Even if you’ve never considered making homemade Fruit Roll-Ups before, once you see how easy a fruit leather recipe is, you’ll want to start experimenting—especially while summer fruit is so abundant and delicious.
You remember fruit leather, right? The Fruit Roll-Ups brand popularized the sticky, flat sheets of puréed fruit in the early ’80s, marketing them as fun, healthy snacks for kids. Now, the popular commercial brands are sugary, artificially colored and flavored, and often don’t even contain the fruits they’re supposed to be flavored with.
The good news is you can make your own fruit leather, and you don’t need a food dehydrator to do it. Our recipes are simple: Just purée fruit with a little sweetener like honey or sugar, pour the mixture onto a nonstick baking mat, and bake. Here’s everything you need to know about making these snacks for your kids—or yourself.
Related Reading: How to Dehydrate Fresh Fruit in Your Oven
What You Need to Make Homemade Fruit Leather
Besides your raw ingredients, you’ll need the following equipment to make fruit leather at home:
A high-powdered blender will give you the smoothest puree possible, but a food processor will also work.
Vitamix A2300 Series Ascent Blender, $449.95 from Williams Sonoma
The top of the line if you wan to splurge.
Related Reading on CNET: The Best Blender of 2020
A Fine Mesh Strainer
For getting out any seeds and super stringy bits of pulp that might remain. If you (or your kids) don’t mind a little more texture, you can skip this step! (One exception: You should always remove any apple seeds and cores beforehand.)
OXO Good Grips Fine Mesh Strainer, $19.99 from Amazon
For filtering out unblended bits.
A Silicone Baking Mat
This is our preferred surface for spreading out the fruit puree to be baked into leather, but if you don’t have one, you can use parchment paper instead. (Just don’t use wax paper or aluminum foil; the former may melt in the oven and the latter really sticks to the fruit leather.)
Silpat Silicone Liner, $26.95 from Williams Sonoma
Not just for baking cookies.
Related Reading: The Best Way to Clean a Silicone Baking Mat
A Baking Sheet
For holding your silicone mat or parchment paper, of course. You can also use a cookie sheet.
A Rubber Spatula
This is handy for pushing your puree through the strainer to make sure you get out as much of it as you can, and for spreading it out on the silicone too.
Even if you use a silicone sheet to bake your fruit leather, you’ll want parchment paper for rolling it up and storing; in this case, you can use wax paper instead if you want to.
We prefer these for cutting our fruit leather into strips or shapes, but you can also use a good, sharp knife.
OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears, $17.96 from Amazon
The easiest way to cut.
How to Make Homemade Fruit Leather
Although specific recipes include more detailed instructions, the general process is always pretty much the same:
1. Use your blender to make a very smooth puree of your fruit. You can also use a food processor, though you may have to work in batches depending on the size.
2. Use your spatula to press the puree through your fine mesh strainer. This ensures a super smooth texture.
3. Sometimes, you’ll need to cook the puree, but not always. We call for simmering to thicken the puree in our strawberry fruit leather, for instance, whereas our apple-raspberry recipe uses applesauce as a shortcut (and for the pear fruit leather, the pears are cooked before blending).
4. Spread the puree into an even rectangle on the silicone baking mat (which should already be on your baking sheet so you don’t have to transfer it once covered in liquid). You’ll want to leave a 1-inch border around the edges, and you’ll give it all a little shake to help even things out.
5. Bake the fruit leather at 170°F for 6 to 7 hours. Basically, you’re slowly dehydrating it, and once it’s firm but still slightly sticky to the touch, it’s done.
6. Place the baking sheet on a rack and let it cool completely.
7. Transfer the fruit leather to a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Use kitchen shears to slice the fruit leather and paper into long strips and roll them up (the paper keeps the fruit leather from sticking to itself if it’s still a bit tacky), or cut out whatever shapes you want if you’re good with freehand designs.
How to Store Fruit Leather
The finished fruit leather will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Just make sure you roll it up with parchment to keep it from sticking together and gumming up.
Homemade Fruit Leather Recipes
Try these 10 fun flavors or customize these recipes by adding a pinch of your favorite spice, or mixing a couple of the purées together to create your own fruit combo.
A classic flavor, made with real fruit, and without any of the preservatives. Get our Strawberry Fruit Leather recipe. (If you’d rather not use refined sugar, try this version, sweetened with honey and apple juice.)
Adding a pinch of warm cinnamon really plays up the flavor of the pear, but play around with whatever spices you like best. Get our Cinnamon Pear Fruit Leather recipe.
We use store-bought applesauce as a shortcut but feel free to make that at home too; raspberries lend tartness and a great natural color. Get our Apple Raspberry Fruit Leather recipe.
This honey-sweetened fruit leather brings a touch of vanilla bean paste into the mix, but you can also use a little extract (in any flavor fruit leather if you like). Get the Cherry Vanilla Fruit Leather recipe.
This Mango Fruit Leather recipe is in line with the sweet treats above, but if you like some spice, try the beloved Indian treat aam papad, which includes cardamom. It’s traditionally sun-dried and often cut into thicker bars, but you can spread it thin and follow the oven-dying method for this one too.
If you want to get a little fancy, you can also layer and swirl two different fruit purees for a tie-dye effect. This Tie-Dye Fruit Leather recipe also demonstrates how you can make fruit leather in a food dehydrator if you happen to have one.
Christine Gallary wrote the original version of this story in 2011; update by Jen Wheeler.