You can make these chips in a dehydrator or in your oven set at low. They are a truly easy low carb snack which satisfies the cravings for those salty, crunchy high-carb chip options!Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
By Dorothy Stainbrook, with video by Tesla Stainbrook. This post may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure
Dehydrator vs Oven-Baked
The dehydrator is basically just a low temperature oven which circulates the air throughout, so that the food dries evenly top to bottom and side to side (similar to a convection oven). The idea is to “slowly” remove moisture from foods, and crisp the food rather than “cook” it.
The advantage of a dehydrator is that it is easier to get consistency and you don’t have to worry about burning them or having the edges turn brown like in an oven.
The down side of a dehydrator vs the oven is time. It takes around 12 hours to dry chips in a dehydrator, compared to 3-4 hours in the oven. That means thinking ahead a bit when using a dehydrator. You don’t want to get up at 3 am to turn it off….like I did.
I find you can also moderate the exact temperature better in a dehydrator. I dry most everything at 135 degrees, which seems to be the sweet spot for crispy dried produce. This will vary of course, based on how thick you slice things, and how much water is in the produce.
So to summarize, I prefer the dehydrator because of the higher level of control over the final product. Time being the main down side. My favorite dehydrator is the American Harvest. There are some that are not as expensive however. If you choose another one, just make sure it has a temperature setting that you can control and the ability to add trays in the future.
Using a Mandolin vs a Knife
One of the keys to successful salt and vinegar cucumber chips is consistency of the thickness. If you are extremely talented with a knife, you may be able to get consistent, thin slices. I personally am not that skilled with a knife.
The thickness of the slices will determine how long to dry the chips and how crispy they will become. A good mandolin allows you to set the thickness of the slices, and is much quicker than a knife (once you get it down).
There are many brands of mandolins, and some are very inexpensive. I like the French de Buyer Mandolin (photo below) because of the range of control you have over the thickness or thinness of the slices. I also like it due to safety. It has legs which make it stable on the counter, and a knob that keeps your fingeres away from the very sharp blades.
The disadvantage of a mandolin is the cost. If you already have a knife and don’t want another kitchen tool, just make sure your knife is very sharp and keep your fingers away when slicing things thinly.
Other Low Carb Snacks to Make in Dehydrator
Once you get the hang of drying food, the preservation world really opens up. You can dry fruit, vegetables and even meat.
I grow and dry chile peppers and spices, which keep for a year and are much better than store-bought spices.
My daughter loves to dry vegetables. One of her favorites are these dried beet chips.
Try your hand with fruit roll-ups, jerkey, or dried berries. It’s a great way to make use of the food you grow yourself or pick up at the farmers’ market
Check out our facebook group called Grow Your Own Food at Home. We talk about preserving food and it’s a great community!
Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Chips
- 2 Medium Cucumbers
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tsp Vinegar Apple cider vinegar or your favorite
- Slice cucumbers very thin, trying to get consistent thickness so they will dry evenly. Use a mandolin slicer if available for best results. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a very sharp knife.
- Pat cucumber slices dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Place cucumbers in fairly large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss together gently but thoroughly to combine.
- For dehydrator: Place cucumber slices on trays and dry at 135°F for 12 hours or until they reach your desired crispiness (start checking them at 10 hours).For oven: Place slices on parchment lined baking tray. Dry at 175°F for 3-4 hours, checking every hour to ensure they don’t brown around the edges or burn. Turn them over half way through. Allow slices to cool before serving.