How to Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh Herbs

How to Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If a recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you only have dried herbs on hand (or you don't want to spring for fresh), just replace the fresh herbs in your recipe with one third as much of the dried equivalent. The flavor is much more concentrated in dry herbs, so less is required.

Example: Your recipe calls for a Tablespoon of fresh thyme, so you would use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in its place.

Bay leaves are the only exception to this rule.

Since they lose much of their flavor when dried, you should replace one fresh bay leaf with two dried bay leaves.

More Substitutes for Fresh Herbs

If you don't have the fresh herb that you need, and you don't have its dried equivalent either, you can also substitute fresh herbs with ground herbs. Here's how to get the quantities right, so your recipe comes out just as it should.

Out of an herb in all forms? Use this ingredient substitution chart to look up other herbs that you can use in its place. It sure beats having to make a special trip to the store.

Interested in Growing Your Own Herbs?

Most herbs are really easy to grow and just as easy to dry or freeze for later use. Here's a list of some of the easiest herbs to grow from seed. If you don't see one of the herbs that you'd like to grow on this list, it's best to start with a plant from the nursery. Have a shady yard? While most herbs prefer the sun, these herbs can take the shade.

A good number of herbs are perennials, meaning they'll come back year after year. But most annual herbs self-seed readily. Just let them go to seed at the end of the season, and new plants will emerge on their own next spring.

How to Dry or Freeze Your Own Herbs

Preserve the fresh herbs that you grow, so you can still enjoy them when they aren't in season.

To dry herbs, simply hang them upside down in small bunches in a warm, dry spot. Check on them for a week or two; then, transfer them to an air-tight container when they feel completely dry to the touch. If you want to dry them faster, you can use a dehydrator or an oven set to the lowest temperature to dry them out.

Freezing herbs is also a good option, as it allows you to enjoy the taste of fresh herbs anytime. Add them to cooked dishes, and you won't even be able to tell they aren't fresh from the garden. Here are some freezing instructions to get you started: