Can You Over Dehydrate Food

Dehydrated food is a great option to get healthy snacks for your family and you and an excellent way to save money. With a good quality dehydrator and some fantastic recipes, you will make the most delicious, healthiest meals and desserts. There are few reasons why you should have dried food: it is lightweight, doesn’t take much space and it’s very nutritious.

But, people who love preserving their meals this way often wonder can you over dehydrate food?

Well, it mostly depends on the type of meals you are drying. For example, vegetables can burn out in the kitchen appliance if you let them for too long in the unit. Meats, on the other hand, can get dehydrated until it breaks apart if you dry them too much.

So, when you want to dry your food, you need to be careful and depend on your observation skills and judgment when you are checking the meal. There are cases, where you will be able to rehydrate it, but there will also be cases when you need to throw it away.

In this article, we will talk about what to do if over dehydration happens and how to avoid it. So, stick with us, if you want to learn more about this topic.

When Can You Over Dehydrate Your Meal?

As we said already, you can over dry your food to the point where you can’t eat it, so the only option is to throw it away. In these cases, even rehydration process can’t help. If you expose your food to heat, after some time its composition will change and lose any purpose.

So, here are some ways where it is possible to over dry your food if you are not careful enough.

Excessive Heat

This is a mistake that is often made by many people. Drying the vegetables, meats or fruits at a higher temperature than the recommended one can over dehydrate your food. So, the result is that you won’t be able to eat it.

Dehydrating the Food For Too Long

When the meal is exposed to higher temperatures for too long, it will become un-edible. The meal will over dehydrate when you leave it in the dehydrator much more than you should. That is why it is so important to check the recipe and be careful when you make it.

Overlap the Food Slices

It is essential to load the food correctly on the unit’s trays. Between the pieces, there needs to be space so that air can circulate and dry all of them equally. If they overlap, it will lead to over dehydration.

How TO Know If Your Meal Is Over Dried?

When you are dehydrating food, it’s always best to use the temperature that is recommended and follow the recipe. We will mention some ways when your snacks are over dried.

Bad Taste

It is a wise idea to taste the food to check if it’s adequately dried. If the meal tastes burnt, it is possible that you over dried it.

Different Smell

If the meal has different or like it is burnt smell, then you have definitely left the food in the unit for too long.

Small Size of the Meal

When the snacks that you have dried are too small in size than they should be, it’s possible that you have over dehydrated them.

What Should You Do If the Meal is Over Dried?

Well, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this, it ’s good to know some basic tips you can use if you left your meal for too long in the dehydrator.

Check All the Pieces

Yes, undoubtedly the most of the snacks are over dehydrated, but there is a chance that some small piece is still edible. Remove them and store correctly, because you will be able to use them after rehydration process.

Clean the Unit

It is essential to clean the dehydrator’s trays because some pieces might have stuck to them. Clean them accurately by using the soap solution and wipe the insides of the appliance using a cloth.

How to Avoid Over Drying Your Food?

Make Sure the Heat is Right

As we mentioned before, always set the temperature for dehydration process as recommended in the recipe. Remember to check the meal from time to time and taste to see if it is done.

Follow the Recommended Time

If you leave the food in the dehydrator for too long, it will be dry more than it should. So, follow the recommended time and check the food from time to time to make sure that it is drying properly.

Load the Unit Adequately

Some people might think that this is not too important, but it is crucial that the pieces don’t cover each other. That way the air can circulate between the slices and dry them properly.

Set the Timer

When dehydrating food, use the unit’s timer or the smartphone’s timer feature to set up the right amount of time that is needed for the preparation of the meal. That way you will prevent over dehydration of these healthy snacks.

Meals that are More Likely to Over Dry


Seeds and nuts are already small in size, so you won’t be able to judge the dehydration’s progress by looking them. Taste them to check if they are done. Nuts


The critical thing to remember is that all the pieces should be the same size so they can dry properly.



To check if they are adequately dried, make sure you can break them easily and be brittle.

bunch of kale


Over dehydration of the food can happen to anyone. Maybe it is a wrong understanding of the recipe, equipment malfunction or a lapse in attention, but the good news is that you can still salvage overly dried snacks. Learn from your mistakes, load the unit correctly, follow the recipes and pay attention to the food you are dehydrating so you can have the perfect meal!