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.
Our Test Kitchen, with the help of culinary consultant Sandy Crane, tested tons of fruit leather variations in our Deluxe Air Fryer Fruit Leather Trays. They figured out what works and what doesn’t. Sandy’s biggest challenge wasn’t coming up with recipes. “Every time I made a new batch to taste and evaluate, I’d discover my family had eaten them!” she said.
So, thanks to Sandy and her family, 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 Frozen Fruit
What’s great about DIY fruit leathers is how easy they are to adjust to your family’s tastes and dietary needs. Our Test Kitchen found that frozen fruit gives great consistency no matter the season and a sweet taste with a little added honey or agaveYou could also use other natural sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut sugar, or pureed or powdered monk fruit.
5 Steps to Basic Fruit Leather
- Add the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
- 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.
- Cook on DEHYDRATE according to the time listed below, rotating the trays halfway through.
- 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.)
- Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
Favorite Flavor Combinations
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 suggests 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.
If you want to try using fresh fruit, you can get started with the Strawberry Fruit Leather recipe above and use 20 oz. (575 g) fresh whole strawberries with the stems removed. (That’s about 2 ¾ cups.) Then follow the recipe and dehydrate time as shown.
Or try the Mango Pineapple recipe from above and use 10 oz. (300 g) fresh chunked mango (about 2 cups) and 10 oz. (300 g) fresh chunked pineapple (about 2 cups). You might be able to use a little less honey (about 1–1½ tbsp).
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 silicone well holds about 1–2 tbsp (15–30 mL) of puree and makes it 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.