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does an air fryer dehydrate food


Air Fryers: Can They Dehydrate Food?

Air fryers have gained immense popularity in recent years for their ability to cook delicious and crispy meals with little to no oil. These countertop appliances use hot air circulation and a small amount of oil to achieve that perfect golden crunch without the guilt. But have you ever wondered if an air fryer can do more than just fry? Can it also dehydrate food? In this article, we will delve into the science behind air fryers and explore whether or not they have the capability to dehydrate your favorite ingredients.

Understanding the Air Fryer Phenomenon

Before we dive into the dehydration aspect of air fryers, let's first understand how these innovative devices work. Air fryers utilize a powerful fan and heating element to circulate hot air around the food, similar to a convection oven. The rapid movement of hot air cooks the food quickly and evenly, resulting in a crispy exterior and moist interior. This process is commonly referred to as "frying," even though very little oil is used compared to traditional deep frying methods.

The Science Behind Dehydration

Dehydration is the process of removing moisture from food items to increase their shelf life. It involves removing water content, which can vary from 50% to 90%, depending on the food item. By reducing the moisture, the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds is inhibited, preventing spoilage.

When it comes to traditional methods of dehydration, such as using a dehydrator or an oven, low temperatures and prolonged exposure are required. These methods ensure that the food dries out without undergoing significant cooking. To dehydrate food effectively, the temperature needs to be maintained at around 130°F to 140°F (54°C to 60°C) to prevent the food from cooking or burning.

Can an Air Fryer Dehydrate?

While air fryers excel at cooking crispy and delicious food, they are not specifically designed for dehydration. Unlike dehydrators or ovens, air fryers operate at higher temperatures, typically ranging from 300°F to 400°F (150°C to 200°C). These high temperatures could potentially cook the food rather than simply dehydrating it. However, with a few adjustments, you can use your air fryer to remove moisture from certain food items.

1. Fruits and Vegetables

One category of food that can be dehydrated using an air fryer is fruits and vegetables. Sliced fruits like apples, bananas, or peaches, and various vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes, or carrots can be successfully dehydrated in an air fryer. By setting the temperature to its lowest setting (usually around 170°F/77°C) and cooking them for an extended period, you can achieve relatively dehydrated results. However, keep in mind that this process might not be as efficient as using a dedicated dehydrator.

2. Herbs and Spices

Another food item that can be dehydrated in an air fryer is herbs and spices. Freshly picked herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme, as well as spices such as chili flakes or garlic powder, can be air-dried. Simply spread them on the air fryer's rack and set the temperature to its lowest setting. Check on them regularly, as the time required for dehydration will vary depending on the moisture content of the herbs or spices.

3. Jerky and Dried Meats

If you're a fan of beef jerky or dried meat, you can experiment with using an air fryer for dehydration. Thinly sliced meat strips, heavily marinated to ensure flavor, can be air-dried if the temperature is kept on the lower end. However, due to their high-fat content, it is important to monitor the process to prevent the meat from getting cooked instead of just dehydrated. Regularly check on the meat to achieve your desired level of dryness.

4. Bread and Baked Goods

While an air fryer cannot dehydrate bread or baked goods in the same way a dehydrator can, it can be used to revive stale or dried-out items. If you have leftover bread, cookies, or pastries that have lost their freshness, placing them in the air fryer for a few minutes at a low temperature can help restore their crunch and taste.

5. Experimentation and Caution

Ultimately, using an air fryer for dehydration may require some experimentation and cautious monitoring. Since air fryers are not explicitly designed for dehydration, the results may not be as consistent or efficient as using a dedicated dehydrator. It is important to keep an eye on the food during the dehydration process to avoid overcooking or under-dehydrating.


While an air fryer can fry, roast, and bake with remarkable efficiency, it is not the most suitable appliance for dehydration. However, with some adjustments and careful monitoring, you can use an air fryer for mildly dehydrating certain foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, jerky, and even bread. If you are primarily interested in dehydrating food, it is recommended to invest in a specific dehydrator that provides better control over temperature and air circulation.


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