how to dry fresh oregano and basil

Alright, I asked on Facebook, and you guys wanted the dried herbs first – so… your wish is my command!

For the first time EVER, my basil is growing like crazy. Normally, I don’t do well growing herbs. Except rosemary – that stuff is indestructible! For some reason, I’ve just never been good at getting herbs to grow well or keeping up with them if they were. I think this also happens because once our bigger garden is producing, I kind of forget about anything that isn’t in that same space. So it’s completely my fault. But I made an effort this year, and it paid off.

I was also totally pruning basil wrong all these years! No wonder it died off so early. Now I know how to pick basil (the right way), I have a healthy plant that’s still producing – which is why I’ve started to dry some for the winter!

dried basil and oregano

My first batch of dried herbs was half basil and half oregano (another herb that is going nuts right now – I have so. much. oregano). Also: why in the world doesn’t normal dried oregano smell anything like fresh oregano? Fresh oregano is so different than your typical dried oregano – it’s so sweet smelling! I really hope this homemade dried stuff keeps some of that flavor.

To dry these, I took the easiest / laziest option. I didn’t want to leave these in a super low oven for days, and I don’t have an actual dehydrator. So, paper towels + patience won out!

dried basil and oregano

This may be the easiest thing you’ll ever do! The only step is to pick your herbs.

Then you wait. For days. I actually left these sitting for almost 2 weeks (I forgot about them on the porch!). And they’re still perfect.

I took a baking sheet and put a layer of paper towels down to cover the entire sheet. Then picked a couple handfuls of fresh oregano and basil and spread them out on the paper towels. Layer another sheet of paper towels on top of the herbs, and that’s it! Leave them in a cool/dry place (either on a porch – safe from the weather, or in a basement, or in a room that doesn’t get too warm/steamy) and let them sit for at least 3-4 days, or longer if you want! You just want them to completely dry out, so they’re easy to crumble and break up.

dried basil and oregano

Once the herbs are dry, remove the stems and put your dried herbs into air-tight containers. And that’s it!

I told you it was easy.

Plus, anything you can set aside for two weeks and STILL have it come out the way you want? That’s just a bonus. Because if you’re like me and forget things like this anyway….don’t worry. You can’t ruin these.


  1. Dried herbs are one of my favorite things to preserve! So easy and SO rewarding. I did my basil a few weeks ago and now have an exceptionally lovely jar of crumbly basil bits.

  2. What is the correct way to prune basil?

  3. What a great idea – I love food-related DIYs!

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