Watermelon jerky is a real fruit snack that will have your taste buds singing! Learn how easy it is to make in a dehydrator and oven.
What made me want to make watermelon jerky?
I’ve been trying to show folks ways they can save money to combat rapidly rising grocery costs and one of those is, of course, buying food at today’s prices and preserving it. With that in mind, I’ve done a lot of dehydrating videos lately. I really feel the dehydrator is an often overlooked appliance that can save every household money and freezer space! I’ve shown you how to dehydrate frozen vegetables, make your own instant rice (for pennies a serving instead of $1 a serving), and even how to make shelf-stable ground beef.
And now, for a real fruit snack that will have your taste buds singing… dried watermelon jerky!
I didn’t realize how well received the videos about the dehydrator would be, how many emails I’d get asking for more, and how many of y’all would actually go out and buy a dehydrator! Links to the dehydrators I have are at the bottom of this post. I do feel like this is a wonderful investment and an easy way for every household to preserve food with the lowest maintenance possible.
Although I can-preserve foods (click here for my tutorial), dehydrating and making things like watermelon jerky takes far less hands-on time and allows me to preserve things I wouldn’t be able to with traditional canning methods.
Why would you want to dehydrate watermelon?
Well, sometimes we may have a bumper crop! Sometimes we may find a good deal and want to preserve it. Sometimes we may just want to taste what dried watermelon tastes like. I highly recommend any of the above, especially growing your own. This watermelon jerky recipe isn’t even really a recipe, it’s that easy to make. Just cut up your watermelon, place the strips in the dehydrator, and walk away to let it work its magic (like you would a crockpot meal).
It is so worth the wait. The watermelon is so sweet and tastes like a watermelon Jolly Rancher, only better! It is slightly chewy like an easy-to-chew taffy and all of that wonderful watermelon flavor is concentrated in a way that you’ve never tried before. Trust me, the real fruit flavor and texture of the dehydrated watermelon make this such an addictive snack… you’ll be making it again and again!
How to Make Watermelon Jerky
To start you need to cut up your watermelon however you feel like cutting up your watermelon.
I slice mine in big wedges and then cut it apart from the watermelon rind.
Then I slice that wedge into thinner slices.
The thinner the better.
Cut those up into smaller pieces still.
Lay them out on your dehydrator trays that have been lined with parchment paper or fruit leather sheets.
Load up your dehydrator.
Put the door on.
Set your temperature for fruit (about 135 degrees) and your timer for Ten Forevers.
I’m not kidding. That is how long this will take. Most likely 18 to 24 hours.
When stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place like your kitchen pantry, the dehydrated watermelon will last up to 3 months.
Want to add some flavoring? For zesty jerky, brush the with lime juice before dehydrating. For spicy jerky, toss them in a dash of paprika.
How do you make watermelon jerky in the oven?
You want to prep the watermelon as above and then arrange the watermelon slices on 2 wire racks on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 250 until almost dried (about 3 hours). Then lower the temperature to 200 and continue baking until the fruit is completely dried (3 to 4 hours). You’ll want to flip the slices every 2 hours and rotate the pans to ensure even cooking.
Can I get watermelon year-round?
Watermelon is not only available in the summer. It is a refreshing and nutritious fruit that can be available all year round! The US produces watermelon typically from April through November. If you are buying at other times it is likely imported.
How can I tell if a watermelon is good?
While we’re here, let me show you how you can tell if a watermelon is good. You want a bright yellow underbelly. That means that the watermelon was ripened in the field. It should also be very heavy (so you know it is fresh and juicy) and has a dull thud sound when you thump it.
But be nice. Watermelons don’t like to be thumped anymore than you do!
Check out these other recipes…
Using a Dehydrator to Make Shelf Stable Ground Beef
- 1 watermelon
- Cut watermelon and remove flesh from the rind. Cut the flesh into pieces as close to 1/4" thickness as you can. Remove seeds if possible.1 watermelon
- Place on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135 degrees for ten forevers (18-24 hours) or until watermelon jerky is sufficiently dry and breaks when you bend it.
- Store in an airtight container.
To see the Excalibur dehydrator I currently use, click here. For a complete collection of dehydrators offered by Amazon, click here.
I absolutely love watermelon jerky. However, I see two main things I disagree with in this recipe:
1. I personally feel that 1/4 inch is too thin. I prefer a chewy jerky which I get from 1/2 inch instead of chips which I get from 1/4 inch.
2. I think the seeds are AMAZING. They provide a nice crunch, make it look more appealing, and they are really healthy for you. If anything I try to avoid seedless watermelon when getting watermelons for jerky.
Again, these are preferences of mine. If you prefer a seedless thinner chip-like jerky, more power to you!
I just got a dehydrator. I have dehydrated some apples and pineapple so far. This is definitely a patience art. You don’t know what it is going to taste like for hours and hours and…. I digress. Loved your sacred thought. Trying the watermelon today. Might add a little salt first.
Dehydrating surely tests our patience but the results pay off. Thank you for commenting on the sacred thoughts. We all can use a little more sacred in our lives. Blessings to you and yours 🙂
I hope to purchase a dehydrator in the next week or two, looking forward to lots of fun working things out. As to the soapbox moment – I just addressed this very thing with my oldest(single) son who was lamenting on how hard it is to develop a lasting relationship. His father and I have been married 40+ years and it’s the type relationship he aspires to. I commented to him, though my generation is far from perfect it appears to me his generation leads with sex first, relationship second. I told him I felt that is the cart before the horse. That sex is no longer considered sacred. It is the most intimate relationship God has established between humans. To take it out of the context God intended it for, is to take away its sacredness. no wonder modern relationships do not survive. You do not even really “know” on a nonsexual level the person you are jumping into bed with. Next time, try to develop the nonsexual relationship first and let the rest follow. Lo’ and behold, he has just started dating a woman who felt the same way and they are working on the relationship part first, of course – the rest of the story is not for me to know.
Hi Christy! I haven’t made a comment in a good long long while!
I want to give this a try but my Excalibur Dehydrator just got packed up and is buried in the cargo trailer for our next trip to our new home in Tennessee! Whew, moving during this mess has been quite the challenge. We are looking forward to our retirement years and getting away from these cold Ohio winter’s!
I also will be tickled when I find the box that has my cookbooks in, I have 2 of yours and they are well used and loved. You have a wonderful day sweetie. ❤
8it is Janusry and now I feel the need to hunt down a watermellon! Got a dehydrator for Christmas and in love with it.
You are going to enjoy it so much!!! I love mine, there is so much you can make with it!!
Hello…… I read your article on sacred and why we need sacred things and would like to post it on my fb page so others may read it also. I will declare that this is your writing but it rang true ti my heart and so I am sharing it. May I have your permission to do so?
I made this, but it turned out bitter…any tips? ideas? Hubby tasted the melon prior and it was normal/sweet.
First off, I’m sorry this turned out that way! I’ve never had this happen so I’m afraid I’m at a loss. My hope is that someone else may figure it out, see this comment, and offer a solution. When I make it, it has always tasted like jolly rancher watermelon candy. My first thought was that it was the melon but like you said, that was sweet beforehand. I wonder if the temp might have gotten a bit on the high side and that adversely affected it?