How to Dehydrate Basil (Oven & Dehydrator)

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​Turn that excess basil into the dried powder you can use to season soups, sauces, and more all year long! Learn how to dehydrate basil in the oven or dehydrator to get started today!

jar of dehydrated basil leaves.

I absolutely love growing fresh basil and am always looking for new ways to save it for later. I want to be able to taste the summer sun in a variety of recipes all winter long! This post will show you two different methods to preserve your own fresh basil for later. They’re both super simple methods and you’ll end up with the most delicious spice jar full of dried basil to use however you’d like!

Can you dry basil in the oven?

Yes, and you’ll want to because it’s such an easy method! This post will explain how to dry basil in the oven or dehydrator, and both methods work wonderfully. 

Drying herbs is a very simple process, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it without googling ever again. You can apply these techniques to other fresh herbs, too!

bowls of dehydrated basil leaves on a wooden table.
Curious about the different methods? The dehydrated basil leaves are in the front bowl and the oven-dried ones are in the back. Notice the color difference!

Why you’ll love dehydrating basil


  • PRESERVE THE HARVEST – If you have a lot of basil coming out of your garden, you need to preserve it for later! Although there are many ways to preserve basil, dehydrating is one of the best ways because it’s totally shelf-stable and requires so little space.
  • FILL YOUR SPICE CUPBOARD – Freshly dried, homegrown herbs have the best flavor! Plus, you’ll think of your summer harvest whenever you season your favorite tomato soup or pasta sauce.
  • FREE UP SOME SPACE –  l love being in the glut of summer and having produce all over the place, but sometimes you really need to make some room! Dry herbs take up way less space than fresh herbs, so this is a nice way to store a lot of basil without filling your counter.
  • TWO DIFFERENT METHODS – I’ll share two different easy drying methods (and some handy tips) to help you find the right method for you. 

Equipment

To dehydrate your own basil, you’ll need:

  • Dehydrator Method: Food dehydrator with dehydrator trays (I like the Excalibur dehydrators)
  • Oven Method: Baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Airtight container or glass jar
  • Food processor (optional, but handy in some situations)
fresh basil for dehydrating.

Ingredients

  • Fresh basil leaves – Make sure only to use the freshest basil leaves from your herb garden. Give them a gentle rinse with cool water, spin them in a salad spinner, and let them air dry at room temperature before dehydrating. This will remove any bugs, pollen, or dirt from the leaves.

How to Dehydrate Basil in the Oven

  1. Line your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper (not a silicone mat) and set the oven to the lowest possible temperature (usually 170 degrees F).
  2. Arrange the basil leaves on the baking tray in a single layer with space around each one.
  3. Place the basil leaves in the oven and crack the oven door at least 2-3 inches wide. If you don’t do this, the spices will dry very quickly and likely burn. 
  4. Allow the leaves for a couple of hours until they dry all the way. The amount of time will vary depending on the number of leaves and your oven temperature. Mine were done in less than an hour. You’ll know they’re done when they crumble easily in your hands. 
  5. Rub the dried leaves between your hands and fold the parchment paper in half to pour the dried leaves into your jar.

How to Dehydrate Basil in the Dehydrator

  1. Arrange the basil leaves evenly on your dehydrator mats.
  2. Set the dehydrator temperature to 115 degrees F. Place the mats in the dehydrator and allow the leaves to dry for 4-12 hours or until they are completely dry. Some dehydrators may take longer; focus more on the moisture level than the amount of time.
  3. Crush the leaves with your fingers into a bowl or other container, then fill your spice jars and enjoy! 

How to Dehydrate Basil – Temperature Guide

I like to dry basil right around 110 to 115 degrees F. I’ve also tried it at 105, which is the suggestion for “herbs” on my Excalibur dehydrator, but it took so much longer. If you can hover around 115 degrees F, you’ll dehydrate quickly and efficiently without destroying your leaves or taking days.

Tip: You may have a harder time crumbling the leaves between your fingers when you use a dehydrator. I recommend pulsing the dried leaves in a food processor if this happens!

Storing Dried Basil

Always store freshly dried herbs in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. The jars should be stored out of direct sunlight. If I make a big batch, I like to keep a small jar in my spice cupboard and a larger mason jar in the pantry. You can even vacuum seal the jar to remove any oxygen and keep the dried herbs fresh for longer. 

Tips & Variations

  • Feel free to use any type of basil for this. You can use Thai basil, Genovese basil, etc. It also works with other fresh herbs, like lemon balm, oregano, thyme, etc.
  • Use your microwave. I don’t generally use this method, but you can actually microwave your basil to dehydrate it! To do this, line a plate with a paper towel and arrange the leaves in an even layer. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the leaves are fully dried. It can take a couple of minutes to finish.
  • Try air drying. I generally do not do this because basil rots really easily and my house is usually on the cool side, but people have been air drying basil for years! I’d follow these recommendations to store the bunches of basil in a brown paper bag with the stems sticking out. Add some holes to get good air circulation, and let the basil air dry naturally. Just keep an eye on it to make sure your basil isn’t molding. 
  • Dry as much as you can. You can absolutely dry small amounts of basil if that’s what you have on hand, but it will shrink a TON! Kinda like when you sautee spinach…It’s best to dehydrate at least a few bunches when possible.
  • Avoid silicone mats! I try to use silicone mats when possible to reduce my waste, but the tiny herb flakes will stick to the mats and cause you to waste a lot of your freshly dried basil. Use parchment paper when possible!

How to Use Dried Basil

Dried basil is a key ingredient in Italian seasoning and shows up often in Italian cuisine. I like to add it to spaghetti sauce, pasta salad, pork rubs, marinades, soups, and so much more. You can use your homemade dry basil exactly the same way you use the stuff from the store!

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FAQs

How do you make basil flakes?

After drying your fresh herbs, crumble them with your fingers until they turn into small flakes. If you crumble them too much, they’ll turn into a powder. It’s that easy!

How long does dehydrated basil last?

When properly stored, your dried basil will last a year or longer! It’s a good idea to store it in an airtight container, like a glass jar, and in a cool, dark place. For longer storage, add a little oxygen absorber to the jar as well.

How do I dry basil leaves?

The easiest way is to dry them either in your oven or a food dehydrator, although you can also use an air fryer or microwave. They just need to be heated at a very low, consistent temperature and they’ll dry out completely!

Related Recipes

mason jar with dried basil flakes.
jar of dehydrated basil next to fresh basil.

How to Dehydrate Fresh Basil (Oven or Dehydrator)

​Turn that excess basil into the dried powder you can use to season soups, sauces, and more all year long! Learn how to dehydrate basil in the oven or dehydrator to get started.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Drying Time 4 hours
Course Spices
Cuisine American, Italian

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • fresh basil, rinsed and air dried

Instructions
 

How to Dehydrate Basil in the Oven

  • Line your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper (not a silicone mat) and set the oven to the lowest possible temperature (usually 170 degrees F).
  • Arrange the basil leaves on the baking tray in a single layer with space around each one.
  • Place the basil leaves in the oven and crack the oven door at least 2-3 inches wide. If you don’t do this, the spices will dry very quickly and likely burn.
  • Allow the leaves for a couple of hours until they dry all the way. The amount of time will vary depending on the number of leaves and your oven temperature. Mine were done in less than an hour. You’ll know they’re done when they crumble easily in your hands.
  • Rub the dried leaves between your hands and fold the parchment paper in half to pour the dried leaves into your jar.

How to Dehydrate Basil in the Dehydrator

  • Arrange the basil leaves evenly on your dehydrator mats.
  • Set the dehydrator temperature to 115 degrees F. Place the mats in the dehydrator and allow the leaves to dry for 4-12 hours or until they are completely dry. Some dehydrators may take longer; focus more on the moisture level than the amount of time.
  • Crush the leaves with your fingers into a bowl or other container, then fill your spice jars and enjoy!
Keyword dehydrated basil, dried basil
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