Dehydrating is one of the best ways to preserve food. It’s especially good for those who have limited storage space, since dehydrated food takes up way less space than canned food. (There’s nothing like seeing food shrink as it dehydrates!) As an added bonus, it’s an easier form of food preservation than canning. But just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to learn. Because of that, I recommend adding some dehydrator cookbooks to your home library. In this article, I’ll share my favorite dehydrator cookbooks.
About the Dehydrator Cookbooks I Chose
Some of the food dehydrating books that I’ll share are great reference books. They are the ones that I reach for any time I’m going to dehydrate something new or something I haven’t dehydrated in a long time. Others focus more on the best dehydrator recipes, and some are focused on areas of specialty such as dehydrating meals for backpacking, spicy dehydrated treats, and of course, jerky.
Regardless of which type of dehydrator recipe book you’re in the market for, you’re bound to find it in this list of awesome food dehydrating books.
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#1: The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook (Amazon) by Tammy Gangloff is the first book I bought on how to dehydrate food, and it’s still the one I reach for most often.
If you’re just getting started with dehydrating, or if you simply want to add a good solid food dehydrating book to your home library, you can’t go wrong with this one.
What’s Included in The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook
There are a total of 18 chapters, and 343 pages in this book. Here’s the types of information included:
- The basics of food dehydration (25 pages)
- An A-Z guide to dehydrating many types of fruits and vegetables (53 pages). This is the section I refer to most often.
- Powders and leathers (21 pages)
- Dehydrating herbs, flowers, and making tea blends (11 pages)
- Jerky, tofu, eggs, and dairy. The info on eggs and dairy essentially tells you not to do it. 😉 (11 pages)
- Dehydrating food for hiking and backpacking (13 pages)
- Making bread and crackers in your food dehydrator (22 pages)
- Making dehydrated seasonings, snacks, and soup mixes (11 pages)
- Gift ideas you can make with a food dehydrator (12 pages)
- Recipes for everything from breakfast to soups, stews, and chili, to main courses, to slow cooker recipes, desserts, and more (150 pages). Note that the recipes often include fresh items such as meat in addition to the dehydrated items.
The only thing I don’t like about this book is that the A-Z guide for dehydrating fruit and vegetables is divided into two chapters. One chapter is for dehydrating fruit, and the other is for dehydrating vegetables. Since everything is organized alphabetically, it would be easier to look things up if they were combined in a single chapter. Having said that, this is only a minor inconvenience and doesn’t heavily affect the usability of the book.
#2: The Dehydrator Bible
The Dehydrator Bible (Amazon) has some basic info on how to dehydrate food. It’s not as good of a reference book as The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook but has a lot of recipes. About 25% of the book covers dehydrating basics, and the rest of the book includes recipes. About half of the recipes are great for backpacking and camping.
If you’re looking for a book that has a lot of recipes using dehydrated food, this is one of the best dehydrator cookbooks out there.
#3: Pantry Stuffers Soup Mixes Using Dehydrated Products
As the title implies, this book (Amazon) focuses on making soup mixes using dehydrated food. If you like soup, and you like making meals in jars (or in mylar bags), this book is a great one to pick up.
The primary thing that I like about this book is that it provides recipes to make 1-2 servings, 3-4 servings, or 5-6 servings.
This is great because if you’re a single person or couple, you don’t end up with a whole pot of soup that will take you a few days to eat.
For every recipe, the cookbook supplies instructions for making the soup on the stove or in a crockpot.
#4: The Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food
The Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food is similar to The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook in that it includes a lot of information on how to dehydrate and store food, as well as dehydrating safety tips. Another similarity between this dehydrating cookbook and the book by Tammy Gangloff is that it also has an A-Z guide to dehydrating different types of food. Unlike The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook, The A-Z guide combines both fruit and vegetables, so in my opinion, it’s a little more user friendly.
In addition to including information on how to dehydrate food in a food dehydrator, this book has information on how to dehydrate food in an oven, or in the sun or air, when appropriate.
There’s a pretty big emphasis on both solar and air drying, which makes this book a great choice for those who live off grid, or who want a way to dehydrate food without using electricity. If you’re a DIY type of person, you’re in luck, because it even includes plans for building your own dehydrator.
Another huge plus to this book is that it includes a LOT of beautiful photos. What I especially love about the photos is that they show what the food looks like when fresh and what it should look like when fully dehydrated.
#5: Quick and Easy Dehydrated Meals in a Bag
As the title implies, Quick and Easy Dehydrated Meals in a Bag includes a lot of recipes for using dehydrated foods that you can store in mylar bags.
Pro tip: Stock up on mylar bags of different sizes before getting this book, so you’ll be ready to make up your meals. Ideally, you’ll also have either oxygen absorbers or a Foodsaver to seal the bags. (All of the items I linked to are Amazon affiliate links.)
While some of the meals would work well for backpacking and camping, I really think it’s best for preppers, because some of the recipes call for the addition of fresh meat. There are also recipes that require being baked in an oven and so on.
What I love about this book is that it helps you to create meal kits with your dehydrated foods. Even though you may have to add something like fresh meat when you cook some of the meals, having all of the other ingredients preassembled makes making meals a snap. There’s nothing like homemade convenience food!
Another thing I love about this dehydrating cookbook is that it has recipes and instructions for things I haven’t seen elsewhere, such as how to make soy sauce powder and other seasonings.
I recommend this book for making your own convenience food, that you can store in your pantry for a year or longer.
#6: The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook
The majority of dehydrator cookbooks have recipes that are pretty plain. One big exception is The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook: 95 Incredible Recipes to Turn Up the Heat on Jerky, Hot Sauce, Fruit Leather and More.
As the title makes clear, this cookbook has recipes, all focused on spice. Here are some of the types of recipes in the book:
- Homemade seasoning blends and powders
- Fruit, vegetable, and sauce leathers
- Hot sauces
- Making jerky
- Homemade soups and stew mixes
- Camping, hiking, and easy meals
- Snacks and munchies
- Drinks and infusions
Some of the recipes in the book are similar to dehydrating recipes in other books but have slight variations to increase the heat level. For example, the Veggie Stock Powder recipe calls for a large bell pepper, “or jalapenos or serranoes for a spicier version.” Other recipes in the book are unique to this dehydrator recipe book, such as the Chicken Fajita Jerky, which has a dry spice rub that includes cayenne powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, brown sugar, cumin, and ground black pepper.
Those unique recipes are worth picking up this book, if you’re a spice lover, and want to add some variety to the dehydrated goods in your pantry.
#7: Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty and Homemade Backpacking Recipes
Recipes for Adventure is full of backpacking recipes. I don’t backpack or camp, but I find backpacking recipes helpful for creating shelf-stable ready-made meals that I can store in my prepper pantry.
In addition to being shelf stable, one of the wonderful things about backpacking meals is that they often require few resources to prepare. For instance, they may only require one pot, a small amount of water, and little or in some cases, no fuel. So, these recipes are great for anyone building a prepper pantry. They are also a great option for putting in a go bag in case of emergency.
There are many books out there on backpacking meals, but in my opinion, one of the best ones is Recipes for Adventure.
The book starts off with some basic information on how to dehydrate food, including many types of meat such as ground beef, canned chicken, and deli-style ham. It also covers how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, and even things like rice pudding and bread or cake.
The book then goes into how to make what he refers to as “bark.” Bark is very similar to leathers, in that they blended and then dehydrated. These barks are either meals in and of themselves or used as the base for other recipes.
Finally, the book has recipes for assembled meals.
If you are looking for a good dehydrator cookbook that will help you create shelf-stable meals, I highly recommend Recipes for Adventure.
#8: The Jerky Bible: How to Dry, Cure, and Preserve Beef, Venison, Fish, and Fowl
Many people buy dehydrators just to make jerky. While I haven’t made a ton of jerky, especially as meat becomes more and more expensive, I’ve been exploring ways to preserve it. Of course, canning is a fantastic way to preserve meat, but since I have such limited space, I prefer to dehydrate as much as possible instead of canning.
Dehydrating jerky is one way to add meat to your prepper pantry. But there are important safety considerations when it comes to dehydrating meat. The Jerky Bible provides many helpful tips for safely dehydrating jerky.
Also, if you want your dehydrated meat to taste great right out of the jar, jerky is a great way to go, and it’s helpful to have some tested jerky recipes.
#9: Pantry Stuffers Rehydration Calculations Made Easy
Pantry Stuffers Rehydration Calculations Made Easy is technically not a dehydrating cookbook. In fact, it’s the least “cookbooky” of all of the books on this list, which is why I put it last. However, what it does that none of the others really do is that it helps you adapt your own recipes or recipes that you come across online using dehydrated and freeze-dried products.
The book is essentially a book of tables that provide how much dehydrated or freeze-dried food you need to equal the same amount of fresh food.
There are a couple of very practical ways to use this book. First, let’s say you’re cooking, and a recipe calls for a cup of diced onion. You don’t have any fresh onions, but you do have some dehydrated onions in your pantry. All you’d need to do is pick up this book, turn to the page that has the information on onions, and you’d know that you need to use 1/3 cup of dehydrated onions and 2/3 cup water. Problem solved!
Another practical way to use this book is to use it to make your own meals in jars or bags. Use this book to help you convert your favorite recipes or recipes you come across online to recipes using dehydrated food.
So, while this isn’t a dehydrator cookbook, this book can definitely help you create or adapt recipes using dehydrated food. In fact, it’s one of the best books out there when it comes to making dehydrated meals based on your favorite recipes.
I hope you found this compilation of books on dehydrating food helpful, and that you’ll pick up a book or two (or three!) from the list.
If you enjoyed this article, you will likely also enjoy these related articles:
- The 2 Best Canning Books I Use and Recommend
- Can You Dehydrate Frozen Fruit? Yes, here’s how!
- Cosori Dehydrator Review
- Nesco Dehydrator Review
- Dehydrating Ham and Making Ham Jerky
- How to Dehydrate Mushrooms