How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave quickly and easily ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I’ll show you exactly how to dry herbs in the microwave, it’s quick, easy and a lot of fun! — The microwave preserves color and flavor like no other method, and in minutes you can have months’ worth of herbs ready to go.

Microwave Dried Herbs --- who knew it was so quick and easy to preserve fresh herbs? ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I’m a huge believer in the power of fresh herbs, they make a big difference in the flavor of so many foods.  And because of that I’m forever buying them and, sadly, letting many of them got to waste.  I love this trick for preserving them, and while I usually go for fresh whenever I can, there are times, especially in fall and winter cooking, when dried herbs are called for and do a great job.

packets of homemade Microwave Dried Herbs ~ a great way to preserve summer's bounty! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Once you know how to dry herbs in the microwave you’re going to want to try it with every variety you can find.  This is a really fun project, and easy, too, so think about getting your kids involved.  You don’t need a fancy dehydrator, all you need are clean, dry, fresh herbs, some paper, and a microwave.  Lay out the herbs in a single layer on a piece of paper and microwave at full power for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and a half, depending on the herb.  Some herbs are mostly water, like cilantro and parsley, and will dry quicker than those that contain more essential oils, like oregano and sage.  Your herbs might be larger or smaller than the ones I tested, so just use my guide as a general starting point.

  • Cilantro ~ 30 seconds
  • Sage ~ 75 seconds
  • Thyme ~ 45 seconds
  • Marjoram ~ 60 seconds
  • Basil ~ 40-50 seconds
  • Parsley ~ 60 seconds
  • Tarragon ~ 60-70 seconds
  • Oregano ~ 60 seconds
  • Rosemary ~ 60 seconds

My microwave is a standard 1000 watts.

Fresh basil dried in the microwave ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Once your herbs are dried you can crumble them and store in little jars, or plastic bags.  If they don’t crumble easily then you haven’t haven’t dried them long enough.  They should shatter instantly when you rub them between your fingers.  You can crush them as fine or as coarsely as you like.  Don’t worry about getting bits of stem in the mix.

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave ~ fresh sage ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

The beauty of drying your own herbs is that you know what you’re getting, and you’re getting a 100% fresh, pure product.  Commercially packaged herbs can be stale, contaminated, and sometimes not even what is stated on the label.  Since dried herbs lose their potency after about 6 months, it makes sense to dry your own in small batches.

TIP:  Never buy dried herbs and spices in bulk — buy them in  the smallest amounts you can and replace them often.

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I love all my microwave ‘miracles’, they’re some of my favorite recipes —

Microwave Dried Herbs

Microwave Dried Herbs

Ingredients

    Fresh herbs
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • tarragon
  • oregano
  • basil
  • plain paper or parchment paper

Instructions

  1. Make sure your herbs are clean and completely DRY.
  2. Working with one herb at a time, lay them out in a single layer on a piece of paper that will fit in your microwave. If possible, remove the leaves from the stems.
  3. Microwave on full power for anywhere from 30 - 90 seconds, depending on your herbs and your particular microwave. (see chart above)
  4. Check the herbs and if they feel crisp they are done, but if they feel soft, microwave them for a few more seconds. Don't over-do it or they will turn brown and burn.
  5. Let the dried herbs cool down and then crush them with clean hands, and package them in small jars or plastic bags.
  6. Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/how-to-dry-herbs-in-the-microwave/

 

DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT!

HOW TO DRY HERBS IN THE MICROWAVE ~ I'll show you how to preserve all your favorite herbs quickly and easily! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

 

PS I’ve got a killer recipe for homemade Boursin Cheese coming up soon, so stay tuned, it uses these microwave dried herbs and it’s even better than the store bought cheese!  Speaking of staying tuned, why not sign up on my email list, HERE, so you won’t miss it!

43 Comments

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    August 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Hello I just used your drying method for my basil and parsley. Great. So easy and a good way to preserve those herbs for this winter.Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      I’m so glad, Marilyn. it’s funny, but I would never ever buy dried parsley, but the stuff I made is so good, I’ve been using it a lot!

  • Reply
    Neale Dunn
    August 29, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Here is my favorite way to use those sweet perfect summer tomatoes in a salad. 2-3 chopped tomatoes, 4-5 leaves from the heart of romaine, a cuke from the garden, and a few chopped scallions or 1/2 of a red onion ( thinly sliced crescents) whole parsley and small basil leaves. cube a large chunk of rustic italian or other artisan bread. 1 clove pressed garlic. Salt, pepper, olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. you can switch the vinegar to a good wine vinegar if you prefer. Toss and enjoy.

  • Reply
    Katie | Katie's Time Travelling Kitchen
    August 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    This is so useful and such a good idea! :) Do you think it would work in an oven as well?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks Katie, and while you can dry herbs in an oven it’s not as good a method, because the slower drying time strips flavor and color from the herbs.

  • Reply
    Nimra
    August 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Hi sue,
    I need to ask that can we dry mint leaves by this method?

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    August 25, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I love this tip, what a great way to preserve summer!

  • Reply
    Katherine | Omnivore's Cookbook
    August 25, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Big thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Natasha
    August 25, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I would have never thought of this! The microwave is waaay underused in my house! I adore herbs (and spend way too much $$$ on fresh ones) so I’m definitely going to keep this in mind :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 25, 2016 at 9:34 am

      It works so well, Natasha, now we just have to find more recipes that call for dried herbs to use them all in :)

      • Reply
        Linda
        August 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm

        Thanks Sue. The tip worked great!!!

  • Reply
    Sara
    August 23, 2016 at 11:52 am

    This is such a genius idea, I always struggle with wasted herbs!

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    August 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

    This is one of those why didn’t I think of that ideas? So glad you are doing my thinking for me! This is great Sue and I have plenty of herbs to try this with! Love it!

  • Reply
    cakespy
    August 23, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Love it!! So handy.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    What a great post for this time of year! The perfect tip for saving money and preserving herbs! Thanks Susan :)

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    August 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    This post is just what I needed to know. I have a bunch of herbs growing and am afraid I won’t use them all before some bug or super hot temperature gets to them. Can’t wait to do this. Thanks!!!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    August 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Absolutely brilliant. Thank you Sue!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    August 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I love this idea so much. I have tons of basil overtaking my garden right now and this is a great way to save it for a few months. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      The basil dries super quick, Karen. Just be sure to separate the different leaf sizes before you dry them, so put all the small ones together and do the bigger ones together so they’ll dry at the same rate.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    August 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    This is wonderful Sue and so simple it’s almost unbelievable. What a fantastic way to stretch the summer! Pinning and sharing!

  • Reply
    Jules @ WolfItDown
    August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    That is so clever! I myself don’t have a microwave, but you could probably do it in an oven on low heat for a longer time as well :) And you’re right! So many times I buy fresh herbs, I use a few sprigs and then forget about the rest, or cant din’t anything to add it to… Dang! Problem solved :) x

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      You can technically do this in the oven, but the herbs will brown during the slower drying time. The advantage of the microwave is that it does it in a flash and preserves color and flavor.

  • Reply
    sippitysup
    August 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    There are a lot of times dried is far preferred to fresh, especially when you want a lot of herbal punch (but not alot of chlorophyll). I especially like dried mint but I use it so rarely that the jarred stuff loses it’s punch before I can use it all up. With your method I can make only as much as I need. Thanks GREG

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      You’re so right, store-bought dried mint is one of the worst offenders!!

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    August 22, 2016 at 10:46 am

    This is great – we’re going to start growing herbs indoors over the winter and now I don’t have to worry if I’m planting too much or the wrong combinations. I hate that moment when you decide to make ‘X’, not because you particularly want it but because you have something that’s going to pass its peak if you don’t use it. Now I can control my herbs instead of them controlling me!!
    I laughed out loud at “serial herb killer” – I have so been there!

  • Reply
    Auntiepatch
    August 22, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Genius!

  • Reply
    Farida
    August 22, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Wow, you have the best kitchen hacks! I’m definitely trying this!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    August 22, 2016 at 9:14 am

    What a brilliant idea! I can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks for sharing, Sue.

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    August 22, 2016 at 8:46 am

    OH my gosh, I’m so excited about this, Sue! I have a ton of basil and thyme that I thought I’d never be able to use up before the season ends. Thank you for this fantastic solution!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

      What’s nice about it is that some recipes require the herbs in dried form, so it does come in handy :)

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    August 22, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Oh my gawsh, ummmm WHY have I never dried my own herbs before?!? Especially when it is SO easy!!! I am totally doing this, Sue! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    August 22, 2016 at 8:12 am

    We don’t have a microwave but I am surprise that is possible to dry herbs using it!! WOW!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 8:16 am

      I’ve discovered so many things the microwave can do, Marilyn, I highly recommend getting one!

  • Reply
    swayam
    August 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

    This is brilliant Sue!! I have been meaning to do this for ages. I just make dried fenugreek right now but cant wait to try this with other herbs! Thanks for this amazing idea :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Where do you find fresh fenugreek, Swayam? Do you grow it?

  • Reply
    Megan
    August 22, 2016 at 7:41 am

    I absolutely love this and it’ll be pinned and referenced so many times, you don’t even know how handy this is right now! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 7:44 am

      I know it’s come in handy for me, Megan. I was a serial herb killer ;)

  • Reply
    Luci
    August 22, 2016 at 7:09 am

    This could be the most genius thing I’ve ever come across! Seriously!! Whenever I try to “dry” my fresh herbs I end up with a soggy, mouldy mess! Can you use any paper? Does it not set on fire though? I have a bad experience with paper and my (previous, eep) microwave?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 7:23 am

      I used an oil blotting paper that I got from a kitchen store, Luci, but parchment will work, and I think a plain sheet of paper will work, too, it’s just to have a flat surface for the herbs. The drying time is short, and I’ve never had a problem with paper in my microwave…I also use it when making my microwave potato chips.

  • Reply
    kathi @ LaughingSpatula
    August 22, 2016 at 6:58 am

    That is just sooooo incredibly clever and I can’t wait to try it! I have had a nice size herb garden for years and freeze some, but mostly they just whither and die! Great idea!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      I’ve been without an herb garden for several years now and I miss it so much. I spend way too much money at the grocery store. I hope you try this method and it helps you preserve more of that precious harvest, Kathi.

      • Reply
        Janet Turner
        June 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

        Hi, I have recently bought several herbs and have them on my deck. I can’t put them in the ground as I can’t bend over to well. So they are in pretty pots. I wanted to dry the Basil and followed your instruction. I dried the leave that I picked as it had just rained. I put them on paper towels and checked now and then to see if they had dried enough. When I could not see any water on them I put about 8 leaves on a sheet of white paper and put them in the microwave. I put the timer to 30 seconds and stood there looking thru the glad. It had about 10 sec. into the 30 and some broke out in a flame and some burned. I had to quickly open the door. They were very wilted and some of the stems burned but I was afraid to do more. What did I do wrong!!! I have tyme and Chocolate mint I want to dry and oregano!!

        • Reply
          Sue
          June 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

          Basil is one of the harder ones to dry, Janet, especially is your leaves were large. The thyme and oregano should be much easier because they contain less moisture. Do you know the wattage of your microwave?

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