Dehydrating Food in Convection Ovens

Dehydrating Food in
Convection Ovens

Dehydrating food in convection ovens is an oft-asked question. While electric food dehydrators are specially designed with drying needs in mind, many people may be surprised to learn you can also leverage your standard convection oven at home for quality dehydrating.

hamster opening a toy Aga cooker door
Image by Andy M. from Pixabay

The key lies in capitalizing on the enhanced temperature regulation and smooth consistent air circulation that this distinct oven type offers over conventional ones.

Through precise temperature and fan adjustments, a convection oven can successfully remove water from sliced fruits, vegetables and more, concentrating flavors and textures beautifully.

You'll discover how with close monitoring and rotating, this advanced oven style serves as an ideal alternative for fully dehydrating a wide variety of ingredients thanks to its unique heat, moisture, and air flow management capabilities.

And if you’re just starting and don’t want to splurge on a dehydrator AND you already have a convection oven, then we say, “Try it!”

TOP Frequently Asked Questions:

Dehydrating in convection oven?

Yes, it's the most asked question, and rightly so. There are a couple of ways to dry food: the sun, a dehydrator, and a convection (or regular) oven. Convection ovens are superior because of their interior fans.

Dehydrating food in oven, dehydrated food in oven, plus dehydrate food with oven? (They are referring to a "regular" oven).

Here's the answer to those highly searched terms:
When it comes to dehydrating food in a regular oven, here are some key tips:

  • Temperature - Aim for the lowest possible oven temp, ideally in the 135°F to 170°F range. This allows slow drying without cooking the food.
  • Prep - Slice uniformly thin, in the 1/8 to 1/4 inch range. Pretreat with lemon juice or blanch if needed to prevent browning reactions.
  • Arrangement - Use parchment-lined baking sheets. Spread pieces in a single layer without overlapping or crowding.
  • Airflow - Prop the oven door open a few inches with a wooden spoon or crumpled foil to allow moisture to escape. Consider placing a fan facing the door.
  • Rotation - Rotate pans and stir food frequently, every 30-60 mins. This prevents uneven drying and hot spots.
  • Time - Drying times vary hugely based on what’s being dehydrated but can take 6-15 hours. Fully dried food should be brittle with no moist spots left.
  • Resting - Allow to completely cool before storing. Condition in open air for 1-2 weeks to equalize moisture. Then store in airtight containers.

It takes some active tending but regular ovens can dehydrate effectively in a pinch! The key is maintaining very low, steady heat with plenty of airflow. To achieve the airflow so moisture can escape, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.

Dehydrating Food in Convection Ovens is a Quick and Easy Way to Dry Foods

A convection oven can be used to dehydrate food. Dehydrating food in a convection oven is a quick and easy way to preserve fruits, vegetables, and meat, and seafood.

The dehydration process removes water from the food, which prevents bacteria from growing and spoiling the food. When done correctly, dehydrated foods will maintain their flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

To dehydrate food in a convection oven, start by preheating the oven to the lowest setting. Then, place the food on a wire rack and set it inside the oven. Leave the door open slightly to allow air to circulate.

Check on the food every few hours, and remove it from the oven when it is dehydrated to your desired level.


Pick up my Free eBook today!

How to Grow and Dehydrate Herbs free eBook

How to Grow &
Dehydrate Herbs

Treat yourself today with my free eBook. Learn how to dry the top six herbs and make herb-infused oils and vinegars!

Click the book cover and that will take you to my secure download page and full deets.

It's my gift to you as a way of saying "thanks for stopping by!"

Pick up my Free eBook today!

How to Grow &
Dehydrate Herbs

How to Grow and Dehydrate Herbs free eBook

Treat yourself today with my free eBook. Learn how to dry the top six herbs and make herb-infused oils and vinegars!

Click the book cover and that will take you to my secure download page and full deets.

It's my gift to you as a way of saying "thanks for stopping by!"


What's the Difference, Though?

What's the difference between a convection oven and a regular oven?

A convection oven has a fan that circulates the hot air, evenly cooking the food. A regular oven does not have a fan, and the hot air can become stagnant, causing uneven cooking.

Additionally, convection ovens typically cook food faster than regular ovens. So, if you're looking to dehydrate food quickly, a convection oven is the way to go.

Having said that, I prefer to use a food dehydrator that is specifically designed to dry food properly!

Convection Oven Fans

For those of you with a convection oven that uses a fan for air circulation, you’re almost ready to go.

One thing you need to check with your convection oven is that you can set the temperature below 200° F as our fruits and vegetables need to be dehydrated at 125°F  to 135° F degree range.

Any hotter than that range and you’ll be likely to cook—rather than dehydrate—your fruits and vegetables.

Air Circulation is Crucial

To dehydrate food properly and get consistent results, you need to have good air circulation.

With a regular oven, be it your everyday electric or gas oven—or a convection oven—people often leave the oven door slightly ajar to create air circulation.

This will obviously result in monitoring your oven temperature, so you’ll need to have a thermometer in there to make sure you’re dehydrating your foods at an even temperature.

Again, too hot and you’ll be cooking your food. Too cool means you’ll spend hours drying it out.

Again, I have to repeat myself. When you have a food dehydrator that is designed to dry food, you don't have to worry about air circulating correctly. Granted, I do rotate my trays. With a Nesco, it's so easy. Unstack, re-arrange, and put the lid back on.

Limited Oven Shelf Space in Convection Ovens

The oven rack space and number of racks available in your convection oven is limited, usually to two.

Plus, the rack's bars are spaced too far apart—thus resulting in the likelihood of your food falling down to the bottom of the oven!

Remember, when you’re dehydrating food, it SHRINKS. A lot!

You guessed it, folks. I'm going to add here that with a food dehydrator, you're not limited to how many trays to use. Well, of course, you'll refer to the owner's manual that came with your dehydrator.

You can get a Nesco that can handle as many as THIRTY trays! What?

Yes! But that's a LOT of food dehydration going on there. I wonder how tall that stack would be? And just imagine if your dog walked by with a big wagging tail and knocked the whole thing over! Ha.

Excalibur dehydrator with four trays, front cover removed
Nesco Dehydrator - 4-tray starter model, showing green beans being dehydrated

Take the First Step…

Honestly, maybe it’s just time to take the first step and get either of these starter-model dehydrators.

I have both the Excalibur and Nesco starter-brand dehydrators and both work just fine. Neither one of them cost a fortune, either!

Check out these Excalibur and Nesco dehydrator ads on Amazon below:

EXCALIBUR™ DEHYDRATORS at Amazon

Excalibur 2400 Food Dehydrator, 4-Tray Starter

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 4 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its four trays.

  • 220 watts of drying power
  • 4 removable trays
  • 16.25 x 13 x 6.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 4 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

Excalibur 2900ECB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 15 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its nine trays.

  • 400 watts of drying power
  • 9 removable trays
  • 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 105°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 9 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

Excalibur 3900B 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 15 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its 9 trays. Has a built-in on/off switch.

  • 600 watts of drying power
  • 9 removable trays
  • 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 105°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 9 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

* As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The price you pay does not increase.

NESCO™ DEHYDRATORS at Amazon

Nesco FD-80A Food + Jerky Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, perfect for snacks, fruit, and beef jerky. White with a top black tray edge, with a white lid.

  • 700 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 8 trays
  • 15.25 x 10.25 x 15.63 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 160°F
  • Comes with: 1 Clean-A-Screen, 1 Recipe Instruction Book, 1 Jerky Seasoning & Cure Sample

Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Encore Food Dehydrator

This round Nesco Snackmaster comes with a jerky gun kit and 5 trays. It has a very light grey body with a darker grey lid.

  • 500 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 12 trays
  • 13.5 x 13.5 x 9.25 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 160°F
  • Comes with: 1 Jerky Gun with 3 tip attachments, 2 Fruit Roll Sheets, 2 Clean-A-Screens, 5 Jerky Seasoning & Cure Samples, Recipe & Instruction book

Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator

This is the new version of mine as it has an updated lid. It's a light grey body with a darker grey lid.

  • 500 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 12 trays
  • 3.5 x 13.5 x 9.25 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 155°F
  • Comes with: 1 Fruit Roll Sheet, 2 Original-Flavor Jerky Spice & Cure Packets

* As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The price you pay does not increase.

Dehydrators Cost Less to Run than Convection Ovens

Consider this: Dehydrators built for the job of drying food will cost less to run as compared to running your convection oven.

Plus, with a real dehydrator, you have many stackable trays/shelves that have the proper spacing and not just one (or two) solitary oven racks.

Follow the Proper Dehydrating Steps

Again, if you’re just starting to learn how to dehydrate food, please pick up our free eBook called, “Six Simple Steps.” In the free eBook, you’ll learn the six necessary steps to dehydrate food safely, at home.

I hope you learned a lot about dehydrating food in convection ovens. Thanks for stopping by "Dehydrating Food In Convection Ovens"!

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Susan Gast, founder of Easy Food Dehydrating

Hi, I'm Susan Gast, founder of Easy Food Dehydrating. My passion for dehydrating food began in 2010 while seeking crafty uses for abundant tomatoes. I've since devoted myself to elevating the art of removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, meats, and so much more!
JOIN ME as we unlock the magic of food preservation through dehydration together!
Read About Me here.

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