Here’s how to dry basil using a quick and easy method! It’s great for if you’ve got loads of fresh garden basil and want to preserve it.
Got loads of summer basil and not sure what to do with it? Here’s a quick tutorial on how to dry basil! It takes only a few minutes of time and makes dried basil that rivals any store bought version. The fast method uses a microwave: it’s much quicker than oven methods, which take hours to dry out the basil on low temperature. Here’s exactly how to do it: and a few caveats before we start.
The best way to preserve basil? Freeze it as pesto.
OK, let’s talk about preserving basil for moment. You think you want to dry basil. But the absolute best of the best way to keep all that basil flavor? Make pesto. Pesto keeps all that peppery flavor of this leafy herb and it freezes beautifully. Dried basil…well, it lacks a lot of flavor. (See more below.) Here’s how to preserve basil as pesto:
- Make the pesto! You can make it with many different types of nuts, and even vegan. Try one of the following: Best Basil Pesto, Cashew Pesto, Vegan Pesto, Vegan Cashew Pesto, or Walnut Pesto.
- Freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. This is the easiest way to portion it out!
- Remove frozen pesto and place in sealable container. Then you can use it in lots of recipes, like these Best Recipes with Pesto.
Another great way to preserve basil and keep that flavor? Make bright green Basil Oil.
Why to dry basil
So you still want to dry basil? Keep this in mind: Dried basil is pretty flavorless. It’s sad to lose all that great basil flavor when you dry it out. Like we said, pesto is a much better way to preserve that great flavor.
On the other hand, this dried basil works just like the dried basil you’d find at the store! You can use it in any recipe that calls for dried basil, like Italian Seasoning or on Everything Basil Pizza or Grilled Zucchini. So, it’s not a bad idea!
How to dry basil
This dried basil method uses a microwave. Essentially, you’ll dry it out by cooking it in quick bursts. Here are a few tips about the basic method:
- Microwave on High in three bursts: Place the basil leaves on a plate between two towels. Cook for 45 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 30 seconds again. The basil leaves should look shriveled and be mostly dry.
- All microwaves are different, so do a few more 10 second bursts as necessary to dry it out.
- The basil crisps even more as it cools! Allow it to come to room temperature before crumbling with your fingers.
More basil recipes
If you think you’d rather eat basil in recipes instead, it’s an even better way to enjoy the beauty of this herb! Here are some of our favorite basil recipes to try:
- Easy Tomato Basil Soup In under 30 minutes, you have a classic soup with a rich basil flavor.
- Homemade Pasta Marinara This homemade marinara uses fresh basil.
- Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese A fancy grilled cheese with roasted tomatoes, tomato mayo, basil, and melty mozzarella.
- Peach Crisp with Basil You can even use basil in desserts! Try it in a crumble topping.
- Basil Gimlet Add it to cocktails! This gimlet features lime juice, gin, and muddled basil.
Here’s how to dry basil using a quick and easy method! It’s great for if you’ve got loads of fresh garden basil and want to preserve it. Tip: The best way to preserve basil? Make pesto and freeze it.
- Fresh basil
- Wash and dry the basil leaves. Remove them from the stem. Place as many as fit on a single layer between paper towels on a plate.
- Microwave on High for 45 seconds.
- Remove the plate, spread out the leaves in a single layer. Microwave again for another 30 seconds.
- Microwave again on high for one more 30 second interval. At this point the leaves should be shriveled and mostly dry. If not, continue to cook at 10 second intervals until they are.
- Cool completely to allow to become perfectly crisp: the leaves will crisp more as they cool. Then crumble it with your fingers to use in recipes.
- Category: Spices
- Method: Microwave
- Cuisine: Herbs
Keywords: How to dry basil
Resources for growing & storing basil
Looking for more about basil? Here are our top resources for growing and storing it:
- How to Grow Basil Here’s all about how to grow it: including the important pruning step!
- Harvesting Basil Make sure to harvest your plant regularly.
- How to Store Fresh Basil Here’s a storage trick to keep this herb fresh for days.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.