When cooking with herbs, you can use either dried or fresh once you know the correct fresh to dried herb conversions. Here is our simple ratio for substituting dried herbs for fresh so you can cook herb-filled recipes all year long.

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No fresh bunch of basil for that marinara sauce recipe? No need to fret over it or make a special trip to the store. While many recipes specify using fresh herbs, sometimes they aren't available, or it just isn't practical to buy a bunch when only a very small amount is needed. In such cases, dried herbs can usually be substituted. Whether you’re using dried or fresh, herbs boost the flavor and aromas of whatever you cook with them. Use this fresh to dry herb conversion calculator so you’ll never be left herb hungry come dinnertime.

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Credit: Blaine Moats

Your Complete Guide for Fresh to Dried Herb Conversions

Fresh herbs are usually at least 80% water, so once they are dried, they pack more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs. For this reason, you generally need less when substituting dried herbs for fresh. For the best flavor results when substituting dried herbs for fresh, add the dried herb to a recipe at the beginning of the cooking time; this allows its flavors to seep into the dish.

Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

A general rule of thumb to convert fresh herbs to dry: Use one-third the amount of dried herb for the fresh herb called for in the recipe.

For example, if you’re converting fresh sage to dried sage in a recipe that calls for 1 Tbsp. of fresh sage, use 1 tsp. of dried sage instead. (Check out this handy guide to convert measurements for things like tablespoons to teaspoons to cups.)

Keep in mind that when you convert fresh herbs to dry, it’s always easier to add more than to take away (in fact, it’s practically impossible to remove dried rosemary from that turkey rub recipe once you’ve already mixed it and applied it to your bird), so err on the side of caution and add more to taste after cooking. 

While this three-to-one ratio works for many cases when you want to convert fresh herbs to dry, there are a few outliers for seasoning recipes. Remember these unique situations when making substitutions for seasonings that aren’t typical leaves:

  • Garlic: Try ½ teaspoon garlic powder per clove of fresh garlic
  • Ginger: Try ¼ teaspoon dried ground ginger per 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root
  • Turmeric: Try ¼ teaspoon dried ground turmeric per 1 teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric root
  • Onion: Try 1 teaspoon onion powder per medium fresh onion

Substituting Dried Ground Herbs for Dried Leaf Herbs

When substituting a ground herb (those that look almost like powders) such as oregano, basil, or bay leaves for dried leaf herbs (those herbs that are dried that maintain their leaf shape): Use about half of the amount of the dried leaf herb called for in the recipe.

Substituting Freeze-Dried Herbs for Fresh

These fresh to dry herb conversions work for traditional dried herbs, but not the new freeze-dried varieties you might spot in the produce section, such as the ones made by mainstream brands like Litehouse or Gourmet Garden. Freeze-dried herbs can replace fresh herbs in equal quantities. So if you’re trading freeze-dried cilantro for regular in that homemade tortilla soup, use just as much as the recipe calls for.

Bonus Tips for Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

For the most part, dried herbs perform better in foods you enjoy cooked rather than raw so the herbs can soften and infuse into the dish. Stews, chilis, soups, cooked sauces, casseroles, and spice rubs for recipes you plan to cook are all wonderful places to consider substituting dried herbs for fresh. If you can, stick to fresh herbs for recipes like homemade salsas, salads (caprese salad with dried basil is nowhere near as amazing, right?), and other uncooked creations.

When using these fresh to dried herb conversions, remember this cooking with herbs advice from our Test Kitchen

  • For the most aromatic results, crush the dried herbs in the palm of your hand before sprinkling into the dish.
  • Store dried herbs in airtight jars in a cabinet or part of your kitchen away from direct sunlight.
  • Aim to replace dried herbs at least once per year (or when the flavor noticeably weakens or the smell inside the jar is no longer potent).

Now that you know the basics of substituting dried herbs for fresh, you can convert like the culinary pro you are deep down. 

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