The Various Methods for Drying Herbs

My herb garden is a work in progress. I’ve continued to add more plants of medicinal and culinary value to this section of my garden over the past three years. Read all about my Herb Garden plans here!

This is the first year that many of my herbs have thrived. I’ve so enjoyed their unique foliage, distinct aromas, and lovely flowers! I’m so very grateful to have them to both enjoy and utilize!

A large factor in maintaining a successful herb garden is knowing how to best preserve the harvest. That’s exactly what we’ll cover in the following post! Hanging, laying out, or drying in the oven…we’ll discuss it all and more!

Harvesting Herbs from the Garden

Early morning is best time of day for harvesting herbs. The sunlight has not hit the leaves yet, so the natural oils inside the leaves haven’t evaporated. This means more flavor!

Are They Dry Enough?

A simple crumble test can determine if they are ready. If you take a leaf in your palm and crush it, does it come apart easy? If so, you’re ready to store them away.

Methods for Drying Herbs

Hang Drying

This method has been used by cooks and apothecaries for decades. It is a low-cost preservation method since zero special equipment is required.

Hang dry herbs is by tying a bunch (about 1 inch in diameter) together, flipping it upside down, and hanging until the bunch is dry.

Once all the moisture has left the leaves, crumble and place in an air tight container. Some people enjoy leaving a bunch hanging near their cooking space in order to pick from it as they create meals.

It will take about a week to dry a bunch of herbs via this method.

Tip: Wrap a rubber band around the bunch so the herbs don’t fall out. As moisture leaves the stems, they will shrink.

Lay Drying

This method involves simply plucking the leaves off of the stems and laying them out to dry on a rack or tray.

A dark and temperate environment is best for this method of drying, but not completely necessary for success either! I like to place mine on the top of the refrigerator.

It will take about a week to dry a bunch of herbs via this method.

Tips: Make sure they won’t blow away in a breeze or fan! Also avoid areas of high dust as it will settle all over the leaves.


This is, perhaps, the best method for drying bulk amounts of herbs.

Make sure the leaves are clean before placing them in a single layer on the dehydrating trays.

Cool on the lowest setting for approximately two to four hours.

Tip: Removing the herbs from the trays is the messiest part of this process. I suggest doing it over a clean cloth or bowl to catch any fallen bits.

Oven Drying

Don’t have a dehydrator to process your herbs? No problem! Just get that oven heated because you can dry them in there.

Place a muslin towel, cheesecloth , or silicone mat on a baking sheet for the herbs to rest on. This ensures that the leaves won’t stick to the pan.

Place a single layer of leave all over the pan.

Bake at the lowest temperature your oven allows for about 30 minutes.

You’ll know they are dry enough of they crumble when pressed in your hand.

Storing Dried Herbs

Dried herbs can be stored in glass jars or some other kind of air tight container. Simply crush the leaves into small pieces and fill the jar or container.

Hang-dried herbs can be left hanging for easy use. I like to keep some popular herbs hanging near my stove so I can easily grab them for seasoning.

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