If you have no idea what to do or make with a dehydrator besides some dried fruit, it can seem like a waste of money to buy one. It probably seems a lot easier to simply buy dried fruit and potato chips from the store, rather than make them yourself.

But dehydrator recipes can go so far beyond dried fruit and DIY snacks. Even better, dried fruit made yourself is free of the added sugar and preservatives that store brands often have. Here are some recipes that will convince you to pull out those old Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and go buy yourself a dehydrator.

1. Cauliflower Popcorn

Your Netflix binges and movie nights don't need to go snack free just because you're trying to stay healthy. Get in an extra serving of veggies--plus the benefits of nutritional yeast—with this dehydrated snack.

2. Sun-Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese

cheese, bread, toast
Eva Reynolds

Sure, you could just buy sun-dried tomatoes from your local grocery store to make this dream sandwich, but if you dry the tomatoes yourself, you won't get any preservatives or unnecessary added stuff. And hey, less preservatives means eating all that cheesy, buttery goodness is somewhat healthy, right?

3. Blueberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal, peanut butter, peanut, butter, cookie, chocolate
Alyssa Loebig

Dried fruit sold at the store is often full of added sugar. To avoid this, dry some blueberries at home and make these cookies.

If the blueberry-chocolate combo isn't your thing, you could also dry some strawberries. It's almost like the fun older sister of a chocolate covered strawberry.

4. DIY Fruit Roll-Ups

Samantha Gronberg

Fruit Roll-Ups and other fruit snacks on the market are made of more sugars and artificial coloring than fruits. To avoid this, while still enjoying your favorite childhood treat, you can make your own version at home

5. Chocolate-Dipped Dried Apricots With Coconut Flakes

pastry, candy, cream, cake, sweet, chocolate
Anika Schaedle

Ridiculously simple and easy to make, while also satisfying your sweet tooth and chocolate addiction. Can't get much better than that.

Dried apricots are more likely than other dried fruits to have sulfur dioxide in them, so when fresh apricots are in season, stock up and dry them yourself. You'll avoid the possible health effects of this preservative, and get to enjoy the benefits of dried apricots.

6. Acorn Squash Salad With Brown Sugar

lettuce, spinach, vegetable, salad
Ellen Gibbs

Cherries are only in season for a short time. When they are, be sure to grab a package and dry them for this fall-themed salad. If you can't find or get cherries, cranberries would work too--perfect for a plant-based Thanksgiving!

7. Paleo Skittles

"Healthy Skittles" might sound odd—and maybe even a bit scary—but any recipe that promises we can eat candy guilt-free is worth trying out.

8. Parmesan Tomato Chips

It's like eating healthy mini pizzas—what's not to love?

9. Whiskey Jerky

It won't quite be like getting drunk on a Friday night, but you might as well get the health benefits of whiskey when you're getting in your protein.

10. Cinnamon Raisin "Toast"

An alternative to bread, this "toast" is a blend of nuts, seeds, and even vegetables (yes, there's zucchini in this recipe) that are blended up in a food processor, then dehydrated. Put some almond or peanut butter on top and you have yourself a well-rounded breakfast.

If you were on the fence about buying a dehydrator, hopefully these recipes convinced you otherwise. Whether you want to up your breakfast game, make healthy snacks and desserts, or add healthy additions to meals, a dehydrator will make a great addition to your kitchen gadgets. 

Curious about other kitchen tools? Check out what you can make with a spiralizer.