We recently bought a food dehydrator, and have spent many hours experimenting with it. However, we have failed in our attempts to make fruit leather that resembles the stuff you buy, meaning that whatever recipe we try, and whatever temperature and drying time we use, it always comes out very thin and very tough.

By contrast, the stuff you buy always seems to be thicker, sat 3mm or more, and is always soft, without being sticky or mushy.

We've tried pureeing fruit, whether fresh or tinned, we've tried stewing it first, we've tried everything we can think of. All of our recipes have been pure fruit, we've never added sugar, preservatives, etc. don't know if that would make a difference.

Anyone know how we can make it thicker and softer?

  • It sounds rather like "whatever temperature and drying time we use" is always too high/long. Does it have no lower settings whatsoever? Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:17
  • @MatthewRead the dehydrator has a temperature setting, and we've tried various levels, from about 50 degs upwards, adjusting the drying time to suit, but it doesn't seem to make much difference. Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:26
  • That's odd, makes it seem like the longer time might be useless except for exceptionally wet fruit. It might be useful to mention which fruit you've tried. This also suggests that adding sugar may have an affect: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/26157/4152 Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


You want it to form a thicker layer on the sheet, and you don't want to overdry it. The toughness is from drying a thin thin layer for too long. Cooking the fruit a little can help with that. So can fiddling with what fruits you use.

Thing is, though, it's not going to be like the stuff you buy. Read the ingredients: most have added sugar and some sort of thickeners like gelatin or xanthan gum.

For me, what matters is the taste. As long as it doesn't shatter when I try to eat it, I will accept a wide range of textures. I choose the fruit for flavour and availability and go for the simplest possible preparation, which is pureeing raw fruit.


I’ve heard using pectin gives it a better texture. I used to use parchment paper but now I like Saran Wrap. I take it out a little early before it gets too dry. But then you will need to store it in the fridge.

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