During the summer months we constantly get emails saying, “Help! I just got a million pounds of [insert fruit of your choice here] what can I make with it??” If that’s you, this should be at the top of your list! And even if you don’t have a million pounds of anything, it should still be a the top of your list. You can use just about any fruit, and it’s perfect for those things that are just a little too ripe to eat any other way. My kids LOVE homemade fruit roll-ups (which is a way more appetizing name than fruit leather, so we’re going to say roll-ups, okay?) Now, I have absolutely nothing against pre-packaged foods. Heck, my 14 month old ate like 7 packs of fruit snacks before I even got dressed this morning. I’m not one of those moms who makes everything from scratch- but, it’s sure nice to do sometimes. I do like to encourage my kids to eat healthy, wholesome food, and it’s a bonus when they can help make it. Besides the fact that these taste simply amazing, you control exactly what goes in there, and I love that. No artificial colors or flavors or preservatives, just perfectly wonderful fruit and the amount of sweetener you like. I’m telling you; whether your 5 or 95, you’ll love eating fruit roll-ups!
You can use just about any fruit or fruit combination you can imagine. I got loads of raspberries and a few peaches yesterday from my sweet friend Carolyn, and we had some strawberries on hand already. I’ve never had a bad fruit combo, so play around and see what you like! And while this is fabulous with fresh fruit, you can also use frozen, or even fruit you’ve canned.
Prepare Fruit: Make sure your fruit is washed and then roughly chop just so you can measure. If you’re into measuring, that is. If you’re not into measuring than this recipe is totally for you since it really doesn’t matter if you measure or not! Those of you who need a number, you’ll need about 3 cups fruit for a standard size rimmed baking sheet (13×18, or 13×15). I always do a little more than that just so I have plenty and can make it as thick as I want. Toss the extra in a smoothie.
Sweeten: If your fruit is naturally sweet enough, you don’t even have to add anything. I always add a little somethin’ somethin’ to mine. You can use granulated sugar, honey, or even splenda or agave syrup. I’m going to add a little honey to my peach-strawberry mix. I added about 3-4 tablespoons. You can also add ground spices and extracts at this point. Keep in mind that flavors and sweetness intensify after drying, so less is more. For light colored fruits, add about 2 teaspoons lemon juice to prevent browning. You can add lemon juice to any fruit combo just to brighten the flavor.
Puree: Many (actually, most) recipes for fruit leathers/roll-ups have you simmer the fruit on the stove first. I used to do that until I realized I didn’t really have to- and you all know I will avoid dirtying a dish if I can! So just pop it all in a food processor so you can get it nice and smooth. This picture below is actually of my raspberry batch. I did all raspberries with white sugar and almond extract. Holy heaven-in-a-food-processor:
Taste the mixture after it’s smooth and add more sweetener if you need to. You need to be able to pour this mixture, so if you puree your fruit and it’s pretty thick, just add a little liquid. You can add water, or fruit juice.
Line Pans: Okay, technically this step should happen at the beginning, but whatever. Just be sure to line your pan. You’ll notice in the photo above, I’ve lined my pan with plastic wrap. While these are going in the oven, the temperature is so low it won’t melt the plastic, BUT- DON’T USE CHEAP PLASTIC WRAP. I need to make that clear. Use good quality plastic wrap, not a bargain brand; some packages even specify for use in a microwave. Others are so flimsy and cheap that you might run the risk of them melting at such a low heat. Use good stuff and you’ll be fine. Just cover the entire pan with plastic and smooth out any wrinkles. You don’t want a ton of overhang, so trim if you need to, but make sure to leave at least an inch or two of overhang because it will kind of shrink up in the oven. Leave the edges loose (as in, don’t tighten them around the pan.) You can also use a silicone baking mat like in the strawberry batch below. Both silicone and plastic wrap work the best in my opinion. The fruit will stick to both foil and parchment so I don’t recommend those. If you do decide to try it, you need to spray it with non-stick spray or brush it with vegetable oil first. I think plastic and silicone really work the best so go with one of those.
Spread Puree: Use an offset spatula to gently spread the mixture in an even layer. The more evenly you spread, the more evenly it cooks. Keep the mixture away from the edges like in the photo below. You’ll want it about 1/8″ thick. Your puree should be thin enough that it pours, but thick enough to stay put where you spread it.
Cook: Set your oven temperature to the lowest setting. Mine is 170, many ovens will go down to 140. 170 works great, and it will be a little faster than 140. You’re basically just warming the air, helping the fruit dry faster. You can actually place the trays outside in the sun as well, but it does take much longer than the oven. And if you have a food dehydrator, obviously just follow the instructions for your machine.
This is where you will have to be patient. It takes about 6-8 hours, sometimes longer, for it to dry. If you aren’t going to be at home and you don’t want to leave your oven on, just keep the oven door shut and turn it off while you’re gone. Turn it back on when you get back and it will just keep on drying. I often make this in the evening and leave it in the oven for a few hours, then turn the oven heat off when I go to bed, and turn it back on in the morning until it’s done. You can test it by touching the center of the fruit mixture- it should not stick to your finger, and not indent when you touch it. The edges will cook faster than the center; if the edges look like they’re getting crispy, you can cut those off later, or brush them with a little water or juice during the baking process to rehydrate. Or if you overbake the entire pan, you can also brush with a little water until it’s pliable again.
See how thin that is? You can see right through it.
I never thought fruit roll-ups could be gorgeous, but this raspberry one is gor-ge-ous! You can certainly strain out the seeds before cooking, but I happen to think straining raspberry seeds is a huge pain in the rear and I love the little bit of texture it gives to the final product.
Remove: You can peel it off the plastic or baking mat while it’s still warm, it should come off easily.
Roll: You can wrap it right back up in the plastic, or cut a sheet of parchment to fit.
I like to use a pizza cutter and trim all of the edges (my kids love to eat that part) so I have nice clean lines to work with. Because I’m a freak like that. If you have a good (clean) pair of scissors, you could roll the whole sheet and then just snip all the way through the roll. If you’re like me and have 14 pairs of crappy scissors, none of which you can ever find when you actually need them, then cut into strips and then roll them up i ndividually. Or if you want large rolls of fruit, you can do it that way. I love these little one-inch segments because they’re a great size for kiddos.
Most of the little rolls will stay rolled, but if they need help, you can always attach a little piece of tape, or a twist tie to keep them all bundled up.
They make yummy little treats in lunch boxes
Or healthy snacks (for Mom and Dad too!)
Since the drying process is long, fit as many pans in your oven as you can! We love to do all different colors and flavors and experiment with flavor combinations.
It’s also a good idea to make lots because these will be gone in a heart beat.
If stored well (I like to keep them in a mason jar) these can stay fresh up to several weeks.
Or so I’ve heard. I’ve honestly never had them last more than a few days.
Okay, one day. About an hour unless I hide the jar.
You can also freeze them.
Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups
2 1/2 – 3 cups ripe or slightly over-ripe diced fruit
sweetener to taste: honey, sugar, agave, etc.
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
optional: seasonings, spices, extracts to taste
Preheat oven to lowest temperature. 140° or higher. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat (don’t use foil, parchment, or waxed paper), and spread to 1/8″ thick. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 hours, until center is not tacky anymore. Remove from oven and peel off of baking sheet. Cut into strips and roll in parchment or plastic. Store in airtight container or freeze.
-All fruits will produce slightly different results. Strawberries and Raspberries are two of my favorites, that consistently produce good flavor and texture. You might have to experiment to find what works well. If you’re going to make a giant batch, you may want to test one first to make sure it works well.
– The addition of sugar or honey enhances the texture and makes the fruit roll ups a little more chewy than if you leave it out.
– If using plastic wrap, it will shrink a little as the fruit dries, so do leave a little extra around the edges. A silicone baking mat works the absolute best in my opinion.
loved reading your fruit roll up recipe. I laughed about the 14 pairs of crappy scissors because that is so typical of the average mom’s home! I have a hubby who loves fresh made juice and I hate to through all that good pulp into the compost, so I thought I’d try my food un-enthusiast hand at roll ups for the kids. Thanks for sharing.
So i found a link to this recipe via pinterest, and I would so LOVE to make my own fruit roll ups, but I cannot have strawberry seeds, raspberry seeds, blackberry seeds, and so on. If i wanted to use those fruits, how could I go about straining them out?? Thanks!
Just pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Stir as you go and remove the seeds.
We’re making “candy sushi” at my 10-year-old son’s birthday party and was wondering how to get a large piece of fruit roll-up for the “seaweed.” This is perfect – he and I will make it ahead of time and doing it from scratch will make the whole adventure even more fun (and now a little…little…healthier!). Thanks!
When I make my rollups I puree pears or apples to the texture of applesauce. I add 1 small package of any flavor of Jello gelatin to 2 cups of fruit. Then dehydrate.
I was shopping just yesterday and thought “I should try to find some dried fruit for myself, my husband and my baby” but I didn’t end up finding any. Now I can just make my own! Thanks! I’m excited to get started.
Made these and they were delicious. Thanks! When my mom made some similar to this growing up, she would just leave the pan outside on a hot summer day rather than using the oven. Totally going to try that when it warms up again.
Would taste good with Bananas?
You’d have to experiment- I’ve never done banana!
I just did raspberry, blackberry, and banana! It was delish. I also did mango, apricot, and the juice of one orange. Awesome. Xo
This looks delicious! i will have to try this with the kids. Has anyone tried letting kids use cookie cutters to make shapes instead of cutting them into strips for roll-ups? (They will love eating them either way, of course!)
I’m so glad I came across this. Mine are in the oven now. I used strawberries, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, and a hint of honey. I hope they cme out good. In the mean time I’ll have to be patient. Thank you.
My favorite when I was growing was strawberry rhubarb I’ll have to make some
Do you thing oranges would work for this? Or will they be too watery? Thanks for the help and great ideas!
OMG.. I am so looking forward to me and my 9 year old daughter (Libby) making these and handing them out at our family Christmas gathering this year.. I think Im going to add this activity in our advent calendar.. Thank you so much for your blog “LOOOVVE IT” you gals are the best 😉
Absolutely love your post. You cook like I do. Everything is an experiment. We must be related somewhere back in history. Thanks for the easy recipe, can’t wait to try my variation of it!
Used to buy roll-ups all the time as a kid, but then I moved to a country that doesn’t sell them. I can’t wait to try this!
Are the degrees for the oven in Fahrenheit or Celsius? I’m guessing Fahrenheit, but getting it wrong would be awful!
I just wanted to say, “Thanks a ton!” I’ve really been trying to cut out as much of the artificial ingredients from my children’s food as possible and I think this is the perfect way to cut out dyes and sugars while still giving them a yummy treat! I am SO EXCITED to try this!!
Thank you so much for posting this. My sister made some a bit ago and brought them for us so try when she came to Utah to visit. SOO yummy. she told me how she made it and it seemed easy enough for me so I went shopping yesterday for fruit just so i could make some today. I cut up too much fruit, but i actually did pretty well without actually looking you up. its in the oven and i decided to look up this post to make sure i did it right, and i got a ton of ideas from ya. Thank you so much for inspiring my sister, and now me. SO excited to try my apple/grape, and strawberry/kiwi/pineapple fruit leather in… 3 hours and counting 🙂
fresh fruit isn’t in season right now where i live, but i made a BUTT load of jam this year, can i make it out of that?
I just made several batches (my first attempt) and found that I much prefer using plastic wrap (even better than my silicone baking sheet) — because I can roll the finished product up in the plastic, cut with a pizza cutter and it’s good to go! No extra step in cutting parchment. I like that you can spray over-dried fruit with water to rehydrate anything that got left in the oven too long. I had great success with spiced applesauce, raspberry/apple and raspberry/pear. Not so much success with cantaloupe. It was a very thin puree and dried out with holes in it and the flavor isn’t great. It might be better in combination with other fruits.
Thanks for posting this!! I can’t wait to make them this week while my kids are out of school for fall break! They are going to LOVE them 🙂
I made these tonight and they are great and so easy! Thanks you so much! I also used just a smidgen of honey and 1/4 tsp. of stevia. Then when the kiddo wasn’t looking I threw in a tomato and half an avocado. He has no idea and he is the pickiest eater ever 🙂 Thanks again.
i wanna do candy sushi and here in germany you dont get “fruit roll ups”
So i need green roll ups. What do you think, I wanna take apples and color them with green food coloring. Will it work?
Just wondering what size your silicone mats were?
This is probably a duh question but did you peel the peaches first?
Yep, I peeled them, but someone else left a comment saying they left the peels on and it worked fine so you could try that!
What a wonderful idea! Do you think frozen fruit will work? I froze a bunch of strawberries this summer and want to use them if they will work. I worry they will be watery when thawed?
Got mine in the oven! I’m so excited to try them 🙂
Have you ever made grape fruit roll ups? I have a TON of grapes!
Maybe a stupid question, but do you use convection or just bake?
I can’t believe how easy this was! Thanks so much for the tutorial!
We often do apple too — and that is one of our favs!
I love this idea! I wish I had it in hand back when I was collecting strawberries and raspberries by the bucketful! Now I will wait to find a good deal at the store and make them. I know that my kids will flip for this recipe! I plan to share a link and a picture on my Sunday 9/18 Links to Love post over at http://www.momof6.com.
Thanks for sharing this!