How to Dry Basil (and Other Herbs)

How to dry basil and other herbs. Did you know you can do it in the microwave??

Did you know you can dry basil in the microwave? Yes ma'am you can! In fact, there are several ways to dry basil (and other herbs) which I will share with you today! I know, I'm sharing two food tip posts in a row. But when I showed a picture of my basil drying on Instagram and you all went nuts over it, I thought I'd share while the drying was hot (hardy har har). Drying herbs is a fabulously frugal way to use up unruly herb plants and not waste a single leaf. Dried herbs would make for great gifts, and also keep you from having to buy anything from the store!

Here's how I suddenly turned into the Martha Stewart of drying herbs…

One day I was walking through the grocery store and saw two of the most beautiful, flourishing basil plants. Seeing as how they were only $2 each, and seeing as how I'm a basil hoarder apparently, I bought them. Both of them. Though I love me some basil and eat Caprese almost every day, I just can't go through it fast enough! (Ps I make my caprese with store-bought balsamic glaze. Life. Changing.) It's been a bonafide basil jungle on my window sill the last few weeks.

How to dry basil and other herbs. Did you know you can do it in the microwave??

My mom informed me that I needed to pinch off the excess leaves or the plant would stop producing well.

My first thought was to make it rain basil and dance in it. Second, more practical thought was to make my own homemade dried basil! I got a dehydrator for Christmas and try to dry anything I can get my hands on. So while I used my dehydrator to dry my batch of basil, I did some research for y'all and found that you really don't need any tools at all! 

Here are 3 ways to dry basil, and other herbs, in your own home!

HOW TO DRY BASIL

 (and other herbs for that matter)

DEHYDRATOR

How to dry basil and other herbs. Did you know you can do it in the microwave??

This is the method I used. All you do is place the leaves around the dehydrator trays, making sure they don't overlap, turn the dial to “herb” setting, let it run all day (and night in my case), and BAM! Done.

Since not everyone has a dehydrator, here are a few alternative methods:

MICROWAVE:

The microwave is a super fast way to dry basil! Simply lay the leaves in a single layer on a paper towel and microwave on low one minute at a time until dried, usually up to 3 minutes. Remove leaves as they dry out so they don't scorch. Watch them carefully!

OVEN:

A Freeb, Wendy, left this comment below so I had to add this!

” I put the herbs I am drying on a cookie sheet , spread out so they are not over lapping, and place in the oven at 325 -350 and they will dry out about 5 to 7 minutes. When the herbs turn to a dull green is when they are done, I pull out and let them cool and place in jars for storage. Ball sells a shaker lid that is wonderful to fit on any glass canning jar. And the boys say that our house smells like pizza…”.

Thanks for sharing, Wendy!

HANG DRY:

Cut stems about 6 inches long, bind them together, and hang them to dry in a paper bag with holes punched in. The bag catches dried leaves as they fall off. Depending on your climate and size of bunches, they will need to hang for 2-4 weeks. Yikes.

A few things to note about drying basil:

  • Always wash your leaves first.
  • The best time to cut your basil is at 10am because of the high oil content in the leaves, making for the best flavor.
  • Harvest the leaves before your plant flowers, because it loses flavor at that point.
  • The leaves have a high moisture content so they need to be dried quickly in order to prevent molding.
  • The leaves reduce down to at least 1/2 their original size.
  • Once dried, store in an airtight container in a dark cabinet or drawer.
  • The flavor lessons over time, so date your container and use it up somewhat quickly.
  • Waiting to crumble the dried leaf until right before you need it in a recipe helps the flavor stay stronger, longer.

I'm no pro, but THIS ARTICLE and THIS ARTICLE both have the most amazing tips and info.

Happy drying!

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Comments

      • I have a very non scientific approach, lol. I just dump basil leaves in the food processor with cashew nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I have a tiny processor so I do it in batches, but that’s it… after it´s well blended I add a tiny bit of salt (since the nuts and cheese are usually almost enough) and olive oil until my preferred consistency… then I eat it with pasta, rice, doritos (yeah…), bread… you name it 😀

        I hope that’s marginally helpful. Oh, I have a friend who has some in her backyard and it grows so much she makes huge batches and freezes the pesto. It takes about 24h to freeze because of the oil, but you’d never know it was frozen when you thaw it… so a good way to use up lots of basil. 🙂
        Aline recently posted…for my manMy Profile

  1. Jordan I love this! You’re so on it. I was just about to go look up how to dry basil and here it is! Not sure if I should just use this as an excuse to get a dehydrator or be a penny pincher and microwave (there’s no way I’m waiting weeks, patience is a virtue-that I don’t have 😉 ).

    Another cool tip is that you can propogate your cuttings. Simply cut the extra off with 2+ inches on the stem and place in a see through container on a window sill for 3 weeks. The cutting will have roots. Re-plant it and have another plant or give it to a friend. Endless basil!
    Rocky recently posted…Neuroplasticity: The Secret Weapon for Autism, Fuzzy Brains, and So Much MoreMy Profile

  2. I love your blog and I am new to reading blogs… I have 4 boys and keep busy trying to stay above the chaos and love all our ideas to help me.
    I did want to say that you can also dry herbs in the oven. I put the herbs I am drying on a cookie sheet , spread out so they are not over lapping, and place in the oven at 325 -350 and they will dry out about 5 to 7 minutes. When the herbs turn to a dull green is when they are done, I pull out and let them cool and place in jars for storage. Ball sells a shaker lid that is wonderful to fit on any glass canning jar. And the boys say that our house smells like pizza… LOL 🙂

  3. Did you know if you microwave food it will loose all vitamins and nutrients what the food have… It will be just empty calories…so no point of drying it?

    • I have heard mixed things about microwaving. For me, I am doing it for the flavor, not nutrients. That’s why I always make sure to feel my kids veggies with every meal. I figure a few pinches of seasoning won’t kill me if it isn’t nutritious…most seasonings aren’t, after all! But thanks so much for the info!

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