How to Make Dehydrated Banana Chips

Using an oven or a dehydrator, or by harnessing solar energy.

plate of dehydrated banana chips on a table

voltan1 / Getty Images

You can make delicious dehydrated banana chips in your oven, in the great outdoors, or with a food dehydrator. Depending on your technique and your patience, these dried fruit treats can be ready in a few hours or a week.

In the Oven

You don’t need special equipment to dehydrate banana chips. You can use your oven, which combines low heat, low humidity, and airflow to dehydrate the fruit. Because it doesn’t have a built-in fan like a dehydrator, it takes about twice as long, but the results are just as tasty.

For best results, use ripe, not-too-mushy bananas. Avoid using bananas that are bruised or extremely ripe.

  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature setting. Ideally, you want to be under 200 F (93.3 C) or the bananas will start to bake. If you can’t go lower than that, set your oven to “warm” if you can.
  2. Peel bananas and slice with a serrated knife into even discs about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. (If the bananas are too soft to slice, put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes first. Then, if bananas are still too mushy, use them for something else, like a sugar scrub or banana bread pudding.)
  3. If you don’t want slices turning brown, dip them into a bowl of lemon juice or an ascorbic acid solution, such as Fruit Fresh.
  4. Lay slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. The slices should not touch each other.
  5. Leave them in the oven for 8-12 hours. Prop the oven door open 2-6 inches to improve circulation. (Remember to keep the door closed if you have small children or pets at home that can reach the oven.) Test every few hours for desired doneness.
  6. Cool bananas completely before storing them in a glass jar.

With a Food Dehydrator

If you have a dehydrator, it's easy to make dried foods. Dehydrators are designed to dry foods efficiently at around 140 F (60 C). Here's how to use your dehydrator to make banana chips:

  1. Peel bananas and slice with a serrated knife into even discs about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.
  2. To avoid browning, dip slices into a bowl of lemon juice or an ascorbic acid solution.
  3. Spray dehydrator rack with non-stick cooking spray or rub a little oil on the rack. Lay slices in a single layer on the tray without sides touching.
  4. Follow directions on your dehydrator. (It may even have a setting for banana chips.) It should take at least six hours for chewy chips. Test every few hours until you get the chewy or crispy banana chips you want.
  5. Cool bananas completely and store in a glass jar.

Going Solar

You can harness solar energy to make banana chips in two different ways.

Solar Oven

Solar ovens, also called solar cookers, are devices that use the sun’s energy to generate heat. There are several different types that you can buy or make. They all involve a combination of dark and reflective surfaces to attract and trap sunlight.

If you want to try the DIY method, NASA has simple directions for making a solar oven using a cardboard box with a lid, some aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and a few other basic supplies. Or try a more elaborate version with automatic sun tracking.

To make banana chips:

  1. Peel and slice bananas with a serrated knife into even discs about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.
  2. Dip slices into lemon juice or an ascorbic acid solution to avoid browning.
  3. Lay slices onto a rack that fits into your box. Don’t let sides touch.
  4. Prop open the oven about an inch or two. Cover the opening with some netting or plastic wrap to keep insects away.
  5. Check doneness every few hours. It should take about six hours depending on the amount of sunlight.
  6. Cool completely and store in a glass jar.

Just Sunlight and Time

If you live in a sunny, hot climate, you can dry bananas the old-fashioned way just putting them out in the sun for a very long time. This method involves absolutely no carbon emissions, but it does take quite a bit of patience.

  1. Check the forecast. You’ll need at least two full days of hot, sunny, low-humidity weather where temperatures reach 90 F (32 C), but you might need as long as a week in the sun.
  2. Peel and slice bananas 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick using a serrated knife. Discs should be thinner using sun-drying than other methods.
  3. Dip in lemon juice or ascorbic acid solution to avoid browning.
  4. Place slices in a single layer on an outdoor food-grade drying screen. Don’t let pieces touch. Cover the frame with a net or cheesecloth to keep insects away.
  5. Place the frame in direct sunlight, in a place out of reach of animals and away from polluted areas like a driveway. Bring the frame inside at night.
  6. Check the bananas daily, turning them over every day, until done.
  7. Store in a glass jar when cool.