How to Dry Basil Leaves: 7 Different Methods

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Here you will learn how to dry basil in seven different ways, so you can pick what works for you so you can preserve basil all year long.

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I’ve seen how beneficial growing herbs can be in gardens and the kitchen. It’s even more helpful if you can persevere all your hard work if you are growing basil yourself. 

If you are interested in learning the best way to dry basil to have basil all year long, then this is the post for you.

As aromatic and amazing-smelling basil is, it is a shame to have basil go to waste. No matter if you are harvesting basil from a container or questioning what to do with tons of basil from the store. 

dry basil in a wooden spoon

How to dry basil will be discussed in this post in detail so you can have basil all year long! 

Table of Contents: How to Dry Basil

Dried Basil

Without a doubt, using fresh basil will have a stronger flavor than dried basil. The problem with keeping fresh basil is that it will last a short amount of time before it goes bad. 

Nevertheless, persevering with fresh basil by drying it will still give you flavor even after six to seven months of storage. 

The drying process does decrease some of a basil’s quality but still helps it hold plenty of aroma and flavor. 

Basil’s flavor comes from the essential oils within the plant and provides that famous aromatic basil smell. According to a study on dried basil, after basil was dried with heat and stored for at least seven months the basil leaves lost about 66% of their essential oils. 

All that to say, basil can withstand the drying process and storage for a long time and still be used to add a great taste to anything you make in the kitchen

How to dry basil: Tips & Tricks

After you have grown herbs in your garden or have accumulated a lot of basil, you are now ready to dry as much basil as possible. 

But first, there are some things to consider when trying to dry any type of basil. Here are some tips and considerations before drying basil:

  • Always wash your basil leaves in only water before preserving them.
  • After you wash basil leaves with water, spread the leaves out on a clean surface and let the leaves air dry. 
  • Use a paper towel to pat dry leaves to help the process go faster 
  • Buy a salad spinner for drying out leaves after washing to speed up the process.
  • Try not to overcrowd the basil leaves when spreading them for drying.
  • Take off all the basil leaves from the plant, leaving the stems out (compost them if possible!) 
  • Place your completely dried herbs in an air-tight container. 
  • You will know when your basil is dry if leaves completely crumble apart when you touch them, and when you hear a “crunch” sound.

7 Methods of How to Dry Basil

What to do with fresh basil?

The one thing you can do with fresh basil is perverse it so you can have basil all year long. These seven different methods can help you decide what way is right for you. 

Some people don’t have certain kitchen appliances or other materials needed to fry herbs. In that cases, it’s great to have other options that all give you great results when it comes to drying basil. 

How to dry basil in an Oven

an oven door open

Oven drying is an easy method that will take the shortest length of time to dry your own fresh basil. This might just be the quickest way out of all the drying methods of drying individual leaves of basil.

First, preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature setting it will go. For me that is 170 degrees Fahrenheit, it depends on your oven. 

Once your basil has air dried after washing them through water, place all your leaves on parchment paper and on a baking sheet or a pizza pan (a good one to use is the one that has holes at the bottom of it).

After about 45-50 minutes, check our basil in the oven periodically to see if it has completely dried up to the point it will crumble when you touch it. 

Depending on the strength of your oven your basil can dry in 55 minutes or a little over one hour. 

One thing to be cautious about is to keep checking the oven to prevent your basil from burning. Just know your herbs can burn very quickly in the oven.

How to dry basil in a Dehydrator

dry herbs on a dehydrator sheet

Drying herbs in a food dehydrator is very simple and takes very little effort. As soon as you washed and air-dried your whole leaves from your vegetable garden or gather all the herbs you bought simply spread your basil over your dehydrator mesh-type tray.

Whatever is the lowest temperature that you can reach with your dehydrator is the temperature you should be drying your herbs at. Most dehydrator manuals will state to set your dehydrator at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Depending on the type of dehydrator you have, you may have to preheat your dehydrator or you may not need to and just slide your trays to start drying after you set the temperature.

Your basil should be done drying in your dehydrator in about 12 to 24 hours, as it all depends on how much basil you try to dry all at once. Be sure to check on them periodically until all your basil leaves crumble apart. 

How to dry basil by Air Drying

a bunch of dried herbs hanging from a string on a wall

The easiest method but the longest way to preserve basil leaves is air-drying basil. This process will take a couple of weeks (about 2-3 weeks), as it all depends on the dry conditions and the amount of fresh basil you bundle together to get better results.

You have two options on how to air dry basil

  1. Hanging string: Cut off long stems of your basil plant (about one good hand full) and tie a string around the end of it hanging it upside down in a dry and dark place.

          Hanging bunches of basil on a herb hanger or any type of stick will let your basil hang freely without disrupting the airflow.

2. Laying flat: After picking each basil leaf off your plant, place them on a flat surface preferably a tray with small holes at the bottom, a mesh-like surface, or invest in a herb drying rack. 

There are many different types of drying racks you can use to dry basil, some examples are:

This will let your basil get a lot of airflows and help you preserve all the oils basil contain successfully. After completely drying, crumple basil in an air-tight container. 

How to dry fresh basil in a Microwave


Spread out basil leaves on a microwave-safe plate or between two paper towels. The amount of basil you spread out and the power of your microwave will depend on how long it will take basil to dry. 

In the microwave, basil can take about 1 minute to 2 minutes to dry completely until you can crumble it apart. 

Start by placing your basil in the microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it needs more time. If your basil needs more time to dry, use 30-second intervals after your first initial minute in the microwave.

How to dry basil in the toaster oven

a large pile of dry herbs


Spread out basil leaves on a microwave-safe plate or between two paper towels. The amount of basil you spread out and the power of your microwave will depend on how long it will take basil to dry. 

In the microwave, basil can take about 1 minute to 2 minutes to dry completely until you can crumble it apart. 

Start by placing your basil in the microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it needs more time. If your basil needs more time to dry, use 30-second intervals after your first initial minute in the microwave.

How to dry basil in the air fryer

There are different kinds of air fryers out there, some look like an Electric Hot Air Fryer and others look like an Air Fryer Toaster Oven. It depends on what type you have when trying to dry herbs like basil.

Regardless of the type of air dryer, you have, making sure your basil doesn’t fly around and get caught in any heating eliminate in your machine is something to look out for. 

Typically, you can spread out your basil into your air dryer and set your temperature to 120-200 degrees. Let your air fryer go for about 30-50 minutes, checking on it periodically to make sure nothing is burning. Keep in mind the time will vary depending on how much basil you place in your air fryer to dry.

How to freeze dry basil?

Preserving basil in a freeze dryer is not commonly used since a freeze dryer machine can be pretty pricey.

But, if you do have a freezer dryer, preserving basil or any type of herb is simple. Simple spread out your basil leaves on a freeze-drying sheet pan, place it in your freeze dryer and simply press your start button on your machine.

The video below shows a great visual of what freezing drying herbs look like. 

Which is the best drying method?

I think air-drying and freeze-drying are the two best methods to dry basil. Only because no heat is used to extract the water out of the plant preserving all the basils aroma, flavor, and nutrients. 

According to the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Journal, “freeze-drying produces high-quality dried herbs in terms of bioactive compounds in many types of herbs.”

I think that the best method of drying basil is the method that uses less heat. Ultimately, it comes down to the method that works best for you.

Does dried basil go bad?

Dried basil does last for a couple of years, this also accounts for all herbs and spices. The question isn’t really when it goes bad but how much of the quality will decrease over time. 

According to healthline.com, herbs like basil can last up to at least 4 years knowing that the aroma and flavor of the herbs will deteriorate. 

If your basil is stored in a place that is affected by the humidity in your area in any range, sun exposure and moisture will deteriorate your basil faster. 

How To Store Dried Basil 

To get long-term storage place basil in a cool dark place away from extreme temperatures to prevent mold growth. 

Containers that are glass and that are air-tight are a great way to store basil. Using an airtight container, like mason jars to store dry basil will keep it fresh for many years.

As long as you keep your glass jar of flavorful herbs away from direct sunlight, and keep it in an air-tight container you shouldn’t have any problems.

How to preserve basil?

a large batch of fresh basil

Other ways to preserve basil is by freezing it and placing it in sauces and sides like pesto, and herb butter.

They are so many options on how to preserve basil!

One quick tip is to blend it in the oil of your choice and for free use by using ice cup trays!

Ways to Use Dry Basil

Dry basil use can have its own blog post because there are tons of recipes that use dry basil.

Overall, you can sprinkle dry basil when cooking any time when cooking meat, veggies, or soups. 

Below are some great ways to use basil! 

Basil Butter

Basil Sugar

Basil Salt

Arugula & Basil Pesto Pasta Salad

Basil Olive Oil

87 Basil Food Recipes

How to Dry Basil Summary

Go ahead and try out different ways to dry your basil and stick to what works best for you. 

Regardless if you grew basil in a small herb garden, a big garden, or bought it from a store, you can always preserve basil for future use.

I hope these 7 different ways how to dry basil will inspire you to start preserving basil from now on. 

Enjoy basil all year long!

Let us know which methods have worked best for you.

Check out these other helpful posts!

How to Trim Basil to Get An Unlimited Harvest!

Magic Mill Dehydrator Review: Honest Opinion

Easy Herb Garden for Beginners Guide

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8 Comments

    1. Freezing pesto is a great thing to do! Hope you find a drying method that works great for you 😊

  1. Wow, this was very informative. At first, I thought, “How on earth are there 7 ways to dry basil!?” But there are and you went through all the relevant information clearly. Thanks!

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