DIY Dried Herbs ♥ (How to Dry Fresh Herbs in the Microwave)

DIY Dried Herbs
Fresh Dried Herbs (Except Far Right)
Today's DIY Kitchen Tip: How to Turn Fresh Herbs into Dried Herbs. Does that make them Fresh-Dried Herbs? I think so! It takes just a minute or two in the microwave and once dried, the fresh herbs (wait, now they are dried herbs) are still bright green in color, still fragrant, and somehow, still alive.

Your 'veggie evangelist' is no DIY Diva. The rare project I tackle turns out silly junk, not shabby chic. But watching all the clever pins and repins on Pinterest, it's hard not to think, "I could do that! I could. I really could." (Pinterest is my latest online obsession, Yours too? Follow me on Pinterest, I'll follow you back! It's a fun way to share stuff we find online.)

But Kitchen DIY comes naturally -- and so does turning the last of the season's fresh green herbs into fresh dried herbs. I take no credit for the idea, it came from PJ Hamel who writes the blog for King Arthur Flour and shared Dry Fresh Herbs in 30 Seconds Flat - Really. I read PJ's post and thought, "I could do that. Heck, I could do that NOW." And so I did, heading to the herb pots on the patio, scissors in hand.

After drying the first batch, the big difference I noticed was color -- the herbs are dried and green, not dried and brown. Check the photo. For comparison, I included a spoonful of dried basil from my spice cupboard -- it's the pile on the right that looks brown and dusty! The fresh herbs dried in the microwave are green and fragrant and somehow, still alive. It takes just a pinch to add real oomph to a dish.

So yes, I'll be harvesting more herbs this week, before St. Louis' first hard frost. But during the winter, what a great way to make sure that fresh herbs from the grocery store don't go to waste. It would take just a couple of minutes, while cooking or emptying the dishwasher, to dry another small batch. That's my DIY plan!


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 5 minutes

Wash and dry fresh herbs. Arrange in a single layer on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, fluffing a little after each burst, until the herbs are completely dry and easily crumbled between your fingers.

Microwaves vary in power so you'll need to experiment with the right length of time for your oven but this is what worked in mine:

Basil, Lavender, Mint, Oregano - 90 seconds (3 bursts)
Rosemary - 2 minutes (4 bursts)
Chive - 2-1/2 minutes (5 bursts)

So far, I'm not fiddling with storing individual herbs, just keeping a jar of "Alanna's Mixed Fresh-Dried Herbs" to use for the next while.
Use short bursts of power and don't walk away from the microwave, the dried herbs could ignite.
Choose your cooking plate carefully. One microwave safe plate (with a chip) got very very hot, while an unchipped plate stayed cool.
Once finished, moisture will be your enemy here, if there's any moisture at all, the herbs will rot in your container.

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Perfect timing! My indoor herb garden is thriving, and I have more basil, oregano, peppermint, parsley and cilantro than I can keep up with! In the past I've had nothing but bad luck trying to dry ANYTHING without it turning moldy, brown or slimy. (I was using a method that involved drying the stalks in paper bags.) I can't wait to try this microwave method. Alanna, you've done it again!! :D

  2. I never thought about doing it in the microwave. I've generally chopped and then frozen my herbs.

  3. Wow - I love this idea! Too bad I didn't see it before the snow we got a few weeks ago. This would be a great way to save store bought fresh herbs, too, though.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna