How to Dry Basil In A Dehydrator
There are so many great ways to use basil — pesto, julienned over a finished dish, and layered into fresh spring rolls—but one thing I have to do EVERY summer is stock up on dried basil. I’m sharing how to dry basil to preserve the most freshness and flavor. I only need about one mason jar per year to keep us going until we can grow fresh basil again, so I usually fill the dehydrator up completely and make that mason jar for the pantry. If I have a lot of extra basil, I’ll dehydrate even more for holiday gifts.
Get my classic basil pesto recipe HERE.
How to Dry Basil- why should you do it?
First of all, cups and cups of fresh basil can be reduced down to a single mason jar of dried basil. It’s great for storage.
Second, I keep all my dehydrated basil as whole leaves. This keeps the flavors from being released until you crush it when you are ready to use it. The stuff you buy in grocery stores is already crushed, so it looses potency very quickly. Dehydrating your own basil is such a great way to preserve the MOST flavor for long term storage.
Lastly, there are certain times that dried spices are better for cooking. For example, when I make meatballs or spice rubs it’s better to use dried herbs for flavor impact and distribution.
How to dry basil in a dehydrator
Pick your basil.
Pull your basil leaves off (don’t dehdryate the stems) and put them in a colander or salad spinner to be washed.
If using a salad spinner, spin dry. If using a colander, let drain and dry as much as possible.
Lay your basil out onto the dehydrator trays. Try and leave some space in between leaves.
Most tutorials say to set the dehydrator on the lowest setting, but I have found that this takes way too long because of the moisture content of basil. Also, before I had a dehydrator, I used to dry my basil on screens outside on summer days that were at least 105 Degrees F. Therefore, I dry my basil on the 115 degree F setting.
Dehydrate until completely dry. I mean, they should be so crispy it feels like you’ll break them if you touch them. You don’t want any moisture left for storage. This can take anywhere from 1-3 days.
Related: Basil made my list of 10 Heat Loving Vegetables and Flowers to Grow From Seed
Store & Use Your Dried Basil
Transfer your dried basil (keep the leaves whole!) to an airtight container. I use a mason jar.
Keep your containers in a dark, dry cabinet or pantry. I never store my dried herbs where they can be exposed to light.
To use your dried basil, simply grab a couple leaves and rub them between your hands over your dish for all that delicious freshness to be released. See video below↓
In case you are looking for a dehydrator or salad spinner, below are the products we currently use. The dehydrator is the first one I’ve ever owned, and is a great starter model.
Now that you’ve learned how to dry basil, you might be wondering about other ways to use your homegrown basil? Check out my Classic Basil Pesto recipe.
Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed. For tips on growing more garden fresh herbs, don’t forget to subscribe and download your FREE herb growing guide!