Can you substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs?

Common fresh herbs with a glass jar of oil

If a recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you don’t have any on hand, you CAN substitute dried herbs.

While it won’t have quite the same appearance and texture, you can get a very similar taste by replacing the fresh herbs for the dried ones in your spice rack.

Dried herbs are more concentrated and therefore stronger in flavor than fresh ones. So you don’t substitute 1:1.


You will need less dried herbs. Approximately 1/3 the amount.


HOT TIP:  a teaspoon is 1/3 the amount of a tablespoon!


So if a recipe calls for 1 TABLESPOON of fresh parsley, you need only 1 TEASPOON of dried parsley.

This little tip makes it easy to substitute. If the recipe calls for 1/2 Tbsp of ginger, instead use 1/2 tsp!


Can you use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs?

If you want to substitute fresh herbs when a recipe calls for dried ones you can. Multiply the volume called for in the recipe by 3. So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of a dried herb you would use 1 tablespoon of the fresh herb.


Cooking with dried herbs

Dried herbs in glass jars from a spice rack


How can you tell if your dried herbs are still good?

When you open a herb jar you should be able to smell the aroma of the herb. If you can’t it’s time to replace it. Some dried herbs stay flavorful longer than others. See below to find out which ones.


When should you add dried herbs when cooking?

While fresh herbs are best added right before serving, dried herbs are generally better added earlier on in the cooking process. This gives them time to re-hydrate and for the flavor to infuse with the rest of the meal.


Which herbs are best to use fresh and which herbs are best to use dried?

These herbs retain their flavor well when dried:

  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Savory
Kitchen organization tip: Bay leaves are known for keeping pests away. Scatter a few around your pantry and cabinets to deter bugs.

Fresh herbs can be substituted with dried herbs

These herbs tend to lose their flavor when dried. They also may not keep as long in your spice jars so should be replaced more often.

  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Cilantro (also known as Coriander)
  • Chervil
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Sorrel


What is the best way to store dried herbs?

Dried herbs should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place away from heat. You should use airtight containers to seal in the freshness.


How long do dried herbs last for?

As a general rule of thumb, dried herbs should be good for about a year. After that their flavor diminishes. This will depend on various factors such as:

  • the quality of the herb,
  • where it’s been stored,
  • the type of the herb, etc.

When you open the jar you should be able to smell the herb. If you can’t smell it, then it also won’t have much flavor.


Why do herbs lose flavor when they are dried?

Most herbs contain flavor compounds that are more volatile than water. During the drying process to remove water these flavor compounds also evaporate!

When water is added during cooking the herbs can re-hydrate but those evaporated flavor compounds won’t be added back in.

The herbs that naturally grow in hot climates usually have more stable flavor when exposed to heat and drying.

A few herbs are widely thought preferable in their dried format. One of these, is bay leaves, which are considered sweeter when dried.

Generally speaking, fresh herbs are considered preferable. But they’re not always available! Nor economical! So it’s good to know that you can substitute dried herbs when recipes call for fresh ones.




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