Watermelon Jerky

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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.

A plate of watermelon jerky

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!

Watermelon

Recipe Ingredients

  • Watermelon

How to Make Watermelon Jerky

Remove rind from watermelon.

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.

The rind removed.

Voila!

Slice wedge into thin slices.

Then I slice that wedge into thinner slices.

The thinner the better.

Cut into smaller slices.

Cut those up into smaller pieces still.

Lay pieces out on lined dehydrator trays.

Lay them out on your dehydrator trays that have been lined with parchment paper or fruit leather sheets.

Place sheets in dehydrator.

Load up your dehydrator.

Watermelon in dehydrator.

Put the door on.

Set temperature to fruit.

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.

Plate of watermelon jerky.

Then… ENJOY!

Storage

When stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place like your kitchen pantry, the dehydrated watermelon will last up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes

Want to add some flavoring? For zesty jerky, brush the watermelon strips with lime juice before dehydrating. For spicy jerky, toss them in a dash of paprika. 

Recipe FAQs

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…

For Dehydrating

Dehydrating Peaches

Tomato Chips

Using a Dehydrator to Make Shelf Stable Ground Beef

With Watermelon

Watermelonade

Watermelon Jerky

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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jerky, watermelon
Calories: 135kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 watermelon

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

 

To see the Excalibur dehydrator I currently use, click here. For a complete collection of dehydrators offered by Amazon, click here.

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126 Comments

  1. If I don’t own a food dehydrateder can I use my oven? If I can use my oven to make the watermelon jerky, what temperature do I set the ovenonand for how long do I cook it?

  2. Tried to share watermelon jerky to facebook and did not do anything. Put on my pinterest page and went right on it. Any ideas. Love your writing and recipes. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for all the great recipes. i have had a dehydrator for years and never used it yet. since i love watermelon i will be drying some. Also thanks for the wonderful soapboxes. Love them too.

  4. As always, love the soapbox today. You really hit the nail on the head. What a great recipe too!

    1. I like to make “jerky”out or cantaloupe too. It doesn’t take quite as long to dry but it still takes awhile!

  5. Just want to add my “thank you” to all those who appreciated your soapbox talk today.

    1. Love the soapbox today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Many blessings to you and your family.

  6. Just competed dehydrating a watermelon – using a round dehydrator with white plastic trays with a lattice style open bottom. I have questions for an expert – That’s you my friend – The watermelon tastes amazing. It seems to have become one with the trays and grid. After a good tug of war I won. I cannot put parchment on these trays per the manufactor. Non stick spray seems like a bad idea. Any other recommendations to stop sticking??? Thank you for helping me bless my family with great foods.

    1. I know exactly the dehydrator you are talking about and here is my solution ;). By the way, bless you for calling me an expert! lol. They sell dehydrator sheets that line your trays and are flexible for things like this, you can just bend them and it peels off. However, that material is really the same thing as plastic canvas that you can get in the craft department at walmart or any craft store. My solution, when I used a round dehydrator, was to go buy large sheets of plastic canvas and cut them to fit the trays, including cutting a hole in the middle of them. I think this would work perfectly for ya. Also, on the parchment, the reason they don’t want you to use that is that it inhibits air flow and will slow the dehydration. This is especially important when dealing with meats due to bacterial issues. I would think you could cheat a little and do it with fruit. Maybe even poke holes in the parchment to help with the process, and be sure you rotate your trays often while dehydrating. I hope this was helpful in some way!

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