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How to Make Fruit Leather in an Air Fryer

Fruit leather is pureed fruit that’s dehydrated. You might remember eating them by the foot in grade school. Today you can find organic, naturally sweetened alternatives at the grocery store, but those options can get a little pricey. That’s why so many people are making their own. With more people adding dehydrators or air fryers with a dehydrate function to their home appliances, fruit leathers are easier than ever to make in your kitchen.

Test Kitchen expert Sandy Crane tested tons of fruit leather vatiations in our Deluxe Air Fryer Fruit Leather Trays and figured out what does and doesn't work. And influencer @lunchesandlittles may actually have found the perfect recipe for Strawberry & Peach Fruit Leather (you should give it a try and let us know if you agree!).

So, here are a few simple fruit leather recipes to follow and all the tips and tricks you need to get delicious homemade fruit leathers every time.

Basic Fruit Leather Recipe With Fresh Fruit

What’s great about DIY fruit leathers is how easy they are to adjust to your family’s tastes and dietary needs. Plus, you can make fruit leather two different ways—with fresh fruit or with frozen fruit. Our friend @lunchesandlittles developed a delicious (and nutritious!) recipe for Strawberry & Peach Fruit Leather.

Strawberry & Peach Fruit Leather

  • 1 lb. (450 g) fresh strawberries
  • 1 can (29 oz./820 g) peaches in juice
  • 1 mandarin orange, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey, agave, or another sweetener
  1. Rinse your strawberries and remove the stems. Then, place them in your blender pitcher. Juice half of the mandarin orange and add it to the pitcher. And finally, top it off with honey, agave, or sweetener.
  1. Pulse or blend the mixture until fully combined and smooth. Then, transfer the strawberry puree to a clean bowl and set it aside. Clean the blender pitcher.
  1. Next, drain the peaches and add them to the clean pitcher. Again, pulse or blend until smooth.
  1. Pour the strawberry and peach purees into the Deluxe Air Fryer Fruit Leather Trays, alternating between the two flavors to create a swirled design. Smooth out as needed.
  1. Place the filled trays into your Deluxe Air Fryer and set it to DEHYDRATE at 120°F (49°C). Then, let it dehydrate for approximately 12–15 hours or until the fruit leather is no longer tacky. Continually rotate the trays to ensure an even cook for each tray.
  1. Remove the trays from the Deluxe Air Fryer and let them cool. Then, roll the leathers up parchment paper (as shown below). You can store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Photo: @lunchesandlittles

Basic Fruit Leather Recipe With Frozen Fruit

Our Test Kitchen experts found that making fruit leather gives great consistency no matter the season—and adding a little honey or agave gives a sweet taste. You could also use other natural sweetners like maple syrup, coconut sugar, or pureed or powdered monk fruit.

5 Steps to Basic Fruit Leather

  1. Add the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Divide the mixture into each well of the Deluxe Air Fryer Fruit Leather Trays. Spread the mixture out evenly, making sure the edges of the tray are clean.
  3. Cook on DEHYDRATE according to the time listed below, rotating the trays halfway through.
  4. Check for your desired doneness at the minimum time listed. The fruit leather is done when they’re no longer tacky. (Each tray might dry at a different rate.)
  5. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

Favorite Flavor Combinations

Name Ingredients Dehydration Time
  • 2 pkgs (16 oz./454 g each) frozen whole strawberries, thawed and drained
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) orange juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) agave or honey
12–15 hrs.
Mango Pineapple
  • 1 pkg (16 oz./454 g) frozen chunked mango, thawed and drained
  • 1 pkg (16 oz./454 g) frozen chunked pineapple, thawed and drained
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lime juice
  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) agave or honey
12–14 hrs.
  • 3 pkgs (10 oz./300 g each) frozen, pitted sweet cherries, thawed and drained
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) agave or honey
14–15 hrs.
Peach Raspberry
  • 2 pkg (10 oz./300 g each) frozen peach slices, thawed and drained
  • 1 pkg (8 oz./250 g) frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) agave or honey
8–10 hrs.

How to Choose Fruit for Your Homemade Fruit Leathers

You can use any fruit for your flavor combos. You can even add pureed cooked vegetables like carrots, beets, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes for more nutrients. Our Test Kitchen experts suggest considering these three things when deciding what fruit makes good fruit leather.

1. Is It a Watery Fruit?

Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, and raspberries take longer to dehydrate because they have more water content. You can use applesauce, bananas, ground chia, or flax seeds to thicken up your fruit purees.

2. Is It a Pulpy Fruit?

Oranges, grapefruit, mangos, and passion fruit taste great but will give the leather a bumpier texture.

3. Does the Fruit Turn Brown?

Fruits that oxidize quickly (turn brown) like apples, bananas, and pears turn out best when you add acidic fruit juice. Try adding lemon, lime, orange, or pineapple juice.

With fresh fruit that’s in season, you can enjoy excellent fruit leather but be prepared for a little bit more testing. Your fruit leathers might turn out different from batch to batch depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Fresh fruits and over-ripe fruits typically have more water and take longer to dehydrate.

How to Store Fruit Leather

Once your fruit treats come out of the air fryer, let them cool completely. For easy eating, cut strips of parchment paper and place the fruit leathers on top. Then roll them from there. This way the fruit leather doesn’t stick to itself when it’s rolled up (and they look super cute!) 

Why Is My Fruit Leather Cracking?

As you roll up your fruit leathers they might break or crack. No worries. That batch just got a little too dry. They’re still perfectly good to eat. For the next batch, try reducing your dehydrate time.

Tips for Using Fruit Leather Trays

One of the big benefits of using a fruit leather tray is that each tray has a wire rim, so you can easily slide it into an air fryer. Each well holds about 1–2 tbsp (15–30 mL) of puree and makes the flexible silicone easy to remove perfectly formed fruit leathers without having to cut them apart. Our Test Kitchen tries all sorts of ideas when they get their hands on these products—they experimented with granola bars, cakes, cookies, and brownies in these trays, but didn’t have high-quality results. But good news! The trays are fridge and freezer safe, so they make great chocolate bar molds. Just microwave your chocolate in a different container (the metal wire rims in the trays won’t play nice with your microwave!)

Congratulations! You know all the basics to start making fruit leather. Now the fun begins! Try your own flavor combinations and share them with #howipamperedchef along with any tips and tricks you’ve discovered work for you.

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