I LOVE fresh herbs so I grow a lot of them in the summer. And I really hate to see them go to waste if I can't use them all (which is often the case!) So I finally bought an air fryer and specifically bought a model with a dehydration option so I could dry them that way … and WOW! Not only do I love my air fryer, having this function makes it even more of a handy device! This really is the best way to preserve your summer bounty. So, if you have an air fryer with a dehydrator and you're wondering how to dehydrate herbs in the air fryer, and why this is the best method, then read on...
Drying your herbs by dehydrating them in your air fryer is ideal because it doesn't heat up the house (like the oven does) when it's hot, especially if you don't have air conditioning. It's also a convenient way to dry herbs, as it doesn't tie up your oven. The air fryer uses less space and energy than an oven does and takes a lot less time than air drying. Because dehydrating herbs removes all the moisture very quickly, it is not only an easy way, but also the best way to preserve the flavor, aroma, and potency of herbs. You can also continue to enjoy your herbs through the winter months.
🌿Why dehydrate herbs?
Dehydrating herbs is a different method of drying from air drying or oven drying them. Dehydrating herbs means they are quickly cooked at a low temperature, removing all the moisture, yielding better results.
This preserves their nutrients and they keep longer. And dehydrating them in the air fryer is easy, convenient and energy efficient. Dehydrated fresh herbs are also superior to dried herbs bought at the grocery store, as they are much more flavorful.
🆚Dehydrating Herbs vs. Drying Herbs
The drying process is much longer if you are air drying herbs (generally at least a week) and the process doesn't preserve the nutrients, flavor and aroma in the same way that dehydrating does. Mold is also a risk if there is a lot of humidity in the air especially for herbs like basil, chives and mint, that have a high moisture content.
Oven drying herbs does not remove the moisture in the the same way that dehydrating does and cooks at higher temperatures. Therefore, the herbs get cooked a little bit in the process, removing some of the potency and flavor. This means you'll likely need to use more of them in your cooking.
🌿Uses for dehydrated herbs
You can use dehydrated herbs for anything you'd use typical store-bought dried herbs for. And you can also use them for anything you'd usually use fresh herbs for. However, you will generally need to use half the amount of dried that you'd use if they were fresh. They are great in soups, sauces, stews (Slow Cooker beef stew shown below) etc...
Dehydrated herbs are a great way to add flavor to dishes and dehydrating them preserves your herbs, so you make your summer harvest last longer!
⏲️How long does it take to dehydrate herbs in an air fryer?
Depending on the type of air fryer you own, drying time will take from 3-4 hours to fully dehydrate your herbs. I have a Ninja Foodi and it takes 4 hours on the lowest settings (this is 135 degrees fahrenheit /57 degrees celsius on the dehydrate setting on my Ninja Foodi) *See your air fryer manual for exact cooking time
You can use any type of herbs you grow or buy at the farmer's market.
Whether you dehydrate fresh basil in the air fryer or other herbs, the dehydration process is the same.
But you can dehydrate any type of herb you want in your air fryer, such as:
- basil leaves
- bay leaves
How to dehydrate herbs
Dehydrating herbs in the air fryer is a simple process:
Pick your herbs. Be sure to pick the fresh ones from the top, as this encourages further growth of the plant. Pinch the leaves off for herbs such as basil, mint and oregano (oregano shown in example below) and trim stalks for herbs like dill and thyme. You can read more about when and what is the best way to harvest your herbs HERE.
Remove individual leaves from stems. You can do this by hand or with an herb stripper (see Top Tip)
Clean and rinse herbs.
*It's important to wash herbs your herbs before dehydrating them in an air fryer. Although they may not have pesticides or herbicides on them, washing removes any dirt, debris, or pests that may on the plant. It also helps you identify and pick out bad leaves.
Dry herbs by placing them on paper towels.
Pat herbs dry with more paper towel.
Place herbs in your air fryer drawer or air fryer basket.
Place the rack over the herbs or use a mesh muslin bag (see Equipment) if doing more than one type of herb per drawer.
Use the dehydrator function on your air fryer, set to 135 degrees F or 57 degrees C.
*If you have a Ninja Foodi dual and are using both drawers, use match cook.
Dehydrate for 3-4 hours, according to your air fryer's operating manual.
Let stand for about 15 minutes after the process is complete.
Store in sealed mason jars (see Storage)
You'll need an air fryer with a food dehydrator. I love my Ninja Foodi dual drawer (affiliate links) with this function, but many brands and models come with a dehydrate setting.
The first time I did this, I didn't cover the herbs with the rack and they blew around and up and into the element (it was a pain to pick them out). You can use fine mesh muslin bags (affiliate links) to avoid this issue as well. Or simply put the trays over top of the herbs.
However, if you want to do more than one type of herb at a time, in each drawer (or in the main basket), then you'll need to use the muslin bags.
Store dehydrated herbs in an airtight container. The best way to store dried herbs is in glass containers (sealed glass jars are best. You can also store them in Ziplock bags. You can buy labels (affiliate links) for the jars through Amazon or Etsy.
But if you want them to last longer, don't break up the leaves until you are ready to use them. They will potentially last up to 2-3 years if you don't break the leaves and 1-2 years if you do.
For herbs with woody stems, it's handy to use an herb stripper and trimmer set (affiliate link). This works well for herbs with woody stems and small leaves (like tarragon or thyme, as shown). I use the scissors to cut chives.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can dehydrate with your air fryer if it has the dehydrate setting. You can dehydrate most herbs like basil, oregano etc, and food items like fruit, such as strawberries, apricots and apples, and vegetables, such as mushrooms and tomatoes, as well as meats like ham and beef.
The dehydrator setting on the air fryer uses about 1 kilowatt per hour and the process takes about 4 hours. An oven uses about 2 kilowatts per hour.
Yes, you can dehydrate basil in the air fryer if your air fryer has a dehydrate function.
Drying herbs in the air fryer on the dehydrate setting is the best way to preserve the best flavor, aroma, nutritional value and potency of your fresh herbs so you can enjoy them for months and years to come!
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🌿How to Dehydrate Herbs in Air Fryer Directions
- Air fryer with dehydrator function
- fresh herbs * you any type of fresh herb (Oregano shown in this example)
- Remove leaves from stems (see Top Tip)
- Clean and rinse herbs.*It's important to wash herbs your herbs before dehydrating them in an air fryer. Although they may not have pesticides or herbicides on them, washing removes any dirt, debris, or pests that may on the plant. It also helps you identify and pick out bad leaves.
- Dry herbs by placing them on paper towels.
- Pat herbs dry with more paper towel.
- Place herbs in your air fryer drawer or basket.
- Place the rack over the herbs or use a mesh muslin bag (see Equipment) if doing more than one type of herb per drawer.
- Use the dehydrator function on your air fryer, set to 135 degrees F or 57 degrees C.*If you have a Ninja Foodi dual and are using both drawers, use match cook.
- Dehydrate for 3-4 hours, according to your air fryer's operating manual.Let stand for about 15 minutes after the process is complete.Store in sealed mason jars (see Storage)