20 October 2010

Drying basil in the microwave

This weekend, it was time to harvest what was left of my basil, and there was quite a bit of it. Tips for preserving basil often suggest making pesto, but I'm not a huge fan of the stuff. I decided instead to experiment with drying, since I use dried basil quite a bit in soups and stews. Since I don't yet own a dehydrator, I took a shot at drying the leaves in the microwave. Luckily, the microwave method was not only successful but incredibly quick! The result was completely dried basil that still kept its rich color and glorious scent. I plan to experiment with other herbs in the future.

How to dry basil in the microwave
(caveat: since microwaves vary, you may need to adjust the time/heat level. This method probably works best in a microwave with a rotating plate.)
  • Wash and thoroughly dry all basil leaves.
  • Lay an individual layer of basil leaves on a dry paper towel on your microwave's plate. Cover the leaves with another paper towel.
  • Let the microwave run for 30 seconds. Turn leaves over, and let it run for another 30 seconds.
  • Repeat as necessary (it only took me 1 1/2 minutes!)
  • Before storing (whole or crushed), ensure that all moisture has been depleted (see caption below).

(Basil leaves after drying. I placed the dried basil on a paper towel and covered with saran wrap overnight in order to check that all moisture had been depleted.)

(I decided to keep the dried basil whole rather than crushing it. I'll subsequently crush the pieces that I need for each recipe.)

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday & Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. Too bad my basil crop was tiny this year. I will keep this method in mind for next year!

  2. I never knew you could do this with basil. Brilliant. Wish I had dried some of mine instead of feeling like I had to make 'n' freeze pesto asap. Next year!
    (ps, howdy! Linking over here from my BFF Consciously Frugal)

  3. Emily and Lara,
    Thanks for posting -- I'm looking forward to reading through your own blogs!

  4. have you tried this with other herbs yet?

  5. I haven't - but I think it will work with a variety of herbs. You may just want to experiment. Actually, my parents bought me a dehydrator for Christmas, so I'm using that instead. :)

  6. This is just the right storage option for the herb. It's about having the right container.

  7. Pat June 3, 2013 2:00 PM - this really works! totally awesome and oh so quick. It only took 1 minute in my microwave - 30 seconds on each side. thank you so much.