snacks (learn how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables). You can dry vegetables and herbs to drop into soups and stews. Lean meat, fish and poultry can be transformed into jerky. Even pasta, beans and grains can be dehydrated to make backpacking meals.
However, foods that are high in fat content or dairy should not be dehydrated. This includes avocados, nut butters, cheese, milk and butter. Eggs should also not be dehydrated, since salmonella can grow in the temperature range required for dehydration.
Best Food Dehydrators
This is our list of the best food dehydrators to make it easier for you to pick one. Each dehydrator was tested with 8 ounces of beef for jerky, two small apples for apple rings and enough parsley leaves to fill one tray each.
Read on for details on what makes these food dehydrators the best, as well as the dehydrators that deserve an honorable mention.