The vibrant colors and soft texture of Peeps marshmallow treats are an iconic part of the Easter season. But as tempting as they may look lined up on store shelves, their freshness is fleeting once Easter has come and gone. Within a few weeks, leftover Peeps tend to harden and lose their appeal. However, with the right techniques, you can actually preserve these sweet springtime treats for much longer by dehydrating them.
Dehydrating Peeps locks in their flavor and color while creating a crispy, long-lasting texture. It’s a fun project for after Easter that lets you enjoy small batches of Peeps for months at a time. In this guide, we’ll walk through the full process of dehydrating Peeps step-by-step, along with tips for storage and serving. You’ll learn everything you need to know to transform leftover marshmallow chicks and bunnies into crispy, snackable candies.
Selecting the Best Peeps to Dehydrate
Not all Peeps are created equal when it comes to dehydrating. The best Peeps to choose are:
- Original Peeps: The classic marshmallow base works better than flavored editions. Stick to yellow chicks or pink bunnies.
- Fresh Peeps: Choose Peeps that were recently purchased and have a soft, pillowy texture without crystallization. Old Peeps don’t dehydrate well.
- Non-decorated Peeps: Any decorative sugars or candies on the Peeps will burn and char in the dehydrator. Plain Peeps work best.
Once you’ve selected some high-quality Peeps for dehydrating, you’re ready to get started with the process.
Preparing Peeps for the Dehydrator
Dehydrating Peeps is simple but does require some basic preparation first:
- Set your dehydrator to 135°F. This low temperature prevents melting or burning.
- Line dehydrator trays with parchment paper. The sugar in the Peeps could cause sticking otherwise.
- Remove Peeps from packaging and separate any that are touching. Even slight contact can make them fuse together while drying.
- Place Peeps evenly spaced on lined trays. They don’t expand so density isn’t an issue.
With your marshmallow bunnies or chicks neatly arranged on trays, you’re ready to load up your dehydrator.
Dehydrating Times for Peeps
The dehydrating process allows moisture to slowly evaporate from Peeps over several hours. Exact timing can vary based on factors like your dehydrator model and the humidity in your area. Below are general guidelines:
- Chick-shaped Peeps: 5 to 7 hours
- Larger bunny-shaped Peeps: 6 to 8 hours
To test for doneness, check Peeps at the low ends of these time ranges. Look for crispy textures throughout with no visible moisture. If any tacky or soft spots remain, continue dehydrating in 1-hour increments, checking periodically.
While exact drying times can’t be guaranteed due to variations in dehydrators and environments, these timelines should give you an approximate target. Be sure to keep an eye on the first batch as you get a feel for the pace of the dehydration process.
Storing Your Dehydrated Peeps
Once your Peeps have transformed into crispy little sugar candies, you’ll want to store them properly to retain texture and prevent moisture from returning. Here are some storage tips:
- Allow Peeps to cool fully before storage
- Place Peeps in an airtight container
- Use glass jars or resealable plastic bags
- For max shelf life, store in freezer
Stored this way in the freezer, dehydrated Peeps can last 6 months or longer. Thaw at room temperature when ready enjoy.
Serving Your Crispy Creations
The light, crunchy texture of dehydrated Peeps makes them an ideal topping for desserts and snacks. They bring both sweetness and style. Here are some fun ways to eat your crispy creations:
- Crushed on top of ice cream
- Mixed into trail mix or granola
- Sprinkled on milkshakes or cupcakes
- Used as a salad topping
- Served over yogurt parfaits
Get creative with mixing these sweet morsels into anything that could use a little candy crunch!
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What is the texture of dehydrated Peeps like?
Dehydrated Peeps have a light, airy crunch on the outside with a marshmallow-like chewiness in the center. They end up crispy overall but maintain some of their soft character too.
How long does the dehydrating process take?
Chick Peeps take 5-7 hours to fully dehydrate while larger Bunny Peeps can take 6-8 hours depending on your specific dehydrator. Check them periodically for doneness instead of going solely by time.
Can I decorate dehydrated Peeps?
Absolutely! Dried out Peeps make a fun edible craft activity. You can glue tiny candies, sprinkles or other edible decor items to them using a small amount of corn syrup. Get creative with colors and designs!
Do dehydrated Peeps really last 6 months?
Yes, when stored in an airtight container in the freezer, dehydrated Peeps can retain quality for 6 months or longer before starting to lose their crisp texture.
Can kids help make dehydrated Peeps?
Dehydrating Peeps is a fun, simple kitchen project that kids will love assisting with—from lining the trays to checking for doneness. Supervise closely though when taking trays in/out of the heated dehydrator.
A Sweet Solution for Leftover Peeps
Wondering what to do with all those leftover Peeps once Easter wraps up? By dehydrating marshmallow treats, you can give them new life as whimsical candy toppers that will put a smile on anyone’s face. Follow our guide for turning stale Peeps into crispy, crave-worthy confections. Just be sure to make big batches—with their 6-month shelf life, these sweet morsels will fly off the shelves!