Mastering the Art of Drying Basil: A Step-by-Step Guide to Oven Drying

How to Dry Basil in the Oven: Step-by-Step Guide

Basil is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb that adds a delightful flavor to many dishes. Whether you have an abundance of fresh basil from your garden or want to preserve store-bought basil for later use, drying it in the oven is an easy and effective method. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of drying basil in the oven, giving you all the instructions you need to get the best results.


  1. Begin by gathering the following materials:
    • Baking sheet(s) with enough room to spread out the basil leaves without touching each other.
    • Rolled silicone baking mat or metal baking rack (optional, but recommended for better air circulation).
    • Parchment paper.
  2. Before drying basil, it is important to thoroughly wash and dry the leaves. Moisture on the leaves can cause them to cook instead of drying in the oven. Follow these steps to prepare basil leaves:
    • Wash the basil leaves under cool running water and gently pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
    • Remove all stems from the leaves.
  3. Flatten the basil leaves as much as possible to ensure even heat distribution and to prevent steam from pooling or dripping during the drying process. You can achieve this by placing the leaves between paper towels and using a heavy pan or baking sheet with cookbooks on top for about 5 minutes.
  4. If time permits, allow the basil leaves to air dry for 2-3 days before proceeding with oven drying. Air drying reduces oven time and improves the overall drying process.

Drying Basil in the Oven

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting, preferably between 170-180°F (76-82°C). If your oven’s lowest setting exceeds 180°F, you can leave the oven door slightly ajar to prevent the temperature from rising too high and burning the basil.
  2. If you are using a grooved silicone baking mat or metal rack, place it on your baking sheet. This allows for better airflow and promotes even drying. Alternatively, you can line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread the prepared basil leaves on the baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer and not touching each other. This will help them dry properly.
  4. Place the baking sheet with the basil leaves in a preheated oven and allow to dry for 1.5 to 4 hours. The exact drying time depends on several factors, including the oven temperature, the initial moisture content of the leaves, the size of the leaves, and the desired level of dryness. It is important to check the basil periodically to avoid over-drying or burning.
  5. After the first hour of drying, check the basil every 15 minutes to make sure it is not burning. The basil leaves are ready when they crumble to the touch and feel completely dry.
  6. When the basil leaves are dry, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. As they cool, they will become even more crispy.
  7. Crumble the dried basil leaves into small pieces. This can be easily done by gently rubbing the leaves between your fingers. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle to crush the dried leaves into a finer grain if you prefer ground basil.
  8. Place the crushed basil in an airtight glass container, such as a flip-top spice jar, and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. Properly dried and stored, basil can retain its flavor and aroma for 6 months to 1 year.

Alternative methods for drying basil

While oven drying is a popular and convenient method, there are alternative ways to dry basil if you don’t have access to an oven or prefer different approaches. Here are two alternatives:

  1. Microwave drying: Although not recommended for preserving the quality of basil, you can dry basil in the microwave. Note, however, that the leaves may lose their color, flavor, delicate aroma, and nutritional value. It is better to explore other methods of preserving the quality of your basil.
  2. Dehydrator Drying: If you have a dehydrator, this is an excellent option for efficiently drying basil. Wash and trim the basil leaves as usual and place them in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Set the dehydrator to the lowest temperature setting or to the specific herb setting, if available. Drying time can range from 6 to 24 hours, depending on humidity. When the leaves are crisp and easily crumbled, they are completely dried and ready for storage.
  3. Air Drying: Air drying is a traditional method that takes more time, but can produce delicious results. To air dry basil, you will need a drying rack or string to hang bundles of basil. Gather small bunches of basil stems and tie them together with string or a rubber band. Hang the bundles upside down in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Allow the basil to air dry for several weeks until the leaves are completely dry and crumbly. When dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container.


Drying basil in the oven is an easy and efficient way to preserve this aromatic herb for long-term storage. By following the step-by-step instructions in this article, you can ensure that your dried basil retains its vibrant flavor and aroma. Remember to prepare the basil leaves properly, use the lowest oven temperature setting, and check the basil regularly to prevent over-drying or burning. Alternatively, you can explore other methods such as dehydration or air drying if they better suit your preferences and equipment availability. With your homemade dried basil, you can enjoy the flavor and fragrance of this versatile herb in your culinary creations all year long.


Can I use any oven temperature to dry basil?

Yes, you can use any oven temperature, but it’s best to use the lowest setting, preferably between 170-180°F (76-82°C). Avoid using higher temperatures as this can cause the basil to burn or lose its flavor.

How long does it take to dry basil in the oven?

Drying time can vary depending on factors such as oven temperature, moisture content of the leaves, and size of the leaves. In general, it takes between 1.5 and 4 hours to dry basil in the oven. Keep an eye on the leaves and check periodically for desired dryness.

Can I air dry basil before drying it in the oven?

Yes, air drying basil for 2-3 days prior to oven drying can help reduce oven time. Air drying allows some of the moisture to evaporate naturally, speeding up the overall drying process.

What is the best way to store dried basil?

To preserve the flavor and aroma of dried basil, store it in an airtight glass container, such as a spice jar with a flip-top lid. Place the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. Properly stored, dried basil can retain its quality for 6 months to 1 year.

Can I use microwave drying as an alternative?

While microwave drying can be done, it is not recommended for preserving the quality of basil. The leaves may lose their color, flavor, delicate aroma, and nutritional value. It is better to explore other methods such as oven drying, dehydrator drying, or air drying for better results.

Is it necessary to flatten the basil leaves before drying them in the oven?

Flattening the basil leaves prior to drying in the oven helps to ensure even heat distribution and prevents steam from pooling or dripping during the drying process. It is not required, but highly recommended for best results.