How To Make Dried Apricots {Step By Step}

Dried apricots are delicious and make a great snack or the perfect ingredient for all kinds of sweet and savory dishes. The main problem is cost. They are pretty expensive, and commercial apricots are often treated with chemicals to stop them from browning. The good news is you can dry your own apricots at home, saving you money and avoiding unnecessary toxins. Discover how to make dried apricots in various different ways below.

How To Dry Apricots In The Oven?

How To Dry Apricots In The Oven

Believe it or not, you can use a conventional oven to dry your tree-picked or fresh, shop-bought apricots.

  • Step One – Switch the oven to 194°F to pre-heat. Rinse and dry the apricots.
  • Step Two – Slice the apricots in half from top to bottom and discard the pits. Or you could use them to grow more apricot trees.

Once the apricots are cut into two halves, using a small, sharp kitchen knife, remove the piece of flesh at the top of the apricot where the stalk would have been attached. It is best to trim this piece because it is often slightly brown and damaged.  

  • Step Three – Lay the apricot halves out on a baking sheet with the skin side down, leaving space between each apricot, so they are not touching.
  • Step Four – If desired, sprinkle some vanilla pod grains into the center of each apricot to enhance their flavor.
  • Step Five – Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven to start the dehydrating process. It will take around six to ten hours to fully dry the apricots, depending on their size and level of ripeness.
  • Step Six – Once the apricots have achieved the level of desired dryness, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool before placing them into a sterilized airtight jar. The apricots should keep for up to three months.

It is very important only to use juicy, ripe apricots. This is because the drying process will make unripe apricots extra tart. 

How To Dehydrate Apricots In An Air Fryer?

Air fryers of one type or another have been around for a while now, but it is only recently that newer models have emerged with no moving parts that are far more reasonably priced than their predecessors.

If you haven’t come across air fryers, they are a great alternative for cooking foods you’d normally fry or bake in an oven. Because you don’t use any, or very little, fat in an air fryer, it is a much healthier cooking method.

Air fryers generally work by using hot air to circulate around the food. It is this circulation of air that creates a crispy texture, just like fried food without the fat.

We’ve virtually put our oven into retirement since buying our air fryer. We use it for cooking all kinds of things, from chicken, fries, and fish right through to cakes. It isn’t only healthier, but often faster than conventional oven cooking and cheaper too!

Because air fryers work by circulating hot air, they are perfect to use as a dehydrator too. You just need to use them on a very low setting.

Very basic models may not go as low as the more sophisticated kinds, but most will go low enough for you to use effectively to dehydrate, especially juicer items such as fruits.

Which Apricots Can I Dry, And How?

When drying apricots, you can use really ripe ones picked straight off the tree or bought in a store, or you can even dry canned apricot halves. The great thing about using canned fruit is that there’s virtually no prep, as they are already stoned and skinned. Plus, you can get them year-round.

Dried apricots can be expensive, so drying your own makes sense. Here’s how to do it:

1. Wash and pit fresh apricots by cutting them in half and removing the stone, then dry well. Or, simply drain canned apricots and pat them thoroughly dry.

2. Place your apricot halves in the air fryer, making sure they don’t touch each other, and that there is sufficient room for the air to circulate freely around them. 

3. Switch the air fryer on to 120°F for 12 hours. Or you may be lucky enough to have a dehydrate function available on your air fryer, and you can use that.

If your air fryer doesn’t go as low as 120°F, don’t worry; setting it to its lowest setting, which is usually 135°F will do. You just need to shorten the length of time you dry the fruits to around 6 to 8 hours and accept that they may be a little cooked.

4. Ensure you check the progress being made every few hours or more as they start looking like they are almost there.

5. Once you are happy with the level of dryness, remove them from the fryer and allow them to cool completely. Now put them into airtight jars to condition them. See the video below to see how conditioning is done and why it’s so important. 

Additional Tips

  • Ensure you dry the apricots as much as possible with a paper towel before starting the drying process.
  • Push the centers of the apricots up after they have started to soften in the fryer. This will help the center to dry out more successfully.
  • Never overlap or stack the apricots in the air fryer. Each half must have free air movement all around it.
  • Try to use apricot halves of a similar size otherwise, some will be dryer than others. 
  • You can choose to add additional flavorings, such as seeds from a vanilla pod, ground cinnamon, or even flaky sea salt. Whatever you try, only add a small amount, so it isn’t overpowering. 

How To Dry Apricots Using A Dehydrator?

How To Dry Apricots Using A Dehydrator

Drying apricots using a dehydrator is pretty similar to using an air fryer. One big benefit of dehydrators is that their capacity is much larger due to the multiple shelves inside the machine. This means you’ll be able to dry a lot more apricots at one time. 

How To Do It

1. Wash, cut in half, remove the pit and dry thoroughly.

2. Place the apricot’s skin side down. If possible, push the center of each fruit up so it gets more exposure to the warm air and dries out quicker.

3. Keep plenty of space around each apricot half and never let them touch.

4. Continue loading the trays until you have filled them all.

5. Set the dehydrator to 135°F and dehydrate for around 20 to 24 hours. Start looking at them after 12 hours as drying times really vary depending on the type of dehydrator you have and how ripe and large the apricots are.

6. Cool completely before placing your dried apricots into airtight jars for conditioning – see the video below to learn more about this.

In this video, you can get some great tips about dehydrating for beginners:

How Do You Make Sundried Apricots At Home?

If you’re lucky enough to live in a hot, dry climate, then you won’t need any fancy bits of equipment to dry your apricots. You can rely on the most traditional and centuries-old method of using the sun.

Solar drying is a great way of drying your apricots, so let’s see how to do it. 

1. Start by choosing only the really ripe fruits. Soft and juicy = sweet and delicious.

2. Large, oblong wire-straining baskets are perfect to use for solar drying as they allow the air to circulate right around the fruits.

3. Wash the apricots well before slicing them in half and removing the pits. Also, discard any fruit that has gone brown and bad.

4. Dry the apricot halves thoroughly with a paper towel before arranging them in a single layer in each basket, ensuring no fruit touches another, but still as close as possible so you can maximize the number in each basket.

5. Position the trays in full, direct sunlight. Try to choose days where there is sun all day and where they won’t end up shaded at any point.

6. In hot weather, it should take between three and six days for the fruit to become completely dry. Check them daily to check their progress, as this depends on a variety of factors, including fruit ripeness, size, and weather conditions, including wind. 

7. The fruits will oxidize as they dry and turn from orange to brown. Don’t let that worry you, this is what’s meant to happen. Commercially dried apricots use chemicals to prevent the apricots from browning. Letting them naturally oxidize is far better for your health!

8. Once they have become leathery, place them into freezer-proof bags and freeze them for a couple of weeks to ensure any contaminants have been killed.

9. Allow them to thaw, spread them out on kitchen paper to absorb any moisture then place them into airtight jars.

Why Does Drying Apricots Make Them Keep For Longer?

The reason why drying apricots makes them keep for longer is because the moisture content of dried fruit is less than fresh and the sugar content is higher in dried apricots, they become partially preserved, slowing down the natural breakdown process.

This allows them to be stored for long periods making them available throughout the winter months when fresh apricots wouldn’t be around.


Making your own dried apricots is not too difficult, and because there are various ways of performing the drying process, you’ll more than likely have more than one option to try.

You don’t need your own apricot tree to dry apricots, although nothing quite beats gathering fresh fruit and processing it to use many months after they are out of season. 

Fresh apricots can be purchased from a store, and you can even use canned ones for some drying methods.

For more information about apricots and growing apricot trees, discover our other apricot articles

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