How To: Dehydrate Cherries

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Learn how to dehydrate cherries to preserve the taste of summer! This easy preserving method takes the guesswork of storing your cherries.

We absolutely adore cherries in our household. Their sweet, tangy flavor and delightful burst of juiciness is something we look forward to every year. Unfortunately, we can’t grow them locally due to our climate, but that doesn’t dampen our cherry enthusiasm one bit!

When cherry season rolls around each July, we make sure to stock up, savoring these little ruby gems in every way possible. Our kitchen turns into a cherry processing unit – preserving these precious fruits becomes a labor of love. We can cherries, freeze cherries, and even ferment cherries.

But one of my favorite preservation methods is to dehydrate cherries. Drying cherries intensifies their sweetness into a raisin like treat.

This guide to dehydrating cherries is dedicated to savoring.

Dehydrated cherries in a gold measuring cup.

Want To Save This Recipe?

I’ll send the ingredient list and instructions right to you!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Jump to:

Tips


  • Pick the freshest, most vibrant foods you can when dehydrating. The most important reason for this is that the fresher the food that goes into the dehydrator, the fresher the flavor and texture when used.
  • Aim for consistency when you slice or dice. I say it with every dehydrating recipe I post, but it bears repeating! The more consistent the pieces you are dehydrating, the more consistent the drying time, the final result, and the rehydrated product.
  • It can be a bit of a pain for storage purposes, but storing your dry cherries in smaller jars or containers is better – because we are removing so much volume, a lot of cherries fit in one jar. Large jars mean more opening and closing the jar and exposing your dehydrated veg to the air which can degrade the quality.
  • Cherries do not ripen further once they are picked from the tree, so ensure you’re picking the ripest, most delicious, fresh cherries you can find!
  • While they can be dried whole, whole cherries have a much lower quality than halved or chopped cherries due to the longer dehydration time required.
Dehydrated and fresh cherries together on a cutting board.

Sweet Cherries vs. Sour Cherries

The process for dehydrating sweet cherries and sour cherries is exactly the same, but the use for each once dehydrated is different.

Dried sweet cherries result in a sweet raisin style treat that can be used just like raisins in baking – ahem; cardamom cranberry swirl bread, cinnamon raisin sourdough, oatmeal cookies. Or whatever recipe you’re making that would benefit from delicious cherry flavor!

Dried tart cherries like Montmorency or Morello are best saved for rehydrating and using in cobblers, crisps, and pies. That said, they absolutely could be used to add a tangy flavor component to sweet recipes and balance out the sweetness.

Key Ingredients

Cherries: Always choose fresh, ripe, vibrant fruits when dehydrating. Any cherries with mold or rotten spots should be discarded. If possible, chose organic fruits to avoid cherries that have been coated in wax or pesticides.

Labelled ingredient photo containing cherries.

How To Dehydrate Cherries

Prepare Cherries:

  1. Rinse cherries under warm running water, remove stems.
  2. Spread washed cherries on clean kitchen towel to dry before pitting.

*Optional: Check The Cherries:

  1. Set a wide, heavy bottomed pot with 2-3″ of water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare and ice bath.
  2. Add cherries to the water, in 1 lb batches, and boil for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove and plunge into a cold water bath immediately before straining and spreading on a clean kitchen towel.

Pit And Slice:

  1. Once cherries are cleaned and dried, they can be pitted. I’ve got a little spring loaded cherry pitter to do the heavy lifting for me lately, but I’ll include a method below for quickly pitting cherries without a pitter that I know works because we used it for years before I finally got a pitter this year!
  2. Slice pitted cherries as desired. I like to quarter my cherries before dehydrating, but you may prefer halves.
  3. Spread prepared cherries on dehydrator trays.

Dehydrate Cherries:

  1. Spread prepared cherry pieces on dehydrator trays, it’s important to keep it in a single layer to improve drying time, efficiency, and consistency.
  2. Dehydrate cherries at 135f until completely dry. Test for doneness by removing a few pieces and allowing them to cool to room temperature before checking them out. Properly dried cherries should be leathery, sticky, and reminiscent of raisins.

Store + Condition:

  1. Once the cherry pieces are completely dried, allow the racks to cool in the dehydrator for 30-45 minutes before transferring to long term storage containers. This allows the heat to dissipate and reduces the chances of condensation forming in your storage container.
  2. While the dried cherry pieces are in storage containers, shake the jar each day or so for the first week and observe the container for signs of moisture.
    • If there are no signs of moisture, you’re good to go, place them in a cool dark place for long-term storage!
    • If there is evidence of moisture in the container, you must add the cherries back to the dehydrator and dry it longer. After they’ve been dried the second time, you’ll need to go through the conditioning process again.
Dehydrated cherries in a mason jar.

How To Pit Cherries Without A Pitter

Using a cherry pitter is nice, but if you don’t have one there are other options!

  • Place the cherry stem side up on an empty beer bottle and using a stainless steel straw, chopstick, or kebob stick, punch through the top of the cherry and the pit will fall into the beer bottle below.
  • Use a small pairing knife and cut the cherries in half to remove the pit. This method works great as they are already halved but, it is more time-intensive and definitely messier!

How To Dry Cherries Without A Food Dehydrator

If you don’t have a dedicated food dehydrator, your oven may have a dehydrate setting. If you have a dehydrator oven, follow the steps as above, but instead of placing the cherries on the racks meant for the dehydrator, place them on wire mesh cooling racks set over top cookie sheets or parchment paper lined baking sheets.

If your oven doesn’t have a dehydrator setting, you can still dry cherries at home – though they need a lot more babysitting.

Set your oven to the lowest temperature possible – if higher than 150f, prop the door open with a wooden spoon to allow humidity to escape. Then, after following the preparation steps above, spread the sliced cherries skin side down (cut side up) on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow cherries to dry for 8-10 hours, though it may take longer. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat as you’ll cook them, dehydrating should be done at a low temperature.

Cherries are done when they feel dry and leathery.

Batch + Storage Information

Batch: 

There is no limit to how many cherries you can dehydrate using this method, aside from your available dehydrator space!

Storage:

Dehydrated cherries, when properly stored in an airtight container, preferably glass jar, in a climate-controlled location will maintain their quality for at least 12 months. Aim to keep yours in a cool, dark location, away from light that can degrade the quality during long term storage.

I personally like to store dried cherries in jars and vacuum seal them in my Avid Armor USV32 chamber vacuum sealer! It works amazingly for removing the air from mason jars, giving my dehydrated goods a longer shelf life.

From there, they go into our storage room in the basement, where they are protected from sunlight, heat, and temperature swings.

Close up overhead view of dehydrated cherries.

How To Rehydrate Cherries

Although dried fruits are most often eaten in their dried state, they can easily be rehydrated. The steps to rehydrate dried cherries are the same as most dehydrated foods – add desired amount of cherries to a heat safe bowl and add enough boiling water to just cover and allow to stand around 10 minutes or so. They can also be reconstituted by soaking in fruit juice.

You’ll know the cherry pieces are rehydrated when they are nearly the same size as they were before going into the dehydrator.

If you’re adding dehydrated cherries to baking recipes, just toss them into the recipe as you would raisins and the recipe will do the work for you!

More Dehydrating Recipes To Try

Converting Fresh To Dried

Dehydrating removes around 90% of the moisture in the cherries so the weight drops drastically, the cherry pieces themselves will also shrink in size.

The conversion from fresh to dried is going to be different for each way you prepare your cherries. I usually find that 1/4 cup dried quartered cherries = 1 cup fresh quartered cherries. If you choose to halve them, you’re probably looking at about 1/3 cup dried halved = 1 cup fresh.

My favorite way to determine the conversion is to fill the top rack of my dehydrator with 2 cups of prepared cherries, and then measure the resulting volume after dehydrating and divide by 2. Then I write the conversion for that batch on a strip of painters tape and stick it to the side of my jar. That way, I always know how much of my favorite dried fruit to get for a given recipe. What’s your go-to method?

I also like to use weight as a form of conversion when it comes to dehydrated fruit. Just make sure your scale is accurate before using it as an exact measure in recipes. Since dehydrated fruits are so light

Dried cherries with fresh cherries.

Using Dried Cherries

These dried cherries can be used exactly like raisins! The texture won’t be quite the same, but the flavor is there.

Use your dehydrated cherries:

  • in baked goods like cookies, cakes, and breads.
  • to top your oatmeal, homemade yogurt, or cereal.
  • in trail mix.
  • add to salads.
  • eat them by the handful.

Try Them In These Great Recipes:

Reducing Drying Time

When it comes to cherries, and all other foods, drying time is crucial. The longer the drying time, the less tender and flavorful the rehydrated cherries become.

It’s important to prepare your cherries in uniform pieces, whether that be whole, slices, or dices. One of the easiest ways to ensure consistency is to use a chopper or food processor or a really sharp knife! This ensures that most of the pieces are sufficiently dried within the same timeframe.

Leaving space between the pieces on the trays is another way to help reduce drying time. Sounds simple, but it allows airflow around all sides of the cherry pieces, ensuring even drying.

Some hurdles are harder to overcome than consistent knife skills and spreading the bits. High humidity in your home or rainy days can drastically affect the drying time, expect your cherries to take much longer when the humidity is higher.

Dried cherries in a mason jar and gold measuring cup.

Checking The Cherries

I’ve included directions for checking the cherries within this post. While many people simply wash, pit, slice, and dehydrate their cherries, this small step can actually save you a ton of time in the dehydrator.

Because we aren’t skinning the cherries prior to dehydrating, we need to “check” them. Checking is the process of cracking the skin. The skin of the fruit is designed to hold in moisture and it does a great job – even if we’re trying to convince it not to.

By dropping the cherries into boiling water, we’re effectively bursting the cells that make up the skin and punching little holes in the skin to allow better moisture evaporation.

Another added bonus to this process is that it removes the natural wax coating from the skin of the cherries.

If you choose to check them, that’s great, if you choose not to check them, that’s also great! Both methods work – I prefer to check my cherries especially because they come into season right when my dehydrators are working overtime and I need the quick turnover! Ha.

Want To Save This Recipe?

I’ll send the ingredient list and instructions right to you!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

📖 Printable Recipe

Dehydrated cherries in a gold measuring cup.

How To Dehydrate Cherries

Allyson Letal
Transform fresh, juicy cherries into sweet, tangy treats that can be enjoyed all year round with this easy to follow guide to dehydrating cherries. Packed with taste, these preserved delights add a wonderful touch to your meals. From adding a burst of sweetness to your granolas and baked goods, to enhancing the flavor profile of your salads and desserts, dehydrated cherries offer versatility and convenience.
    No ratings yet
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 8 hours
    Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
    Course Preserved
    Cuisine American
    Servings 4
    Calories 71 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 lb sweet cherries fresh

    Instructions
     

    Prepare Cherries:

    • Rinse 1 lb cherries under warm running water, remove stems.
    • Spread washed cherries on clean kitchen towel to dry before pitting.

    *Optional: Check The Cherries:

    • Set a wide, heavy bottomed pot with 2-3" of water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare and ice bath.
    • Add cherries to the water, in 1 lb batches, and boil for 30 seconds.
    • Remove and plunge into a cold water bath immediately before straining and spreading on a clean kitchen towel.

    Pit And Slice:

    • Once cherries are cleaned and dried, they can be pitted. I've got a little spring loaded cherry pitter to do the heavy lifting for me lately, but I'll include a method below for quickly pitting cherries without a pitter that I know works because we used it for years before I finally got a pitter this year!
    • Slice pitted cherries as desired. I like to quarter my cherries before dehydrating, but you may prefer halves.
    • Spread prepared cherries on dehydrator trays.

    Dehydrate Cherries:

    • Spread prepared cherry pieces on dehydrator trays, it's important to keep it in a single layer to improve drying time, efficiency, and consistency.
    • Dehydrate cherries at 135f until completely dry. Test for doneness by removing a few pieces and allowing them to cool to room temperature before checking them out. Properly dried cherries should be leathery, sticky, and reminiscent of raisins.

    Store + Condition:

    • Once the cherry pieces are completely dried, allow the racks to cool in the dehydrator for 30-45 minutes before transferring to long term storage containers. This allows the heat to dissipate and reduces the chances of condensation forming in your storage container.
    • While the dried cherry pieces are in storage containers, shake the jar each day or so for the first week and observe the container for signs of moisture.
    • If there are no signs of moisture, you're good to go, place them in a cool dark place for long-term storage!
    • If there is evidence of moisture in the container, you must add the cherries back to the dehydrator and dry it longer. After they've been dried the second time, you'll need to go through the conditioning process again.

    Notes

    how to pit cherries without a pitter

    Using a cherry pitter is nice, but if you don't have one there are other options!
    • Place the cherry stem side up on an empty beer bottle and using a stainless steel straw, chopstick, or kebob stick, punch through the top of the cherry and the pit will fall into the beer bottle below.
    • Use a small pairing knife and cut the cherries in half to remove the pit. This method works great as they are already halved but, it is more time-intensive and definitely messier!

    checking the cherries

    Because the cherries aren't skinned prior to dehydrating, they are good candidates for checking. CHECKING is the process of cracking the skin. Quickly blanching the cherries creates many small holes in the skin of the fruit allowing better moisture evaporation and faster drying times.
    Another added bonus to this process is that it removes the NATURAL WAX COATING from the skin of the cherries.
    If you choose to check them, that's great, if you choose not to check them, that's also great! Both methods work.

    Batch: 

    There is no limit to how many cherries you can dehydrate using this method, aside from your available dehydrator space!

    Storage:

    Dehydrated cherries, when properly stored in an airtight container, preferably glass jar, in a climate-controlled location will maintain their quality for at least 12 months. Aim to keep yours in a cool, dark location, away from light that can degrade the quality during long term storage.

    Rehydrating cherries:

    Although dried fruits are most often eaten in their dried state, they can easily be rehydrated. Add desired amount of cherries to a heat safe bowl and add enough boiling water to just cover and allow to stand around 10 minutes or so. They can also be reconstituted by soaking in fruit juice. You'll know the cherry pieces are rehydrated when they are nearly the same size as they were before going into the dehydrator.
    If you're adding dehydrated cherries to baking recipes, just toss them into the recipe as you would raisins and the recipe will do the work for you!

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gPotassium: 252mgFiber: 2gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 73IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 0.4mg
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    Pin This Guide To Dehydrating Cherries!

    Dehydrated cherries pinterest graphic.

    Similar Posts

    Share Your Thoughts

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.