How to Freeze Basil

Freeze Basil
Freeze Basil. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Have more basil in your garden then you know what to do with? Here's how to freeze it for year-round use:

Option 1: Wash and dry the basil leaves (the stems should be discarded). Then, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and flash freeze them. Transfer the frozen basil to freezer bags, and use as needed.

Option 2: Blanch the basil leaves for 15 seconds. Then, plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process.

Dry thoroughly. Then, flash freeze using the method described in option 1.

Option 3: Use a food processor to coarsely chop clean basil leaves. Then, add a drizzle of olive oil, and pulse to lightly coat the leaves with oil (this will keep the basil from turning black in the freezer). Scoop the resulting mixture into ice cube trays, and freeze. Transfer the finished cubes to freezer bags, and use as needed. One ​cube is usually the equivalent of about two Tablespoons of fresh basil. Measure your ice cube tray to figure out how much yours holds.

Want bigger cubes? Buy a two-inch cube ice cube tray. Each cube will hold a half cup of basil. It's also a great size for freezing leftover broth, wine, and buttermilk.

Buy a two-inch ice cube tray on Amazon

Tips:

1. Basil tends to turn black when frozen. If maintaining that bright green color is important to you, use option 3.

2. Oil should only be added to basil if it will be frozen.

Storing basil in oil, either in the refrigerator or at room temperature, is a botulism risk.

3. Planning to use your basil in heated dishes? Just add your frozen basil directly to the pot. There's no need to thaw it first.

4. Use this printable freezer inventory list to keep up with what's in your freezer.

More Uses for Basil

Dry some of the basil from your garden, so you won't have to buy dried basil at the grocery store. You can use a dehydrator or a low-temp oven to dry it quickly, but if you aren't in a hurry, just hang small bunches of basil upside down in a warm, dry room, and allow it to air-dry. It may take a couple weeks, but if you already have lots of fresh basil at your disposal, it'll probably be a while before you even need it. Store your dried basil in an air-tight container in your pantry. Be sure to label it. All of those little jars of home-dried herbs start to look the same after a while. Dry a bunch, and you can even give it as gifts.