How to Make Homemade Apple Rings in the Dehydrator
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, Braeburn, Ambrosia or Pink Lady apples that aren’t too sweet. Some apples like Gala 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-just to save a step.
- 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. I know this from experience! They’re so tasty, but you’ll feel a little bloated if you eat too many in one sitting.
Homemade Apple Rings using a Dehydrator
- 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!)
Yield 1 gallon or 1 ice cream pail of dried apple rings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
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. Place all your over-dried apple rings on other trays. Put 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.
Note: 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. Your goal is just to create a humid environment. The dried apples will automatically absorb the moisture in the air.
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.
Other Apple Recipes for the Dehydrator
You’ll find more great apple drying and preserving recipes in my new Apple ebook.
Apple Fruit Leather
Including ideas for mixing with other fruit and making fancy leathers
Apple rhubarb herbal tea blend
Great way to use up those small bits of apple when making apple rings.
Apple Almond Bars
One of the tastiest granola like bars you’ll ever have made with just almonds, apples, honey and spices.
You get so much more than just dehydrating in the Apple ebook! Over 60 sweet and savory recipes and preserves from classics like apple pie to new favorites like apple salads and apple sheet pan dinners.
When you’re finished making your apple rings – I’d love to see them! Please share a photo and tag me on instagram or Facebook. Let’s see if we can get more people hooked on these tasty, healthy snacks. I’m on instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
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.
I chop them up small and mix them with maple sugar and oatmeal to make homemade “instant” oatmeal. I also like to add a handful to pie fillings to tighten up the finished pie, they tend to absorb much of the extra liquid.
Yes, I do that too! I make homemade instant oatmeal, pancake mixes and herbal teas with small pieces of dried apples. So delicious.
I have not tried adding them to apple pie – what a great idea! Thanks!
All the best,
The first article I found about this and I can’t imagine a more complete and authoritative reference. This gives me confidence to try my first dehydrator recipe this weekend with some MacIntosh apples. Thank you so much!
Awe, thanks Jeff! I’m glad you found the info thorough and useful enough to give your first batch of MacIntosh apples a go!
We like MacIntosh as well, they’re just the right level of sweetness. If they’re a little soft, they can sometimes break apart when on the apple peeling machine, but otherwise they work well. I usually put all the small bits and pieces on a separate dehydrator tray. I dry them and then use them as is in granola, oatmeal, pancakes or other recipes where you would use small dried fruit. I also add them to tea.
I am dehydrating some Pink Lady apples. I used the peeler slicer and it worked great. After I loaded the dehydrator I threw all the peels and cores in a pot and covered them with water. I have head that the peels and cores will make good apple butter. What do you think? By the way, my father in law used to make fried apple pies from dried apples and they were delicious. The dried apples have a more intense flavor than the fresh.
If you can get enough puree from them, I think it will have great flavor and colour. And those fried apple pies sound amazing.
Just trying dehydrating apples for the first time ever. I’ve got them going now, did some plain and one tray with cinnamon.
Just wondering if you rotate your trays during the drying process?
It never hurts to rotate the trays but it really depends on your dehydrator and how evenly it dries. If you get consistent results on every tray, in every corner rotating is not necessary. But if you know there are spots in your dehydrator where food dries much more quickly than in other areas, I would recommend rotating. If you’re new to your dehydrator, rotate just to be sure.
If you want to see how evenly your dehydrator dries food, do a big batch of fruit leather. You’ll get a great visual of dry and wet spots so you can identify where your dehydrator works fast or slow.
Thanks for your post! Here is a tip: We have 4 Apple trees and, of course, we can’t eat all the apples. So we also dry them. We store them in an horizontal freezer in small batches. They are delicious, and crispy, when eaten frozen!
We’ll have to try freezing our dried apple rings just to see what they taste like frozen.
Just in case anyone is wondering… Freezing dried apples does help preserve the quality of the apples longer than storing them on the shelf. But, freezing dried apples is not necessary. As long as they are dried sufficiently (20% or less water content remaining) and wrapped well (remove as much air as possible) they’ll store nicely for about one year.
Love your recipes. Am in the middle of apple rings right now. The grandchildren always look for them when they come for a visit and mom likes the fact that they are a “good”snack Thanks
Aw, thanks for the lovely comment, Evelyn. Sounds like a win-win-win all around. Keep making those great healthy snacks!
what’s the best way to store them once dried? I have 8 apple trees (Pitmaston Nonpareil, Russet, Annie Elizabeth and three I don’t know and am trying to get identified. Along with quinces and medlars (know what do with them!).
Just put the dried apples in jars with original seals?
Jay, that sounds amazing!
I have never had to store mine longer than a month since I buy batches of apples from the store and have a crew of apple ring eating fanatics! I store them in a glass or plastic container. You could also try in vacuum sealed bags for longer storage. I notice right away that opening and closing the lid and exposure to air will change the humidity level within the jar, for example if I have apple chips (dried extra long) they will go soft within a couple of days when the kids go snacking. From that, I would advise removing as much air as possible when storing.
Do you have any preferred variety of apples that you like to use for dehydrating?
Thanks for asking because I certainly do have favorites. I like using tart or semi-tart apples for dehydrating. The natural sugars in apples shines through when dried, so sweet tasting apples like Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious become a little too sweet for us. Spartans, MacIntosh, Granny Smith or backyard prairie apples like Goodlands are our favorites.
Hope that helps.
Any suggestions for efficient ways to peel smaller apples? The Goodland apples from our tree are about the size of racquetballs and some are oddly shaped. I have a hand crank peeler/slicer like in your photo, but I think the corer will eat up most of the apple! BTW, thank you very much for your excellent post. It is very clear and descriptive with exceptional advice and photos. I will check out the rest of your site. Thank you!
Hi Jan, Oh the joys of backyard apples! I pick through the apples and use them for various purposes. The really small and odd shaped ones I’ll use for applesauce. The way I make applesauce is to wash and quarter apples without bothering to remove the core, then I cook them down core and all and run the cooked mush through a food mill. For some apples, I will cut the flesh off the apple leaving just the core behind. I’ll use those pieces in pies or baking of some kind where even size is less of an issue. The bigger, uniform apples go through the apple peeler so I can get slices that are uniform thickness for drying. And finally, would you consider drying apples with the peel on? Maybe one of those coring tools that you push through the apple core would work? Hope this offers some help.
what did you used for slicing your apples? I slice it by myself and the thickness are not they same 🙁
I have an apple peeler/slicer hand crank apparatus that sits on my counter. If you use a lot of apples, it’s worth the $20-$30 investment. Mine has lasted for many years. You could try a mandolin or even the slicing disc from a food processor. I wouldn’t slice the apples with the food processor, I would just hold the slicing disc in my hand and carefully use it by hand to get even slices. Good luck.
It’s called schnitz pie. And it is wonderful, but totally different than fresh apple pie! Wonderful fkr pocket pies!
Thanks for the info, Caryl! I’ll have to try making schnitz pie!
This is the most detailed and straightforward post on the topic I have ever read in recent time.Even a novice would be able to follow it, I bet.The oven recipe is an added advantage for those who are not using a dehydrator. Superb post, Getty! Please keep it up!
Thanks for your kind comments.
Thanks for a precise, straightforward and informative post! Just what I was looking for to try out my dehydrator for the first time. Here goes!
Aw, thanks! Good luck and enjoy. Sliced apples are a great thing to try first time out of the gate.
I have trouble getting my dried slices off the plastic dehydrator rack. They stick from the sugar. Can I run a very light coat of oil on the rack?
Great question. I know a lot of people put a little oil on the trays to prevent sticking, but I personally don’t use oil in the dehydrator. It will dry onto the plastic and be difficult to wipe away. I think over time, you’d get a build up. Also, oil does go rancid so it may potentially create an off-flavor on future food.
Instead of oil, try the following:
– flip your fruit over half way through, the bottom will still be wet enough that you can easily lift and flip but the top will be dry enough that it won’t stick once flipped
– use a layer of parchment paper – it’s easier to pull the fruit off
I would think that it is hard to dehydrate an apple pie
Yes, I would think so too! But apple rings with pie spice might be the closest thing to it!
I think Jim is wondering if apple pie can be made using dried apples…maybe rehyderated.
Oh, sorry if I miss understood. If you wanted to use dehydrated apples for pie, you would need to re-hydrate them by covering them with warm water for 30 minutes or so. Then you’d have to drain any remaining water. I think it would be a fairly dry filling. An interesting thought.
My mom uses dried apples to make cobblers all the time. She soaks the overnight in apple juice, then proceeds with the recipe. Not dry at all and very delicious 🙂
Thanks for sharing, that’s great to know. If there are ever any dried apples not gobbled up right away, I may have to try that! Love the idea of soaking them in apple juice.
Right! Older people would make fried apple pies using dried apples. Delicious!!! You lay out the round pie crust and fill up half way and fold over and crimp the edges. Then you fry them and they don’t last long on the table either!!!
I have got to try that! Thanks for sharing.
I liked your presentation and it was just what I wanted I have one question what about apple pie? thanks Jim
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