Do Dehydrators Smell? (No, See Why)

Do Dehydrators Smell? 

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Do Dehydrators Smell? 

Dehydrators are cooking tools used to dry foods. They work by blowing warm air over the food, which removes moisture from it and prevents spoilage.

Dehydrating is often used to preserve fruits and vegetables and meat products, such as beef jerky.

There are many types of dehydrators- they range in price, size and features.

Some have timers while others do not; some have adjustable thermostats, while others operate only at one temperature setting. But, Do Dehydrators Smell?

It is simply not possible to dry all fruits and vegetables in it without adverse effects. 

No! A normal dehydrator will not smell but it will absorb excess heat and moisture from your food, which prevents it from spoiling. However, some foods such as onions, garlic, spinach and peanuts can produce odour since they do not require successful dry in them without creating foul odours.

If you have a new model with advanced features like computer temperature controls, then the risk of spoilage remains very low.

As long as you follow instructions carefully and pay attention to your machine, drying your food in your dehydrator is one of the safest things you can do in your kitchen.

Right after cooking fresh foods, using a dehydrator gives them an extended shelf life. Some foods that are especially susceptible to rapid spoiling include:

  • Vegetable
  • Fruits
  • Herbs
  • Fish meat
  • Poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

It’s normally advisable not to dry red meats because they contain lots of fat and low water content. This makes them heat faster compared to other foods.

The hot air of the dehydrator can sometimes dry out the meat, which may cause meat meals that are tough and chewy, owing to a reduction in moisture content.

You should also dry fish and poultry at low temperatures because they contain large amounts of fat.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the different factors to consider when drying different food, your chances of creating foul odours become minimal.

Does Making Beef Jerky Smell?

Yes . Any time you’re going to make beef jerky with a dehydrator, there’s going to be a lot   — whether it comes from the beef jerky itself or something else in your house.

What does that mean to you? You need to consider:

  • Where you’re going to make it
  • How well you can keep the smell contained
  • Whether you have someone with you who can deal with the situation if it gets tough

It’s really important to prepare yourself first when making beef jerky in the dehydrator.

That being said, here are some things to think about when preparing beforehand (or after taking care of those last-minute details).

Where Can I Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator?

The main thing to keep in mind when making beef jerky is that you’re going to be forcing a lot of air out of the food.

That means that the air doesn’t have to travel very far at the most.

When it comes down to it, where you make your beef jerky will affect how well you can contain the smell outside of a few square feet around your dehydrator.

Especially if there are windows in the room. The following tips will help:

  • Try to pick a room with no windows. Of course, this isn’t always possible
  • Put some distance between yourself and anything else that’s sensitive—like sleeping people or pets.
  • If there’s a breeze blowing, try to put your dehydrator on the side that it’s blowing to.

If not, make sure you can keep the air in the room where you’re making beef jerky with a dehydrator.)

  • If there are other rooms near or connected to the room, you’re going to make beef jerky in. Consider closing those doors too.

You should also know that warm/hot weather is usually worst for smell than cold weather.

So if you have control over your environment (i.e., it’s winter), think about that before choosing when and where to make beef jerky.

Do You Have to Use All the Trays in A Dehydrator?

It depends. The thing that often confuses people is how many trays to use. It depends on what you’re drying.

But if you put too much food in there (too many trays), it can make your food take longer to dry or damage your machine.

Most dehydrators(Amazon Link) come with four or five removable plastic trays for holding sliced foods like strawberries, apples and bananas.

The capacity will range from 7 to 10 pounds depending on the model. If you’re drying a batch of apples, only put in as many trays as you need.

If six trays are in the dehydrator, all will be at about 115 degrees by the time all the moisture dries up from all of them.

The last tray on the top row may dry faster than the others because it cut its airflow off when food blocks it.

If your machine has a fan, it can still circulate air around all the food even if there is too much to fit in one layer.

The fans aren’t necessary for many foods (soak dried beans and split peas instead).

So they don’t have them on some models or all racks spaced out with no open spaces between all the slats.

If all your food piles up in one layer all around the fan, then it can’t keep circulating air throughout all the trays.

So that’s why you only put as much in there as you need to finish all your foods at their recommended times.

If you have a dehydrator with over one fan (often on either side of a shorter set of racks), they will circulate air past all layers even if you fill them all evenly.

You should still space apart from each tray. Space is like a space where you could fit another tray between each full tray.

This will allow airflow, or you’re not getting proper circulation during drying.

Airflow is important because any fruit that dries too quickly overdrives. Then all the cell walls in the food will all break down at once.

This causes all your food to crumble rather than stay intact with all those air pockets you want them to have.

If all your fruit is in a pile, the fan can’t get them all evenly dried. So, make sure each tray has room for some air to move around it as well.

Are Dehydrators Expensive to Run?

No .Most people buy an electric food dehydrator to save money and waste less food.

Besides, most models have a temperature setting that will make fruit leathers or dry herbs dehydrate when dried.

Some more expensive models have temperature probes for monitoring the internal temperature of the dried food.

They also boast timers and automatic shut off switches for convenience. So how much does it cost to run a dehydrator?

Most food dehydrators use about 0.1 kilowatt-hours of electricity per hour ($0.29 – $1.92 per ten hours [$0.03 – $1.20 per 12-hour workday]).

To come up with the cost per kilowatt-hour, I took the electricity prices in my state (Montana), ranging from a low of $0.05 to a high of $0.17 per kilowatt-hour.

The average number is about $0.10. For comparison, the U.S.’s national average for residential electricity is about ten cents higher than Montana’s at about $0.11/kW-hr.

Turn on your dehydrator and turn off all unnecessary lights when you are not home (use timers).

Keep a thermometer inside the room that contains your dehydrator. This allows you to monitor the temperature – especially if it gets humid outside.

If the temperature gets too high, remove trays and stir the food that is drying. Too much heat will spoil or ruin some kinds of food (dry herbs, for example).

Too little heat will make it take longer for dehydrated foods to harden than necessary. Such may change flavour and texture.

Does Jerky Cure Kill Bacteria?

Yes . Curing meat kills bacteria by reducing the amount of oxygen in the air that contacts it.

You can add a cure or mixture of salt, nitrates and nitrites, sugar and spices to draw moisture from the meat and kill harmful bacteria through dehydration.

Nowadays, many commercial jerky producers use Nitrate (E250) as a preservative instead of sodium nitrite (not to be confused with Potassium Nitrite).

The difference between these two is that Sodium Nitrite turns into harmful dioxins when heated over 300°F while nitrate does not.

So, don’t worry about carcinogens. If you are still concerned about carcinogens, then buy Uncured Jerky.

You can also make your Uncured Jerky by marinating the meat in a salt and spice mixture for up to 24 hours before drying.

But what about all the other bacteria on the surface?

They are dormant or dead while dehydrating, but once you put it into high heat like slow cooking or frying, does that Kill Bacteria? The answer is yes.

Not all harmful bacteria die with heating jerky because some bacteria can survive very high temperatures for long periods.

They exposed these particular bacteria to oven-baked bagels at 150C (300F) and then stored them at 0C (32F) for weeks.

The results found that the slow-cooked bagels could still grow bacteria.

So, does Kill Bacteria Apply to Jerky?

It’s not clear if Kill Bacteria also applies to jerky, but heating can destroy it at high temperatures.

(If your recipe calls for frying the jerky, get prepared for some strong meaty flavours.)

After dehydrating, the cooking process should kill most of the harmful bacteria on raw meat.

This is because dehydrating reduces their numbers, and heat kills them off completely.

Can You Cure Jerky Too Long?

No . Good jerky boasts only meat, salt and smoke – nothing more. Here are some tips on how to make great tasting jerky:

  • Don’t overuse cure (cure should be about 2-3% of total weight). Any over 3% is unnecessary and will make your jerky taste salty.
  • Fresh meat works best when making jerky
  • Cut the meat against the grain. The cuts should be thin and uniform. Thickness can vary depending on how tough the meat is, to begin with.

 I like mine about 1/8th inch thick, but go thicker if you want it crunchy and chewy, thinner for a softer jerky (this may make it more fragile during drying).

  • Keep in mind that it will shrink as much as 40%. If your cuts are too small, they will get lost inside the end product after it’s cooked and dried.

Keep this in mind when cutting.

  • Make sure your grill is clean before cooking your meat. Otherwise, you’ll have some flare-ups because of fat dripping into flames.
  • Dry your jerky in an oven and not over direct heat. It’s much easier to control the temperature of an oven than a roaring fire, so keep that in mind.
  • Try marinating before drying (I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m sure it will add some flavour).
  • After it’s dried, it’s done! No need to cook further as the cooking process is already complete. All you’re doing now is just drying.

So, no high temperatures are involved like all those other recipes on Google that call for boiling sugar and salt solutions to tenderize meat.

We use most of these methods with lesser cuts of meat that would be tough.

Do Dehydrators Smell? 

Otherwise, without this boiling down process first because our dryers don’t have high enough heat output used in the jerky recipe process.


Making beef jerky is a great way to save money and get your protein in one shot. Yet, it comes with some tradeoffs you should know before diving into the process.

Dehydrators do not smell! They are also super easy to use.

All you have to do is put food on the trays, turn them on, wait for them to dry out (usually about 8 hours), then remove them from the dehydrator and let them cool fully.

Jerky will cure anywhere between 2 days and three weeks, depending on how salty or sweet you want it.

Be careful when curing too long because bacteria can grow during this time if they were already present in the meat when making jerky.


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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