Basil is so abundant in the summertime. There are several efficient and easy methods to dry basil so you don’t have to waste it. Use this easy guide to learn the best ways to dry basil.

Glass jar filled with dry basil with a paper top.

If you have ever wondered how to dry basil at home, you are in the right place! Basil is one of those aromatic herbs that food enthusiasts simply cannot live without. It is not only an Italian kitchen staple; it is used in a range of cuisines. 

Its fragrant scent awakens the senses, from the Italian countryside to the beautiful waterways of Indonesia – basil is well known across the globe. You can almost never get enough of the aromatic herb. But what if you have so much of it you can’t use it all up?

Maybe you have a few bunches of freshly harvested basil from your herb garden, or you found a stack on sale in your local grocery store. I have a basil plant that keeps giving me more and more!

Since basil wilts quicker than most herbs, having too much basil on hand can be a challenge.

basil on bruschetta toast.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Making your own dried basil leaves is the perfect way to waste less and use more. 
  • Basil wilts quicker than other herbs, so it’s best to dry it if you don’t have a use for it immediately. See my other ideas for how to store fresh basil.
  • So you have basil available to you at all times. If you don’t have fresh basil in the garden and you don’t want to go to the store, it’s great to have some on hand in the cupboard. I’ll show you how to dry it using a food dehydrator o your oven on the lowest temperature.
fresh bunch of basil leaves.

How to Blanch Basil to Prepare for Drying

When it comes to dried herbs, the secret to retaining the most flavor lies in storing them and preparing them.

Every batch of a perfectly preserved harvest should begin with blanching. Blanching your fresh leaves will ensure that it retains its flavor and nutrients. 

basil in colander.

Step One

Wash and remove any soil from your basil leaves. You can remove the stems at this stage as well. Use cold or cool water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Step Two

Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and cold water and set aside.

Use a slotted spoon to gently lower the fresh basil into the boiling water. Let it sit in the hot water for 2 seconds.

Step Three

Turn off the hot and use the slotted spoon to transfer the blanched basil leaves to the ice bath.

Remove from the ice bath and spin the leaves in a salad spinner or pat dry with clean kitchen towels to remove excess water. 

Now your blanched fresh basil is ready to be dried in an oven or dehydrator (see below).

Drying Basil At Home – Oven or Dehydrator

Now that you’ve preserved the flavor and color of your favorite herbs, it is time to dry it! Whether you have a dehydrator or prefer using the age-old proven method of drying herbs in the oven, both ways work well. 

Step One

Blanch your basil as per the instructions above.

Step Two

Preheat your oven to 95°F degrees, and prepare a baking tray. If you are using a dehydrator, get it set up according to the user manual. You’ll need to get your dehydrator trays, baking sheet, or a cookie sheet ready to use.

If your oven doesn’t go down to 95°F degrees, then set it on the lowest possible temperature possible.

Step Three

Carefully lay your basil leaves out onto the sheet in a single layer. 

Place the sheet into the oven/dehydrator for 6 hours. Depending on the temperature setting of your oven, it may take much less time than that. But, be careful to not let the basil leaves burn. You may need to crack the oven door open to keep it at a lower temperature.

Step Four

Allow the leaves to cool completely before storing them (see below for ideas).

Storing Dried Basil Leaves

Now that you have preserved your harvest or made sure that your beautiful bunches don’t go to waste – how do you store them?! Storage is one of the most important parts of retaining a herb’s freshness and flavor. 

As dried leaves can lose their flavor over time and become dried crisps of flavorless leaf matter, it is essential to ensure you stick to three basic yet golden rules. 

1. For big batches of basil 

It might seem like a great idea to throw it all into an airtight bag that you can open when needed. However, for the ultimate freshness, you should consider storing your dried basil in individual containers such as baggies or a small jar. 

Ideally, portioning it out into bags that contain enough to refill your everyday spice jars is the best way to keep your dried basil leaves.

Vacuum packing and storing the bags in an airtight and dark container are excellent ways to ensure that no flavor is lost when storing your herbs. 

2. Crumbled or whole leaves?

If you have dried your basil bunches with the stems and flowers intact, it is best to remove them at this stage. You can either crumble your leaves up with your hands or use a grinder to turn them into a fine powder. 

Alternatively, keep the leaves whole for bulk and easy storage; you can always crumble them into your recipes when needed. Although we would recommend storing a mixture of whole and crushed leaves, whole dried leaves offer a little more flavor, making them perfect for full-bodied dishes. 

whole dried basil leaves in a jar.

3. Daily use 

If you plan on using your dried basil daily for your day-to-day meals, keep a small airtight container full.

The container should preferably be stored in a dry place. Ideally, store your dry herbs in a dark and cool cupboard as direct sunlight, air, and heat can all leach flavor from the leaves.

Recipe FAQs

How long does dried basil last? 

If it’s properly dried and stored, dried basil should keep for at least a year.

Does dry basil taste different from fresh basil?

Dried basil does not retain its flavor as well as other herbs do. It’s essential to use a lot more dried basil in a recipe than fresh basil because dried basil is significantly less flavorful.

Do I have to blanch the basil first before drying it?

No, you don’t have to. You can get away with washing your basil leaves in cold water to remove any insects or dirt. However, for the best results, I recommend adding a few more minutes to your preservation routine and opting to blanch your bunches before drying them. 

What is the best way to store basil?

Drying basil is one way of storing it, but there are other methods too. Learn five different methods for how to store fresh basil.

Can I hang my fresh basil to dry it?

Yes, but air drying is not the most efficient way. You may also attract bugs or get bacteria or mold on the leaves if you just let them dry naturally over a couple of weeks. Instead of hanging your bunches of basil to dry, consider using the oven method as a more efficient drying process.

Can I dry all types of basil?

Yes! You can dry any type of fresh basil using these methods.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Glass jar filled with dry basil with a paper top.

How to Dry Basil

Basil is so abundant in the summertime. There are several efficient and easy methods to dry basil so you don’t have to waste. Use this easy guide to learn the best ways to dry basil.

  • Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your destemmed basil leaves in cool water, ensuring all soil and possible insects are removed. 
  2. Blanch your basil per the notes below.
  3. Preheat your oven to 95°F degrees, and prepare a baking sheet. If you are using a dehydrator, get it set up according to the user manual. 
  4. Carefully lay your basil leaves out onto the sheet in a single layer. 
  5. Place the sheet into the oven or the dehydrator for 6 hours.
  6. Allow to cool completely and get ready to store it. 

Notes

  1. To blanch basil, place the leaves in boiling water for 2 seconds. Transfer the blanched basil leaves to an ice bath and then pat dry.
  2. Always follow your dehydrator’s instructions for herbs for the best results. 
  3. To store dried basil, place it either whole or crumbled in an airtight container. Dried basil can keep up to several months.
  4. If your oven doesn’t go down to 95°F degrees, then set it on the lowest possible temperature possible. You may also need to crack the oven door open to keep it from getting too hot and burning your basil leaves.

Keywords: dried herbs, italian herbs, italian seasonings, homemade seasonings

Don’t forget to join the Clean Eating Kitchen newsletter. You’ll get my Clean Eating Quick Start Guide, plus links to all the latest recipes.