Content Summary

In this quick guide, we will discuss the key differences between air fryers and dehydrators, explain the dehydrating process, and discuss the pros & cons of using an air fryer for dehydration.

In addition, you'll find some helpful tips and alternative options for dehydrating foods. Let's check out the details!

A Mini White Air Fryer

Can Air Fryer Be Used As Dehydrator?

You can use an air fryer to dehydrate a wide variety of foods in an air fryer, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meat.

Although air fryers are primarily known for cooking crispy fried foods, many models also have a dehydration setting that allows you to dry food items. It's a convenient way to preserve them, and the air fryer's quick cooking and even heat distribution make it ideal for dehydrating food.

However, there are some drawbacks when using an air fryer as dehydrator. Its limited capacity can be a disadvantage when dehydrating larger quantities of food. Additionally, the need for frequent monitoring and rotation of food can be time-consuming. 

Scroll down further for more details of the dehydrating process, the key differences between an air fryer and a dehydrator, and the pros & cons of using air fryers for dehydrating food.

Understanding The Dehydrating Process

Dehydrating is the process of removing moisture from food, and it can be achieved through various techniques, using heat, airflow, and sometimes chemicals. 

Some common methods of dehydrating food include air-drying, sun-drying, oven-drying, and using a food dehydrator. 

  • Regardless of the method used, the goal is to preserve the food by removing enough moisture to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold, which helps extend the food's shelf life.
  • Dehydrating also reduces the weight and volume of the food, making it easier to store and transport. Additionally, dehydrated foods can be dehydrated and used in cooking and baking, making them a versatile and long-lasting option for home preservation. 
  • When using an air fryer as a dehydrator, the hot air circulation helps to remove moisture from the food in the air fryer basket, resulting in a crispy and dehydrated texture. This method is beneficial as it preserves the nutritional value of the food, retains its flavor, and extends its shelf life. 

Air Fryer Vs. Dehydrator: Key Differences

When comparing an air fryer to a dehydrator, the key difference lies in their respective methods of cooking.

An air fryer uses hot air circulation to cook food, resulting in a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil. This makes it a healthier option, as it reduces the consumption of fats and calories. 

Dehydrators are designed to remove moisture from food, preserving it for longer periods of time. They excel at making dried fruits, vegetables, and jerky. Dehydrators also allow for customization of flavors and are often used in food preservation.

Can You Dehydrate in an AIR FRYER? → Cosori Air Fryer vs Cosori Dehydrator | Empowered Cooks

Pros & Cons Of Using Air Fryers For Dehydrating Food

One major advantage of using an air fryer for dehydration is its ability to quickly and efficiently remove moisture from food. This is especially beneficial for preserving the nutritional value and flavor of the food. 

However, there are also some disadvantages to using an air fryer for dehydration. 

  • Its limited capacity can be a drawback when dehydrating larger quantities of food.
  • The need for frequent monitoring and rotation of food can be time-consuming.
  • If not properly managed, an air fryer may result in uneven dehydration, affecting the quality of the final product.
Advantages                               | Disadvantages
1. Quick & efficient dehydration process | Limited capacity for dehydration.
2. Retains the natural color & texture of the food 
   | Requires frequent monitoring & rotation of food
3. Easy to use and clean                 | May result in uneven dehydration.

Despite these disadvantages, an air fryer can still be a convenient option for dehydration, especially for smaller batches of food.

Alternative Options For Dehydrating Food

While an air fryer with a dehydrator setting can be a convenient and efficient way to dehydrate food, its primary purpose is, you guessed it: to air fry food. There are alternative options for achieving the same results: 

  1. Oven: Using your oven on its lowest setting is a great way to dehydrate food. It provides even heat distribution and allows for larger quantities of food to be dehydrated at once.
  2. Dehydrator: Investing in a dehydrator is another option. Dehydrators are specifically designed for this purpose, usually have more space, and offer precise temperature control and optimal airflow.
  3. Sun drying: This traditional method is done when placing food in direct sunlight until it's completely dried. It's a natural and cost-effective way to dehydrate food, especially fruits and herbs.

Regardless of the method you choose, dehydrating food has several benefits. It helps to preserve food, enhances its flavor, and can be a healthier alternative to store-bought snacks. 

A Small White Air Fryer

Dehydrating Food In An Air Fryer Tips

It's important to use proper techniques and precautions. Here are some helpful tips if you have food you want to dehydrate in an air fryer:

  1. Slice food evenly: To ensure even dehydration, slice your food into uniform sizes. This will help it dry out at the same rate.
  2. Use low temperatures: Set your air fryer to the lowest temperature setting to prevent cooking the food instead of dehydrating it. This will help preserve the natural flavors and nutrients.
  3. Arrange food properly: Arrange the food in a single layer, making sure there's enough space between each piece. This allows for proper airflow and promotes even drying.
  4. Monitor the process: Keep an eye on the food as it dehydrates. Cooking times may vary depending on the type of food and the thickness of the slices. Adjust the time accordingly.

Beef Jerky In The Air Fryer - It Works! | Cooking With Ry

Use An Air Fryer As A Dehydrator FAQs

How does an air fryer dehydrate food?

An air fryer dehydrates food by heating it at a low temperature and circulating warm air (not hot air) around the food. This process removes moisture from the food, resulting in a dried and preserved texture. Note: at a high temperature setting, you will cook the food, not dehydrate it.

Can you dehydrate meat in an air fryer?

You can dehydrate meat in an air fryer. However, it's important to slice the meat into thin pieces and set your air fryer at a lower temperature to ensure proper dehydration without cooking the meat.

Can an air fryer be used to make beef jerky?

Yes, an air fryer can be used to make beef jerky. It can function as a dehydrator and there are many beef jerky recipes specifically designed for air fryers. 

Is an air fryer the best option for dehydrating food?

While air fryers can dehydrate food, they may not be the most efficient option compared to dedicated food dehydrators. Food dehydrators are specifically designed for this purpose and often offer better temperature control and more drying space.

How does an air fryer differ from a food dehydrator?

The main difference between an air fryer and a food dehydrator is their primary function. An air fryer is designed for cooking food quickly using hot air, while a food dehydrator is specifically built to remove moisture from food items for preservation purposes.

How long does it typically take to dehydrate food in an air fryer?

At a setting of 175 degrees Fahrenheit, it may take 3 - 4 hours.

Are there any special trays or accessories needed for dehydrating food in an air fryer?

Yes, special trays and air fryer accessories are needed. They help to evenly distribute heat and allow for better airflow, resulting in efficient dehydration.

A Small White Air Fryer

The Best Air Fryer For Dehydrating Food

The best air fryer for dehydrating food depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Some popular models that offer dehydrator functions include the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Air Fryer, COSORI Max XL Air Fryer, and Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer.

Research and compare different air fryers based on their features, capacity, and customer reviews.


Need a multi-functional air fryer with dehydrator function? Check out our article below and pick one that suits you best!

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Happy dehydrating!

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