Learn to dehydrate onions in a safe way that helps you create awesome minced onions for cooking, and allows you do make your own DIY onion powder that is so much better than storebought!
So before we get started, the first question is always this:
Do Onions Smell Up the House?
Yes, yes they do. So you may want to find a way to dehydrate your onions in the garage or outside if the weather is nice. No high humidity and temps above 70°F for the best efficiency.
In our family, I'm even required to process the onions outside if I'm doing a dehydrator full. Then my machine sits on the back porch until dusk until I bring it in to finish overnight and into the next morning. The smell is less obvious by then for our family.
TIP FOR SMELL: You can blanch your onions before dehydrating them. Not only does it help cut down on the oils that smell, it helps drying time go a little faster, as well. You can cut, then blanch for 30 seconds or so, dip into an ice bath and dry, or you can caramelize onions for a richer, deeper flavor, too.
How to Dehydrate Onions
Before preparing, go ahead and preheat your dehydrator to 125°F/52°C. Don't have a dehydrator or are looking to upgrade? I have a handy resource with tips and suggestions just for you.
- Wash onions.
- Cut off the root end and peel away skins (but save them to make onion broth* or vegetable broth later!)
- Cut into slices or dices of your choice. I use a Fullstar Vegetable Chopper for doing in bulk, but a knife is all you need.
- Place on dehydrator trays - separating the layers for better drying efficiency.
- Dry at 125°F / 52°C for 10-18 hrs. *
- Store in airtight containers.
* Drying times are variable. Depending on the size of the onion (more moisture and sugar), your home's humidity, the power of your machine, you could dry in as little as 10-12 hours, or from 15-18 hrs. I tend to push the longer end for drying my onions because I want them as dry as possible.
* ONION BROTH: I throw it in with some more onions and onion skins, and lots of water, and let it go overnight to create a dark, rich, onion broth. Use to cook grains with, to put into other soups, to use as a means of liquid when water is called for in cooking. It's good stuff!
When are Dehydrated Onions Done?
Check by cooling a few samples of your onions to room temperature. They should be a little pliable, but dry.
If you blanched first, your onions should snap apart when dry.
Do I Need to Condition Dried Onions?
Yes, as with all dehydrated foods, conditioning is a vital step in the storage process. Simply put dehydrated onions into an airtight container, shake around once a day for a week or so, and check for moisture. If you see moisture forming, throw them back into your dehydrator to dry more, then recondition. If all goes well, store as normal.
How to Store Dried Onions
Store in an airtight container. They will generally last at least a year, but you are likely to get much longer from them.
DIY Onion Powder
Creating your own onion powder is as easy as 1. 2. 3.
- Put your fully dried and conditioned minced onion pieces into a grinder of your choice.
- Pulse until a powder forms.
Tips for creating your own powders:
- Powder only as much as you need for a month or two. Sometimes, especially with fruit powders and onion powder, natural sugars can make clumping an issue (and there are even more ways to help stop clumping). So only can as much as you need at for a short tie and store the rest whole.
- Use arrowroot powder to help keep onion powder from clumping. I use about 1 teaspoon per cup of powder, but you may find you need to make other adjustments.
- Dry them again - you can put them back into your dehydrator to dry again before storing if you find that maybe they are clumping more than you are happy with while grinding. I prefer placing the onion on a cookie sheet in preheated oven (lowest temp) that is then turned off, for about 20 minutes.
DIY Bulk French Onion Dip Powder
If you are like me, you might have people with huge texture issues with food. It's why I fell in love with dehydrating a long time ago.
I am able to supplement my food with nutritious powdered alternatives when I can't put the whole vegetable into the food. So my Vegetable Powders and mushroom powder and onion powder are invaluable to me in many ways.
It caused me to stop and think about a lot of foods we don't eat because of a texture issue - and French Onion Dip is one I missed a lot - so I created this powder to be used with a cup of sour cream instead! Same great taste, no onion bits that my crew refuses to eat!
- 1.5 TB dried onion pieces
- 1 tsp onion powder. Or try caramelized onion powder for a sweeter, deeper flavor.
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ tsp kosher or Himalayan pink salt
- ⅛ teaspoon 'paprika' aka bell pepper powder
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Grind in a coffee grinder or bullet blender
- Store in an airtight container.
- 1 Cup of Sour Cream
- 2 -3 TB of French Onion Dip Powder
- Sprinkle some caramelized onion chips on for presentation.
Shelf Stable French Onion Dip Mix
- Use all above dry ingredients
- Add ¾ Cup of sour cream powder
Reconstitute with enough water (at least 6 TB cold water) to make you happy with the texture.
How to Dehydrate Onion and Make Your Own Onion Powder
- Wash and peel onions
- Slice into rings or chop into small dices
- Dry at 125F / 52C for 10-18 hrs until they are crisp when cooled.
- Store in an airtight container
- Place pieces into your favorite blender or coffee grinder
- Process until finley ground
- Place onto cookie sheets in warmed (but off) oven to dry
- Store in airtight container
Nutritional information is an estimation only. Nutrient information for dehydrated foods is based on fresh. Use ¼ of the servicing size for the same nutrient information. Thus 1 Cup of fresh fruit has the same sugars as ¼ dried.
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i'm planning to make a few soup mixes with some dehydrated foods, would dehydrated onions work well in a soup that originally calls for the onion to be sauteed?
Darcy Baldwin says
Yes - but you can also saute them (no oils), much like we do caramelized onions.
When drying the onion powder in the oven, how long does it typically take?
Darcy Baldwin says
As mentioned for powder, 20 min at the most for drying powder. If you mean drying onions - I can't tell you - what is your oven's lowest temperature and how you prepare them matter. Your issue is not burning them with too much heat - could be anywhere from 3 to 6 hours?
Sandy Woodbury says
Do I need to cure the onions if I am going to dehydrate? Thanks!
Darcy Baldwin says
Curing is only if you are planning on storing the onions whole for a time. No curing needed if you're going right to preserving through freezing or dehydrating or freeze drying.
I have yet to try to dehydrate onions but I have made lots of jerky. I am curious how long dehydrated onions last and how to store them?
Darcy Baldwin says
It's all in the post. Store in an airtight container for a year+
Jennifer S says
What type of onions are best for dehydrating, cooking onions or sweet onions like red or Vidalia?
Darcy Baldwin says
Any kind you can get your hand on!
I just got a bunch of onions. I won't use them all and want to dehydrate them. I'm in Florida and have a dehydrator but it is always humid. Can I still out the dehydrator outside or will the humidity mess that up?
If your humidity is 70%+, you'll have a harder time with it only because moving moisture from one saturated place to another slows down the process, but you can do it. It'll just take longer.
During monsoon season in Arizona, our humidity gets pretty high. I move my dehydrator to a room with a window unit A/C.