Wednesday, February 2, 2022

How to Make Onion Powder at Home

Learn how to make onion powder at home.  Whether you grow your own onions or buy them from the farmer's market, homemade onion powder has more flavor.  You'll know that you're eating fresh onion powder from flavorful onions for the best tasting food.

How to Make Dry Onion Powder

I am blessed to live near Amish bulk food stores.  I can't imagine buying herbs and spices from the grocery store anymore.  

They have row after row of herbs and spices that taste so much better than anything you will find at your local grocery store.

I've been growing my own herbs for a few years now.  I dry them to use in recipes, and there is a big difference in taste when you grow your own.  Learn how to do container gardening with herbs on your patio.

We used to not bother with growing onions, but I started a few years ago to have homegrown onions for my old fashioned dill pickle recipe and other canning recipes.  

The taste difference between store bought onions and home grown onions is incredible.  Even though I only plant a small patch of onions, we love having them.

You can also learn how to make onion powder at home to preserve your onions.  I'll also have directions for how to make onion salt from onion powder and dried minced onions.

For more recipes to cook from scratch, check out these posts:

Keep track of your made from scratch recipes with my printable recipe binder kit.

Can You Make Onion Powder?

Yes, learning how to dry onion powder is incredibly easy.  You'll just need to dry the onions and then grind them up.

What Are the Ingredients in Onion Powder?

Homemade onion powder is just onions.  No filler and no preservatives.  You can add salt to make onion salt if you want to make that.  

How to Dry Onions for Onion Powder

You can dry your onions one of several ways at home.  I prefer using a food dehydrator, but you can also dry onions in the oven, freeze dryer, or air fryer.

The freeze dryer takes a long time, and it smells like onions afterwards.  The air fryer and oven also work well, but I think it's just easier to use the dehydrator.

Learn about freeze dry vs dehydrated and the pros and cons of each method.

How to Dry Onions in Air Fryer

The air fryer works really well for dehydrating.  I used it to make dehydrated blueberries in the air fryer, dried banana chips in the air fryer, and air fryer apple chips.

I have the PowerXL air fryer and love the tray for dehydrating foods.

Here's how to dry onions in an air fryer:

  • Peel the onions and cut the onions into small pieces.  
  • Spread the onion pieces on the rack of the air fryer.  Try to spread them out as much as possible so the air can flow.
  • Set the temperature to 125 degrees F and air fry for four hours.  
  • I stir the onions every 15 to 30 minutes so they dry evenly.  

How to Dry Onions in a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

The Harvest Right freeze dryer is the best way to dry onions because they will be completely dry.  However, the onions can make it smell like onions for the next load.  I put bread on top of the onions to absorb some of the smell and then make croutons or breadcrumbs from the bread.

Here's how to dry onions in a freeze dryer:

  • Peel the onions and chop into small pieces.
  • Place the onions on the trays.  Add no more than 2.5 pounds per tray for the medium Harvest Right.
  • Follow the prompts to dry the onions.

Freeze drying onions takes about 45 hours, so it's a long process.  You can prefreeze them to save a little bit of time.

You can learn more about how to freeze dry fruit, how to freeze dry cheese, how to freeze dry tomatoes, how to freeze dry eggs, how to make freeze dried strawberries, or how to make freeze dried apples at home.

How to Dry Onions in Oven

You can also learn how to make onion powder in oven.  The oven is an easy way to dry your onions.

To dry onions in the oven, follow these steps:

  • Peel the onions and chop into small pieces.
  • Spread the onions in a thin layer on a baking sheet.  I line it with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 140 degrees F until dry.  Stir the onions every 30 minutes to help them dry evenly.

Depending on your onions and your oven, this can take from 6 to 10 hours.  Definitely plan to start this in the morning.

How to Dry Onions in Food Dehydrator

The food dehydrator is my preferred method for learning how to dry onions for onion powder.  I have a Nesco food dehydrator.  It's affordable and works really well.

Learn how to dry onions for onion powder with a food dehydrator:

  • Peel and chop the onions.  
  • Place the diced onions on the dehydrator trays.  
  • Turn on the dehydrator to 125 degrees F.  Let dry for 18 to 24 hours until dry.

I don't stir the onions when I use a food dehydrator, but sometimes you will have to move trays around.  Generally, you'll want to switch the bottom and top trays if you stack a lot of trays.

What's the Difference Between Onion Powder and Onion Salt?

Homemade onion powder is just a powder made of onions.  Onion salt is a combination of onion powder and table salt.

If you buy onion salt in the store, the onion granules are usually larger.

How Do You Make Onion Salt at Home?

To learn how to make onion salt from onion powder, simply combine equal parts of your homemade onion powder and table salt.  

I recommend reserving some ground onion before it becomes a fine powder so it's about the same size as the salt.  However, you can use the smaller particles.

How Do You Make Minced Onions at Home?

I also like to make minced onions when I dry onions.  I add them to soups and to my slow cooker roasts.  You'll dry the onions the same way, but you won't grind the onions into fine particles or a powder.

You can either reserve the small pieces that you chopped or use a food processor to pulse them into small flakes.

How Long Does Homemade Onion Powder Last?

When you learn how to make dry onion powder, it will last about 6 months on the shelf.  It can draw moisture from the air, so be sure to keep it in an airtight container.  If you live in a humid area, the shelf life may be shorter.

I love these glass spice jars.  They have labels and make it so easy to organize your spices.

I keep extra onion powder in a mason jar and vacuum seal it with my Food Saver mason jar attachment.  This helps prevent moisture from getting into the homemade onion powder.  

You can also package it in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber for long term storage.

If it loses its smell or taste, the color is off, or it clumps, it is not good.  

See my list of essential herbs and spices for pantry to see what I use the most.

Tips for Learning How to Make Dry Onion Powder

Here are some tips for better success:

  • Reserve your onion peels and scraps.  Save them in a bag in the freezer to use for homemade Instant Pot chicken broth.
  • Try to get your onions cut in uniform pieces.  This will help them dry better.
  • If you use the air fryer or oven, you'll need to stir the onions to help them dry.
  • The more humidity or larger the pieces of onions, the longer they will take to dry.
  • I prefer to use a mortar and pestle for a finer powder.  You can also use a food processor.
  • When your onions are dry, you can save larger pieces for soups and cooking.  Pulse into flakes for dried onion flakes, and then turn into a powder.
  • Make onion salt with larger pieces of dried onion and salt combined 1 to 1.
  • Store in an airtight container.  Vacuum seal a mason jar for longer storage. 
  • Do not store in the fridge because the dry onion powder will absorb moisture from the air.
  • Three small onions will make about 1/2 cup of homemade onion powder.

Homemade Onion Powder Ingredients

To learn how to make onion powder at home, you will need:

  • 3 small onions
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Food dehydrator, air fryer, or oven
  • Mortar and pestle or food processor

How to Make Homemade Onion Powder

Step #1

Peel and dice the onions.  Chop into small pieces and try to make them uniform for even drying.

Step #2

Place the diced onions on the tray of the dehydrator.

Step #3

Set the dehydrator to 125 degrees F and let dry for 18 to 24 hours or until dry.  

Step #4

Once the onions are dry, place the dried onions in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to make onion powder.

Step #5

Place the homemade onion powder in an airtight container.  

Now you know how to dry onions for onion powder and how to make homemade onion powder.  I hope you enjoyed this recipe.

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