Nesco Dehydrator and Jerky Maker Review

by Her Happy Balance on January 15, 2014

I’ve recently been bombarding my blog/Instagram with my love for all foods in the dehydrated form. I was asked to do a review of my dehydrator, so here it goes…

I received the Nesco® American Harvest® Snackmaster® Encore™Dehydrator and Jerky Maker (phew, that was long!) as a Christmas present this year. I had been eyeing it up for a couple of months and had even included it on my wish list. I immediately raided the fridge in search of something to dehydrate and came up with a bag of apples. Since then, it has been love at first juice-less bite!


  • Comes with four stackable trays on which to dehydrate items. I say items because you can use a food dehydrator for craft purposes too (drying flowers, clay, etc.)
  • Up to six additional trays can be added (bought later) for more intensive dehydrating purposes. Four trays has worked just fine for me so far though
  • Trays are dishwasher safe
  • Trays are opaque so any vitamins or nutrients in fruits, veggies and herbs that are sensitive to light will not be affected
  • Comes with a detailed manual explaining how to dehydrate different items, at what temp, and for how long
  • Comes with a “fruit roll” tray. Essentially you could use this to make your own healthy fruit roll ups, I’ve used it to catch dripping from marinades so far and not for its actual purpose
  • Super easy to operate, just plug it in and turn the temperature dial on top of the lid to the correct temperature and wait…and wait…
  • Not too loud. The dehydrator has a fan in it to distribute the heat amongst each tray, so you hear the low buzz of a fan for the duration of the dehydrating process.
  • You do not need to rotate the trays, the fan evenly distributes the heat horizontally and vertically…set it and forget it!
  • Safe! I’ve left the dehydrator on for hours while no one is home and so far I have managed to not burn the kitchen down.
  • Really affordable. I’ve seen it in the $60-$120 range in different stores. 


  • As soon as you plug the dehydrator in, it is on, there is no on and off switch
  • Some foods stick to the trays a bit (bananas, I’m talking about you!) and require a little bit of loosening to lift them
  • I have opted to wash the trays by hand thus far and it can be kind of a pain when you have to clean them after dehydrating marinated items, like jerky. Cleaning the trays after fruits and veggies has been easy as pie though
  • Makes certain foods look kind of ugly. This isn’t a con for this particular dehydrator though, just dehydrators in general. It’s just like how when avocados sit out they start to oxidize and turn brown, well that can happen to certain foods in a dehydrator too. You just have to remember that sometimes the ugliest foods taste the best 😉
  • Takes a long time. Again, this is just the nature of dehydrators
  • I have no idea how I am going to store it. I needed another food gadget like I needed a hole in the head. I think I’ll just use it all the time to justify it taking up counter space 🙂

food dehydrator

So far I’ve tried dehydrating apples, bananas, venison for jerky, and potatoes. I’ve liked everything I’ve made besides the potatoes. I think that was my own fault though, I cut them too thin. Plus you have to blanch potatoes before dehydrating them, as per the instruction manual, and it just ended up being more time consuming than I had wanted.

In general, dehydrating foods makes them last a lot longer than their non-dehydrated counter parts, so it’s really something to consider if you like bulking up on certain things. You can rehydrate the food your dehydrate, and the manual explains how, but I have not done that just yet. Plus, I love the idea of making my own kale/spinach/{insert produce here} chips without having to leave the oven on and making the house hot. This isn’t an issue now, but when you want homemade chips in the summer, it’s no fun leaving an oven on for hours. 

Do you own a dehydrator?
What is your favorite type of homemade chip?
You must try apples with cinnamon chips!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake January 15, 2014 at 7:38 am

Great review! I will have to remember this the next time I need a gift for my husband. He always says he wants a dehydrator!

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Thanks, Erica! It’s so much fun using it, I always get excited to see how the end product will turn out. Plus it can be practical, I’ve heard of people putting their cell phones into it when they get water damaged and supposedly it restores them, cook right? 🙂

Stacie @ Simply Southern Stacie January 15, 2014 at 8:19 am

I’ve never really thought about getting a dehydrator, but now that I think about all the great things you can make – it might be worth it! Thanks for you review.

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Sure thing, Stacie! 🙂 It has been some of the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen as of late. It’s so simple and i always get excited to reveal the end product.

Alex @ therunwithin January 15, 2014 at 9:02 am

well this couldn’t have been a more perfect time to post this. I have been looking at getting a dehydrator but wasn’t exactly sure what to look for

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

This definitely is not one of the uber deluxe dehydrators out on the market right now, but it gets the job down for me. I really, really like it 🙂 Good luck with your search!

Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat January 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

Great review! I’ve never really considered getting a dehydrator before, but it sounds wonderful! I’d love to make the banana and apple chips!

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I definitely did not need another kitchen gadget, but it’s so much fun! I’ve been experimenting and have plans to dehydrate anything that will sit still long enough haha

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne January 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

I remember when I was in my high school cooking class, and we made dehydrated apples. Ours just didn’t turn out well hahaha. I would totally try them again with cinnamon this time!! But jerky just takes the cake on everything, I love it way too much 🙂

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Jerky is so dang good. I want to try a new recipe soon 🙂 Also, your high school cooking class sounds like so much fun, I wish I could’ve taken something like that!

Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures January 15, 2014 at 4:31 pm

First of all, what an awesome gift. I love giving and receiving practicals gifts like this so this is on point. Second of all, you have totes been a dehydrating machine lately and it’s super adorbz! I’m mostly jealous of the apple situation. I tried making apple chips months ago in the oven and they just didn’t come out wonderfully. I think a dehydrator would do the trick, right? 🙂
And my lazy fat ass would NEVER take the time to hand wash all that stuff after using it. I’d leave it all for that girl BEK to enjoy. 🙂
Naturally, you’ve seen in real life how terrible a roomie I really am. 🙂 🙂 LOVE YOU!!!!!

Her Happy Balance January 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

This comment actually made my day. I miss my Meggy bear entirely too much. A dehydrator would definitely help with the apple situation, I think I want to try making mango chips…but doesn’t that ruin the mango? I don’t care, imma do that. It’s almost the weekend!! 🙂 Have a wonderful day, pretty girl <3

food dehydrator reviews 2014 June 8, 2014 at 5:17 am

It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made here.

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