How To Dry Basil In The Microwave


Drying basil in the microwave is a quick and easy way to preserve this fragrant herb for future use. Whether you have a surplus from your garden or want to take advantage of a great deal at the store, drying basil in the microwave is a convenient method that retains much of its flavor and aroma. Follow these simple steps to dry basil in the microwave:

1. Select Fresh Basil

Start with fresh basil leaves. If you have a basil plant, harvest the leaves in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun gets too hot. If purchasing from a store, choose fresh, vibrant-looking basil. From either source, choose green leaves that are free from any signs of wilting or yellowing.

2. Clean and Dry the Basil

Gently wash the basil leaves under cool water to remove dirt or debris. Pat the leaves dry with a clean towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture. Once the basil leaves are clean and dry, remove them from the stems. Discard any stems or damaged leaves. You can use whole leaves or chop them into smaller pieces, depending on your preference. Remember that smaller pieces will dry more quickly, but for best results, use whole leaves, as chopped basil may become too dry or lose its flavor during microwaving.

3. Prepare the Basil Leaves

Place a single layer of basil leaves on a microwave-safe plate lined with a paper towel. Make sure the leaves are not overlapping to ensure even drying. Place another paper towel on top of the leaves to absorb any moisture.

4. Microwave the Basil


Microwave the basil on high power for 30 seconds. Check the basil to see if it has started to dry out. If the leaves are still moist, microwave in 15-second intervals until the basil is completely dry. Be careful not to overcook the basil, as it can become brittle and lose its flavor. The exact time will depend on your microwave’s wattage and the moisture content of the leaves. It typically takes 1 to 3 minutes to dry basil in the microwave.

5. Cool and Crumble the Basil

Once the basil is dry, remove it from the microwave and let it cool completely. The leaves should be crisp and crumble easily between your fingers. If the leaves are still slightly moist, you can return them to the microwave for additional drying. Once completely cool, crumble the basil until the pieces are of a uniform size.

6. Store the Dried Basil

Various Size Jars

Once the basil is completely dry and has been crumbled, store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container such as a glass jar or a resealable plastic bag. Dried basil can be stored for at least three years. Alternatively, you can store the dried basil in the freezer for a longer shelf life.  

7. Using Dried Basil

Dried basil can be used in many recipes in place of fresh basil. Add the dried and crumbled basil to soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. Dried basil can also be used to make herbal teas or infused oils.

Tips for Drying Basil in the Microwave

  • Microwave basil in short time increments to avoid over-drying the leaves.
  • Check the basil frequently while microwaving to ensure it does not burn.
  • Store dried basil in a cool, dark place to maintain its flavor and aroma.

Final Thoughts

Drying basil in the microwave is a simple and effective way to preserve this flavorful herb. Dried basil can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. It adds a pop of flavor to pasta dishes, salads, and even homemade bread. By following these steps for drying basil in the microwave, you can enjoy the taste of fresh basil year-round, even when the growing season has ended.

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or

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