How to Keep Fruit from Sticking to Dehydrator Trays: The Best Tips & Tricks

how to keep fruit from sticking to dehydrator trays

Last Updated on October 2, 2023

Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a popular method for long-term storage, but many face the challenge of how to keep fruit from sticking to dehydrator trays. This method prevents spoilage and concentrates the natural flavors of the food. If you’re interested in specialized dehydrating, check out our guide on the best dehydrator for black garlic.

A common challenge faced during the dehydration process is the fruit sticking to the trays. This can be attributed to factors like the fruit’s natural sugars becoming concentrated, improper dehydrator temperature settings, or high room humidity. To ensure a smooth dehydration process:

  • Space fruits adequately on trays
  • Grease or line the dehydrator trays
  • Choose fruits ideal for dehydration, such as apples, peaches, and apricots
  • Treat fruits prone to sticking with lemon juice or citrus oil
  • Ensure proper dehydrator temperature settings, ideally between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit

If you’re looking to make your own dried fruits at home, then you’ll want to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. One of the main problems people face when dehydrating fruit is that it often sticks to the tray, making it difficult to remove.

If you dehydrate fruit regularly, then you know the frustration of trying to remove stuck-on pieces from the trays. Not only is it a pain to clean, but it can also affect the quality of your dried fruit.

If you’re wondering how to keep fruit from sticking to dehydrator trays, it’s easier than you might think with a few simple tricks. Our goal in this article is to provide some tips on how to keep fruit from sticking to dehydrator trays.

What Causes Fruit to Stick to Dehydrator Trays?

When you are dehydrating fruit, you may notice that some of it sticks to the trays. There are a few reasons why this might happen:

  • Dehydrator trays are designed to prevent fruit juices from penetrating. As the fruit dries, its water evaporates and can get trapped in the tray’s pores, causing sticking. For more insights on why fruits might stick and how to prevent it, the National Center for Home Food Preservation provides valuable information.
  • The fruit’s natural sugars become more concentrated during dehydration, which can make them stickier.
  • Setting the dehydrator temperature too high or not drying the fruit long enough can result in stickiness.
  • Some fruits, like apricots and cherries, tend to stick more than others, such as apples or pears.
  • It’s important to space fruits adequately on the trays to prevent them from sticking together.
  • High room humidity can also cause fruits to stick to the trays.

For best results, grease or line the dehydrator trays and ensure the dehydrator has proper airflow. Overloading or mis-spacing can make the fruits stick to the tray.

How to Keep Fruit From Sticking to Dehydrator Trays: The Best Tips & Tricks

Taking a few simple steps can prevent fruit from sticking to your dehydrator tray. By following these tips, you’ll be able to dehydrate fruit without any problems.

Choose the Right Fruit

Choose the Right Fruit.

There are a few fruits that are especially suitable for dehydrating. Apples, for example, retain their flavor and texture very well when dehydrated.

Peaches and apricots are also excellent choices, as they have a naturally high sugar content that helps to prevent them from drying out too quickly. Pineapples, meanwhile, are particularly well suited for dehydration due to their high water content. Mangoes, kiwis, and bananas are also excellent fruits for dehydrating.

Not only does this make them easy to slice thin, but it also helps to produce a finished product that is both flavorful and moist.

But, softer fruits like berries and cherries are more likely to leave behind a sticky residue. So before dehydrating them, be sure to coat them lightly in sugar or cornstarch. This will help absorb any excess moisture and prevent them from sticking.

Treat the Fruit

If you are using fruits that tend to stick, such as apricots and cherries, you can treat them with a light coating of lemon juice or citrus oil. This will help to prevent sticking in the dehydrator tray and make cleanup easier.

Plus, lemon juice or citrus oil will also help to preserve the color and flavor of the fruit. 

Grease or Line the Dehydrator Trays

If you are dehydrating fruit, make sure the trays are greased or lined before putting the fruit in them. This will help to prevent the fruit from sticking and make cleanup a breeze.

There are a few different options for greasing the trays. You can use cooking spray, butter, or even shortening. Whichever option you choose, make sure to coat the trays evenly and completely.

Plastic Mesh Screens

Plastic mesh screens are an incredibly versatile kitchen item. They can be used for lining dehydrator trays, preventing a sticky mess from forming, and preserving the juices in fruit for a more intense flavor.

They are also available in a variety of sizes to fit any dehydrator tray. They are easy to clean and can be reused multiple times.

As a result, they are a cost-effective way to keep your dehydrator running smoothly. Whether you are making jerky, dried fruit, or veggie chips, plastic mesh screens are an essential kitchen tool.

Parchment Paper, Wax Paper, or Non-Stick Sheets

Parchment Paper
Wax paper

Parchment paper, wax paper, or non-stick sheets are all great choices when dehydrating fruit. Parchment paper prevents a sticky mess from forming in the bottom of the dehydrator and also preserves the juices in the fruit for a more intense flavor.

This will create a barrier between the fruit and the tray and will prevent the fruit juices from seeping into the pores of the tray. Once dried, parchment paper with high quality and thickness will cause ingredients to fall off.

You can also use wax paper to prevent the fruit from sticking when storing it in an airtight container.

Non-stick sheets are great if you do not want to use any chemicals or if you are worried about parchment paper or wax paper touching the food.

Dehydrator Sheets

Dehydrator sheets are specially designed to be used in food dehydrators. These sheets are made of a porous material that allows air to circulate while still trapping moisture.

This makes them ideal for drying fruits, vegetables, and meats. Dehydrator sheets can also be used for making jerky, fruit leathers, and dehydrated flowers.

The sheets come in a variety of sizes to fit most dehydrators, and they can be cut to fit smaller trays. Some brands even offer reusable dehydrator sheets that can be washed and used multiple times.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dehydrator, these sheets are an essential tool for any dehydration project.

DIY Tray Liner

Make your own tray liner for dehydrator trays by cutting a piece of cheesecloth or unbleached muslin into a square that is slightly larger than the dehydrator tray. Secure the cloth to the tray with an elastic band or tape.

Maintain the Temperature Accuracy

If you are dehydrating fruit, it is important to set the temperature of the dehydrator properly. If the fruit is exposed to too much heat, it can become sticky.

The ideal temperature for dehydrating fruit is between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. For a comprehensive guide on drying techniques and best practices, refer to Penn State Extension’s article. Fruit should not be exposed to too much heat, but it should also not be dehydrated for too long as well.

Wondering about the safety of dehydrated foods? Discover how a dehydrator kills bacteria to ensure your dried fruits and vegetables are safe to consume.

If the fruit is exposed to too much heat for too long, it can lose its flavor and nutritional value. It is therefore important to monitor the temperature of the dehydrator carefully and to remove the fruit when it is done dehydrating.

While electric dehydrators are common, there are also eco-friendly options available. Learn more about the best solar dehydrators for a sustainable choice.

Dry the Fruit Completely

If the fruit is not dried completely, the moisture content will be too high, and the fruit will stick. Getting all of the moisture out of the fruit is crucial to successful drying.

If even a small amount of moisture is left, the fruit will stick and be difficult to eat. It is necessary to dry the fruit until it is completely dehydrated.

The best way to do this is to place the fruit on a wire rack in a warm, dry place. Check on it regularly, and when the fruit is no longer sticky, it is ready to be stored.

Space the Fruit Properly on the Dehydrator Trays

If the fruits are too close together, they’ll touch and stick as they dry. It’ll end up with a sticky mess.

Spread the fruit out in a single layer on the dehydrator trays and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum capacity. This will ensure that the fruit dries evenly and doesn’t stick together.

Also, check on the fruit regularly to make sure that it isn’t drying too quickly or too slowly.

Check the Humidity Level in the Room

The average room has a humidity level of 30-50%. This is the ideal range for most fruit dehydrators.

If the humidity level in the room is too high, it can cause the fruit to stick to the dehydrator trays. The high humidity will also make it difficult for the dehydrator to circulate air, which is necessary for proper dehydration.

Low humidity in the room can cause the fruit to dry out too quickly and become brittle. To ensure that the fruit dries evenly, it is important to check the humidity level in the room before starting the dehydrator.

Fruits Should Not be Sliced Too Thin.

If food is sliced too thin, it will dry out quickly and run the risk of sticking to the dehydrator trays.

On the other hand, if food is cut too thick, it will take longer to dehydrate and may not be even. The key is to find the happy medium, which is usually somewhere around 1/4 inch.

By taking the time to slice food at the proper thickness, you can ensure that it will dehydrate evenly and come out perfectly every time.

Mandolin slicers can be used to cut the fruit into even slices that will dehydrate evenly and are less likely to stick.

Flip Every Batch of Fruit Slices After a While

The fruit slices should be turned or flipped after an hour or so of dehydrating. This will help to ensure that the food is drying evenly on all sides and prevent it from sticking to the dehydrator trays.

It’s important to check the food regularly and remove any pieces that are starting to dry out faster than others.

Corn Starch Dusting before Dehydrating

If you are experiencing sticking problems with your fruit, you can try dusting it with corn starch before placing it in the dehydrator. Corn starch will help to absorb any extra moisture and prevent the fruit from sticking.

It is especially effective for fruit that tends to stick to the trays of dehydrators due to their sugar content or acidity. To dust your fruit, simply mix together cornstarch and powdered sugar in a ratio of 1:1.

Then, lightly coat the fruit with the mixture using a pastry brush. Be sure to tap off any excess before placing the fruit in the dehydrator. 

Keep Your Dehydrator Clean After Every Use

It is important to keep the dehydrator clean, or else the fruit juices can build up and cause the fruit to stick. To clean the trays, simply wash them with warm water and soap after each use. This will help to prevent any build-up and keep your food tasting fresh.

Use a Vacuum Sealer

It is not imaginable, but a vacuum sealer can be used. A vacuum sealer helps to suck out all the air from the bag, which reduces the amount of moisture in the fruit. This process prevents the fruit from sticking to the tray and makes it easier to remove.

How can We Remove Dried Fruits Already Stuck to Dehydrator Trays?

No matter how long you’ve been dehydrating, this happens to everyone. Let’s see what we can do to remove the dried fruit that is already stuck on the dehydrator trays.

When attempting to remove stuck-on food from a tray, the first step is to gently press the backside of the tray. This action often helps in lifting the food. If this method proves ineffective, consider using a blunt knife or spatula to aid in loosening the food.

In situations where the food remains stubbornly attached, immersing the tray in warm water can be beneficial. The warmth from the water assists in loosening dried fruit, making its removal more straightforward. If, after this, the fruit is still damp, blot it with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Following this, use a blunt knife to scrape off the fruit.

Another technique involves cooling the food to firm it. By placing the tray in the freezer for a short duration, the dried fruit often becomes easier to detach. Alternatively, spraying the food with cooking oil can lubricate the surface, facilitating the removal process. Natural agents like white vinegar or lemon juice can also be effective in breaking down sticky residues.

However, there are instances when none of these methods work. In such cases, scraping the food off with a dull knife or spatula might be the only solution. One can also consider re-drying the food and grinding it into a fine powder, which can be repurposed for culinary uses or spice blends.

For particularly challenging situations, abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes might be necessary. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution to avoid damaging the dehydrator trays.

Steps to Remove Stuck Fruit from a Dehydrator Tray

  1. Gently press the backside of the tray.
  2. Use a blunt knife or spatula if pressing doesn’t work.
  3. Soak the tray in warm water.
  4. Blot damp fruit with a paper towel and scrape with a blunt knife.
  5. Freeze the tray briefly to firm up the food.
  6. Spray with cooking oil or use white vinegar/lemon juice.
  7. For persistent cases, use an abrasive cleaner or scrub brush, ensuring the tray isn’t damaged.

How Can I Tell If the Fruit Has been Dehydrated Enough?

After a few hours of dehydrating, the fruit should be dry to the touch and slightly shrunken in size. The color of the fruit will also be darker than when it was first placed in the dehydrator.

Try breaking a piece of fruit in half to see if it’s dry enough. If it snaps cleanly in half, then it is ready. If it bends or is gummy in the middle, then it needs to dehydrate for longer.

When cut in half, the flesh should be opaque rather than translucent, and it should be significantly lighter in weight than fresh fruit

Once the fruit is dry, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature. The fruit will last for several months if stored properly.


How can I make my dehydrated fruit crispy?

Dehydrating fruit is a great way to preserve fresh fruits for long periods of time. The process of removing water from the fruit concentrates the sugars, resulting in a sweet and chewy treat.
But, sometimes, dehydrated fruit can be too soft or mushy. A crispy alternative is possible if you know what to do.

– Try slicing the fruit thinly. This will help it to dry out more evenly and prevent it from becoming too moist.
– You can also try layering the slices on a cooling rack, which will allow air to circulate more freely around the fruit.
– Make sure to store the dehydrated fruit in an airtight container; otherwise, it may absorb moisture from the air and become softer over time.
– You can also dust the fruit with cornstarch or powdered sugar before drying. This will help to absorb any excess moisture and prevent the fruit from sticking to the dehydrator trays.

By following these tips, you can enjoy crisp and delicious dehydrated fruit for months to come.

Drying for storage vs. snacking, what is the difference?

Drying foods for storage is a much different process than drying foods for snacking. When you are drying foods for storage, you want to remove as much moisture as possible from the food.
A dehydrator or a low oven can be used to achieve this. The goal is to create a product that will last for months or even years without spoiling.
But, when you are drying foods for snacking, you want to preserve some of the moisture in the food. This gives the dried product a softer texture and helps to prevent it from becoming too difficult to chew. As a result, foods that are dried for snacking are often prepared using different methods than those used for storage.
If you are looking to create a crispy and crunchy snack, try slicing the fruit thinly and dehydrating it at a low temperature. This will help to preserve some of the moisture in the fruit and create a delicious and healthy snack.

What are some of the benefits of dehydrated fruit?

What are some of the benefits of dehydrated fruit

There are a variety of fruit dehydration benefits, which is why dehydrated fruit is a great option for a healthy snack. The dehydrating process preserves the nutritional value of fruit while concentrating the flavor, creating a more intensely satisfying snack.
Dehydrated fruit is also lightweight and easy to store, making it an ideal choice for hikers and campers. And because there is no need for refrigeration, dehydrated fruit is perfect for taking on extended trips or storing in a cupboard for a rainy day. 
Dehydrated fruits are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They are also low in calories and fat. Dehydrating is a simple way to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit without any added sugar.

Can I dry fruit in the oven?

Yes, you can dry fruit in the oven. However, it is important to note that oven-drying can take considerably longer than dehydrating and may not always produce the desired results.
If you don’t have a traditional oven or are looking for alternative methods, you might wonder, can you use a toaster oven as a dehydrator? Check out our guide to explore this option.
Fruit should be dried in the oven at a low temperature so that the water evaporates without cooking the fruit.
If the oven is set too high, the fruit will cook instead of dehydrating. This can make the fruit mushy and cause it to stick to the drying racks.
It is also important to keep a close eye on the fruit while it is drying. Because ovens can vary in temperature, it is easy for dried fruit to become overcooked or burnt.
If you are going to oven-dry fruit, it is best to do so at a low temperature (140-170 degrees Fahrenheit) and check on the progress frequently.

Dehydration or freeze drying: which is better?

Dehydration and freeze drying are two methods of preserving food. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right method for your needs.
Dehydration is a relatively simple process that can be done at home without special equipment. On the other hand, freeze-drying requires more expensive equipment and generally produces better results.
Dehydration is best suited for foods that do not contain a lot of moisture, such as vegetables and fruits. Freeze drying is best for foods that contain more moisture, such as meat or fish.
In terms of cost, dehydrated foods are usually cheaper than freeze-dried foods. However, freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf life and require less storage space. Ultimately, the best method of preservation depends on your individual needs.

Final Thoughts

Dehydrated fruit is a healthy and convenient snack that can be enjoyed all year round. This tasty treat can be enjoyed all year round, and it’s a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.

Understanding how to keep fruit from sticking to dehydrator trays is essential for anyone looking to enjoy the benefits of dehydrated fruits without the hassle of cleaning up afterward. Not only will this save you time and effort, but it will also help to keep your dehydrator in good condition.

So, if you’re having trouble with your dehydrator and fruit sticking to the trays, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Try some of our tips to make the process a little bit easier.

How to Keep Fruit from Sticking to Dehydrator Trays: The Best Tips & Tricks

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