Last Updated on March 28, 2022
Dehydrating bananas is a simple and surprisingly delicious way to use up extra bananas and make amazing healthy treats. These chewy, naturally sweet dried bananas make a perfect on-the-go snack or even substitute for candy, they’re that good!
Did I mention they have ONE ingredient? Does it get any better than that? Find out how to dehydrate bananas to make a simple, delicious, but healthy treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.
WHY YOU NEED TO TRY DEHYDRATING BANANAS
Bananas are truly remarkable foods. Nicely coming in their own wrapper, they’re the perfect grab-and-go snack.
And they’re CHEAP compared to a lot of other fruits: Organic is generally under a dollar a pound. Plus they make a marvelous sweetener for so many foods, from smoothies to cookies.
Turn these nutritional superstars into something that tastes like candy, and you have an incredibly healthy treat to satisfy that sweet tooth! (Especially nice for those of us who don’t really like bananas but want all that nutritious banana goodness.)
DEHYDRATING BANANAS INTO CHEWY DRIED BANANAS “CANDY”
I do a lot of dehydrating in summer, in part because we can’t always use up all the great stuff coming from the farm and garden. Having dried apples, sweet dehydrated peaches and pears, zucchini chips, and homemade fruit leather in winter lets us keep enjoying our garden goodies long after everything’s covered in snow.
Of course, we don’t grow bananas in Minnesota, but when the dehydrator’s running, I like to toss on whatever fruit looks like it won’t get eaten before it spoils or just turned out not to be that wonderful for fresh eating. My kids are always leaving over half-eaten bananas, so I cut off the ends and onto the dehydrator they go to become these fantastically delicious dried bananas “candy.”
Because when you suck the water out of fruit, what happens is pure magic. Dehydrating bananas miraculously turns them into candy!
In the case of bananas and cantaloupe in particular, something truly alchemical goes on. A thoroughly meh cantaloupe can be transformed into chewy, super-sweet (yet healthy!) cantaloupe “taffy.”
And while I really don’t like fresh bananas, dried bananas taste like something you should feel guilty about eating. (I actually do feel guilty sometimes, but only ‘cuz I wind up not saving enough dried bananas for the kids!)
I am NOT talking about banana “chips,” those kind of crunchy, not terribly tasty rounds of banana you find in some trail mixes. Those are usually made with added oils and sweeteners, often even artificial flavoring.
The dried bananas “candy” we’re talking about here is wonderfully chewy and intensely sweet on its own.
And the only ingredient is dried bananas, no additives necessary. What could be better than a 1-ingredient treat?
DEHYDRATING BANANAS IS SOOOO EASY!
Here’s the best part: Dehydrating bananas is as simple as slicing and laying them on a dehydrator.
If you don’t own a dehydrator, you may want to consider investing in one, as they pay for themselves in all the food you don’t waste in the height of summer and let you make healthy treats like zucchini chips and delicious, seasonal fruit leathers.
If you’re into camping you can dehydrate trail snacks, sauces, even make your own jerkies. You can go in with a friend or two and share the cost if you like.
You can also dry food using your oven, but it can be hard to get the lower temperatures you need to make this work, and drying in the oven requires more tending. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get crispy, unless you prefer them that way.
HOW TO DEHYDRATE BANANAS INTO CHEWY DRIED BANANAS “CANDY”
I tend to add bananas and other fruit that’s not getting eaten fast enough to a few trays when I’m drying a big batch of rhubarb leather, zucchini, or tomatoes, but you could buy up some big bunches of bananas to dry all at once. The instructions below are for one big batch of dried bananas — about 24 can fit on the dehydrator at once. Don’t worry, you’ll eat them up way faster than you think!
- 24 bananas will fill 8 trays. You can definitely make less if you prefer!
1. Get trays stacked and ready to load. If your dehydrator has discs meant to make things stick less, use them. If not, best to give a quick spray with oil.
2. Peel bananas and slice lengthwise into 1/4" thick strips. You can then cut these strips in half for shorter candies, or keep them long. I make mine short. If you care about color you can give them a quick dip in lemon juice, but it's not necessary and I don't bother.
3. Lay them on your trays in a single layer.
4. Set the dehydrator to 115 degrees and leave for 6-8 hours. You can dry them at higher temperatures for a shorter period of time. Times will vary based on humidity and other factors, but it's pretty hard to mess these up. Check them after 6 hours. They're done when they're pliable and leathery, and the softness of the fresh banana is gone. If they still have parts that haven't fully dried, allow to dry longer.
If you let them go too long and they get crispy, you can leave them on the dehydrator when it's humid and they will reabsorb some of the moisture from the air.
Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Try not to eat them all at once! Enjoy!
You can use bananas at pretty much any stage of ripeness, but I'd stay away from green bananas and those that have really gotten soft and are developing bruises. (Send those to the freezer for smoothies if they're salvageable.)
Each of these round trays can hold about 3 large bananas, so you can do a whole batch of 24 bananas or just add them to whatever else you're dehydrating.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 banana
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g
Nutrition info is an estimate as banana vary greatly in size.
Other things to try when you need to use up bananas:
Of course, you could also whip up a banana bread, or save them in your freezer for sweetening smoothies. I have a collection of banana ice cream recipes if you have any bananas left. Or toss them into one of these delicious easy healthy smoothies!
Pro tip: When you’re done dehydrating bananas, don’t throw those peels in the trash!
Did you know that banana peels are edible? You can use them to make a tasty banana tea for sleep or cook them in a surprising number of ways. You’ll find some in my collection of root to stem recipes.
Banana peels can also benefit your garden. You can use them to deter aphids, and they will also add beneficial nutrients to your soil. Here’s what to know about banana peel fertilizer.
Apparently you can also whiten your teeth and polish your silver with them. Let me know if you try!
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Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.