After finishing your favorite pasta dish with sliced basil leaves, you realized that you overbought the herb and ended up with some leftovers.
If you don't want them to go to waste, then I have one best solution for you--dry them! Drying basil is one of the easiest ways to preserve and provide you with that familiar, delicious taste of summer.
From oven drying down to dehydrating, these niftiest methods should sure remove your leftover worries. But wait!
Before I share the four drying methods, let's tackle first this aromatic spice, its usage, and why it's considered king of herbs by many cooks.
Basil is one of the popular culinary herbs that appeared in many cuisines. It's used in both dried and fresh form to season dishes ranging from zucchini noodles to spaghetti sauce. The fresh herb is notable for its sweet and savory taste with a hint of anise, while the dried ones have a stronger flavor profile.
Moreover, the spice has a different variety and complements with tons of ingredients such as chicken, beef, eggs, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and many more.
How to dry basil in the oven
Drying basil using your oven is possible. In fact, it's quicker than the hang-drying method that takes days or weeks to dry the herbs thoroughly.
Here's how to dry basil in the oven.
- 1First, wash the herbs and ensure that the excess water is removed. If it's clean, leave it as is.
- 2Preheat the oven to 170 °F.
- 3Place basil leaves on a baking sheet. Make sure the leaves don’t overlap and have the same sizes so they'll dry at the same time.
- 4Bake them for 45 minutes.
- 5Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the basil cool down in a few minutes.
- 6Lastly, store them in an airtight container or glass herb jar. Don't crumble them to retain their flavor.
How to dry basil in the microwave
Microwave drying is the perfect method to pick if you're in a hurry. Make sure to carefully follow these steps and keep a close eye on the herbs so you won't scorch them during the process.
Here's how to do it.
- 1Start with washing the herbs and ensure the excess water is removed. If it's clean, washing them isn't necessary.
- 2Remove leaves from the stem. Discard anything that's discolored.
- 3Sandwich the herbs in a single layer between two pieces of paper towel.
- 4Microwave it on medium to high power for 30 seconds.
- 5Remove them from the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes.
- 6Store it in an airtight container or glass herb jar.
How to dry basil in an air fryer
If you prefer your beloved air fryer to the microwave and oven, then this next method will suit you!
Here's how to dry basil in an air fryer.
- 1Preheat the air fryer at 360°F for two minutes.
- 2Wash the herbs if it's dusty and make sure to remove the excess water. If it's clean, leave it as is.
- 3Remove the leaves from stems. Discard anything that's discolored.
- 4Place the basil leaves on the basket. Make sure to choose leaves that have the same sizes so they'll dry at the same time.
- 5Cover them with a rack or place a trivet over the herbs so they won't fly up.
- 6Dry it for three minutes at 360°F.
- 7Remove the basket from the device and let the basil cool down.
- 8Store them in an airtight container or glass herb jar.
How to dry basil in a dehydrator
Dehydrating is the best method if you're planning to dry tons of basil. Use the microwave method when you have smaller amounts to dry.
Here's how to dry basil in a dehydrator.
- 1Wash the herbs if it's dusty and make sure to remove the excess water. If it's clean, leave it as is.
- 2Remove the leaves from stems. Discard anything that's discolored.
- 3Place the leaves on the drying screens. Make sure to create a space between them for air to circulate.
- 4Place the screen or tray in the dehydrator and set it at 95°F. Wait until completely dried.
- 5Remove the tray and let it cool.
- 6Store the dried basil leaves in an airtight container or glass herb jar.
How to air dry basil
I recommend using this bunch drying or hang drying method during dry and hot days. Make sure to hang the herbs in places with very low humidity too. I also tried drying oregano using this method, and it works great!
Follow these steps to learn how to dry basil using the bunch or hang drying method.
- 1Wash the basil if it's unclean.
- 2Group four to five stems of basil and tie them together with a rubber band or kitchen string around the end.
- 3Place the bundles inside a brown paper bag to avoid the exposure of the leaves from molds, dust, and sunlight.
- 4Tear holes all over the sides of the paper bag using a pen. This allows the air to flow in and out.
- 5Then hang the bag upside down inside a room that has air circulation. Just make sure not to hang them above the stove so it won't damage the herb's flavor.
- 6Store them in an airtight container or glass herb jar.
What's the best way to dry basil
My answer is it depends. You should choose a drying method based on your needs. If you're in a hurry, then I suggest using the microwave drying technique rather than the hang-drying method.
In case you're comfortable with using an air fryer, then I recommend drying the herbs using this sleek gadget.
Should I leave dried basil leaves whole or crumble them?
It would help if you didn't crumble up the basil leaves. I suggest keeping them whole and them straight to the glass jar or airtight container after the drying process. This helps to keep the flavor of your freshly dried herbs. Just crumble the leaves the time you use them for your recipe.
Do you wash basil before drying it?
No, it's not necessary to wash the basil before drying. There's a big chance that the oils of the herbs may be lost during rinsing. However, if there's dust or mulch on them, washing the leaves is the best thing to do.
How long will dried basil last?
The answer, again, is it depends. If you store your dried basil properly, they will last for up to two years. Make sure to put them in an airtight container or glass jars and store them in a dark place, preferably away from the heat.
How to store dried basil
Storing dried basil is both easy and straightforward. Make sure to follow the steps so you can maximize the shelf life of your favorite herbs.
Put the dried basil in an airtight container or glass herb jar. Store them in a dark place like the cupboard. It's best when you place them away from the heat. Make sure to store them properly so you can enjoy the herbs for up to two years.
How to store dried basil
Dried basil is used in different dishes throughout the globe due to its unique and stronger flavor profile.
You can put your dried basil in savory dishes like chicken and pesto pasta, stir-fried chicken, zucchini noodles, curry, and it's also a great flavor enhancer when it comes to sauces.
How to tell if fresh basil is still good
The best way to tell if your fresh basil is still good or safe to add to your recipes is by looking at its appearance. Fresh ones tend to have a deep and green color.
If you happen to see your basil with a moist texture, rotten smell, and discolored appearance, throw it right away!
The bottom line
Dried basil is indeed a must-have spice in the kitchen. I love infusing them into my daily recipes, especially with spaghetti sauce. YUM!
In case you fail to secure one in the grocery store, you don't have to worry! From the niftiest drying methods down to its tips and usage, everything you need to know about drying your favorite herb is here!
- Fresh basil
- Paper towels
- Airtight container or glass herb jar
- Start with washing the herbs and ensure the excess water is removed. If it's clean, washing them isn't necessary.
- Remove leaves from the stem. Discard anything that's discolored.
- Sandwich the herbs in a single layer between two pieces of paper towel.
- Microwave it on medium to high power for 30 seconds.
- Remove them from the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes.
- Store it in an airtight container or glass herb jar.