Every Christmas I resolve to try my hand at a new Christmas craft to decorate my home with for the festive season. This year: I dried fruit slices in an air fryer – and it couldn't have been easier.
Having invested in one of the best air fryers earlier this year, I was keen to try this new method of drying orange slices for Christmas decorations that so many of my friends said was quicker than using an oven.
It's also much less expensive than buying dried fruit slices at the store, too.
Below, I share my learnings on how to dehydrate fruit slices for Christmas in an air fryer, so that you can add a personalized touch to your decor too.
How dry fruit in an air fryer
Out of all the DIY Christmas decorating ideas I have tried over the years I must admit that this is one of the easiest and cheapest so far. This is how you do it.
1. Slice the fruit
I started by finely slicing my whole oranges (complete with the rinds) into thin discs. I aimed for my slices to be less than half-an-inch thick to make the dehydrating process quicker but also ensure they were not so thin that they crumbled once dried.
I also used a mix of regular oranges and blood oranges to add some variety in color to my Christmas wreaths. If you wanted to add some more texture to your festive crafts you may even want to try dehydrating other citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, and limes too.
2. Put the fruit slices in the air fryer
I have a Phillips Essential Ai Fryer XL (the link goes to our review), which doesn't have a dehydrate function on your air fryer. No matter, it still works.
I simply laid a few slices in my basket at a time, making sure they did not overlap and that there was a space beneath the bottom of the basket and the bottom of the air fryer to ensure good air circulation. I then set my air fryer to the lowest heat setting possible (175ºF); if you can get your air fryer to a lower temperature, I would recommend it.
After 30 minutes, I flipped the fruit slices over and allowed them to dehydrate for another 15 minutes. I checked them regularly after flipping them at first to prevent them from burning until I heard them rattling in the basket. I knew they were done when the jammy centers were hard to the touch and the rind had not yet started to turn brown.
I then repeated the process until I had the number of slices I needed.
Having tried the method a few times, I must add that using parchment paper to line my air fryer first definitely made the clean up a lot easier and helped stop the fruit from sticking to the basket as it caramelizes.
Drying fruit in an air fryer with a dehydrating function
Some air fryers we've reviewed, such as the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer, or the Ninja Foodi DZ401 Air Fryer (links go to our reviews), have a built-in dehydrate function already, meaning that drying out orange slices is as easy as cooking dinner.
If you are dehydrating your fruit this way, you can easily follow the same steps I did to prepare the fruit slices and lay them in the baskets. To dehydrate the slices, however, simply use the dehydrate function as detailed in your machine's manual rather than slowly heat the slices on the machine's lowest setting.
This method is often a little less risky than the method I used as the temperature is even lower, usually around 135ºF, meaning the fruit will dry before being at risk of cooking and browning.
Can you dehydrate food in all air fryers?
Almost all air fryers have the ability to dehydrate food either with a built in dehydrate setting, or through programming your air fryer with the right settings and temperatures to emulate the same effect.
What can you dehydrate in an air fryer?
Plenty of foods can benefit from being dehydrated in an air fryer, from most types of fruits and vegetables to chicken and beef jerky. You can also try your hand at drying herbs at home too.
It is a good idea to avoid dehydrating overly fatty or oily foods, however, such as avocados, as they can deteriorate quickly.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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