Are you ready to unlock the full potential of your homegrown herbs? Welcome back to our Beginning Herb Garden series - Bertie here!

I've begun harvesting and drying my herbs and it's exciting to see them filling up the collection jars!

Drying your homegrown herbs is a game-changer! Think about keeping the tasty flavors and health benefits of your favorite herbs straight from your garden.

I'm already enjoying oregano tea and the many benefits it has! 🌿

In this guide, we look at the top 5 herb drying methods for 2024. We'll help you find the best way to dry your herbs.

From the simple and old-fashioned way of air drying to the quick and easy method of using a microwave, we've got you covered.

Learn all about each method, including the steps, the good and bad points, and tips to get the best results so your herbs keep their flavor and strength.

Method 1: Air Drying Herbs

Air drying herbs is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods. It’s a great way to dry hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Here is a pic showing herbs that have been bundled and hung for air drying:

Example of bunches of herbs air drying

Overview of Air Drying

Air drying involves hanging herbs in a well-ventilated area. This method relies on natural air circulation to remove moisture from the herbs. It’s ideal for those who prefer a traditional and low-tech approach.

Best Herbs for Air Drying

  • Rosemary: Its sturdy leaves dry well using this method.
  • Thyme: Delicate leaves retain their flavor and aroma.
  • Sage: Thick leaves dry thoroughly, making it ideal for air drying.
  • Oregano: Retains its robust flavor when air dried.
  • Mint: Maintains its refreshing taste and scent.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Harvesting: Cut the herbs in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun is too strong.
  2. Bundling: Gather the herbs in small bunches, tying them together with twine or a rubber band. (I use twine for my bundles.) Be sure each bundle contains only one type of herb as mixing them causes uneven drying.
  3. Hanging: Use more twine to hang the herb bunches upside down, like clothesline-style. Choose a location that is dark and dry to prevent mold formation.
  4. Monitor and Wait: The drying time can vary. Check your herbs frequently until you get a feel for how long it takes. It depends on the herb type and the environment.
  5. Drying Time: Allow the herbs to dry for 1-2 weeks. They are ready when the leaves crumble easily between your fingers.
  6. Prepare Your Dried Herbs for Storage: Once dried, gently remove or crumble the leaves from the stems, chop to your preferred size, and store them in airtight containers.
Various herbs in jars

Pros and Cons

Requires no special equipment.
--Simple: Easy to set up and monitor.
--Natural Process: Preserves the essential oils, enhancing flavor and aroma.

Takes longer than other methods.
--Space Requirements: Needs a suitable location with good airflow.
--Risk of Mold: High humidity can lead to mold growth if not monitored.

Tips for Optimal Results

  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Sunlight can degrade the herbs' quality.
  • Ensure Good Ventilation: Adequate airflow is crucial to prevent mold.
  • Small Bunches: Smaller bundles dry more evenly and reduce the risk of mold.

Method 2. Using a Dehydrator

A dehydrator offers a controlled environment to dry herbs quickly and efficiently. It’s perfect for those who want a reliable and consistent drying method.

Introduction to Dehydrators

Dehydrators are electric appliances designed to remove moisture from food, including herbs, using low heat and airflow. They provide a uniform drying environment, making the process faster and more efficient.

Example of a dehydrator

Selecting the Right Dehydrator

  • Adjustable Temperature Settings: Allows precise control over the drying process.
  • Multiple Trays: Enables drying of large batches simultaneously.
  • Ease of Use: Look for user-friendly models with clear instructions.

Step-by-Step Drying Process

  1. Preparation: Wash the herbs gently and pat them dry to remove excess moisture.
  2. Arranging: Spread the herbs evenly on the dehydrator trays, ensuring they don’t overlap.
  3. Temperature Setting: Set the dehydrator to 95-115°F (35-46°C), the optimal range for herbs.
  4. Drying Time: Allow herbs to dry for 1-4 hours, checking periodically. They are ready when they crumble easily.

Pros and Cons

--Fast Drying Time:
Reduces drying time significantly compared to air drying.
--Consistent Results: Provides uniform drying for all herbs.
--Preserves Quality: Retains flavor, color, and essential oils.

--Initial Cost:
Requires investment in a dehydrator.
--Energy Use: Uses electricity, adding to operational costs.

  • See our review of the best dehydrators!

Method 3. Oven Drying Herbs

Oven drying is a convenient method if you don’t have a dehydrator or space for air drying. It’s quick and uses equipment most people already have at home.

Example of herbs drying in an oven

Overview of Oven Drying

Oven drying uses the heat from your oven to remove moisture from herbs quickly. This method is great for those who need dried herbs in a hurry.

Best Herbs for Oven Drying

  • Basil: Retains its sweet, peppery flavor.
  • Parsley: Dries well and keeps its vibrant color.
  • Dill: Maintains its aromatic, slightly tangy flavor.
  • Chives: Keeps its mild onion-like taste.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Preheating: Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting (around 140°F or 60°C).
  2. Preparation: Spread the herbs on a baking sheet in a single layer. Using parchment paper can help prevent sticking.
  3. Drying: Place the baking sheet in the oven and prop the oven door open slightly to allow moisture to escape.
  4. Monitoring: Check the herbs every 30 minutes to an hour. Drying time varies but typically takes 2-4 hours. The herbs are done when they crumble easily.

Pros and Cons

--Quick Drying Time:
Faster than air drying.
--Convenient: Utilizes existing kitchen equipment.

--Risk of Over-Drying:
Herbs can easily burn if not closely monitored.
--Energy Use: Higher energy consumption compared to air drying.

Safety Tips and Tricks

  • Use an Oven Thermometer: Ensures accurate temperature control.
  • Monitor Closely: Check frequently to prevent burning.
  • Lower Temperatures: If possible, use the lowest temperature to avoid degrading the herbs.

Method 4. Microwave Drying Herbs

Microwave drying is a speedy method, perfect for small batches of herbs. It’s ideal for those who need dried herbs quickly and in small quantities.

Hand with thumbs up in front of a microwave and scattered herbs around

Introduction to Microwave Drying

Microwave drying uses the appliance’s microwave radiation to remove moisture from herbs rapidly. It’s a quick solution for those with limited time.

Suitable Herbs for Microwave Drying

  • Basil: Dries quickly and retains its aromatic qualities.
  • Parsley: Perfect for a quick drying session.
  • Cilantro: Maintains its fresh, citrusy flavor.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Preparation: Place a small amount of herbs between two paper towels.
  2. Microwaving: Microwave on high for 1-3 minutes, checking every 30 seconds. (I tried cilantro in my microwave. One minute seemed like a long time, but it worked great! See my cilantro below. Do not use paper plates, though. Use a microwave-safe glass plate! Trust me on this!!)
  3. Monitoring: The herbs are ready when they are dry and brittle.
Before microwaving my cilantro on left, and after on right

Pros and Cons

--Extremely Fast:
Drys herbs in minutes.
--Convenient: Uses a common household appliance.

--Risk of Scorching:
Herbs can easily scorch if not monitored. My paper plate actually caught on fire as it was made out of recycled paper and some of them have bits of metal undetectable to the naked eye! 🫢
--Limited Capacity: Only suitable for small batches.

Tips for Maintaining Flavor and Color

  • Lower Power Settings: Use if available to prevent scorching.
  • Frequent Checks: Check every 30 seconds to avoid over-drying.

Method 5. Using a Herb Drying Rack

Herb drying racks provide a dedicated space to dry herbs, making them a favorite among gardeners. They allow for efficient and organized drying.

Example of herb drying racks

Overview of Drying Racks

Drying racks are specially designed to hold herbs in a manner that allows air to circulate freely around them. This method is efficient and can handle larger quantities.

Selecting the Right Drying Rack

  • Multiple Tiers: Allows drying of several batches at once.
  • Breathable Materials: Ensure proper air circulation.
  • Sturdy Construction: Can handle the weight of multiple herbs.

Step-by-Step Drying Process

  1. Preparation: Spread the herbs in a single layer on the racks, ensuring they do not overlap.
  2. Placement: Place the racks in a dry, well-ventilated area.
  3. Drying Time: Allow herbs to dry for 1-2 weeks, rotating the racks periodically for even drying.

Pros and Cons

--Maximizes Space:
Efficiently uses space for drying.
--Even Air Circulation: Ensures all herbs dry evenly.

--Space Requirements:
Needs a dedicated area for the racks.
--Longer Drying Time: Similar to air drying, it takes more time.

  • See our article on the best drying racks for herbs!

Lots of herbs with "Summary" on image


Drying your herbs is a rewarding process that enhances their flavor and extends their shelf life. By choosing the right drying method, you can ensure your herbs retain their quality and potency.

Whether you opt for air drying, using a dehydrator, oven drying, microwave drying, or a drying rack, each method has its unique advantages.

Experiment with these techniques and find the one that works best for you. Happy drying! 🌿

FAQ written on table with herbs and scoops scattered on right hand side

What is the best time of day to harvest herbs for drying?

The best time to harvest herbs for drying is in the early morning, after the dew has evaporated but before it gets too hot. Harvesting at this time will help preserve the herbs' essential oils for the best flavor and fragrance.

How do I prevent my dried herbs from becoming moldy?

To prevent your dried herbs from becoming moldy, make sure to remove excess moisture before drying by washing them gently, using a salad spinner, and patting them dry with paper towels. During the drying process, ensure good air circulation and regularly check the herbs for any signs of mold.

Can I use my oven to dry herbs if I don't have a dehydrator?

Yes, you can use your oven to dry herbs by setting it to the lowest temperature, around 180°F, and leaving the door slightly open to let moisture escape. Just be sure to check the herbs frequently.

How do I store dried herbs to maintain their flavor and aroma?

To maintain the flavor and aroma of dried herbs, store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark place to protect them from air, heat, and light. Label the containers with the date and name of the herb for easy identification and freshness tracking.

Is there a difference in potency between fresh and dried herbs, and how should I substitute one for the other in recipes?

Yes, there is a difference in potency between fresh and dried herbs. When substituting in recipes, use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to maintain the desired flavor profile.

Thanks for stopping by our beehive and reading all about drying herbs! We have many other articles on herbs as well. Here are just a few:

Lavender Love: From Seed to Scent, How to Plant and Grow Lavender!
What is Lemon Balm: Benefits, Uses, and Growing Tips for Beginners
Exploring What Is Chamomile: Health Benefits and Beyond

This has been an exciting journey in learning about beginning an herb garden and about beautiful herbs that are just on-so-good for you, and we're so glad you're traveling with us! 😄🌿


Jacki's Bio Pic

About the Author: Hi, I'm Jacki, and I write under the persona of Bertie, my beloved maternal grandmother. Bertie, born in 1891, was the wife of a farmer and an incredible gardener. Although she wasn't formally educated, her intelligence and deep understanding of gardening and farming were unmatched. She passed away in 1974, leaving me with a rich heritage of grassroots living and a wealth of practical gardening knowledge. Through her memory, I reach back into this rich history to share timeless gardening wisdom with you.

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