Perfect for drying fruits, vegetables, jerky & more
5 stackable drying trays
1 fine-mesh sheet for drying small food like herbs
1 solid sheet for making fruit rolls
Description: Looking for snack options that are high in nutrients but low in calories? Want to offer your family delicious food options to dress up morning oatmeal or replace that bag of potato chips at lunch? The Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator helps accomplish these goals by taking food preparation to the next level. It opens the door to endless possibilities deemed too difficult to do in the past. With five stackable drying trays and 500 watts of power, it's easy to dry a variety of fruits and vegetables and even make beef jerky. The continuous airflow feature provides even drying, eliminating the need to rotate trays. This dehydrator includes an adjustable thermometer for better performance and a timer with automatic shutoff. A food dehydrator lets you to make healthy foods at home like crunchy green beans or dried sweet potato sticks. Have a sweet tooth? Banana chips or dried apples with cinnamon are the perfect fix. And since the fruits are not bogged down with additives or preservatives, their natural sweetness shines. The Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator comes with two specialty sheets for added versatility. Use the mesh sheet to dry garden herbs for year-round enjoyment, or puree summer fruits and spread on the solid sheet for homemade fruit rolls. Wholesome, home-made snacks for the entire family. Now that's Good Thinking.
★★★★392 real customer reviews average rating: 4.3 stars (scroll to see all)
5 Stars By JWLV on 2016-05-22 Consistently good beef jerky every time I used to make beef jerky in the oven (see picture). That always left a big mess that's difficult to clean and made jerky that is hit or miss. Enter the Hamilton Beach food dehydrator. It makes perfect beef jerky every single time. I marinade slices of beef for a few hours in my own concoction of soy sauce, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, sugar, and my secret ingredient. I set it for 5 hours at 160 degrees. After 5 hours, I come back and enjoy a delicious snack.
When I first started shopping for a food dehydrator, I didn't realize that a lot of the cheaper dehydrators don't have two very important controls: a timer and a temperature setting. Usually only the high-end food dehydrators have these controls and they have a price tag to match. The Hamilton Beach has both controls and costs considerably less. Having these controls is what makes good jerky consistently. The timer can be set from 1 hour up to 48 hours. The temperature can be set from 100 F to 160 F. You can switch it to metric (Celsius) if you want to. The controls are simple. One button to choose either the timer or temperature, two other buttons to adjust (+ or -) the chosen setting, and another button to start.
There are 5 plastic trays for the food that you want to dehydrate. The trays have some kind of a glossy coating that makes it easy to clean. I soak them in hot water and wipe off with a sponge and soapy water.
Attached is a picture of how I used to make beef jerky in the oven. Also attached is a video of how I'm making beef jerky now with the Hamilton Beach food dehydrator. As I am finishing this review, my beef jerky is almost done. In about 10 minutes I'm going to enjoy my delicious beef jerky. Yummy!!!
4 Stars By Papadoc on 2015-09-12 Solid product - not perfect, but more than adequate I currently have a L'Equipe dehydrator and like it a lot. So this particular unit had a lot to live up to if it was going to impress me. Unpacking the unit, I found it to be a bit smaller than what I had anticipated. However, the trays seem to be a bit deeper and they definitely hold a substantial amount of product for dehydration. The trays have a fairly wide span between ribs meaning that you have to be a bit careful with what you put in it. There is a single small mesh sheet to lay on one tray that will accomplish this, but this isn't quite enough for me if it was my sole unit. The L'Equipe comes with a fine mesh sheet for each of it's 6 trays.
The controls for this unit are great, and much better than what I've been used to. Dials are great and there's not much to break, but they don't give you accuracy. The digital read on this along with a digital timer to shut it off are spectacular in my opinion. I tested the accuracy of the meter and it lines up within a half a degree, so that's pretty good for this kind of unit. My other units are lucky enough to be able to keep it within 4-5 degrees.
As with most square or rectangular dryers, there are areas that get better air flow than others. This means that to get the most efficiency, you have to swap out the trays and move around the product. I won't downgrade because of this because it comes with the territory. However, if you are a first timer, this is something you should realize.
Bottom line is that this is a decent dryer, though you can get better and pay more. Overall though, a sound purchase and one that will do the job you want it for.
5 Stars By J. Tant on 2015-09-16 Superior to my Nesco I'm actually between 4.5 and 5 stars, but it's probably closer to 5.
I hike and camp a lot, and part of that hobby is making sure I have enough food out on the trail. When I was younger and didn't care so much about weight I went in for the full moisture MRE things (and I still do if I'm going some place where water availability might be a concern), but as I get older I've gone more for the dehydrated stuff. Thing is, commercial freeze dried food is kind of pricey per meal. So I started making my own dehydrated meals, figuring that the utility for freeze drying only kicks in if you are storing the food for a long time.
First, big points for being square shaped...that means less wasted space and it's easier to load, at least for me. Total capacity is about the same between the two, and the scheme is the same...stackable trays, etc. I will say that for the dehydrating I do (more on that in a minute), I wish there were more mesh screens available. I actually made my own out of some plastic mesh sheeting I found at Michael's, and it seems to work well.
The overall design is different...the Nesco has the heating element on top, blowing the air downward. This has the element on the bottom, blowing the air up. Intuitively the Hamilton Beach seems to have the better design, since heat rises and the fan doesn't have to work so hard to get circulation through all of the trays. In practice I think the effect was minor but noticeable. The downside to this design is one extra part (a clear plastic lid), but on the other hand that's appreciated. With the Nesco I had to take the heavy top unit off to see if the food was ready, with this one I can look through the lid. So in terms of overall design and convenience, I think the Hamilton Beach product is superior.
As for the use and interface, the Nesco had a simple dial on the top. This one has a digital readout with temperature as well as a timer function. This itself makes the Hamilton Beach more utilitarian than the Nesco (which has no timer at all). I rednecked engineered one by using a lamp timer in conjunction with the Nesco, but having the timer built in is a serious nod to convenience. I also like seeing the exact temperature instead of a simple analog dial.
Results: well, (and people laugh at me for saying this), I found that cooked-then-dehydrated pasta cooks faster on the trail than does pasta right out of the box. This is a concern out on the trail since you have to carry fuel for your stove, and I don't want to carry more than I have to. Anyway, this dehydrator is large enough to dehydrate a pound and a half of cooked elbow pasta, spread thin among the trays on my homemade mesh screens (incidentally, I used mesh screens in all the trays to no ill effect....). I then pack it with some cheese powder/powdered milk into a Food Saver vacuum-sealed bag, and I have a trail lunch/dinner ready to go. The square design makes it easy to make other things, especially dried sausage or jerky...much easier to load straight food items in a square box shape, after all. I'm in the habit of rotating the trays halfway through the drying time, and I did here...though I'm not too sure that it's strictly necessary with this design. End result - it did a very good job on a variety of foods, and as the capacity is slightly larger than my Nesco I'm pretty happy with it.
This isn't really that silent when it comes to operation, but it's not overly loud either. Think of it as a pleasant white noise, perhaps a bit lower in volume than a window box fan. The sound never bothered me.
So I really do like this dehydrator. I found it to work very well. My main nit is with the control panel, as it has that plastic membrane over the buttons. I really like real buttons and stuff, not membrane keyboards. But that's the only real issue I have with this unit. It does a good job, offers the timer function (which is fantastic), and has little convenient touches like being able to look at how a tray is drying without disassembling the whole thing. It's a good product!
5 Stars By 💝 Alex S on 2015-08-27 Everything a beginner needs I have been dehydrating foods of my own for fifteen years, since I have preservative allergies (both nitrite and sulfite). I actually wasn't expecting to like this particular dehydrator, but I was surprised at how much it holds for a compact size.
For my first experiment, I used a complete pineapple, cut into strips (1/4") and three apples. I quickly discovered that it only filled 3 1/2 trays. So next time I will plan more. Because of the apples, I decided to set the entire thing for 16 hours at 125 degrees. At the end of this time, I felt the apples still had a bit more moisture than I think should be there, but with the peels, I think they were harder to dehydrate. The pineapples were leathery, but again with moisture.
These can be cleaned in the dishwasher as long as you don't use sanitemp, and I would also suggest air drying for safety. Best of all, with the square shape, they fit in my dishwasher.
The manual is excellent and even offers suggestions for drying fruits, safe storage, and recipes for Jerky. It even explains the "easy cutting method" - partially freeze your meat before slicing it. However, I often use the "easiest cutting method" and let my butcher cut it. So if you are a beginner, you don't need a book to get started, although you might want to explore one later.
I won't be drying any herbs, and with only one liner for fruit leather, I won't be using it either. But I learned long ago that if you have an empty tray, add it to the bottom with the liner and it will collect any drips and make cleanup a breeze. Much easier than washing out the bottom of the dehydrator.
Another thing to note is that for heat distribution, there is one tray that must always be the top tray (and always used). If you are dehydrating multiple fruits, you will want to consider which fruit to put on this tray, I normally put the one that has the longest time frame so I can easily pull out the other trays.
This has a reasonable length cord (still short), and runs with a mild hum in the background. I do not hear it in the living room when I run it in the kitchen.
5 Stars By Jozef on 2015-11-24 Great product!! Great item, works perfect. Nothing negative to report. Been used over 13 times and no issues. The fan is not too loud, that being said you can hear it but it's not loud at all. Worth every penny
5 Stars By Lonna Bertelli on 2016-03-22 Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator It took a little longer than the directions said, but otherwise worked perfectly. (My first attempt was green peppers) I'm VERY pleased with the dehydrator!
5 Stars By Amanda on 2017-04-28 Great dehydrator. Love this dehydrator. I used it to make my very first batch of venison jerky and it turned out great. It's easy to clean and I love that it has a temperature control.
5 Stars By Jake's mom on 2016-09-27 Absolutely perfect Has already paid for itself in dehydrated sweet potato dog treats alone. Easy to use. I love the timer since I can go to bed and I know it'll shut off and the treats will be ready in the morning. I plan to use it to make more dehydrated food items in the future.
5 Stars By AlumiGogo Customer on 2017-03-29 Perfect for my pups I use this to make dehydrated sweet potato treats for my three dogs. Works great and after two times has already paid for itself since sweet potato treats are so expensive. I am going to try green beans next since that is my dogs' second favorite treat and right now they get them frozen from the freezer.
5 Stars By Jake on 2017-04-12 I've had great luck so far. Works great. I make jerky on it. You can fit more on it being a rectangle vs a circle. I've made five batches so far. You can fit two pounds of hamburger jerky on it at full capacity.