How Does a Food Dehydrator Work

A food dehydrator is a very useful kitchen appliance but have you ever wondered how it works?

Like most of the cooking appliance, this one also works on heating principle. However, it works differently than oven and microwave.

A dehydrator works by removing moisture from the food. It can quickly turn a juicy slice of apple into a dry apple slice. All the moisture will disappear, making the slice dry and crisp.

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work
How Does a Food Dehydrator Work

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?

This appliance doesn’t magically dehydrate the food. Instead, it works on basic science principles. If you don’t know how it works, we can help you. We will show you how food dehydrator works and dries the food. There are two main types of food dehydrators, i.e. electrical food dehydrator and solar food dehydrator. We will show you how each one works.

Electrical Food Dehydrator Working:

This is the most common type of dehydrator. The appliance which you use in your house falls into this category. It is comparatively easy to use. This appliance works on electricity. To use it, you need to connect the power plug to a switch and switch on the button. Without power, it will not work. Unlike other electrical alliances, it uses less energy.

Basic Working of a Food Dehydrator:

This type of dehydrator uses electricity to dry the food and remove moisture from it. There are many trays in this equipment. You have to open it and keep the slices of food on the tray. There are heating elements in this appliance which helps to raise the temperature inside the dehydrator. Along with it, you will also find a fan and vents. The fan is used for circulation of hot air. 

  • Heating Elements: To dehydrate the food, the heating elements start function. When you switch on the power, the heating elements will begin heating up the insides. The electrical energy is converted into heat so that the temperature can rise. 
  • Fan and Vent: After that, the fan works to circulate the hot air inside the equipment. Because of the fan, the air is evenly dispersed. It helps to dehydrate all the slices evenly. It spreads the air towards all the trays. The fan also helps to remove the moisture from the machine. The moisture from the dehydrator is removed from the vents. 
  • Temperature and Timer: This appliance has a different temperature range. You need to set the temperature accordingly as per the type of food. Every kind of food requires a different temperature, so you need to adjust it accordingly. Along with that, you also have to set the timer. You need to set the timer as per the type of food. Some types of foods need to be dehydrated for a long time. You will get all the details in the manual. 


Now that you know the basic working of an electrical dehydrator, you need to know about the heating in detail. When this appliance heats up, the moisture from the food is removed. Unlike other cooking appliance, this one heats up at a pretty low temperature. It uses low temperature + long heating time to remove the moisture from the food. 

When the food is cooked at a low temperature, all the nutrients remain in it. Apart from that, it heats the food in such a way that the taste is enhanced. Slow cooking helps to improve the taste. This food last of a long time as there is no moisture in it. Bacteria and mould don’t grow on dehydrated food. 

The heating elements in a dehydrator are specially designed to work at low temperature. It helps to dehydrate herbs efficiently. Most of the time, we have to throw out herbs because of the excess of moisture. However, you can dry the herbs in a dehydrator to make it last longer.

Air Circulation:

A dehydrator works on three things, i.e. heating elements + fan + vents. When the heating element heats up the interior and removes the food’s moisture, it remains inside the machine. In this case, the fan and vents help to remove the moisture from the device. The moisture comes out of the vents. With air circulation, the dried food will absorb the moisture again. All three internal mechanisms have to work together to dry up the food.

Air circulation helps to remove the moisture from the machine. It pushes the air out from the vents. Along with removing the moist air, it also helps to bring the dry air inside the device via the vents so that the food can be dried up. 

The fan in the machine helps to circulate hot air evenly in the machine so that it can reach all the trays. It helps to dry the food evenly. All the food will be equally dried up. You will find two types of air circulation system in the dehydrator. 

  • Horizontal Air Movement: In this type of system, the fan is in the back of the dehydrator. It moves the air horizontally so that it circulates evenly. You don’t need to turn the food or move it as there is even air circulation.
  • Vertical Air Movement: In this dehydrating, the fan can be at top or bottom. Suppose the fan is on top of the food dried up unevenly. The bottom fan helps to dry the food in less time evenly. However, it will create a mess as the food will drip at the bottom.

How Does A Solar Food Dehydrator Work?

This type of dehydrator works on solar energy. There is a solar drier which has a transparent surface. It helps to use solar energy and converts it into heat. 

The interior is black which retains the heat and dries the food. There is an appropriate vent for air circulation. It removes the moisture from the drier and dehydrates the food. 

However, the food is not dehydrated evenly due to the change in sunlight and exposure. You can only use it in regions where there is adequate sunlight.

This is how a food dehydrator works to remove moisture from food and dehydrate it evenly for preservation.

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?

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