Homemade dried apple rings are the best!
At least once every two months I make a batch of homemade apple rings in our dehydrator. A 5lb bag of apples will make an ice cream pail full of apple rings. But they never last long; they’re a hot commodity in our house. They’re definitely one of the easiest snacks to make, store and take along anywhere.
Don’t have a dehydrator? Click on over to Using your oven, homemade apple rings for step by step instructions.
After several years of making dried apple rings, here’s what I’ve learned.
Tips For Homemade Apple Rings in the Dehydrator
- You don’t need to add any sweeteners when drying apples. The natural sugars in the apples get more intense during the drying process making them sweet enough for everyone to enjoy.
- I prefer using Spartan, Granny Smith or McIntosh apples that aren’t too sweet. Some apples like Galas become almost too sweet when dried. My all time favorites are prairie apple varieties like Goodland apples. If you’re in Manitoba, sign up with Fruit Share and pick all the free apples you want!
- Soaking, dipping or spraying apple slices with lemon juice or salt to prevent browning is completely optional. Look at the photo below, the apples in the center were soaked in lemon juice and water, the others were not. Because the difference is so little, I’ve stopped using any anti-browning techniques when drying apples.
- If you prefer the brighter apple rings, soak apple rings in a solution of 1/4 cup (125 ml) lemon juice to 1 quart (1 litre) cold water.
- If you’re planning on storing your apple rings, err on the side of over-drying rather than under-drying. Even a wee bit of moisture can trigger mold growth.
- Peeling is a personal preference. I find the peel gets too tough once dried, so I always peel my apples. Totally your call. I like using this handy dandy apple peeler, corer to make apple rings.
- Accept the fact that homemade apple rings will not be exactly like store bought apple rings, they won’t be as soft or pliable. Why? Because most store bought varieties have added preservatives so they can be stored for long periods with a higher moisture content. Your homemade apple rings don’t have any preservatives so they have to be drier in order to store well.
- As good as those apple rings taste, practice moderation. Remember that about 6-8 slices is equal to 1 apple.
- 5 lb apples
- 3 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (optional)
- Wash, peel and core apples.
- Slice apples thinly and evenly (1/4 inch), use a mandolin if possible.
- If desired, soak slices in a mix of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 quart water to avoid any browning.
- Place rings on dehydrator trays leaving a little space around each slice for air circulation. If you soaked your apples, shake off as much excess liquid as possible before laying on tray.
- Sprinkle slices with a light dusting of cinnamon.
- Dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for 6 to 8 hours.
- Check apples for any moisture on outside and inside. The slices should feel dry and leathery without any tackiness. Rip a slice in half to see if there is any moisture on the inside - it should look like dry dense sponge.
- Allow to cool several hours before storing in an airtight bag or container.
- Store in a dry, cool, dark place for several months (if you don't eat them all!)
- It's easy to increase or decrease the amount of apples in this recipe. I use an apple peeling, slicing and coring machine and a large 9 tray dehydrator to make my apple rings. I fit about 3 apples per tray.
- Yield 1 gallon or 1 ice cream pail of dried apple rings
How to Tell When Apple Slices are Dry
Check apples for any moisture on the outside and inside. The slices should feel dry and leathery without any tackiness. Rip a slice in half to see if there is any moisture on the inside – it should look like dry dense sponge. If there are any beads of moisture, continue to dry the apples.
Remember, it’s better to over dry food than to under dry.
What if I Over-Dried My Apple Rings
Been there done that! Because apples come in all shapes and sizes with varying amount of water content and because air humidity levels change daily, every batch of apples will dry differently. You may find you need to add more time or that your apples are done much earlier than you expected. NO BIG DEAL, you simply need to re-introduce a little moisture to your over-dried apple rings.
Place a wet (not dripping wet) cloth or paper towel on an empty dehydrator tray. Spread over-dried apple rings on other trays. Place all the trays in the dehydrator, close the door and leave it over night. No need to turn on the dehydrator. The apples will absorb the moisture from the wet cloth. In the morning, you should find that the paper towel is dry and that the apple slices are a little more tender.
It’s important that the apple rings do not come into direct contact with anything wet – that will create damp spots that may lead to mold later on.
Alternatively, you could place the dried apples in a large container and add a wet cloth separated from the apples by wax paper or a small plate. Seal the container and leave over night.
How to Make Apple Chips
We make apple chips by continuing to dry apple slices until they become crispy. Really, you just keep drying them until you get to the point of crispness you prefer. To speed up the process, slice your apples a little thinner.
I hope you enjoy your homemade apple rings as much as we do!
Don’t miss out if you don’t have a dehydrator. Make them in the oven – How to Make Homemade Apple Rings in the Oven.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.