Can I Use My Convection Oven As A Dehydrator

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One of the easiest ways to preserve food is to have it dehydrated.

You don’t need to invest in specialized equipment, preservatives, or special jars to do so.

In fact, you don’t even need to buy a dehydrator. Your oven will suffice. Perhaps even a full-sized toaster oven will suffice.

These appliances are fully capable of dehydrating your food perfectly in the same amount of time as a dehydrator.

So the question is, can I really use my convection oven as a dehydrator?

Yes, in fact, you can use the oven to dry your food. The fact is that both a dehydrator and conventional oven-dry most foods in precisely the same way. However, a conventional oven and dehydrator both have different benefits. Ovens are probably the most accessible form of drying your food because pretty much anyone has an oven inside their home.

Drying food inside your oven is pretty simple, but they are some limitations, as well.

In some cases, you want to set the oven to its lowest temperature irrespective of whether you are dealing with an electric or gas oven.

However, both are designed to work at high temperatures so
achieving a good temperature for drying would be anywhere between 50° to 70°C
and this process often takes a little bit of fiddling, to get it right.

Using Convection Oven As A Dehydrator

Kitchen Convection Oven

Lots of people use their convection ovens had dehydrators or a toaster oven to dry food instead of a food dehydrator.

The tools responsible for dehydrating food are simple, and you probably already have them lying around in your kitchen.

If you are just starting out drying food in the oven, there are a few things that you need.

Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer, Silver
  • 1800-Watts with 7 functions: air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, Warm, toast
  • 0. 6 cubic foot non-stick interior with oven light. Dimensions (L x W x H): 15. 50 x 16. 00 x 14. 00 inches
  • Capacity: toast 6 slices of bread, air fry 3lbs of chicken wings, bake a 12-inch pizza or roast a 4 pound chicken
  • Adjustable thermostat with 60-minute timer/auto shutoff, toast shade selector-timer.UC Cubic Feet: 3.249 lb
  • Includes: oven rack, baking pan, air fryer rack/basket. Mc cubic feet: 3. 390

If you’re drying fruit, you need lemon juice, a mandolin knife, cookie sheets or any flat pan, wax paper, and a spatula.

Preparing The Food

Depending on the food item that you are using, the
preparation will vary. Here are some tips to get the best results:

  • To prevent foods from going brown, soak them in an
    equal mixture of lemon juice and water for five minutes before starting the
    dehydrating process.
  • Fat on meat cause it to scorch and burn during oven
    drying. So to remove the visible fats from meat and use lean cuts instead
  • In order to dry food evenly and naturally, the pieces
    need to be the same size and thin enough to get the best results. Cut them fairly
    thin, and around a quarter of an inch slice are the best for drying food in
    your oven.
  • If you don’t have the best knife skills, use the food
    mandolin instead. A large piece of meat can be placed directly on your oven
    rack or use paper towels to blot access marinade, so it doesn’t drip down into
    the heating element.
  • A sheet of wax paper should be used on your cookie
    sheet and lay foods on top. This prevents a sticky situation when trying to
    remove the foods from the sheet.

Setting The Temperature

Adjusting Temperature

The key to proper hydration is getting the oven temperature just right. If it’s too hot, your foods will scorch and burn.

Alternatively, if it’s too low, you won’t get the desired results as well. Your oven temperature should be under 200°F for adequate results.

However, not many ovens have temperature options under 200°. In that case, simply set your oven to warm, and you’ll be all set.

However, if you do have an oven that gives you temperature
options, 120° F to 140°F is usually optimal for a variety of foods.

When you start the dehydrating process, crank up the heat to
150°F until the surface moisture is visibly evaporated. When the surface of the food seems dry, lower the temperature to 120° F.

For Optimum Results

Drying food in your oven can be tricky, so here are a few
points to remember:

Ovens tend to have hotspots, which can cause some foods to dry faster than others. So throughout the dehydrating process, ensure that you rotate the pans so that they dehydrate uniformly.

This is especially important when you use a toaster oven because they usually don’t contain fans to distribute the heat evenly.

The food should be flipped over several times throughout the dehydrating process so that all sides are dried evenly as oven drying times vary depending on the food.

Ultimately, plan on taking 6 to 10 hours to get your desired
results. The drier the food, the less time it will take to dehydrate. Juicy
foods tend to take longer than any other food type.

Finally, to check whether your food has dried properly, do a
simple test. If the food is sticky or moist, then it isn’t finished drying.

Also, ensure that you space the pans 1.5 inches apart so
that air can circulate around the food as it continues to dry.

How To Use It?

Food Dehydrating With Convection Oven

  • In a nutshell, when it comes to dehydrating food, a food dehydrator is not needed in many cases. A convection oven will do the job just as well as the food dehydrator since it has a fan and convection cycle to speed up the dehydration process.

  • Dehydrating food in this method prevents the formation off yeast, bacteria, and molds by removing moisture from the food. It also slows the enzyme that eventually will break down the components of the food.

  • Your convection oven should be heated up to between 140 to 160°F. Thereafter, place the food that you are going to dry on a cookie sheet so the food edges are not touching, and there’s plenty of an assassination around your food.

  • The loaded cookie sheet then goes into the convection oven, and you close the oven door or try experimenting with popping it open with a wooden spoon to ensure further air circulation.

  • Remove a piece of the dried food from the convection oven and allow it to cool before you test the level of dryness.

  • Ultimately, in the final step, if the food still feels sticky, then you need to put it back in the oven for longer until the food comes out completely dry.
Instant Omni Plus XL 11-in-1 Air Fryer, Rotisserie and Convection Oven, Air Fry, Dehydrate, Toast, Roast, Bake, Broil, Slow Cook, Proof or Reheat, 1800W, Stainless Steel
  • With this large capacity oven, you can toast 6 pieces of bread at the same time, bake a 12” pizza, make a cake, or even roast a whole chicken
  • Clear the clutter and free up your counter space with this 11-in-1 multi-function toaster oven and air fryer
  • 11 smart programs let you cook with the touch of a button: Air fry, dehydrate, toast, roast, bake, broil, slow cook, proof or reheat. Choose convection and rotate for delicious chicken and roasts
  • The easy-to-use dials and function buttons let you customize programs to make your food just the way you like it
  • Start cooking delicious, nutritious food fast and easy – From air frying french fries, to dehydrated snacks, this toaster oven satisfies all your family’s needs

What Is The Best Temperature For It?

Adjusting Temperature On Oven

If you own an oven, you practically own a food dehydrator.
So all you need to do is combine the factors of air current, low humidity, and
heat to turn your oven into a dehydrator.

If you enjoy occasionally drying beef jerky, fruit rolls,
making banana chips or preserving excess produce like mushrooms and celery,
then learning how to dehydrate food in your oven will be an advantage for you.

However, you should be aware that ovens dry food slower than dehydrators and do not have a built-in fan for air movement. Some convection ovens, however, do have a built-in fan that promotes speculation.

However, one of the drawbacks is that it takes the oven twice the amount of time to dehydrate food as a proper dehydrator will.

Ultimately you will be using more energy at the same time.

However, if you do not own a food dehydrator and would like to try out drying your food in your oven, here are the steps you need to take:

First, you need to check the dial and ensure that it has a
setting for 140°F. This is crucial because if your oven does not go below
140°F, you will end up cooking your food instead of drying it.

The oven door should be left propped open at 2 to 6 inches
to promote air circulation inside the oven. Circulation can also be improved by
placing a fan outside the oven near the door.

However, keeping the oven door will ensure that the temperature will vary.

Placing an oven thermometer placed near the food will give an accurate reading. So adjusting the temperature dial will achieve the needed 140°F.

Using A Food Dehydrator

Using Food Dehydrator

If you still prefer to use a food dehydrator, then you need to know that there are advantages and disadvantages to doing so.

Ultimately food dehydrators are designed to improve the quality of dried foods. So they also lock in the original flavor and color of the food where possible.

They usually have heating elements to dry the food out as well as fans and vents to encourage air circulation for uniform drying.

As the food dries it shrinks and becomes lighter and good; quality food dehydrators allow more of the flavor to be retained inside the dried food.

There are quite a few affordable food dehydrators on the market, and to get the most of your purchase, use it as often as you can.

It’s optimized for people with farms or even backyard gardens that produce a lot of produce during harvest time.


  • Ultimately, food dehydrators have adjustable
    temperature controls that allow you to refine the drying process, especially
    for high-quality results. This will enable you to dry a variety of different
    types of foods as well.
  • A food  dehydrator
    ensures that you can dry a variety of foods at the same time
  • It is designed to be more energy-efficient than an oven
  • It offers faster drying time and consistent results


  • It does take up extra counter space
  • Some fans tend to be very noisy due to dehydration
  • These machines tend to be costly
COSORI Premium Dehydrator (50 Recipes) for Food Jerky, Fruit, Meat, Dog Treats, and Herbs, Dryer Machine with Temperature Control, 6 Stainless Steel Trays, ETL Listed
  • Designed in California: Comes with 6 Stainless Steel Trays, 1 Mesh Screen, 1 Fruit Roll Sheet, 1 Manual, 1 Recipe, Check out our VIDEO on the left side & take a quick tour of this COSORI Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator Machine (search for C267-2ST, C267-2MS or C267-FR to get more accessories)
  • Stainless Steel: Made with food-grade stainless steel and glass front door. This dehydrator is perfect for making healthy beef jerky, snacks, fruit leathers, dog treats, bread crumbs, and for preserving herbs, flowers, and much more
  • Easy to Use: Use the digital control panel to set the timer in 30-minute increments for up to 48 hours. Make average-sized batches of dried foods with accurate temperatures between 95º℉-165ºF. Refer to 50 recipes designed for beginners by COSORI Chefs Team
  • Quiet to Use: Simply press the start button to dehydrate your food and go to sleep. The noise is less than 48dB, which equals noise levels recorded in library
  • Safe to Use: Tray liners are BPA-Free. Auto shut off kicks in right when the timer ends. Overheat protection will activate if the dehydrator overheats.120V, 600W. Please note that this voltage only applies to USA and Canada

Using A Convection Oven

Dehydrating Food In Convection Oven

Using an oven is also a convenient way to dehydrate food. It will take anywhere between 5 to 6 hours or more to dry food properly, and starchy or meaty foods will take longer.

A normal oven usually requires low heat, and soft foods almost always require only low heat in order to dr food properly.

Oven temperatures should be low, if possible under 140° F. If it’s higher than this, food is likely to cook and instead of drying out.

The oven door should be left slightly ajar with a gap of approximately 2 to 6 inches wide. This will allow air to circulate into the oven while your food is drying.

It will also allow for even heat distribution. Placing a fan near the slightly open oven door will also help with air circulation.

Any kind of oven will do. Convection ovens are the best; however, if you don’t have one, a normal oven will work as well.

Energy costs are about 9 to 12 times more expensive than canned food. So you should be aware of this as well.

The most economical way of drying your food in an oven is by
using a convection oven. Convection ovens have temperature-controlled settings
and go as low as 120°F, which is adequate for drying food.

A gas oven will also get the job done however you run the
risk of cooking food instead of drying it since keeping the temperatures low
will be a challenge.


  • Your normal oven or convection oven serves multiple
    purposes, so you won’t require an additional machine which will take up counter
  • There’s no need to spend money on excess equipment.


  • It will take longer for your food to dry in an oven
  • It would require frequent checking and fidgeting to
    adjust the drying process and make sure you get the desired results
  • It consumes more energy than a food dehydrator, and
    it’s more difficult to maintain temperature and keep good air circulation
  • You also run the risk of burning your food if you don’t
    constantly monitor the temperature
Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer, Silver
  • 1800-Watts with 7 functions: air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, Warm, toast
  • 0. 6 cubic foot non-stick interior with oven light. Dimensions (L x W x H): 15. 50 x 16. 00 x 14. 00 inches
  • Capacity: toast 6 slices of bread, air fry 3lbs of chicken wings, bake a 12-inch pizza or roast a 4 pound chicken
  • Adjustable thermostat with 60-minute timer/auto shutoff, toast shade selector-timer.UC Cubic Feet: 3.249 lb
  • Includes: oven rack, baking pan, air fryer rack/basket. Mc cubic feet: 3. 390

Related Questions

Can I Use A Normal Oven To Dry Food?

Yes, you can. However, the process is slightly different from using a food dehydrator and you need to exercise caution due to oven’s having high temperatures.

Does Using An Oven To Dry Food Use More Energy?

Yes, your oven will consume more energy as it takes between 6 – 10 hours to dry starchy and meaty foods in your oven as opposed to a fraction of that time in a food dehydrator.

What Temperature Do You Need To Set Your Oven To Dry Food?

It needs to be below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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By Abby McAvery

After learning how to cook from her family, Abby began anonymously submitting original recipes online. Once she gained enough traction, she decided to open Get Me Cooking, and devote it to everything that a true chef needs in the kitchen. From the best mixers to the top utensils and more, she continues the family tradition by informing others on how to be a better cook and share some of her favorite memories and cooking tips at the same time.

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