It’s easier than you might think to make your own dehydrated onions. Dried onions are versatile kitchen staples in everyone’s pantry, and it’s a fairly simple process to make them. These dried pieces of goodness have many uses and are time-savers, as well. They also store well in long term storage with proper packaging.
Dried onions can be used just like fresh onions. Easily reconstituted either by adding them to dishes with lots of cooking liquid like soup, stew, chili, and the like, or by soaking the dried onions with an equal amount of water for about 15 minutes before draining any unabsorbed water (don’t throw it away but rather incorporate it into other dishes). They are so easy to use, and add a great zing to many dishes.
How to Prepare Onions for Dehydration
- Step One: Peel and cut off the ends of the onions you want to use. If the onion irritates your eyes and nose, then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing. Use the ends for broth, or add to your compost pile.
- Step Two: Place the onion on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife, cut the onion in half, and begin cutting into minced bits – 1/8 inch pieces of onion or, if you want slightly bigger bits of onion, chop the pieces to be about 1/4 inch-thick in length. If you prefer larger slices of dried onion, you can go for 1/4 inch-thick slices of onion. Whichever you choose will dry perfectly fine, just cut your pieces into consistent size pieces for even drying. You only want to dry the same size pieces in each batch – smaller pieces will dry faster.
Making Dried Onions: Dehydration Process
Once you have all your pieces cut then it is time to begin the drying process.
First, let’s look at oven drying.
Step One: Set the oven temperature at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step Two: Place onions on a cookie sheet in a single layer. The pieces can touch each other, so don’t worry about being perfect. Make sure you have an oven thermometer in the middle of the tray, so you can quickly peek and check the temperature every 30 minutes to assure uniform heating.
Step Three: Place the cookie sheet in the oven, and leave the door cracked 2 inches or so to allow air circulation.
Step Four: Obsessively peek in on them to check the temperature and watch them shrink up. Don’t make any plans – they require from 6 to 12 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.
Using an electric dehydrator? Even easier – in an electric dehydrator, follow all the manufacturer’s instructions in setting it up, of course, and then follow these steps to dry your onions:
Step One: Slice ’em bigger – because the size of the openings on the trays can allow small pieces of onion to slip through, your pieces should be about 3/8 inch in length, or sliced in 1/4 inch rounds.
Step Two: Lay the onion pieces in a single layer on the trays.
Step Three: Stack the trays onto the dehydrator.
Step Four: Set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step Five: Go about your business – the electric dehydrator is pretty much ‘set it and forget it.’
Drying time in the dehydrator should be somewhere between 4 to 12 hours. Your onions will take on a leathery appearance when they are properly dehydrated.