How to dry fresh herbs in the oven. Have your own dried herbs in a little over an hour. These instructions are so easy to follow! For more simple recipes, click here.
I don’t know about you, but I hate to waste. We always eat every. last. morsel. of leftovers in our fridge. It’s so sad when I have to throw away a brand new package of produce because we didn’t use it in time. I’ve now started freezing fruit and vegetables that I can foresee we won’t be able to use before they go bad.
Now that the weather is getting colder, I also wanted to do something with all of my fresh herbs that won’t last through winter. I began researching ways to dry fresh herbs in the oven so all of that flavor doesn’t go to waste.
I knew there was a way to dry herbs by hanging them upside down in bundles. At least that’s what they do in the old British dramas I watch. But really, who has the space or the patience to wait several weeks for them to dry out naturally?
I did that once with some flowers my husband had bought me. At the end of it all I had to show for the effort were stiff, shriveled up flowers and a crumbly mess on the ground. Yeah, not doing that again!
There was also the dehydrator method, which doesn’t help if you don’t have one. The best way I found was to dry them in the oven. It only takes up to an hour and it’s so easy. Almost foolproof.
All you need is:
- Clean, dry herbs
- Baking sheets
- Containers or bags for the dried herbs
It’s more ideal if you just have one or two varieties to dry at a time since the cooking times vary depending on the herb. I had a few different herbs to dry: flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint, lemon thyme, and rosemary. In my typical, lazy fashion, I baked them all together:) If you do that just keep in mind that some may be ready to come out of the oven before others.
The first thing you want to do is wash and thoroughly dry the herbs you’re going to use. It’ll take much longer if they’re damp so make sure they’re completely dry. I took big leaves off of their stems and laid them out evenly on a baking sheet. Little leaves like some of the parsley, mint, lemon thyme, and rosemary I left on the stem. When they’re dry the leaves will crumble right off the stems.
Spread the herbs in a single layer onto the baking sheet. It may take several baking sheets. If doing several herbs, try to place similar herbs together.
Set the oven to the lowest temperature possible, mine was 170F. Place the baking sheets on the oven racks set close to the middle of the oven. Let bake for 30 minutes with the oven door propped open to let moisture out. I have a gas oven which won’t allow me to leave the door open, so I opened it for a minute or so halfway through.
After 30 minutes check the herbs and rotate the baking sheets if necessary. Some of my herbs, like the parsley and basil, were already done. The other herbs took just a little longer. Continue to bake and check every 15 to 30 minutes. When the leaves crumble between your fingers, they’re done. All of my herbs were dry in less than 1 hour.
Allow the herbs to cool completely (any moisture can cause mold.) Crumble and store cooled herbs in a jar or an airtight container. These would also make a lovely gift if you have an overabundance of herbs. Who wouldn’t love a jar of “freshly” dried herbs?! I know I always welcome homemade food gifts!
*Helpful Tip: If you have a few leaves that aren’t quite done, instead of throwing them away, pop them into the microwave for 10-15 second increments at a time (careful not to burn them) until they’re dry and crumbly. Let cool thoroughly before storing in a container.