Guest Recipe: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

This is a guest recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.


Homemade mango and lime fruit-roll ups

When I was a kid, my mother would hardly ever buy the same treats everyone else had in their school lunches. At lunch time, we’d all put our brown bags on the table, and although the plain bags looked the same from the outside, my friends would unveil the contents of their bags like little magicians each pulling out treats more wondrous than the one before. Then, of course, the trading would begin.

“I’ll give you a Little Debbie for that Twinkie!”

“I’ve got Cracker Jacks! Anyone have Oreos?”

“I have a carob covered rice cake. Anyone? Anyone?”

That would have been me, trying my best to unload my unsweetened natural “treats” off to anyone who would take them. But it never worked. And of course when fruit roll-ups became the hot item, my mother was more than happy to buy me the “fruit leathers” from the health food store. They were thick little squares of leathery dehydrated fruit product. They were not red, shiny, or sweet. And most importantly, they did not actually roll up.

“It’s not the same!” I’d moan.

“It sure isn’t,” she’d say. You take a look at that fruit-roll up box next time, and if you can pronounce even half of the ingredients, I’ll buy the box for you. Fruit leathers might not be red and shiny, and they might not even roll up, but they are made of fruit.”

Smart lady, my mother. And of course when it was time to feed my own children, I stuck to the same logic my mother taught me. Because even though my girls will occasionally ask if they can please please please get this sweet-and-shiny-treat-in-a-wrapper-with-a-princess-on-it-and-a-prize-inside!, I just can’t throw that box in the cart. We eat plenty of treats in our family, but I still hold to the rule that the ingredients should be pronounceable, and fruit roll-ups certainly don’t make the cut.

My girls aren’t too thrilled for fruit leathers either, but luckily, I’ve found a way to make fruit roll-ups at home that are sweet, shiny, and totally rollable. I love to throw together whatever fruits I have on hand–even frozen berries work well, and I’ll often mix multiple fruits or throw in a bit of spice. All that’s required is a fruity puree and either a dehydrator or a low oven to transform it into a sticky delicious sheet of fruity goodness worthy of even the most exciting lunchbox.

Homemade PantryIn my book, The Homemade Pantry, I have a fruit-roll up recipe that involves giving your fruit a few minutes on the stove to soften and cook before dehydrating it. That works well, but lately I’ve also gotten into the habit of  leaving fruits raw and just throwing them in the blender, which I do with the two recipes that follow. If you’re working with a fruit with seeds (like blackberries) you can pass the puree through a sieve for a smoother fruit roll-up. You can make fruit roll-ups in a dehydrator or a very low oven, but the dehydrating time will vary depending on what you use.

A few notes on dehydrators: I have this Nesco unit, and it works well. I find that most of us who have the cheap, round, white models seem to covet the aptly named Excalibur – square, majestic, faster, and without the challenges that come up around doing anything on a tray the shape of a tire. If you really want to go for it, there are also a few pricey stainless steel models out there that do all the good work without the slowly heated plastic leaching chemicals into your food. Someday, someday. But until then, the cheap, round, white model does the job.

Homemade mango and lime fruit-roll ups

 

Mango Lime Fruit Roll-Ups

This is a guest Recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.
4.8 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs
Total Time: 6 hrs 5 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 1 fruit roll up

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups mango peeled and chopped (about 2 mangos)
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed (from about 3 limes)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or more, to taste

Instructions
 

  • If you have a dehydrator: lightly oil the solid sheets of the dehydrator. You can also line them with parchment paper. If you're using an oven: line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will go. It shouldn't be above 175 degrees.
  • Combine the mango, lime, applesauce and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust for sweetness. The puree should be the texture of thin baby food. If it's too thick, add a bit of water.
  • Pour a very thin layer of the puree on the prepared trays of the dehydrator or the baking sheets. Dehydrate according to your machine's instructions, or dry in the oven for at least six hours, but up to twenty hours. When the fruit roll-ups are done, they should be just barely sticky.
  • Cut into strips (keep them lined with parchment if that's how you dehydrated them), and seal in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a month.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Mango Lime Fruit Roll-Ups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 779 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 17mg1%
Potassium 1439mg41%
Carbohydrates 204g68%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 184g204%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 7210IU144%
Vitamin C 269.7mg327%
Calcium 85mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

Strawberries

 

Spicy Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

This is a guest Recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.
4.8 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs
Total Time: 6 hrs 5 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 1 fruit roll up

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds strawberries hulled
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon gives a nice bite, and 1/2 teaspoon gives a spicy, adults only fruit roll-up. Of course, you can leave the cayenne out, but I find the spice makes a fruit roll-up that grownups love, too).

Instructions
 

  • If you have a dehydrator: lightly oil the solid sheets of the dehydrator. You can also line them with parchment paper. If you're using an oven: line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will go. It shouldn't be above 175 degrees.
  • Combine the the strawberries, applesauce, honey, lemon juice, and cayenne in the blender. Blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust for spice and sweetness.
  • Pour the strawberry mixture onto the trays of the dehydrator or the baking sheets, making sure that you create a very thin layer. Dehydrate until the sheets are just barely sticky. In the round models, this could take as long as 24 hours, but in the Excalibur or the oven, it can be as quick as 6 or 7 hours.
  • Cut into strips (keep them lined with parchment if that's how you dehydrated them), and seal in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a month.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Spicy Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1019 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 26mg1%
Potassium 1837mg52%
Carbohydrates 267g89%
Fiber 24g100%
Sugar 230g256%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 460IU9%
Vitamin C 550.8mg668%
Calcium 175mg18%
Iron 5.6mg31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

AlanaAlana Chernila writes about food and family on eating from the ground up and wrote the book The Homemade Pantry.

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60 thoughts on “Guest Recipe: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups”

  1. 4 stars
    Hey Lisa, thank you for this article.

    Food dehydrators are a blessing.

    If you are able to dry your food properly, all the taste will remain in the food. This is why it is important to have a procedure before you start and follow it religiously.

    You may think that if you start dehydrating food, you will lose the taste. What really happens is that the taste becomes more concentrated. Consequently, when you dehydrate food, you are removing the water and preserving the flavor.

  2. I read from another recipe not to use parchment paper when making fruit roll ups in the oven. Not sure why? I havn’t tried any recipe yet. Any idea why the other recipe would state that?

  3. Making these {successfully} has seriously been the highlight of my day! After I rolled them up, I added stickers to keep them wrapped. It makes them fun for the kids. :)

  4. 5 stars
    Tried these this weekend and it worked great!! The outside edges, where it was thinner crisped up before the middle was completely dehydrated but the kids like the little bits that broke off anyway. Next time, I might cut the edges off sooner when they are dehydrated and leave the middle until it’s done.

    I decided to cut them into fruit strips for easier storage but the kids didn’t care. Awesome idea and I’ll definitely be doing it again!

    FYI – I used strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, and pineapple (2 lbs total), 1/4 cup of honey (since pineapple adds sweetness), and 2 cups homemade applesauce (that we made in the morning – quite the ambitious weekend!).

    Thanks for the great recipe and an alternative, fun way of getting kids their fruit!

  5. 5 stars
    Mine never seem to be sticky. They go from wet to firm; which dries into fairly tough in my oven on 175. My oldest doesn’t like them because they’re too tough and chewy. I tried not letting them get too dry and then turned the oven off and let it sit overnight. It was still too wet on the underside the next morning. This has definitely become a learning process for me but I’m determined to get it right! Thanks for the idea.

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  7. My family LOVES homemade fruit roll-ups. I just take a pound of in season organic yummy sweet peaches, pit them and throw them skins and all in the blender and spread them on a silicone mat on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 hours at 170 degrees. Only one ingredient and they are so delicious.

    1. Hi Tanya,
      In an oven, it tends to be on the shorter side of the range (6-10 hours), but I’ve found that there’s such variability when it comes to dehydrating in ovens! Start checking at 6 hours, but it might take more time. The rollups should be slightly sticky, but not wet at all.

  8. I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented on your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for novices. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  9. I am attempting to make a version of these in the sun since it will be upper 90’s here! I saw someone did that on another site, so wish me luck :) Also – do you have a suggestion to make dried apricots? I buy them from Aldi, but they have some extra preservatives and stuff I’d like to avoid. My son and I love these as a snack. Do you think I could just chunk up an apricot and lay it out or bake it the same way? Or would you suggest something else? THanks!

  10. These work so well and I make them quite a lot, especially when the kids are at school. I find it get better results if I use the dehydrator over the oven.

    I don’t tend to do any specific mixes – I just save any ratty trimming bits when I am dehydrating fruit (for example when making dried kiwi I will save any squishy or over ripe ones) and all trimmings. and I put it all in the food processor along with some extra fruit, blitz it up and spread it out on the mat and dry it out.

  11. So my fruit roll ups had great taste, but they were crispy instead of chewy on the outer edge and not done in the middle. I am guessing this is a layer issue? Did I put it on too thin? I only cooked them for less than 5 hours too.

    1. Your problem is most likely that you are spreading it too thin at the edges and too thick in the middle.

      What you actually want to do is to make it thicker at the edges (Where it dries faster) and thinner in the middle (Where it dries slower).

      But if it all goes crispy, just break it into shards and call them fruit chips instead of fruit roll ups/fruit leather… kids don’t care, believe me.

  12. OMIGOSH! Just last week (I didn’t see this post till today) I check out The Homemade Pantry from the library….and just last night I landed on the fruit leather recipe, bookmarking it before I fell asleep! How “ko-inky-dink” is THAT?! Love the book, but may not be 100% practical for our lifestyle. You are so sweet, Alana, and it all works nicely for your family. Thanks so much for the book and for this post.

  13. good morning, i would love to purchase your the home made pantry book…as i live in switzerland it is going to be a difficult task to find one….as my youngest daughter lives in the states can she order one or get one in a book store? have a wonderful summer..liz

    1. Hi Liz, Thanks so much! The book is available at Amazon, as well as most other bookstores. If you follow the link above it should get you there.

  14. 5 stars
    I just made the strawberry roll ups today. Delicious! Kids haven’t tried them yet. I made them for a 2-day road trip we are starting tomorrow. I think I poured mine a little too thick as they were in a 175 degree oven for 10 hours and one was still not cooked all the way through. The other one turned out perfectly! And they taste just as good as fruit leathers to me. Can’t wait to see what the kids think. :-) Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! I’m looking forward to trying the mango one as well. And then experimenting with other flavors.

  15. These fruit roll ups look great! I’ll be making them today for my Peeps. I absolutely love your cookbook, and use it all the time. When I first got it, I read it like a novel and giggled the whole time. I also grew up on carob and Brewers yeast, so the stories you told about childhood snacks and lunches really made me laugh! My big childhood “treat” was something called a Beeple Bar that my mother would buy at the co-op. it was a lump of natural peanut butter with mix-ins and then rolled into a log (just imagine what THAT looked like :-). It came in several different varieties, and man, did I long for the one with chocolate chips, but instead it was raisins and sunflower seeds for me. Occasionally Carob chip. Lol! But, despite Beeple bars and natural peanut Buttler and fruit spread sandwiches on Healthnut bread, I am thankful for the standard my mother had when it came to feeding me, and the impact it has had on the way that I feed my own family today.
    ThankS for the post!

    1. Thank you, Emily! And your beeple bars got me laughing. I think for me, it was called a bumble bar? But I know exactly what you’re talking about. :)

  16. I received the coveted Excaliber for my birthday!!! So far I have only made jerky (in THREE HOURS!!) and am drying some herbs. The garden is just coming on though.
    I have made fruit rolls before in my round thingie but went through several of those. These recipes sound awesome! Especially the SB with cayenne.
    I made a V-8 type roll up that was delicious using my excess tomatoes. (48 plants that year haha!) I make green smoothies all the time with veggies and fruit and think the idea would translate well to a roll up. Just experiment, Tamara. I also dried halved cherry tomatoes and named them tomato candy they were THAT sweet. I am the best aunt ever because my niece gets candy before dinner!

  17. We are a new blog, a mother and son team, promoting healthy eating. My son is 15 years old and have made the decision of eating mostly vegetarian. So we came up with this blog, Bok Choy and Broccoli. I was wondering if you do a guest post from other blogs? We are still very new (less than a month and still have few recipes). But if you have time, please take a look at it and do share it in your facebook. Thanks so much!!
    Boots
    www,bokchoyandbroccoli.com

  18. I was excited to see Alana. We love the Homemade pantry at our home. I even recommended it on my blog. Someday I would love to have her post on my blog because I am a HUGE fAN. Everyone should buy her book. We have not made fruit roll ups yet, but everything has been scrumptious and simple. I (yes, Me) made the most heavenly hamburger buns this week for my family and I never I knew a hamburger bun could be heavenly. I love Alana’s book because it helps me be a DIY chef, with real food, and with family pleasers!

  19. Just had a big DUH moment. Your book is sitting on my bookshelf but I didn’t know this was your site! Ha! Ok, have to admit when I tried fruit leather before (in the coveted Excalibur, no less) it came out too hard and stuck to the parchment paper. Must try again. And perhaps oiling the paper is the secret. Duh again!

    1. Hi Michelle! As much as I’m honored to be here today, I actually write over at eatingfromthegroundup.com. I love this site though- such a great resource!
      As for your fruit leather, I’d try oiling your parchment for sure. And if it’s hard, play around with your dehydration times a bit. It should be tacky, but still flexible.

  20. I’ve been making these with my dehydrator for a couple of years now – my favorites have been peach and strawberry. I use a mix of fruit puree and applesauce.

  21. This is great! The Fruit Roll-Ups vs. Fruit Leathers has become a long-standing joke in my family, because I too was the kid who always had Fruit Leathers in my lunchbox. So awesome to know I wasn’t alone!

  22. You just gave me a great idea. I just made some chia seed berry jam this morning, and had three cups leftover that I stuck in the freezer for later. I’m thinking I’m gonna pour it in the dehydrator and see what happens.

    1. Oh- that sounds great. Will you tell us how it goes? I haven’t played around with chia in fruit roll-ups, but now you have me wondering…

    1. I’d definitely use parchment over wax here. And yes- if you’re having sticky issues, you can very lightly oil the parchment. But it might be that you’re not dehydrating it for long enough? It should be just the slightest bit tacky, but not super sticky.

  23. The Homemade Pantry is a staple in my home!! I love it! I’ll have to try these fruit roll ups and see if my kids will like them…they’ve never had a fruit roll up before, so we’ll see.

  24. Looks like I need to get this book=) I was wondering… I have a kiddo who does not like many vegetables so I like to sneak them in where I can. Do you think these would work if it was a fruit/veggie combination? What other fruits would work? Oh man, I am very excited to make these!

    1. Hi Tamara! I haven’t experimented too much with vegetables, but I’m made some really yummy tomato basil roll-ups (I know, tomato is a fruit, but…) I feel like a bit of sweet potato or pumpkin puree could work just like the applesauce does, if you want to try playing with those. And honestly, I’ve never met a fruit that doesn’t make a great fruit roll-up. The key is just to find the combinations you love. But really, sky’s the limit.

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