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How To: Dehydrate Onions

Dehydrated onions are a great addition to any soup, stew, or casserole. It's also the perfect topping for your favorite sandwich, burger, and salad. Learn how to pick out the right onions and then how to properly dehydrate them for the best possible finished product.

Does your mom play ding dong ditch with garden goodness? Mine does.

She derives a lot of enjoyment from stuffing 30lbs of cucumbers into my garage fridge or leaving 25 lbs of onions on my doorstep with nothing but a phone call.

*giggle giggle* " Hey, I was in your neighborhood, and dropped off some stuff... Check the fridge!" (ahem. pickled jalapenos.)

One year, she had a bumper crop of onions. My fridge was too full to accept more onions, so she and I sat chopping and dehydrating. Since then, we've kept up dehydrating onions. As it turns out, onions are excellent for dehydrating, and they require no pre-treatment, so they're SUPER easy to make.

Minus the tears, but if you ain't crying are you really having fun? HA!

This dehydrated onions recipe is dedicated to ding dong ditch!

Dehydrated onions in a bail type jar.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Properly dried foods refresh well, so it's important to take the time to get it right. This means picking the right onions, drying them properly, and storing your dried onions the right way!

No. 2 --> Keep your onions in the fridge until just before processing to avoid further ripening or spoilage. As an added bonus, sometimes, onions make you cry less when stored in the fridge!

No. 3 --> Only prepare as many onions as you can dehydrate in one load, as onions will begin to degrade in quality as soon as they are cut.

No. 4 --> To help dry the onions consistently, it's important to cut them consistently. Use a mandoline, food chopper, or a food processor to cut uniform pieces. This will not only reduce drying time but you can also be assured that the drying time will also be more uniform across the load.

No. 5 -> Drying onions releases some volatile fumes! The smells emanating from your dehydrator are STRONG, so if possible, you may want to try to dehydrate outside or in the garage.

Dehydrated red onions in a mason jar.

Key Ingredients

Onions: As an onion lover, I don't think there's a bad kind of onion to dehydrate. They're all delicious! We are more concerned about the quality of the onion. Look for firm onions that are heavy for their size. They should have a strong aroma and be flavorful. The better the flavor when fresh, the better the flavor when dried!

Yellow and red onions in a wooden box.

How To Dehydrate Onions

  1. Slice off the stem and root portion of the onion.
  2. Remove the papery peel. I like to slice right down the peel through a couple of layers of the onion, then peel the cut layers back. This is bar none, the easiest way to peel an onion.
  3. Wash the onions in cold running water. A quick rinse will be sufficient!
  4. Cut the onions. It can be helpful to separate the layers of the onions before you send them through a dicer, it helps to keep them from clumping up. There are a few options to choose from, my favourite sizes are 1/4" rings or 1/4" dice. Feel free to slice in strips, or even to shred. Once dried, the onion will shrink quite a bit and the 1/4" size works out perfect for me.
  5. Spread the onions in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. Dehydrate onions at 155f for 5-8 hours. This time is variable and depends a lot on the dehydrating environment. Onions are done when they are leathery and crack when bending after they're cooled.
  6. Allow the onions to cool in the closed dehydrator for 45-60 minutes before transferring to your storage container. Avoid waiting past the time that the onions are cooled to room temperature as they easily reabsorb moisture!
  7. Don't forget to condition your onions once stored.

Conditioning

Conditioning is important for the safe storage of your dehydrated onions. Don't despair, it's quite easy to do!

Once the dry onions are in their storage container, you simply shake them each day or so for a 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 onions back to the dehydrator and dry them longer. After they've been dried the second time, you'll need to go through the conditioning process again.
Dehydrated red onions in a mason jar.

Converting Dehydrated Onion To Fresh

The rule of thumb with dehydrated onions is as follows. Of course, this depends on the size of your mince, and the size of the onion! I did ensure to make 2 trays each with only one onion on them to measure this. Both trays filled right around 1/3 cup with the dice I used.

freshdried
1 medium onion~ 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 medium onion~ 1/3 cup dried minced onions

If you're like me and you add onions with reckless abandon, this chart will mean nothing to you. Just add the dried onions till it feels right in your soul!

Dehydrated onions in a measuring cup.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

Onions lose a massive amount of weight and volume when dehydrated - for this post specifically, I weighed exactly 3 pounds of onions before peeling and dicing, after dehydrating, I had exactly 4.34 ounces!

Generally, if sliced or minced, each pound of onions will give a scant pint of sliced or minced dried onions. If shredded, the dried onions will take up must less room, and I would guess that you'd get 1/3-1/2 of a pint of shredded dehydrated onions per pound of fresh onions.

Storage:

Use any clean, dry airtight container. My favorites are mason jars for dehydrated food storage, mostly because I cannot walk buy a mason jar and not buy it. HA!

If you've got a massive load of onions, vacuum sealing the dried onion flaked works fantastic! I recommend using a chamber vacuum sealer and the thickest bags you can get your hands on, as the onions can be poky and you'd not want them to puncture your bags.

Small containers tend to be best for dehydrated onions. Because we are only using a small amount of onion at a time, we're going to be in and out of the container a lot. Each time the container is opened, air and moisture are able to get into the container and deteriorate your dehydrated onions over time.

Dehydrated onions in jars in a wooden box.

Using Dehydrated Onions

There are SOOO many ways to use your dehydrated onions. Here are some of my favorites:

  • add minced dried onions to soups, stews and cooked sauces. This is a fantastic way to add onion flavor without the mess of chopping an onion.
  • Add them to a salad. Dehydrated onions add a great little flavor punch and texture to salads.
  • Blend the dried onions into powder! We use homemade onion powder in our pork butt rub and many other smoker recipes!
  • Toss them onto sandwiches and burgers for an oniony kick!

More Great Dehydrator Recipes

Dehydrator: I have and love(!) a 9 RACK EXCALIBUR DEHYDRATOR. We use it to DEHYDRATE CITRUS WHEELSGARLICSTRAWBERRIEsPEARS and even, DEHYDRATE MARSHMALLOWS, and much more. It's got a 24-hour timer and very precise temperature controls so it's great for dehydrating various foods.

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Dehydrated onions in a bail type jar.

How To: Dehydrate Onions

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes

Onions are the perfect food to dehydrate because they're cheap, last a long time and have an excellent shelf life. They're also versatile enough to be used in everything from soups, stews, casseroles, sauces and even desserts! And… drying them is oh so easy!

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs fresh onions

Instructions

  1. Slice off the stem and root portion of the onion.
  2. Remove the papery peel. I like to slice right down the peel through a couple of layers of the onion, then peel the cut layers back. This is bar none, the easiest way to peel an onion.
  3. Wash the onions in cold running water. A quick rinse will be sufficient!
  4. Cut the onions. It can be helpful to separate the layers of the onions before you send them through a dicer, it helps to keep them from clumping up. The most common sizes for dehydrated onion are 1/4" dice or rings, sliced in strips, or even shredded. Be aware that once dehydrated the onion pieces will shrink.
  5. Spread the onions in a single layer on your dehydrating tray. Dehydrate onions at 155f for 5-8 hours. This time is variable and depends a lot on the dehydrating environment. Onions are done when they are leathery and crack when bending after they're cooled.
  6. Allow the onions to cool in the closed dehydrator for 45-60 minutes before transferring to your storage container. Avoid waiting past the time that the onions are cooled to room temperature as they easily reabsorb moisture!
  7. Over the next week, you must condition your onions. Shake your jars of onions daily and watch for signs of moisture on the sides of the jar. If during the first week you notice condensation or signs of moisture on the jars, the onions must be returned to the dehydrator for a while then once cooled, transferred to jars, and conditioned again.

Notes

converting dehydrated onion to fresh

The general rule of thumb with dehydrated onions is as follows:

1 medium onion = ~ 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 medium onion = ~ 1/3 cup dried minced onions

Batch:

Onions lose a massive amount of weight and volume when dehydrated - for this post specifically, I weighed exactly 3 pounds of onions before peeling and dicing, after dehydrating, I had exactly 4.34 ounces!

Generally, if sliced or minced, each pound of onions will give a scant pint of sliced or minced dried onions. If shredded, the dried onions will take up must less room, and I would guess that you'd get 1/3-1/2 of a pint of shredded dehydrated onions per pound of fresh onions.

Storage:

Use any clean, dry airtight container. Small containers tend to be best for dehydrated onions.

If you've got a massive load of onions, vacuum sealing the dried onion flaked works fantastic! I recommend using a CHAMBER VACUUM SEALER.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

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Donna

Saturday 27th of November 2021

I've dehydrated my onions but now i can't get the smell out of my dehydrator. Any tips? I've thoroughly washed it and ran it without the trays hoping it would "air out". I have a round dehydrator with plastic trays which i soaked in a baking soda/hot water bath to neutralize the smell on the trays which worked but the unit itself still smells when i turn it on.

Ally

Sunday 28th of November 2021

I've never personally noticed a lingering onion smell, but I don't run my unit back to back often. I would recommend washing the body with vinegar and then letting it air out. It should dissipate!

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