How to air dry parsley

Parsley is widely used as a spice and garnish. Fresh parsley is the most flavorful, but you can only store it for a maximum of about 2 weeks. Freezing parsley is a common method of storing it for a longer period of 5 to 6 months. By drying parsley, you can use it for up to 1 year. A common drawback of most methods of drying parsley is that it will lose some of its flavor. However, the dried version is used much more, because it is available any time of the year and will last a long time if stored properly.

There are a few ways in which you can dry parsley. Start by washing the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt. After washing, spread the leaves on some paper towels. Pat the leaves dry. If the leaves are moist or wet, they may be susceptible to mold or fungus during the drying process.

Solar Drying

Solar drying is a very common method of drying parsley or other foods. Check the weather forecast and make sure there is no chance of rain for a few days before plucking the parsley. Once the parsley is ready for drying, spread it out in a thin layer on a flat tray or a plastic sheet. If using a plastic sheet, weigh it down on the corners. You can cover the parsley with a thin cloth or paper towels. Be on the watch for any cloudiness, in which case you must bring the sheet or tray indoors.

You can also air-dry parsley indoors, by tying a few stems together and hanging them upside down from a nail or rack. Avoid moist, humid places like the bathroom or kitchen. The garage or a shed are ideal for drying herbs. Inspect the leaves regularly for any signs of mold.

Oven Drying

Preheat your oven to 200º C. Spread the parsley leaves on a flat baking tray. Once the oven is hot, turn it off, and place the baking tray inside. Leave the parsley leaves in the oven for a few hours, and then check for dryness. If needed, repeat the process. If the leaves are almost dry, you can just bake them in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes. Be careful with this method, to avoid burning the leaves.

Dry Using a Food Dehydrator

If you have a food dehydrator, you can use this method for drying your parsley. Spread the parsley leaves on a rack, and load it in the food dehydrator. Inspect the leaves every couple of hours, and remove when crumbly. You can also use a similar approach if you have a dehumidifier, though the drying process will be slower.

Storing Dry Parsley

You must store dry parsley carefully, or it will lose its flavor. When the herb is ready for storage, wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and then crumble the dry leaves slightly. Discard the stems, and store the parsley in small air-tight containers.

Parsley is a bright green herb used as a garnish or flavoring in savory cooking. Parsley has a high water content and only lasts a few days in the refrigerator. Drying parsley is a great way to preserve it for up to a year.

There are a few different ways to dry parsley depending on the time and equipment you have available.

In this guide, you will learn how to successfully dry parsley.

Types of Parsley

Parsley’s bright green color and frilly leaves make it a great addition of color to dishes. Parsley is generally divided into 3 main classifications:

  1. Curly leaf parsley is used mainly as a garnish, freshly chopped and sprinkled over salads, vegetables, meat, rice, and fish dishes.
  2. Flat leaf parsley does not have frilly leaves but is used in similar applications to curly leaf parsley. It serves as a garnish and flavoring in stocks, sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles. It is a key ingredient in making falafels, giving chickpea fritters their green color.

Both flat leaf and curly leaf parsley are used as the main ingredient in condiments such as pesto and gremolata.

  1. Root parsley is used as a vegetable or snack in soups, stews, broth, and casseroles.

Can You Dry Parsley?

Yes, parsley can be dried to prolong its shelf life for up to a year. There are several ways to dry the herbs including air-drying, microwaving, and oven-drying. A food dehydrator can also be used.

When drying parsley, it is important to make sure that any moisture is completely eliminated before packing as mold will develop if moisture is present.

If you live in a very humid climate, it is advisable not to air-dry your parsley by hanging. The moisture in the air will slow the drying process and the leaves may start to mold before they have a chance to fully dry out. Air-drying is, however, ideal if you live in a hot, dry climate.

Once the herbs are dried and packed, store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

How To Dry Parsley

Use these methods to turn fresh parsley to dried parsley:

Method 1: Microwave

Step 1: Clean

If the parsley leaves are dirty, wipe them lightly with a dry or slightly damp cloth. You want the leaves to be as dry as possible before starting the dehydration process. Remove the leaves from the stem.

Step 2: Prepare

Place a piece of paper towel onto a microwaveable plate. Spread the leaves on the paper towel in a single layer so that they do not touch each other. Lay the larger, thicker leaves on the outer part of the plate as this is the hottest part. Place another paper towel on top of the leaves.

Step 3: Microwave

Microwave the leaves on high power for one minute. Check the leaves. If they are not completely dry, keep microwaving them in 15-second intervals.

Step 4: Pack

When the leaves are completely dried out and brittle, remove them from the microwave. Allow the leaves to cool for a minute. Crush the dried leaves with a mortar and pestle or with your fingers.

Pack the dried parsley into spice bottles, containers, or resealable bags. Label the jar with the date and contents.

Method 2: Oven-Dry

Here’s how to dry parsley in oven

Step 1: Rinse

Lightly rinse the parsley in cold water. Remove the leaves from the stems.

Step 2: Blanch

Heat a small pot of water on the stovetop until boiling. Submerge the parsley leaves in the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds only. Immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Step 3: Dry

Place the cooled, wet leaves on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel and pat them dry. Remove as much excess moisture as possible.

Step 4: Prepare

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the leaves out in a single layer so that they don’t touch each other. Make sure the leaves are not clumped together.

Step 5: Bake

Using the lowest setting on the oven, place the tray in the oven and bake for 2 hours. If the leaves are not dried after 2 hours, let them continue to bake at the lowest temperature.

Check on them regularly to ensure they do not burn. The time required to dry the leaves will depend on the humidity in the air and can take up to 4 hours.

Once the leaves are crispy and crumble easily, they are ready to be removed from the oven.

Step 6: Crush and Pack

Remove any overlooked stalks from the dried herbs. Crush the leaves and store them in labeled resealable containers.

Method 3: Air-Dry by Hanging

Step 1: Clean

Wipe any dirt off the leaves with a clean, dry, or slightly damp cloth if needed. Do not wash the leaves in water. You want to keep the parsley as dry as possible.

Step 2: Tie Bundles

Tie a bundle of parsley stalks together with an elastic or string. Don’t make the bundles too big to ensure air can circulate evenly throughout the bundle.

Step 3: Hang

Hang the parsley bundles to dry with the leaves hanging downwards. Choose a light area with good air circulation to hang the bundles. Avoid humid areas such as near a stove or bathroom.

To protect the herbs from dust, cover each bundle with a perforated paper bag. Punch holes in the bag and leave the bottom open. Do not use plastic as this will prevent airflow and cause mold.

After 2 weeks, the leaves should be dry, shriveled, and brittle. Completely dry leaves should break easily when you handle them.

Step 4: Pack

Remove the leaves from the stems and crumble them into small pieces. Store the dried, crushed herbs in a jar or container with a lid and label it with the date and contents.

How long does dried parsley last?

Parsley that has been dried and stored well will last for a year.

Can parsley be chopped before drying?

Oven-dried parsley can be chopped before blanching. Leaving the parsley whole sometimes makes it easier to handle.

Can parsley be dried in an air-fryer?

Yes, you can use the air-fryer to dry parsley. Make sure the air-fryer is properly clean and does not smell of any food that was in there previously. Air-fry the parsley for 3 minutes at 360 °F (180 °C). Place a rack over the parsley so that the leaves do not fly around during heating.

Can you use a dehydrator to dry parsley?

Yes, using a dehydrator to dry parsley may take up to four hours. It is best to check the manufacturer’s instructions as dehydrators may differ slightly.

Conclusion

Parsley is an incredible herb for garnishing and seasoning. The strongly flavored herb is versatile for use in almost any type of savory dish including meats, vegetables, seafood, dressings, stews, and soups.

Before packing your parsley, make sure that the herbs are completely dry and crunchy. If they are still slightly pliable and do not crumble easily when handled, they need more drying time. Not drying the herbs completely will shorten their lifespan due to mold developing.

Enjoy sprucing up your cooking with these naturally dried herbs for up to a year.

Check our other guides on how to dry basil leaves, and oregano leaves.

A Primer on the Ins and Outs of Preserving Your Greens

How to air dry parsley

The Spruce / Claire Cohen

If you are faced with an abundance of fresh herbs, and don’t know what to do with it, drying the herbs is the surest way to minimize food waste and have herbs on hand that still pack a load of flavor in your favorite recipes. Don’t waste and instead make those excess herbs work for you.

Home-Dried vs. Store-Bought Herbs

When you dry your own herbs, you can guarantee that they’re fresh, whereas some store-bought ones may have been sitting around for a long time before you add them to your grocery basket. Even if the ones you get at the grocery are flavorful newly dried, it can help save money to dry them at home, especially if you’re growing them in a garden.

For example, a jar of organic thyme will cost you around $7, whereas a living plant runs closer to $3. You can save the seeds and plant again or let it continue to grow and harvest each time you need to replenish your stash. It can also be helpful when you need to dry all the leftover cilantro from taco night.

What Herbs Can You Dry

So, now that you’re eager to dry your own herbs, it’s good to look at what’s available and what dries best. Each herb has its own nuances such as water content, essential oil levels, and proclivity to mold, so it’s good to do a little research before you have at it. Some, like basil, sage, cilantro, and rosemary prove simple to start since they have larger, solid leaves and don’t require much maintenance before the process. Others, including tarragon, thyme, and dill need more care to remove the smaller leaves from bigger stems. Good news, you can actually dry any herb you want, just make sure to label them at the end since piles of dried green leaves start to look the same.

Keep in mind a lot of people feel herbs change in flavor when dried, but really the dried version tends to offer more of a punch per ounce. It’s a slightly different flavor since fresh tastes, well, greener. That doesn’t mean dry herbs should be ignored. There are a lot of uses for dried herb. Plus, wouldn’t you rather add a pinch of dried basil to the spaghetti sauce than skip it? We know we would!

Drying Methods

The oldest way to dry herbs is to take a bunch, hang it upside down in a dark and dry basement, attic, or closet, and let nature do the work. This method can work wonderfully, but it’s not the only option. Here are four other great ways to preserve those fresh herbs.

Air Drying

This method has a rich history in culinary and medicinal lore and was the way most apothecaries and cooks dried herbs back in the day. You can either hang a bunch (approximately an inch in diameter) of whole herbs upside down, as we mentioned before. Once all the moisture has left, then crumble the dried leaves into a container and preserve it. Make sure you use a rubber band to hold the fresh herbs together, as when the herbs dry, the stems will shrink and the rubber band will make sure to keep the bind tight.

The other way to air dry involves plucking the leaves from the stems and laying them out to dry on a rack or tray—just make sure there isn’t a breeze that’ll blow the leaves away. It’s also a good idea to put the vessel in a clean area without a lot of dust. Dark and temperate proves best, though if the only space you have is on top of your fridge, that can work, too. Both air-drying methods take approximately a week to complete, all depending on the natural humidity of where you are. The wetter the air, the longer it will take. A simple crumble test can determine if they are ready. If you take a leaf in your palm and crush it, does it come apart easy? If so, you’re ready to store.

Microwave Drying

That’s right, you can dry herbs in a microwave and it’s pretty easy to do! First, separate the leaves from stems and wash the parts you want to save. Once the greens aren’t wet anymore, microwave between two paper towels for one minute. Check and if needed continue to zap in 30-second intervals until done.

Dehydrating

A home dehydrator proves a great way to dry herbs in bulk, especially if your device has mesh inserts, which keep the leaves from falling. Make sure the leaves are clean and undamaged and then put them in a single layer on each tray. Cook at the lowest setting for approximately two to four hours. The hardest part is removing the herbs from the trays. It’s best to do this over a clean cloth or bowl so the broken bits can be saved and stored as well.

Oven Drying

Don’t have a gadget to dry herbs? No problem! Your regular oven can also do the job. It’s best to get a muslin or cheesecloth to lay the plucked leaves on, that way they won’t stick to a baking pan. Silicone mats also work very well. Set the machine on the lowest setting and “bake” for around 30 minutes. You’ll know they are dried when the leaves crumble easily and there’s no pull when you try and tear them.

How to Store Dried Herbs

Just as you buy a glass bottle of dried herbs at the grocery, this is the best way to store home-dried herbs. You can save up old bottles or jelly jars (all cleaned well of course) and use those, or find an airtight plastic container. The latter might not look as good, but it works just as well. When storing, decide if you want to save the whole leaf or crumble it up. For some items such as basil or mint, it’s easiest to crush the leaves. The benefit of keeping the leaves whole is you get a little more fragrance when you crush them as needed.

How to Cook With Dried Herbs

Overall there’s not much difference in cooking with dried herbs versus cooking with fresh, that is until it comes to quantity. Because dried foods tend to intensify the flavor, you need three times the amount of fresh herbs to give the recipe the same nuances. Of course in some situations, fresh may taste better. Think tossed in salads, Thai food, and fresh basil on a Caprese salad. But often the dried works the same way. This proves especially true in meals that get cooked be that stewed, baked, or fried.

Recipes Using Dried Herbs

You can throw dried herbs in a pot of soup, rub onto fish, sprinkle over a salad, stir into tomato sauce, and so much more. This ingredient shows versatility and by drying, you are preserving a flavorful season to use in your cooking all year round.

Play around with flavors and try a new spice blend the next time you whip up dinner. Below are a few of our favorites:

How to air dry parsley

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of Oklahoma

How to air dry parsley

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Overview

  • Working Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Total Time: Varies depending on method
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $5 if buying plants
  • Yield: Up to 1 cup of freshly dried herbs

Drying your own herbs is a quick and easy skill that, once learned, will serve you well for years to come. There are many benefits to this process, which include lowering your food waste (you can dry food, as well) and saving money by making your own herb mixes. Plus, you can achieve better flavors compared to what you can get from the store, especially when you use fresh garden herbs.

The first step in learning how to dry herbs is choosing your method. There are three main ways: air drying, oven or dehydrator, and microwave. The method you choose should depend on your space and supplies.

What You’ll Need

Equipment/Tools

  • Rubber bands (for air drying)
  • Microwave or oven (for specific method)
  • Kitchen shears (optional)
  • Food processor (optional)

Materials

  • Fresh herbs of your choosing
  • Glass jar for storage

How to Dry Herbs by Air

How to air dry parsley

When air drying, you don’t need any appliances. However, it is important to note that this method takes the longest out of the three, and it works best for herbs with smaller leaves. Herbs like basil with larger leaves and a higher water content are better with other methods.

1. Gather your herbs.

Grab the herbs you want to dry, and make sure they’re washed. It’s best to keep the same herbs together so you don’t mix flavors (that step can come later, if you choose). Cut long stems, if available, or even entire plants if they’re at the end of their growing cycle.

2. Bundle together.

Combine the stems and tie them tightly together with rubber bands. The herbs will get smaller as they dry out, so it’s important to get this firm. Then, hang the bundle upside down using a string. It’s best to hang the herbs in a dark, dry area.

3. Remove leaves and store.

Wait about a week or two, and test the herbs to see if they are dry. Try a crumble test between two fingers to see if the leaves easily break down. If so, you’re ready to harvest. Remove the leaves and store in a glass jar. As an option, you can also cut the herbs into smaller bits by using kitchen shears or a good processor.

With the air drying method, you can also dry herbs on a tray or cookie sheet without bundling. In fact, herbs with larger leaves do better this way. You will still want to store them in a dry dark area for a couple weeks until they are ready.

How to Dry Herbs in the Oven or Dehydrator

You can dry herbs in just a few hours with an oven or a dehydrator. The added advantage is your home will smell delicious during this process.

1. Lay out your herbs in a single layer.

Either on a cookie sheet or directly on your dehydrator trays, lay out your herbs after washing them. There is no need to include extra stems; however, you can include some along with the leaves.

2. Heat on low.

Whether oven drying or with a dehydrator, use the lowest setting possible. It will vary a lot by appliance, but in general, oven drying can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour while a dehydrator will probably be 2-4 hours. It could be longer if you have herbs with large leaves.

3. Remove leaves and store.

Do the crumble test to decide when they are done. Once nice and dry, be sure to remove any remaining stems. Then, either store directly in a jar or chop them up using shears or a food processor.

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave

Microwaving herbs follows is similar step-by-step process of oven drying, but it is even faster.

1. Lay herbs in a single layer.

With clean herbs, layer them onto a microwavable plate. You can add a second or third layer as long as you have a paper towel between each grouping. (A single layer provides the fastest results.)

2. Microwave a little at a time.

If you have a microwave where it’s possible to reduce the power, adjust it to about 50%. They microwave the herbs about 30 seconds at a time. With each round in the microwave, take out the plate and flip the herbs over so they dry nice and evenly. It might take between six to ten rounds, so only 3-5 minutes total.

3. Remove leaves and store.

When you have your dried herbs, do a crumble test to make sure they’re good and dry. Then, store in a glass jar as is, or cut up with shears or a food processor.

Preserving Extra Herbs

How to air dry parsley

One of the most common ways to use extra herbs is to freeze them. You can freeze herbs whole until you’re ready to use them. Another DIY herb tip is to blend your herbs with a little oil and freezing them as ice cubes. This makes them easy to drop into a dish you’re cooking.

  1. How to Dry Sage
  2. How to Dry Cilantro at Home
  3. How to Dry or Freeze Oregano
  4. How To Dry Parsley in a Convection Oven
  5. The Difference in Fresh or Dry Oregano

Drying herbs can be a simple way to maximize their usefulness — herbs have a stronger flavor dried than fresh, and they keep for much longer. Parsley is a relatively robust herb that can stand up to drying by air, by dehydrator or even in the microwave.

Preparing the Parsley

Pick the fresh parsley early in the morning, if you grow your own. The leaves are most flavorful before the sun heats the plant too much.

Wash the stalks gently in cool water. Shake them and then carefully towel them as dry as possible. This speeds up the dehydration process.

Remove any damaged or discolored leaves.

Air Drying

This simple, low-tech system requires no special equipment but takes considerably longer than the other methods.

Tie the parsley into small bunches. The smaller the bunches, the more air can circulate around the leaves and the shorter the drying time.

Hang the parsley bunches upside down in a dry area. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, drying herbs outdoors can leach some of their color and flavor, so hang them indoors if possible.

Check the leaves for dryness after several days by crumbling them between your fingers. When the leaves crumble easily, the parsley is finished drying.

Drying in a Dehydrator

If you have a food dehydrator, you can use it to dry parsley and other herbs. Check the instructions for your model for specific drying times and safety guidelines.

Heat the dehydrator to the setting the instructions recommend for drying herbs. This is probably the lowest setting, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the parsley in single layers on one or more of the dehydrator trays. Place the trays inside the dehydrator per your model’s instructions.

Dry the parsley in the dehydrator until the leaves crumble easily between your fingers. Depending on the model, this may require anywhere from 2 hours to 24.

Drying in the Microwave

For smaller quantities of parsley or if you don’t have a dehydrator, a microwave can do the trick just as well and in a fraction of the time.

Test-dry a stalk or two of parsley to determine the right drying time, as microwaves vary. Place one or two stalks on a plate, and microwave them for 20 seconds. Remove them from the microwave and allow them to cool. Check the leaves by crumbling them between your fingers. If they don’t crumble easily, return them to the microwave for another 10 seconds, and repeat the process until the leaves are fully dry.

Spread the rest of the parsley on the plate in a single layer, and return the plate to the microwave. Cook the parsley for the total length of time the test stalks needed to dry. Remove the plate from the microwave.

Allow the leaves to cool, then check them for dryness. Return them to the microwave for additional cooking in 10-second increments if necessary.

Storing the Parsley

For the longest-lasting, most flavorful parsley, store the dried stalks and leaves whole in a dark-colored jar. Keep the jar in a cool storage area, and use the parsley within six to 12 months. Crumble leaves immediately before use for the freshest taste.

You can use your garden herbs well into winter

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How to air dry parsley

The Spruce / Melina Hammer

  • Working Time: 1 day, 6 hrs
  • Total Time: 2 wks
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

The herbs from your garden are best when used fresh, but there are always more than you can use in one season. Dried herbs from your garden offer the next best thing to fresh. Air drying is not only the easiest and least expensive way to dry fresh herbs, but this slow drying process can also help retain the essential oils of the herbs, which helps to maintain their flavor.

The Best Herbs for Drying

Air drying works best with herbs that do not have a high moisture content, like bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, summer savory, and thyme.   To retain the best flavor of these herbs, you’ll either need to allow them to dry naturally or use a food dehydrator. A microwave or an oven set on low may seem like a convenient shortcut, but they actually cook the herbs to a degree, diminishing the oil content and flavor. Use these appliances only as a last resort.  

If you want to preserve herbs with succulent leaves or a high moisture content, such as basil, chives, mint, and tarragon, you can try drying them with a dehydrator, but for the best flavor retention, consider freezing them. It’s easy to do and even quicker than drying.  

How to air dry parsley

When to Harvest Your Herbs for Drying

When you’re ready to make a final trimming of your herbs for the season:

  • Harvest herbs before they flower for the fullest flavor. If you’ve been harvesting branches all season, your plants probably never get a chance to flower. However, by late summer, even the herbs that have not yet flowered will start to decline as the weather cools. This is a good time to begin harvesting and drying your herbs.
  • Cut branches in mid-morning. Let the morning dew dry from the leaves, but pick before the plants are wilting in the afternoon sun.
  • Do not cut the entire plant, unless you plan on replacing it. You should never cut back by more than two-thirds or remove more than about one-third of a plant’s branches at one time.

How to air dry parsley

Once dried and stored in airtight containers, herbs will retain good flavor for up to one year.

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Cecilia Mary Gunther

How to air dry parsley

Brown bag it.How to air dry parsley

The best way to dry parsley is to pick it when it is at its best, put it into a brown paper bag, tape the bag closed and leave in the back of your fridge for a few months. When it is dry, place in a sealed jar and store in the pantry. It will remain green and fragrant for the whole winter. How to air dry parsley

I have closed the piglet creep because the Plonkers (and Tahiti and Molly the two gilts) are now too big for their baby rumpus room. So now their food has come out to the main room in the barn but they spent the whole afternoon staring at the little closed door to their creep, wondering why that seemed so important. How to air dry parsley

Mrs Flowers with her little chick. She has started to lay again so I am collecting those eggs to hatch myself. Although she hatched four of her own chicks three died during their first few weeks. This little one is a good strong bird though. But from now on I will be doing the hatching. I have a wee waiting list for pea chicks! How to air dry parsley

Lady Astor consistently milks beautifully now. She and Aunty Del are always waiting at the gate by 6.30pm. Lady walks in and out of the milking shed nicely and stands to be milked as long as John is standing beside her. A lot of this has to do with training but being pregnant again helps. Pregnant cows are often much calmer. I never shut the door to the barn and often Aunty just stands there and watches, hoping John has another tomato in his pocket. but even the tomatoes are few and far between this season.

Don’t you just love that pigs bottom in the header – their tails are so sweet.

It seems the warmer weather has abandoned us. We have had a lovely cool summer but now it is dipping even colder – even down into the 40’s overnight this coming week. It won’t be long and the boys will be clammering for the fire to be lit. Boys are such babies when it comes to the cold. Josh has been hard at work planting the fall garden so I am hoping some of the warmer temperatures come back.

I think we are going to have a long winter.

Not to worry though as I am going to take you all to Melbourne, Australia with me in February. We have a birthday dinner to attend!

How to air dry parsley

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • University of Oklahoma

How to air dry parsley

  • Share
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
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Overview

  • Working Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Total Time: Varies depending on method
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $5 if buying plants
  • Yield: Up to 1 cup of freshly dried herbs

Drying your own herbs is a quick and easy skill that, once learned, will serve you well for years to come. There are many benefits to this process, which include lowering your food waste (you can dry food, as well) and saving money by making your own herb mixes. Plus, you can achieve better flavors compared to what you can get from the store, especially when you use fresh garden herbs.

The first step in learning how to dry herbs is choosing your method. There are three main ways: air drying, oven or dehydrator, and microwave. The method you choose should depend on your space and supplies.

What You’ll Need

Equipment/Tools

  • Rubber bands (for air drying)
  • Microwave or oven (for specific method)
  • Kitchen shears (optional)
  • Food processor (optional)

Materials

  • Fresh herbs of your choosing
  • Glass jar for storage

How to Dry Herbs by Air

How to air dry parsley

When air drying, you don’t need any appliances. However, it is important to note that this method takes the longest out of the three, and it works best for herbs with smaller leaves. Herbs like basil with larger leaves and a higher water content are better with other methods.

1. Gather your herbs.

Grab the herbs you want to dry, and make sure they’re washed. It’s best to keep the same herbs together so you don’t mix flavors (that step can come later, if you choose). Cut long stems, if available, or even entire plants if they’re at the end of their growing cycle.

2. Bundle together.

Combine the stems and tie them tightly together with rubber bands. The herbs will get smaller as they dry out, so it’s important to get this firm. Then, hang the bundle upside down using a string. It’s best to hang the herbs in a dark, dry area.

3. Remove leaves and store.

Wait about a week or two, and test the herbs to see if they are dry. Try a crumble test between two fingers to see if the leaves easily break down. If so, you’re ready to harvest. Remove the leaves and store in a glass jar. As an option, you can also cut the herbs into smaller bits by using kitchen shears or a good processor.

With the air drying method, you can also dry herbs on a tray or cookie sheet without bundling. In fact, herbs with larger leaves do better this way. You will still want to store them in a dry dark area for a couple weeks until they are ready.

How to Dry Herbs in the Oven or Dehydrator

You can dry herbs in just a few hours with an oven or a dehydrator. The added advantage is your home will smell delicious during this process.

1. Lay out your herbs in a single layer.

Either on a cookie sheet or directly on your dehydrator trays, lay out your herbs after washing them. There is no need to include extra stems; however, you can include some along with the leaves.

2. Heat on low.

Whether oven drying or with a dehydrator, use the lowest setting possible. It will vary a lot by appliance, but in general, oven drying can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour while a dehydrator will probably be 2-4 hours. It could be longer if you have herbs with large leaves.

3. Remove leaves and store.

Do the crumble test to decide when they are done. Once nice and dry, be sure to remove any remaining stems. Then, either store directly in a jar or chop them up using shears or a food processor.

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave

Microwaving herbs follows is similar step-by-step process of oven drying, but it is even faster.

1. Lay herbs in a single layer.

With clean herbs, layer them onto a microwavable plate. You can add a second or third layer as long as you have a paper towel between each grouping. (A single layer provides the fastest results.)

2. Microwave a little at a time.

If you have a microwave where it’s possible to reduce the power, adjust it to about 50%. They microwave the herbs about 30 seconds at a time. With each round in the microwave, take out the plate and flip the herbs over so they dry nice and evenly. It might take between six to ten rounds, so only 3-5 minutes total.

3. Remove leaves and store.

When you have your dried herbs, do a crumble test to make sure they’re good and dry. Then, store in a glass jar as is, or cut up with shears or a food processor.

Preserving Extra Herbs

How to air dry parsley

One of the most common ways to use extra herbs is to freeze them. You can freeze herbs whole until you’re ready to use them. Another DIY herb tip is to blend your herbs with a little oil and freezing them as ice cubes. This makes them easy to drop into a dish you’re cooking.