Nature's health food disguised as candy, apples are chock-full of fiber, B-vitamins, potassium, iron, and a host of antioxidants. They keep for a while in cool, dark conditions, but dehydrating apples helps you hold onto those flavors for even longer. Plus, dried apples are much less likely to spoil than canned ones, and the process requires less equipment and less storage space due to their shrinkage.
When dehydrated properly, apples can last about six months in small-batch airtight containers, and they can be frozen for up to an entire year—just enough time for the next harvest to roll around. Best of all, they can be rehydrated easily for like-fresh use. Just steep your dehydrated apple slices in hot apple juice or even just water, same as you would tea, and they're ready for snacking.
Just as easy as reconstituting your apples is drying them out in the first place. Even if you don't have a formal dehydrator, you can still make dehydrated apple chips in the oven or in the air fryer. How long it takes to dehydrate apples varies on the method and the thickness of the slices, but the process can be as quick as 20 minutes or as low-maintenance leisurely as 12 hours.
The best apples for dehydrating don't need much embellishment. If you want crisp dehydrated apple chips for snacking, choose tart types of apples like Granny Smith, Macintosh, Cortland, or Jonagolds. They're lower in sugar and thus have a sharper flavor and hold their shapes well. If you prefer something to use as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, part of a granola mix or other breakfast treats, or just want dehydrated apple slices that you can perk back up, sweeter species are the way to go. These will shrink up a bit, but their higher sugar content will concentrate their flavor. Seek out Gala, Golden and Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Envy apples if this is the case.
As for a dehydrated apple chips recipe, it doesn't get any simpler than what's in our how-to guide below. You can choose to add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice before you dehydrate your apple slices, or let the varietal type you choose dictate the flavor.