How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave

How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave quickly and easily ~

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? ~

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! ~

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 ~

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 ~

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 ~

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

Reader Rave ~

“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.” ~ Marilyn

3.28 from 50 votes

Microwave Dried Herbs

Author Sue Moran


Fresh herbs

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


  • Make sure your herbs are clean and completely DRY.
  • 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.
  • Microwave on full power for anywhere from 30 - 90 seconds, depending on your herbs and your particular microwave. (see chart above)
  • 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.
  • Let the dried herbs cool down and then crush them with clean hands, and package them in small jars or plastic bags.
  • Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Don’t forget to pin this tutorial on how to dry herbs!

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. #freshherbs #growingherbs #driedherbs #parsley #sage #basil #mint #tarragon #thyme #cilantro


PS I’ve got a killer recipe for HOMEMADE BOURSIN CHEESE that’s perfect for all your new 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!

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  • Reply
    July 29, 2021 at 8:02 am

    5 stars
    OMG!!! I was Googling how to preserve my herbs for Christmas gifts this year. All I saw was roll and freeze. Ugh! Sounds awful. Then I found Sue. Can’t wait to cut mine and get started. I already bought cute little jars and decorative lids/labels. Big thank you

  • Reply
    November 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    I believe fresh herbs cannot be beat too. However when you cannot use it up fast enough drying becomes an option. Second time I have used this method. This is a wonderful way to dry herbs. The color is bright. It doesn’t take long. The herbs are great tasting too. Thanks for the great information.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2020 at 8:35 am

    I would roll the herbs in kitchen paper to dry out the moisture from the herbs before microwaving.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    1 star
    Thought this was a wonderful idea, but not! I tried a small bunch, a few leaves, a large bunch (10 stems). I’ve used paper towels, paper plates and plain white paper as you suggested. Every time a fire in my micowave, SCARY. I’ll go back to the oven method.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      In response to the folks who are having fires – I just attempted to thaw a cube of frozen basil in the microwave (in a glass bowl – no paper) and my microwave started arcing! In looking it up it appears that dark greens such as kale, etc (basil included I would imagine) that contain high amounts of minerals including iron, magnesium, and selenium can cause sparks. Not good for the microwave! It is possible that some of the fires were actually caused by the herbs. Just wanted to share that bit of info – I’ll stick to drying herbs in the oven (or just freeze them!)

  • Reply
    Mary Fleehearty
    June 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

    5 stars
    Tried drying my herbs in the microwave. So easy! I‘m drying them to take to Florida when we snowbird this winter. Last year I had such a hard time finding the herbs I needed to cook like I do at home. This is the perfect solution!!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    It’s me again, I used Member’s Mark ( Sam’s Club) paper towels and I used them on high multiple times and never had a problem of catching on fire. I thought it might help.

    • Reply
      September 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      That’s helpful thanks Connie 🙂

  • Reply
    Connie Fazenbaker
    September 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    I used your method of drying herbs and this is the best way to do it. The flavor is still the same unlike when you hang it to dry or dehydrate it looses flavor. Mine took longer because I put a lot on paper towel but it works great. Wish I know how to attach pictures to show you. Thank you, thank yo, thank you!

    • Reply
      September 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      I’m so glad you love this method Connie, thanks!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2019 at 11:16 am

    This didn’t work at all. 25 seconds into it…the paper towel was on fire….

    • Reply
      January 26, 2019 at 8:41 am

      The vast majority of paper towels are microwave safe, but some are made with plastics and recycled materials and shouldn’t be used microwaved. Look for towels that are labeled Microwave Safe.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I don’t see chives on the list. Can this herb be dried successfully in the microwave?

    • Reply
      September 20, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Chives would work but they are so delicate they don’t take long!

  • Reply
    Deborah Kepler
    September 20, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I have been drying my parsley, Italian oregano and basil in the microwave, for 3 years now. After I dry them, I mix them together and store them in a plastic container and freeze them to use all year long. I use my “Italian seasoning” in most of my cooking and won’t buy the brands unless I am desperate…and then they taste moldy to me.

    • Reply
      September 20, 2018 at 11:31 am

      “That’s a fantastic idea Deborah, I have a ton of oregano in my garden, I think I’ll try this.

  • Reply
    Cathy Graff
    August 22, 2018 at 10:53 am

    What kind of paper can you use? Everytging ive read says to avoid Paper towels…even my wrapper…thanks

    • Reply
      August 22, 2018 at 10:55 am

      I’ve read that paper towels are safe in the microwave. You can use parchment paper, too.

  • Reply
    Trisha hartge
    August 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    I have been drying my herbs for several years with good results, but this year for some unknown reason the paper towels have been catching fire. My microwave was old so i bought a new one, but it happened again. so i have tried using a different brand of paper towels (same result), then tried parchment paper–caught fire again. S now i’m wondering if it is the herbs–i cut them and arrange on the paper towels and cover with another paper towel and follow the drying time suggested–no change.
    i’m frustrated since i have a lot of herbs and have been planning to use as gifts
    could it be the herbs?

    • Reply
      August 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      That’s strange Trisha, especially since you’ve changed microwaves and everything. I wonder if it is the type of paper towel you’re using? Try a different brand, all white.

      • Reply
        Damiano Anthony Cilenti
        January 31, 2019 at 5:36 am

        Recycled paper towels may contain small metal fragments that may arc in the microwave causing sparks which may subsequently ignite!

    • Reply
      September 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      I have read that paper towels that have a percentage of recycled content sometimes have tiny bits of metal in them that catch fire in microwaves (the same as if you put a twist tie in the microwave).

      • Reply
        September 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        That’s good to know, Norma, thanks!

  • Reply
    Jackie B
    September 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Just so you know .. I was curious if this could be done with dill. It worked perfectly. It took 45 seconds in my microwave. Just removed the tips from the heavy stems. Love ?? this method!! Thank you !!

    • Reply
      September 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Oh I’m so glad you came back to let us know Jackie. I don’t know why I didn’t include dill in the original post. Dried dill is one of my favorites, I think it keeps its flavor really well.

    • Reply
      Kevin Schanie
      October 1, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, thanks Sue. I have a surplus of basil kale parsley and Maior from my garden I was dreading a tedious task of hanging everything upside down all over the kitchen so I’m glad to Have the simple method thank you

      • Reply
        October 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        I envy you all those fresh herbs!

  • Reply
    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
      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
      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
    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
    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
      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
        August 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm

        Thanks Sue. The tip worked great!!!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2016 at 11:52 am

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

  • Reply
    [email protected] 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
    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
    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
      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
      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
    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
      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
    August 22, 2016 at 10:38 am


  • Reply
    August 22, 2016 at 10:28 am

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

  • Reply
    [email protected]'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
      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
    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
      August 22, 2016 at 8:16 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      August 22, 2016 at 8:06 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      August 22, 2016 at 7:44 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      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
      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
          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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