A variety of fresh herbs on dehydrator trays

Dehydrated Herbs

Dried herbs have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties, and historically were preserved in small bundles throughout the home. While this method is certainly pleasant, it’s not the most practical. The best way to quickly dry and preserve the integrity of fresh herbs is to use a dehydrator.

Dehydrating herbs with a dehydrator is an easy and cost-effective way to prevent food waste. In addition to enjoying herbs from your garden year-round, keeping dehydrated herbs on hand is convenient for cooking. Not to mention, home-dried herbs taste better than the store-bought variety. With our guide to drying herbs using the Sahara Dehydrator, you may never buy dried herbs again!

Benefits of Drying Herbs in a Dehydrator

Saves money by reducing food waste: Fresh herbs are highly perishable no matter how carefully you select or refrigerate them. And freezing excess herbs has its downsides as well. Some varieties may change texture or flavor, and limited freezer space means you can only preserve so many.

Fast dry time: The most efficient way to quickly dry and preserve herbs at home is to use a dehydrator. Unlike other foods and preservation methods (like canning fruits or curing meats), herbs require little prep and have so little moisture that drying them takes very little time. You’ll save more space and time than air-drying (which can take several days!) and avoid the pitfalls of oven-drying like burning your herbs and sacrificing quality.

Easy to eat: Thanks to their concentrated flavor, dried herbs are perfect for using in lots of recipes throughout the year—anything from soups to salads to garnishes on your dishes. Dried herbs are about three times more potent than fresh herbs, so as a rule of thumb, if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh herbs, substitute one teaspoon dried.

Fresh vs dried herb substitution example

Ensures the freshest flavor: The fresher the herb when it’s dried, the more flavor! Drying herbs with a dehydrator at home means you know you have preserved top-quality plants. It also allows you to precisely control the drying temperature and time—protecting your herbs’ health benefits, aroma, color, texture, and flavor and reducing damage and spoilage. Lastly, drying your own herbs gives you better control of their shelf life. Most home-dried herbs keep for up to a year, meaning you can harvest and dry as the seasons change and keep a stash in your pantry until they are in season again.

Similar health benefits to fresh herbs: The process of drying herbs in a dehydrator protects and concentrates disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Flavor is also concentrated in the drying process, which means adding herbs to your meals also adds a burst of flavor without needing to add as much salt, fat, or sugar.

How to Dry Fresh Herbs

Pick the freshest herbs: Whether from the garden or the grocery store, make sure you pick and use the freshest herbs. Washing them isn’t necessary if they are grown organically, but be sure to remove any dead or wilted leaves before drying. If your herbs are damp, carefully blot away as much moisture as possible with a towel. You do not need to strip the leaves from the stems, but removing larger leaves from thicker stems will help shorten the drying time.

The lower the drying temperature, the better: Drying fresh herbs in a dehydrator means you can carefully control the drying temperature. Typically, the lower the temp, the better the color, flavor, aroma, and nutritional value of your dried herbs. To dry fresh herbs, preheat your dehydrator according to the suggested temperatures at the bottom of this page. If you live in a particularly humid climate, you may need to slightly increase the temperature.

Place prepared herbs in a single layer on dehydrator racks. For small herbs, you may want to use silicone dehydrator mats to prevent them from falling through. Dry according to the guides below until herbs crumble and/or the stems break (occasionally checking for dryness throughout the process).

Fresh herbs in the Sahara Folding Dehydrator

Storing Dried Herbs

Once dry, open dehydrator doors and pull shelves about halfway out to allow the herbs to cool for about 20 minutes. This will help prevent condensation from forming during storage. Crumble the dried herbs with your hands or grind them with a mortar and pestle. You can also create any premixed blends, like Italian seasoning, at this stage. Although it requires more storage space, keeping some leaves and seeds whole will help retain oils and overall quality in storage.

Store herbs and blends in dated and labeled air-tight containers in a cool, dry, and dark place. Dried herbs are best used within one year. Periodically check your stored herbs for moisture or mold.

Various dried herbs in glass storage jars

Drying Herbs with a Dehydrator

The best way to dry herbs is in the Sahara Dehydrator; and the best herbs for drying depend on how you plan to use them. Whole herbs like bay leaves are typically removed before serving and are ideal for dishes that take an hour or more to cook. Crumbled and ground dehydrated herbs are better suited for recipes with a shorter cooking time and/or added toward the end of cooking.

To get you started, our recommended times and temperatures for dehydrating herbs are below—but keep in mind that the perfect setting for you will depending on the humidity in your kitchen and the amount of herbs in your dehydrator. We encourage you to experiment! Visit our recipe section for more ideas for using your dried herbs in your cooking. Most of all, be creative and enjoy using your dried herbs!

Italian herb blend and dried herbs

Italian Herb Blend - Recipe

Fresh and dehydrated basil on a dehydrator rack

Basil (All Varieties)

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated bay leaves on a dehydrator rack

Bay Leaves

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated chopped chives on a dehydrator rack

Chives

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated cilantro on a dehydrator rack

Cilantro

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated dill on a dehydrator rack

Dill

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated fennel microgreens on a dehydrator rack

Fennel Microgreens

  • Time:2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated ginger leaves on a dehydrator rack

Ginger Leaves - Zingiber Officinale

  • Time: 4 hours
  • Temperature: 100 ºF / 38 °C
Fresh and dehydrated marjoram on a dehydrator rack

Marjoram

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated mint on a dehydrator rack

Mint (All Varieties)

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated oregano on a dehydrator rack

Oregano

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated parsley on a dehydrator rack

Parsley

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated rosemary on a dehydrator rack

Rosemary

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated sage on a dehydrator rack

Sage

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Tied sage and flower smudge surrounded by fresh sage leaves

Sage Smudge

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated shiso on a dehydrator rack

Shiso

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated tarragon on a dehydrator rack

Tarragon

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC
Fresh and dehydrated thyme on a dehydrator rack

Thyme

  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Temperature: 95 ºF / 35 ºC

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