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In this article, I show you how to dehydrate chicken in a food dehydrator. I then share my experience making soup with dehydrated chicken and other dehydrated ingredients. I show you how I did it, and then let you know how it turned out.
How to Dehydrate Chicken in a Food Dehydrator
Now let’s get into how to dehydrate chicken in a food dehydrator.
My First Time to Dehydrate Chicken
Now, this is my first time dehydrating chicken, so I decided to do just a small amount of it to test it out. I recommend that any time you try something new, whether it be a canning recipe or dehydrating, or even growing a certain type of sprout or microgreen, that you start with a small amount to test it out, and then if you like it, doing it on a larger scale in the future. So, this is no exception.
Issues with Dehydrating Chicken
Before I show you the process of dehydrating the chicken, I want to address a couple of issues with it.
First off, from what I’ve been able to find, there aren’t any approved methods or information on how to dehydrate chicken. So, you need to do your own research on this, and determine whether or not it’s right for you.
Consider Storing Dehydrated Chicken in the Freezer
In addition to that, after dehydrating, you may want to store the dehydrated chicken in the freezer. Now that may seem to defeat the purpose of dehydrating, but here are a couple of reasons I feel it’s worthwhile.
The first reason is that dehydrated food takes up less space than food that isn’t dehydrated. So, you can fit more meat or whatever it is you’re dehydrating into the freezer if you dehydrate it.
Second, if there is ever a power outage, you really don’t have to worry about any of the dehydrated meat, eggs, and so on that you’ve stored in your freezer. While you’ll be in big trouble with meat you’ve frozen when there’s a power outage, it’s definitely not going to hurt any meat that you’ve dehydrated and stuck in the freezer.
Also, it can be handy to have dehydrated meat on hand for taking on camping or backpacking trips or if you want to bring along some of your own food when traveling.
How to Prepare to Dehydrate Chicken
Since this is my first time dehydrating chicken, I can’t say how it will turn out, but from everything that I’ve learned from watching YouTube videos and reading up on this topic, dehydrated chicken doesn’t rehydrate that well unless it’s been canned or pressure cooked before dehydrating.
In other words, while you need to start off with cooked chicken, you don’t want to first sauté or boil the chicken before dehydrating. You can either buy canned chicken from the grocery store, or take some of you home canned chicken, OR pressure cook chicken in your Instant Pot or whatever type of pressure cooker you have.
Using Home Canned Chicken
In my case, I started with this pint of chicken that I canned.
After opening it, I drained it, and ran hot water over it. I trimmed most of the fat off of it before canning it, but there’s likely still a little bit of fat in it, and I want to get rid of that before dehydrating it. So, I put it in a colander and broke it up a bit before thoroughly rinsing it with hot water.
I then took it and broke it up into very small pieces, and spread them over the dehydrator trays, without any overlap.
Break the Chicken into Very Small Pieces Before Dehydrating
In order to make sure that it dehydrates well, you don’t want any big chunks of chicken, so take your time breaking the chicken into small pieces. Since the pieces are so small, you’ll want to use either a mesh dehydrator sheet or a fruit leather tray so that the small pieces of chicken don’t fall through when dehydrating.
Pro tip: I used my Nesco Dehydrator in this article. Check out this article, Nesco Dehydrator Review, for more information.
Dehydrate Chicken at a Temperature of 160 Degrees
Also, when dehydrating any type of meat, you want to set it at the highest possible temperature on your dehydrator.
When using my dehydrator to dehydrate fruit or vegetables, I often use a quite low temperature, because I want to retain as much of the nutrients as possible. But since meat is already cooked and may even been cooked again when you use it, you’re not going to lose any additional nutrients by dehydrating at a higher temperature.
High Temperatures Shorten Dehydrating Time and Increases Safety
The chicken will also dehydrate much faster at a high temperature. You want meat to dehydrate fast and at a high enough temperature that you don’t have to worry about it going bad during the dehydrating process.
So, I set the dehydrator at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and I expected that it would take between 4 and 6 hours to dehydrate completely.
After the Chicken Being in the Dehydrator for 2 Hours
Here’s how the chicken looks after 2 hours in the dehydrator. To my surprise, the chicken was bone dry and completely dehydrated after only two hours!
I let the chicken cook down to room temperature and put it into a mason jar. Since I decided to store the dehydrated chicken in the freezer, I just put a plastic lid on the jar instead of vacuum sealing.
Making Chicken Soup with Dehydrated Chicken
But now let’s test out using this chicken in some chicken soup!
I put 3 cups of water and 3 teaspoons of chicken bouillon in pot, and brought it to a boil.
I then added in 1/2 cup of dehydrated chicken, 1/4 cup of dehydrated celery, 1/4 cup of dehydrated onion, and 1/4 cup of dehydrated carrots.
After adding in the vegetables, I turned off the heat, put a lid on and let the ingredients sit in the hot water for 30 minutes.
After letting it sit for 30 minutes, I brought the soup to a boil, and let it simmer for 10 minutes before tasting it.
The Dehydrated Chicken Rehydrated Great!
Thankfully, the chicken rehydrated great! I really couldn’t tell any difference between it and fresh or canned chicken that I put into soup. So I definitely recommend adding dehydrated chicken to your prepper pantry! I especially recommend this if you don’t have a freeze dryer and want another way to add shelf-stable chicken to your prepper pantry.
It’s probably okay to vacuum seal the dehydrated chicken and store it at room temperature, but if you have the room for it in your freezer, I recommend storing this in your freezer.
Here are some of my favorite dehydrating tools
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you strive to stock your pantry with delicious home-dehydrated food! Here are some tools that I use that I’m hoping you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. Please know that these are the tools that I recommend and believe in 100%!
The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator was my first dehydrator, and still one of my favorites. I actually have two of them! If I was only going to buy one dehydrator and was on a strict budget, this would be it. I love it because it’s very reasonably priced, and is expandable up to 12 trays. I recommend starting with the basic system that comes with 5 trays. Then expand by buying additional trays, fruit leather sheets, and mesh screens.
The Cosori Premium Dehydrator is my most recent dehydrator purchase. In many respects, it’s superior to the Nesco since it is constructed with stainless steel, which is always a winner. I love the ease of use, and how precise it is when it comes to setting the temperature. It’s also versatile in that you can remove some of the racks. This makes it possible to use it for more than just dehydrating. As an example, you can use the Cosori dehydrator to make yogurt, something you definitely can’t do with any of the stackable dehydrators.
Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Pro Food Dehydrator – I’ve had my eye on this dehydrator for a LONG time. I don’t have space for another dehydrator, so I’m just waiting for one of my dehydrators to die so I can buy this one! What I really love about this dehydrator is that it expands to up to 30 (yes, 30!) trays. At 1,000 watts, it’s more powerful than the two dehydrators listed above. If you only have the means to buy one dehydrator, and have limited space to dehydrate, I recommend this one since you can dehydrate a huge amount of food at a time.
The FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing Machine is a great way to preserve the food you’ve dehydrated. The machine I use is no longer available. I chose this one because it’s a great price and includes a port that makes it possible to use the accessory kit linked to below. Since I store all my dehydrated food in mason jars, the jar sealer attachments are a must. But with this device, you can also use food storage bags if you’re short on mason jars, or prefer to seal you dehydrated food in bags.
The FoodSaver Handheld Cordless Food Vacuum Sealer is a great option for those with limited space. I keep mine charged up in my kitchen, so I can easily reseal jars every time I use some of my dehydrated food. While I still love my larger FoodSaver, from a convenience perspective, this one can’t be beat.
The FoodSaver Accessory Kit is a must if, like me, you store dehydrated food in mason jars. You can use this kit with either of the vacuum sealers linked to above.